‘”Dear Dad. Have made terrible mistake and joined the Peace Corps. Please arrange to have me brought home at once. Your loving son, blah, blah, blah…”
— Tom Hanks, in Volunteers
The afternoon came along with our school’s principal, who brought along rain with her. My colleague, T., myself, and the boss, are wandering the grounds, cold and wet, seeing the kids try to complete their outdoor activity as the rain slowly begins to grow from a drizzle to a steady rainfall. When our principal decides, after about 45 minutes of getting wet, that it was time for lunch, we don’t argue. While the 6th graders get their sack lunches today, which many will wind up eating outside, we’re headed towards the resort’s Steakhouse. If nothing else, being taken to lunch also means a chance at some real coffee.
The weather causes us to linger a tad bit longer than we should have. Our principal has to hear my colleague and I needle her about how, last year, she brought high winds with her to camp, and this year, she’s bringing rain. We finally realize we’d spent enough time away from the 6th graders and we head back out to two other outdoor activity areas: the low ropes/obstacle course, and the climbing wall.
By now, it’s raining harder. A Gore-tex jacket can only keep one so dry for so long. We are getting wet, and there is no other way to describe it. But it is also cold. The kids are gamely trying to complete the climbing wall while we watch, and several do. Unfortunately, in order to work the climbing ropes though, they’ve had to remove whatever outerwear they’d had on; in addition, much of what they were wearing was not water repellant. As they finish their climbing, we all head back to the Camp’s “Hitching Post” dining hall area. We ask the counselors if they’ll be allowed to go back to their cabins to change. I am socked from the knees down, as is T. and our boss. Several of the kids however, are worse for wear. This afternoon, we’re supposed to be with the kids for an hour of school time (nothing scholastic, just bonding, per se), before the kids can go back to their cabins to ready for dinner. The climbing wall group though, is not going to make it through that hour. Several of the girls are shivering and cold, and looking worse for wear. I point out to the counselors that they need to change clothes–now.
What was so frustrating was that yesterday, the assistant Camp Director had noted that rain was likely–but it was OK, as they had rain ponchos. No rain ponchos had come out. These kids were soaked and not feeling all that pleasant. While on a normal camp trip, we’d have been outside playing with the kids, we’re allowed to stay for our school time in the Dining Hall, just allowing the kids to warm up. The Camp’s counselors finally start to realize the gravity of the situation. The school nurse comes down to take the kids to her office heater, and other counselors gather up wet clothes to take them to the facilities dryer. We had expected rain, but for most of these kids, as well as us teachers, our rain gear is meant to take us from the house to the car to our destination, and back again. None of us have the appropriate foul weather gear for prolonged exposure to the elements. After our hour is up, and the kids warmed up, T. and I head back to warm ourselves up as well. We’re still a little soaked, and we have dry clothes.
But when I get back to the room, I find I don’t have dry clothes. My closet is leaking from the ceiling, and while my suitcase was able to escape, for the most part, my extra jeans, which had fallen off their closet hooks are soaked. It now becomes a comedy of errors. I try to dry my gloves and cap on the heater in the room, and nearly burn the gloves and melt the cap. I have one soaked pair of jeans from the leaky roof, and the other pair is wet from being out in the rain all day. T. texts me:
“How it going”
“Gimme a minute and I will wander over“, I text back.
I start to gather up my stuff. I will have to move rooms. I find my last pair of dry pants and change into them. I replace my soaked socks and I’m relieved that my shoes have dried somewhat. But I head over to her cottage and tell her that I’ve gotta get moved. She comes in and sees the leak, which is getting worse. Yup.
At dinner, we can see the dining hall is also starting to leak. We’re late, thanks to my having to start to furiously pack in anticipation of having to move rooms. Luckily, I get the cottage adjoining the room I was in. Unluckily, I get the room in the same cottage area where the roof is leaking in the closet next door. But after dinner ends, T. helps me move over the old room’s desk (on which this post is getting typed), and I settle in for the night, eschewing a chance to watch the kids do World Dance, an activity normally done around a campfire, over in the dining hall.
I am too cold and wet to want to go out again and beg off when T. asks me to go with her. With a soaked rain jacket, and still-sopping jeans drying in a new closet that I pray won’t leak tonight, I am going to stay in. Besides, after drizzle, followed by intermittent hail, as T. and I walked back from the dining hall, and as I moved into my replacement cottage, we realize that it is now snowing.
Oh yeah, with that factoid, I’m done.
Attention. Here’s an update on tonight’s dinner. It was veal. I repeat, veal. The winner of tonight’s mystery meat contest is Jeffrey Corbin who guessed “some kind of beef.”