Thursday, June 12, 2008
A three-plus hour drive to Floral, Ark., Sunday made us do a little reminiscing.
Pam and I carried Emma to Camp Tahkodah for the eighth straight summer.
She became interested in the camp, operated by Harding University, during our last year in Laurel. That’s because good friends at the church there were taking their children.
Our first trip to the beautiful mountain area of Arkansas came back in 2001. Camp Tahkodah was a bit hard to find then, even with a map.
But now, it’s like our vehicle knows exactly where to go on the first Sunday in June.
Emma was entering the fifth grade that first year she went to camp. We were nervous; she was nervous.
She’d never been away at camp before, and this is a two-week one, and rather far off. I was rather hesitant about leaving my 9-year-old.
But she fell in love with Camp Tahkodah. It was great. And she met a host of new friends – many who have also continued to go back each year.
Emma starts talking about camp at Christmastime and wants us to get her registration form mailed in February.
I firmly believe taking her to Camp Tahkodah for eight years is one of the best things we’ve done as parents. She has gained so much, most all a greater love for God, His people and His creations.
The families can go visit after the first week – on Sunday.
We’ve done that most years, particularly when she was younger. One year I surprised her on Father’s Day – when she did not think I was coming.
This year we likely won’t visit in the middle of the camp week, due to other children’s activities and the ever-rising cost of gasoline. In most places on our ride to Arkansas Sunday, it was $3.99 a gallon for regular unleaded.
The ride to Floral, once leaving the West Memphis, Ark., interstate, is really relaxing. Speed limit most of the way on the two-lane is 55. And you’d better slow down to 35 or 40 when going through the small towns.
I like the rice fields and rivers. I like the small towns, like Earle and McCrory and Augusta and Pleasant Plains.
We love the food along the way – like Who Dat’s in Bald Knob. The oyster po’boy is fabulous. We always bring back some of that Who Dat’s Cajun Spice – for ourselves and others.
This year we saw tornado damage in Earle. And it seems we always make our first stop in Wynne to use the restroom.
In August Emma will be a senior in high school. This is likely her last trip to Camp Tahkodah; however, she says she wants to return as a counselor. And that’s possible. One of her college choices is Harding.
As we reached Pleasant Plains, and hit the curvy roads to Floral and Camp Tahkodah Sunday, she said her stomach was hurting her a bit.
The cause wasn’t the winding road. And it may be the most crooked I’ve ever been on.
Nearing camp will always concoct a queasy feeling due to excitement and uncertainty – for Emma and her parents.
But then once we arrived, our minds were eased.
As she’s gotten older, our stay there, once we unload her things and take them to her cabin, has gotten shorter and shorter.
Teenagers don’t like their parents hanging around very long and cramping their style.
She immediately saw a group of long-time friends Sunday afternoon, went to join them, and Pam and I became suddenly secondary. And that’s just fine. We felt comfortable leaving her behind for two weeks – much more comfortable than we did that first summer back in 2001.
So we grabbed the iPod and the cell phone, two items not allowed at camp, and started the nice drive back to Holly Springs. And the reminiscing continued.
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