Old Smokey


We could hear the melody of “On Top of Old Smokey” start up as the Deer Hutters tried to stay in rhythm. The drips rolling off the paddles caught the sun and sparkled. The view was Norman Rockwell worthy.

“…I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed…”

I joined in. The kids looked at me curiously. “You know that song, Mum?” Megan asked.

“Oh ya. Learned it in Girl Guides. Sang it around a few camp fires myself.”

“It rolled off the taaaaable and onto the flooooooor. And then my poor meeeeeeatball rolled out of the doooooooor…” Patrick giggled.

“OK you three. I have to do after lunch medications. I better take you back to child care. Let’s get a move on.” I stood up and slipped my sandals on.

“Mum. Can you keep singing that song?” Sarah squinted up at me as she followed.

“It would be my extreme pleasure!” I said as I continued and Patrick grabbed my hand and the girls followed behind. I was the Pied Piper. “It rolled in the gardennnnnnnn and under a busssssssh. And now my poor meatbaaaaalllllll was nothing but mussssssssh. The mush was as taaaaaasty, as tasty could beeeeeeee. And early next summerrrrrrrr it grew into a treeeeee. The tree was all coverrrrrrred with beautiful mooooooooosss. It grew lovely meatbaaaaaaaalls and tomato sauuuuuuuuuce. So if you eat spaghettiiiiiiiii all covered in cheeeeeeeese. Hold on to your meatballllllls and don’t ever sneeeeeeze. ACHOO!”

The kids cackled! “I want to learn that one, Mum!” Sarah squealed.

“I love it!” Megan added.

“You were a Girl Guide?” Patrick asked with a confused look on his face.

“Yup. When I was a little girl.”

“You were a little girl?” He asked.

“Yup. It was a while ago, but yes. And I liked painting, and gimping, and Art’s and Crafts, and spooky campfire stories, and hikes in the woods, and swimming lessons, and canoeing, and putting on goofy skits…” I drifted off as we walked up the steep path behind the main house, losing my breath a little. Come to think of it I still loved all these things and I hadn’t realized how much until I came to camp and rediscovered my joy in them. “And you know what guys?” I said as I stopped at the top of the path and caught my breath.

“What, Mum?” Sarah asked.

“Funny thing is, that I still love all those things. I guess I’m probably the biggest kid here!” I chuckled.

“I don’t think you are the biggest kid.” Megan said thoughtfully as she looked to the top of my head.

“OK, maybe the oldest then?”

“Ya. Prolly the oldest kid.” Megan nodded earnestly.

Thanks kid.

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