“Now, pray tell, do enlighten me. What is this ‘all-camp’ that you speak of?” I asked Caroline as we sat by the fire, our faces aglow from the fire light.
“An ‘all-camp’ is just that. It is an activity that involves all the kids at camp. We will spend Friday afternoon participating in the all-camp. The kids are divided into teams so that there are kids of every age on each team. The teams come up with some cheers and everything. All afternoon they go around to various stations at camp and get involved in them trying to gain points for their team. It’s kind of a story too. Sometimes it a murder mystery, for example.”
“Man! That sounds like a blast. But…what can I do for the all-camp? Did you want me to run a station or something?”
“Ummm….no. We want you to go about your regular activities with the kids and everything.” Angus piped up. “We actually want you to be the villain of the story!”
“What?!” I laughed and winkled my nose. “I’m the bad guy?”
“Ya it’s perfect! No one would suspect the gentle healer Nurse Anne!” Angus said quite animatedly.
“The story line is that someone is trying to sabotage Camp Acorn. All afternoon the teams will go to the stations and pick up clues to try and solve the mystery and save camp from this unknown evil villan. We will have some of the counselors playing the various suspects. Then at the end of the day we reveal that it was you all the time!” Caroline explained.
“A stroke of brilliance, Caroline.” Angus praised her and gave her a high five.
“But if no one will guess me, then no one will win the prize or the trophy or whatever.”
“Oh we never give out prizes to the winners of the all-camp. It’s all for the glory. ‘Everyone is a winner at Acorn all-camp’. Then we have a party for everyone in the dining hall.” Angus informed me.
“So when would you need me to do this?”
“Tomorrow after dinner”
“And do you have a script for me?”
“Ummm….no. We need your help with that too. Can you come up with a reason why you might be wanting to destroy Camp Acorn?” Caroline asked rather sheepishly.
“Why would I want to ruin camp, eh? Hmmmm. Well, I will have to put some thought into it.”
“So you will do it?” Angus asked holding his hands clasped as if in prayer.
“Oh sure. It’s something I can put it on my resume!” I shrugged.
Angus and Caroline laughed.
“OK guys. I am so wiped out. We are going to bed.” I said as I stood up from the bench and motioned for the kids to do the same. “Thanks so much for a super fine evening.”
“Thank you.” The three kids echoed as they scrambled off the bench to join me.
Caroline held out her hand to take the cups which they stacked one on top of the other. Then with the other hand she high-fived them. My son then proceeded to walk around the rest of the camp fire and got high-fives from Fr. Brian, Shawn and Nate. The girls followed suit.
“Thank you and good night!” They said sing-songish as they went.
We walked up the dirt road to the main house in the darkness. My son gently took hold of my hand. The faint echos of campers’ voices filtered through the trees as we passed the woods. The noises gradually faded as we walked past. Then, there was only the sound of our feet on the gravel road.
“I’m scared of ghosts, Mum.” My son whispered to me. I gave his little hand a squeeze.
“There are no such thing as ghosts.” I reassured him as I swung his hand back and forth in rhythm with our walking. We fell into silence again.
We were now bathed in the light streaming from the main house. We turned down the path to the stairwell and as we turned the corner passed the compost heap, that is when we heard odd scratching sounds. We all stopped dead in our tracks. My heart beat quickened.
“It’s the Medicrin!” my eldest daughter whispered with a tinge of fear.
“Ya. I can hear it chomping!” daughter two answered.
Scratching and cracking sounds continued. I doubted that it was the Medicrin from the camp-fire story, but I was seriously concerned it might have been a black bear noshing on the camp’s compost! This whole area was black bear country. My son held his hands up to me. I picked him up and he clutched on to my neck in terror. With my eyes firmly on the compost heap I slowly and silently started to side step my way towards the stairwell. The girls fell in behind me, holding tightly to my waist. As I watched, indeed, the compost lid was heaving! Something was definitely in there! We were now just a few feet away from the stairwell door. I decided to make a run for it.
“OK girls. On the count of three we run for the door. K?” I whispered.
“OK” I heard the whisper back.
“One. Two.” And before I had the chance to say ‘three”, daughter one bolted towards the door. Daughter two followed her closely and I was just barely a foot behind her jostling my son in my arms as I scurried. As I ran toward the door (OK I admit it…I was squealing!) daughter one held it open for me, God bless her! Then the two girls pulled it closed behind me. We all squealed as we ran up the stairwell to the second floor. I stopped at the landing, breathing heavily.
“Wait here girls. Let’s see if we can get a good look at what is in the compost bin.”
I wanted to dispel the myth that the Medicrin had landed at camp. The girls came back down the stairs to join me at the window. We pushed the window up and could still clearly hear the rustling in the compost heap. My son pressed his face against the window screen. We waited and watched as the lid bumped up and down.
It was not very long before the lid swung wide open and out popped the head of a raccoon! It scampered down the side of the compost and then was followed by one, two, three baby raccoons.
“Well look at that! No ghosts! No Medicrin!” And no black bears! Whew!
“Ohhhh! ” My son cried involuntarily. “They are so cute.”
“Oh a mummy and three little babies!” Exclaimed daughter two as we watched the three little ones follow the larger raccoon into the forest.
“Just like us Mum!” Daughter one added.
“Yup and just like us we have had our fill of treats and it is time for us to scamper off too!” I plopped my son on his feet on the floor, softly paddled his little bottom and chased the three kids up the stairs to bed.