Monday, August 20, 2007

My Summer Vacation

Well, I’m back from summer camp everybody! I went away for a week to beautiful Albany, NH, where I rode my bike and went hiking and paddled a canoe and hung out with my buddies Wally, Jerry and Howie. No, I am not in the fifth grade, and none of those guys mentioned wears a propeller beanie, but the experience did remind me a bit of summer camp back in the day when I was young Master Schprock. Yep, the family used to pack my trunk and ship me off to Camp Calumet every summer just to get me out of their hair — not so terribly unlike last week’s scenario come to think of it. Mom used to give me a stack of pre-stamped, pre-addressed postcards so I had no excuse not to write home, and all my underwear were lovingly personalized with a black laundry marker. Ah, those was the days! The short sheets, the mosquito bites, the wedgies, the girls’ cabins with all the mystery they contained, lined up in a row sporting biblical names like Ruth and Esther. Camp Calumet being a Lutheran camp, every other kid was a towhead and had a name like Gustafson or Engstrom. I really, really loved summer camp. I looked forward to it every year.

They say you can never go back, but I believe I come pretty close with World Fellowship Center, aka “Hippie Camp.” It’s a rustic family campground featuring politics far enough to the left to shock even a Bolshevik. Of course, yours truly is not an especially political animal, so the pull for me is more the great outdoors, plentiful food and the interesting people you find there. Everyone puts their nice face on and conversations with perfect strangers arise spontaneously. Last week was a sort of unofficial bike week, so I teamed up with my above-mentioned comrades for some nice trips, including a “century,” or 100 miler, that included the Kancamaugus Highway, Franconia Notch, Crawford Notch, and possibly another notch. Breathtaking scenery and good exercise, just what a body needs.

If you’re ever in the area, check out the Barnstormers’ Playhouse in neighboring Tamworth. Last week they put on a production of George Kaufman’s You Can’t Take It With You which was, in this reviewer’s opinion, extremely well-acted, well-directed, and funnier than George Bush holding a press conference on helium. And don’t forget the outlet stores in Conway. When I take the family up there for Labor Day weekend, the missus and Daughter Number 1 will methodically conduct a painstaking store-to-store search to uncover every legitimate bargain. And, if you want to find me at 3:00 in the afternoon, look at the picnic tables next to the Dunkin’ Donuts on route 16 just outside of Tamworth. I’ll be that tall skinny dude reading a book secured to a bookrest sipping a large decaf and chomping on a blueberry muffin.