General swim was wrapping up. I had managed to save some lives and catch a cat nap. Overall, I would say it was a successful afternoon.
The campers lined up to be checked out as I watched from my vantage point in my beach chair. It didn’t take long for the beach to empty out. Campers grabbed their snacks (fresh buns with honey) as they exited. My three dipped their sandy hands in the lake and lined up behind the last of the campers to get honey buns too. They came back, sat on their towels on the now empty beach and quietly devoured their treat. With fingers and their legs even sticky with honey, daughter one went down to the water to clean off and the other two followed her lead. My three then proceeded to work on their sand castle city again. I needed to get up and keep moving, or else I would fall back asleep. I walked down to the water’s edge and slowly walked along the dock. I sat on the edge of the dock facing the shallow end and the beach and put my feet in the water. I supervised the kids’ play as I dangled my feet in the refreshing clear water.
About ten minutes later I watched as a group of campers and counselors Nate and Bobbo came back down the pathway and climbed the gentle hill on the other side of the driveway. It was one of the various clubs setting up for an activity. I couldn’t tell at first what was going on but soon I realized what the plan was as I watched the campers help to unfurl a long grey plastic tarp down the hill. Bobbo had hooked up a hose and started to direct the water down the tarp. Nate, meanwhile, started to squirt a small amount of liquid dish detergent into the out-held palms of the campers. The campers then proceeded to rub the detergent on to their bellies. Sure enough, the campers lined up at the top of the hill and one by one threw themselves down the hill on the slippery slide! I giggled to myself. That looked like a total blast! Forget about fancy inflatable slides! Stick with the basics. You had to admire that camp spirit!
The noise level rose and finally caught the attention of my kids playing in the sand. My son noticed first and from his crouched position in the sand stood up and gaped in complete awe. Seconds later the shovel in his hand dropped and he started a full out run as he pointed and yelled “Slide! Slide!”. The girls, intent on their digging, stopped to look up. When their eyes settled upon the sight of the massive slippery slide they too, one after the other, stood up, gaped with their mouths open, then dropped their shovels and chased after my son. Sand castle construction was gonna have to wait!
I jogged after the kids and caught up to them at the top of the hill. They had inserted themselves right into the line. They obediently held their little hands out and gotten a dose of detergent. The three of them carefully lathered their bellies and thighs under the direction of some of the other campers who were only too happy to help.
For the next forty minutes I sat at the top of the hill and watched the ‘Fishing Club’ giggle, laugh, shout, and guffaw as they hurtled down the ‘Turbo Chute of Death’! I guess they had heard (how?) that the fish were not biting today and the counselors had decided that a break from their usual docile afternoon of sitting on the dock and fishing was due! Hence the home made slide.
By the end of the forty minutes most of the campers were exhausted from running up the hill. The pace had slowed significantly and only four of the kids were still sliding and trying some ‘dope moves’ which all pretty much looked like ‘sliding down on your bottom’ or ‘sliding on your belly’ to me. ‘Fishing Club’ was getting ready to wrap it up and put away the slide and the hose when Nate and Bobbo asked for permission to slide a few times. The kids went wild! There was clapping and shouting.
“And what about Nurse Anne? Can she go too?” Nate pointed to me.
“YES,” the kids roared!
Ummm, nah. I shook my head. It had been years since I had gone down a waterslide. I felt a nudge and looked to my side. My son had come up beside me and was looking at me earnestly.
“Go Mummy. It’s fun!” He said as he clasped his little hands together. He was a soapy, wet little mess!
Well….it was super hard to say ‘no’ to that little face. And then the chanting started.
“Nurse Anne! Nurse Anne! Nurse Anne! Nurse Anne!” the counselors started to chant and the campers, of course, joined in.
“OK. Fine! I will try it.” I said as my daughters pulled me to my feet.
And why not? Sometimes we need to nurture that childlike heart. And who was I kidding? I’m pretty immature.
I pulled off my shorts and t-shirt and my son grabbed the bottle of detergent. He gave a huge dollop of soap which I rubbed down the front of my bathing suit. The counselors lead the way as the kids lined either side of the slide chanting our names, cheering, and clapping.
I took a deep breath and squatted down, slid onto my belly, and took off. I screamed the entire way down as I bumped and slid down the hill! I flew off the end of the slide and onto the muddy grass beyond where I came to a screeching halt. I lay there for a couple of seconds getting my bearings and then burst out into laughter! That was a riot!
I jogged up the hill behind the counselors as they went down again. The campers had gotten a hold of the hose and they liberally sprayed us with a fountain of water as we hurtled down again. The extra water really made the slide even faster.
“One more! One more!” Bobbo yelled as he waved at me to come up the hill for a final slide before we had to get ready for dinner.
Bobbo and Nate held hands and took a running start for their final trip as all the kids roared with laughter. They finished with a historical wipe out at the bottom of the hill. I figured I could give it a try too. I took a half dozen steps back and ran and dove onto the slide. I careened down the slide and somersaulted into the grass, face first. I lay in the grass for a moment. That final trip might have caused some internal injuries. I was not sure. But it was definitely a thrill. I rolled over onto my hands and knees and spit out some soapy suds. I was covered in bubbles and mud. I slowly stood up and took inventory. I believed I had all my parts still. I gently stood upright and raised my head up. That is when I noticed the camp van on the roadway about ten feet in front of me. There, arm draped out the driver’s side window, was Chubby.
“Looking good Anne!” I could hear laughter from inside the van as the campers, pressed against the window, looked out at me.
“We are back from a successful trip to the ER!”
Oh geez. My mood came crashing down.