When I was a girl, I went to sleep-away camp a couple of times. Maybe three times? The first time, I went to Gesstwood Camp for three days and two nights. The camp was associated with the United Church, which I attended, and was small enough that a new camper could be comfortable. We did lots of simple outdoor activities and crafts, ate basic food in the dining hall and enjoyed a campfire at the end of the day. I also went to Camp Kennessarie when I was older. Again it was affiliated the United Church but this time it was bigger, farther from my home and I stayed a full week. The routine was the same, though. Bug bites and swimming, whispering after lights out, and a memorable meal where we ate with serving and meal-preparation utensils instead of cutlery stand out in my poor memory.
Reid hasn’t asked about sleep-away camp and I’m glad. I can’t imagine leaving her with stranger for a whole week! She does go to “Grandma Camp”, though. Two years ago, she went for a week and last year, she went for two weeks. Before her time was up, Reid announced that she’d be coming back this year for three weeks. I didn’t think I could manage three continuous weeks without her and so we’ll go on vacation together and then spend a couple of weeks back in Ottawa before Reid spends her third week at Grandma Joyce’s. I really don’t know how Ken managed to be away from her so long when he was in Afghanistan but I do understand the ferocity in their first hug when he came back.
Information about what happens in Reid’s life when she is away is spotty. She has never been inclined to describe what she’s been up to when she is not with us – strange for a kid who doesn’t seem to stop talking most days – and not seeing us for days on end doesn’t change this much. She did mention her trip in Uncle John’s truck and we were told that her birthday party at Rockie’s pool was “fun”. I know that she has seen Dylan and Zachary often – a definite plus to Grandma Camp – and I’ve heard she is learning to throw a football, thanks to Uncle Roger. Reid told Aunt Karin that she doesn’t tell Ken and me about everything that happens at Grandma’s. Mine is the newly-minted seven year-old who has learned early that what happens in Wheatley, stays in Wheatley.
I may carry a piece of paper with me when I talk with Grandma and Reid’s aunts, uncles and cousins. Maybe one of them will slip and tell me a story.