Camp revives childhood memories

By Glenda Price: CNJ columnist

Remember when you went to camp?

You learned neat stuff about animal tracks, bugs and pine trees.

Maybe you went hiking after dark and somebody jumped out of the woods screaming like a wild animal, scaring everyone spitless.

Around the campfire they told ghost stories that caused shivers — and giggles.

It was colossal fun.

I heard of one youngster who refused to take a bath after he got home. After a few smelly days, his parents switched from asking to demanding. “But that’s camp dirt,” he protested tearfully.

My granddaughter was 9 her first year at summer camp. Campers were 9 to 11 years old with a few younger siblings in the mix. She wasn’t among the “older” girls who noticed things like … boys. At least that’s what she said.

They were divided into “teams,” and each team had a cool name, like Electric Eagles. Her team was Boppin’ Beetles, and they made up a song called “Boppin’ Beetles Bop, Rockin’ Beetles Rock,” and sang it for everyone.

They had a “bug hunt” one day, and my squeamish granddaughter claims she actually picked up a daddy longlegs.

Amazing what kids will do after several days in the woods.

Activities the last night were a dance indoors and a campfire outdoors. Apparently, the 11-year-olds were into “the dance,” especially the girls.

My granddaughter said she didn’t partake of “the dance.”

Were the boys cute? “No.”

Did they think she was cute?

She couldn’t hide a silly smile when she replied, “I don’t know.”

The big deal for the dance group, besides hair style, was nail polish. One little gal insisted on polishing her toenails even though her feet were so caked with black mountain dirt the toenails were difficult to find.

It really wasn’t her fault. Consider 150 kids and only a few showers. The adults got up at 5 o’clock to get a chance at a shower.

At the campfire, a guy told a fabulously scary ghost story while the kids roasted marshmallows and made s’mores.

Ever watch a bunch of little kids at a dance? They run in two distinct herds — boys and girls. They then prowl the edge of the activity and each herd stalks the other, making sure they don’t get too close until a couple of brave souls actually dance.

One herd of boys wore their big hats and carried their ropes — everywhere. At mealtimes the ropes were slung over or under where they sat, tripping unsuspecting passersby.

Remember when you were that age, and your goal in life was to get somebody to run by and bawl like a calf so you could practice your roping skill?

One adult finally asked the boys what they planned to catch with those ropes. Without so much as a blink, one youngster said, “Girls.”

No question. Life is good when you’re 9, 10 or 11 years old and your biggest concern is what color nail polish to wear or what you might manage to rope.