Cool Down At Summer Camp
By Roy Proctor
"Honey, did you hear the youth directorís announcement asking for parent volunteers?" I asked my wife.
"Yes, and I think you should go. You love youth and it would help you to unwind."
She was right on both counts. Being with youth would bring relief from working in Air Traffic Control, where the rigors of the job seemed to increase day by day. So I called the youth director and volunteered my services.
A Refreshing Monday MorningÖ
We prayed for a safe trip before starting off for a week of a "cool" time at summer camp. Two of the youth piled into my truck and I was amused at their joy and expended energy. Some of them act foolish but that helps a guyís "anti aging" program.
So there we were, barreling down the road, with bodies gyrating to something they called music. I was amused when we stopped at a red light. To our left was a wealthy-looking lady in a big luxury car. She looked askance at me, a man with graying hair, acting like a kid.
"Pardon me, lady," I thought, "but I just have to unwind."
I Couldnít Help But NoticeÖ
The settling in process was typical for a summer camp. Bunks were assigned and clothes were put away, followed by a host of rules and instructions. Of course, the standard order was given to the boys about the "other" dorm that was located a safe distance across a field. This brought a brief period of silence until one boy cautiously asked, "Is the field mined?"
We sat down to dinner that night and the lady across from me introduced herself. "Hi," she said, reaching to shake my hand. "Iím Susan, and you are?"
My hand and entire body froze in time and space, as her bright blue eyes sent invisible laser beams into my head. "Oh Ö well Ö Iím Roy." My response seemed to take forever but I did maintain composure. "Most people call me Mr. Roy."
I saw in my mindís eye a warning flash, with the words, "Switch to Platonic Mode! Switch to Platonic Mode!"
My inner instinct worked well until Susan glanced at my empty ring finger, smiled and looked up at my face. "Oh," I said. "My ring is at the jewelers for repair. One of the stones came loose."
Susanís display of poise was impressive. Her intelligent conversation reflected a mind with a wide range of meaningful knowledge. I pictured her as the virtuous woman in the book of Proverbs: productive, resourceful and soundly in touch with life.
Fortunately a few of the youth seemed in need of a friend, and one boy in particular took up much of my time. It helped me to feel at ease because befriending youth was the reason I volunteered as a parent counselor.
That evening, however, I saw Susan standing on the edge of the pool deck in her bathing suit. I couldnít help but notice that she looked impressive. Without thinking, I approached her and asked, "Well, are you getting in?"
"No," she replied. "I just did my hair and I donít want to get it wet." Susanís response seemed to settle the issue until she asked, "Why, were you planning on pushing me in?"
My brain signaled my hands to arise but fortunately they didnít move. "No," I said calmly. "I learned a along time ago that it doesnít pay to mess up a womanís hair."
I immediately dove into the pool.
Youth See EverythingÖ
Nobody noticed my talks with Susan, or so I thought. The youth director announced Wednesday evening that Friday night would be "date night" and encouraged the guys to start making their pitch. I thought the idea was funny and jokingly lamented, "But my wife isnít here and I wonít have a date."
Immediately one boy asked, with teasing in his voice, "What about Susan?"
Fortunately, the youth director reacted quickly and moved on to something else. I looked straight ahead and breathed a sigh of relief as the "heat" of the situation dissipated.
The rest of the week went easier with no further incidents.
Itís Time To "Cruise On" HomeÖ
My drive home was quiet and relaxing, as the two youth that rode to the camp made other arrangements. The soft purr of the tail pipes soothed my thoughts. Amidst the tranquility of the time, the words of Proverbs 5:1-2 came to mind: "My son, pay attention to my wisdom. Listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge."
My heart was at peace as I entered the house. My wife promptly hugged me and remarked, "You got a lot of sun. I hope you didnít get too hot."
"Oh no," I remarked with a smile. "I didnít get so hot that I couldnít cool down."
Roy Proctor is a free lance writer who authors an email devotional series titled Words For Kingdom Living. He attends Grace Chapel, a non denominational Christian fellowship in Mandarin Florida. You can write to Roy through the Letters page of this magazine.