Greetings, readers. I want to share a story from my third Bear Spring Camps book with you. I am now on the fence about writing BSC 3 this year after all. I will let you know when I am writing it again in earnest. For now, I want to share one of my favorite stories that I wrote for the book so far.
Until tomorrow, take care and happy reading. I hope you like this story.
The Changing of the Guard
This camp season, 2013, was a particularly satisfying one for me. When I was a young boy visiting Bear Spring Camps, I had my Uncle Cy Greco to love and care for me, to take me fishing, to tell me stories, and to teach me about life. Now that he is gone, I cherish those memories, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him at least once.
For the last few years, I have sat at Dave Trost’s table with his family, of which I am honored to be a part. His grand nieces and nephews have become a huge of part of my life as well as his. We take them fishing and on boat rides, but it’s times when the sweet little girls, Ava, Kennedy, and Emma ask Uncle Joey for story time, where the experience comes full circle. Now I am the uncle figure, set to enrich their lives.
This particular year contained two very fulfilling story hours. The first took place at Ava and Kennedy’s cabin where their parents were outside having a bonfire. I volunteered to entertain the young ones and shared my stories and experiences from Bear Spring Camps. The five children there were Paul and Luke Gonzales, and Ava, Kennedy, and Emma Harvey. The children also enjoyed hearing about how their Uncle Dave and Uncle Joey met and became friends as young kids. I told them their Uncle Dave was our paperboy, and a few years older than me. I was being picked on by a couple of neighborhood kids and Dave took exception to this. After chasing the kids away, we quickly, over the next few days and weeks, became great friends. Dave would save the last paper to be delivered for Mom and Dad’s house so that he would be done with his route for the day, and be ready to toss that ball around, or listen to a record.
The other story they really liked was when Dave and I as teenagers were at camp and he thought he heard something outside the cabin. He went to investigate in his bare feet. I heard him trip over something, and moments later saw him stumbling back towards the camp. As it turns out, he had broken his big toe on a large stump. Mom was down in Waterville visiting Jiggs Mosher and was not there to witness David’s injury. He had told me that he didn’t want Mom to find out. I reluctantly went along with this and promised to keep my mouth shut. We both came to the conclusion that he should try to wash the dirt out of it, and all the kids got a chuckle when I explained David’s reaction when the water hit his toe. It hurt so bad that he pounded his fist against the shower stall. It sounded like rumbling thunder. The next morning, with Mom being unaware that anything had gone wrong, Dave tried to put his foot in his shoe. He let out a yelp or made face or something, which I tried to imitate for the children. They were not laughing at Uncle Dave being injured; they just liked the silly face I made. Mom figured that all wasn’t right and demanded an explanation. I went ahead and told my mom what had happened the night before. Mom wondered why we were trying to keep the injury from her; I’m not quite certain but I think that Dave was a little embarrassed that he had gone outside in the pitch dark without shoes. It was either that or he perhaps thought that she would take him to the emergency room and who wants to spend the day away from camp at the ER? He convinced her that he was ok and just wouldn’t wear a shoe, which made walking bearable.
As I sat there in that cabin with children all around me, not only did I feel like an uncle, but I got the sense that if this is what parenting is, I love it. To be able to tell children stories, to entertain them, and make them smile, is truly a wonderful thing.
I promised to tell them more stories the next night at the bonfire, but it rained. I didn’t want to break my promise, so a few nights later I held a story evening in my cabin. With cousins Paul and Luke Gonzales having already gone home, it was just Ava, Kennedy, and Emma who were brought to my cabin for more stories. The girls were given a soda and had a chance to choose where they would sit. Even though it wasn’t a terribly cold night outside, I turned on the camp’s propane heater so that we would have a flickering flame, to make-believe that it was our own campfire. Over that priceless hour, the girls wanted to hear the tale of how Uncle Dave fished for his old shoes, that he had discarded in the lake years earlier, and they wanted to hear another adventure from when we were both children. I, of course, gladly complied.
Somehow I get the feeling that I will never be a parent. So helping to raise David’s nieces and nephews, and now the grand nieces and nephews, is my chance. With the love and affection Uncle Cy showed me over the years and the compassion I learned from my own parents, I am ready to be a parent or uncle figure to these wonderful children. It has come full circle. I am now what Uncle Cy was to me. The guard has now been changed.