We are debating in the office if we will ever see rain again. When you walk outside, nearly everything crunches under your feet. Things are crispy outside, because they haven’t tasted water in close to a month. The oaks have really begun dropping acorns. You have to be careful, or you will get a pretty good knock from above. The squirrels are hard at work, storing up all the nuts they can. When you walk in the woods, you can hear them all around you. The high-strung head twitches and hops. The noise they stir up in the dry leaves will fool the untrained ear into thinking something much larger is in the woods. You spin around, looking for a deer or coyote, and you are happy inside that no one saw you get so startled by a squirrel.
Early this week, we had Memphis Conference Retired Methodist Ministers retreating with us. I found myself sitting out on the rocking chairs with a few of the retirees. We talked about hot summers and farming. We started on this past summer and how long the hot had lasted. They recalled the summers of ’80 and ’54 being hotter than this one. We talked about beans and cotton, how the farmers who went with cotton this year were doing pretty good, but the ones who planted beans didn’t get much of a return. There’s no telling how many times the rocking chairs have hosted these exchanges. Counselors and campers, reunions of old friends, and a young man listening like a 10 year old to the men talk about how things used to be.
That’s one of the great things about Lakeshore–the way different worlds sometimes converge. Different ages, races, geographies, accents and on and on. All you have to do is sit down on a rocking chair and listen. There’s no telling what you’ll hear. Reports were what we heard on Thursday during our Board of Trustees meeting. We sat down to talk rules changes, budget concerns, and the past, present, and future of camp. As frequently happens, we went way over our scheduled time. We were slated to eat at 12:45, and I noticed the clock reading 1:00 with several reports left. Lots of talking going on when you bring in people like us to talk about camp.
Just outside our meeting room, the persimmon trees are loaded with ripe persimmons. The fleshy fruits look like mini-oranges, loading down the branches of the trees. But, they don’t taste very citrusy. They have a very tart taste, and if you get one that isn’t quite ripe yet, it’s not very appetizing. I think the most frequent incarnation of persimmons on the dinner table is probably in jelly or jam form, because you can liberally add as much sugar as you want to them. No, we won’t have to worry too much about kids sneaking onto our land to steal persimmons. The deer do love them though. You’ll begin seeing persimmon seeds scattered all over in the upcoming weeks. I’ll let you figure out how they get there.
I wonder how those trees got there. If they just came up naturally or if someone here at camp, decades ago, thought it’d be nice to have the persimmons near the waterfront, so the deer would have a tasty snack on the way to the river each morning. I think about the hill at camp and how it’s changed from the time those retirees sit on the porch as campers until now when we sit out and talk about summers gone by. Those hot summers–’80 when I was only 2 years old, or ’54 the year my mother was born. Jackie Wilson plays on the 50’s channel of my radio, and I imagine that being the new music of a group of young kids much like the staff who just went back to school. Most of this group couldn’t tell you what Jackie Wilson did. But they did both feel that heat. Both got to do a lot of sweating out here. We share that. We also get to share that love we felt from God as we sat out, listening to stories and seeing the leaves change.
This week we have an older Elementary Retreat, Memphis Conference Singles, and a few small groups camping out at our tent and trailer area (perfect weekend for camping). Hope your weekend is a good one.