Tag Archives: story time

I’m back from Bear Spring Camps and feeling renewed

Greetings, readers. As always, I had a wonderful time at Bear Spring Camps this year. I saw family and friends, partook of all the delicious food, had gallons of coffee, and fished until my heart was content. My biggest fish was a 13 inch bass, but it sure did give me a good fight.

The weather, except for one day, was beautiful. I will admit it was not as warm as it usually is when I’m here. Low to mid 70s was the high all week. I chose to not go into the lake to swim this year. At night it was mid to upper 50s.

During one of the evening suppers, I stood up and made a toast to the family who adopted me all those years ago. It seemed to go over extremely well. Although I hadn’t practiced it per se, I was quite happy that I didn’t stutter or fumble over words. One of the points I made, and I will admit it choked me up a bit, was when I said, “I always go back to Pennsylvania, but when I go to Maine, I come home.”

This Bear Spring Camps season was a wee bit unusual in a good way. Best friend, Dave, had all his family with him, including his nephew Cole, and they chose to come up to breakfast around 8:00. Only I was up at the dining room right at 7:30. It felt a bit odd to sit at that big table all alone until one of the nephews joined me. That was usually Nick Carroll. Starting my breakfast first, meant that I was finished first. Sometimes I would have a third cup of coffee and talk to Dave about morning plans, but more times than not I would excuse myself and go down to the cabin.

On Wednesday, I did get a pontoon boat for three days. I made full use of it, including an early morning fishing trip on Friday. That is something I haven’t done in over 20 years. The scenery was amazingly beautiful. The way the fog and the mist lifted off the lake gave the shoreline, with its trees and houses, an almost otherworldly quality. Next year, if David wishes to go early morning fishing, I might just go with him every time. We’ll see.

After supper was my time. I sat in my cabin, did a lot of thinking about the upcoming year, and hosted story time for all the little nieces and nephews that enjoy that so much. This year I actually sang songs for them. I think they were impressed. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I must admit the kids threw me a curve ball when they did not want to hear camp stories, but instead asked for ghost stories. It took me a while to get into it, but towards the end of the evening, I had Ava and Kennedy on edge. When the propane heater kicked on, everyone jumped. That’s when I knew my stories were effective.

My side trips to Portland, Maine were wonderful. I wanted to drive on Commercial Street in the Casco Bay area of Portland. The reason might sound silly, but there’s a Train Simulator run that goes right down that street. It was a surreal experience passing all of the businesses portrayed in that simulation. Everything was exact. Farther down the road, and purely by chance, I found Benny’s Famous Fried Clams, a seafood shack-type eatery with a delicious lobster roll and tasty clam chowder. It’s going to be my new stop for when I go to Maine. I have to give Rebecca’s father’s GPS back, so I’ve written down all the addresses for next year.

I feel completely recharged with new ideas for writing, which is exactly what I hoped to have accomplished, and there is a slight chance that I will be able to go to camp for two weeks next year. Time will tell.

This blog entry will be linked to my Facebook page and to the Bear Spring Camp page as well. I have decided to make it a policy that only blog entries that deal directly with Bear Spring will be linked there.

Lastly, special thanks go to Rebecca for taking good care of Keekee and to Rebecca’s father for loaning me the all important GPS.

Until Friday, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.

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The Changing of the Guard, a story by me

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.