Keeping in the earlier years of us moving to Florida, we wanted to have our children be involved in the local community. What better way than to put Patrick (our oldest) in “Weeblos.” That would be the boys version of “Brownies before Girl Scouts!” Not really knowing if Patrick actually wanted to join, we threw him in anyway. Wanting to be that “Weeblos mom” was like wanting to be that “soccer mom,” and we know how that turned out, this had to be different. It was going along smoothly (so I thought,) when the subject of the sleep away camping trip came up. I don’t know if it’s a first born thing but, Patrick was not thrilled at all to be leaving home without us. The day arrives where we meet early in the morning and we (his father and I) were so excited to hand Patrick over for the week! Unfortunately, Patrick did not share our enthusiasm. Not that he went “kicking and screaming” but if looks could kill, we wouldn’t have made it out the parking lot. I thought things look strange when twelve people got into a ten person van. We stood there, said our prayers and off they went. Patrick tells the story that they stayed at a strange persons house before going up to the camping grounds in Georgia. He said that the house was small and they were ALL sleeping on the living room floor. He was smack right in the middle and the poor thing had to go potty but couldn’t move. No one was letting him up. It was cold, dark and scary and they weren’t even camping yet.
When they arrive to the camping ground, they were told it would be two per “tent.” Tent being the operative word. It was a wooden frame with a canvas covering the two small beds. It had a wooden floor board with about ten inches between the floor and ground. Story goes, it was covered with so many spider webs, roaches and quoting here “mosquitoes the size of hawks!” Interviewing my son for this story apparently brought up some very bad memories. The first night it rained. Actually it rained the whole time he was there. Patrick says that he heard animals under the floor boards so he never slept worrying something would attack him in his sleep. We gave him forty dollars for the week which we were told would be more than enough as they provided three “balanced” meals daily. The money could be used for the Trading Post store located on the grounds. Apparently, Patrick used thirty dollars in the first day buying beef jerky and a rabbit pelt to keep warm at night. The pelt was eight inches by a foot on a good day.
The boys had opportunities to earn badges, fun - right? Well, there was the “knife skills badge” which Patrick wanted so bad to earn. Only problem - no knife. With the rest of the money, he bribed this kid to sell him two knives on the black market. Some things are better not known. He successfully earned his badges and was told he could call home. He called us and started to cry saying that I promised him, if he was not having a good time I would come up and get him. I wanted to get in the car right then and there. His father had other ideas. “It’s nine and half hours north and we’re not going. This is a great learning experience!” Did I mention this was day two. As God is good, they did manage to get through the week, albeit Patrick was out of money by day three and returned home. To this day, Patrick says that was thee worst week of his life. He did go to Boy Scouts, for one year and hung up his belt and badges. What happened to those knives? Next blog - Matthew and the switchblade. Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time!