Harrell's Happenings travel blog

The view from my campsite




Seeing deer as I enter my campground area in Chickasaw National Area

Hillside Spring




Hillside Spring

The late game and the early alarm came too close together. I am not an early-riser and I was tired. But, the thoughts of another fun day with the kids got me up. I was on the road by 7:45, thinking I could get there in time for the last part of the breakfast line. I had gotten my mail the day before and I needed to call my insurance company to get them to take my home owner’s fee off of my bill. I decided to call at 8:00 while I was on the road. Good idea/bad idea. I got the problem fixed, but I was so busy driving down the road, I missed my exit. I drove a long way before realizing I had gone too far. I turned around, but the consequence was that I missed breakfast. Oh well, that’s not unusual for me. I got the worms and headed down to the fishing area and had groups at 9:00 and 10:30. The counselor from Kimberlin came this morning, bringing one student that got sick yesterday. She came down to visit and help me with fishing. I was so glad to see her; I love getting to talk to her and catch up with her family’s activities. They are a precious lot. Today‘s lunch is one of my favorites at Camp Goddard – fried chicken. The cooks start flouring and frying chicken right after breakfast. The kids ate like there was no tomorrow. The young man that came up late because he was sick yesterday threw up at lunch. Now the decision was before us to determine whether or not the child was sick with a virus or sick from allergies and drainage. The nurse felt like it was allergies, part of the child’s history, thus, not contagious. But, then, the dilemma – do you saddle a couple of chaperones with a child that may, at any given moment, throw up? The staff was leaning towards sending him home, but his chaperone was determined that he stay. He said that every child deserves an opportunity to go to camp and he did not want him to miss it. He wanted him to stay. I always liked that dad before. He had two wonderful sons that are the product of a great family. But, after him saying that, well, he is on a pedestal for sure. The Kimberlin students are so fortunate to have such quality parent chaperones. Those that don’t have good family situations see what the other side of life is like at camp. Although, I now wonder – is it an example that will make them want to be a good parent or is it a look at what the other side lives like and will make them resentful? Some of these children and their family situations will break your heart. Now, it was rest time. When the chaperones and kids first see rest time from 1 – 2:00, they think that is so “babyish.” But, before the week is over, they will be dragging themselves back to their cabins, thankful for a little time off. I went to the teacher’s cabin. This is a favorite time of mine. It gives me a chance to hear about all of the adventures of the morning and the children’s reactions to camp. Those priceless moments are the payoff for all of the preparation camp requires. After the all-too-short rest time, I was back to fishing. I have four groups today and two of my sessions have two cabins each. That puts about a dozen children in a small area with a spinning reel and a sharp hook on the end. Just making sure that we only hook fish, not each other, is a major feat! About 75% of the kids are catching fish. Many of those are catching more than one. On my way back to the trailer, I stopped to see some of the marked springs in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Hillside Spring was well known in the early 1900's because it contains aresenic and it was supposed to lighten your skin. There are fewer springs than in those days - some have disappeared, others have combined together - now there are nine springs. After a full day of fishing – I know this sounds lame – I was tired! I got in my truck, drove to my trailer, laid down on the couch and took a nap. It had been a glorious day!

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