Roughin it for Five Hours!

Two campers smile for the camera under a polka dotted umbrella.
Early morning rains gave way to afternoon clearing. Nothing stops the fun at Illahee!

I am exhausted, but feeling good about the day…looking forward to meeting my pillow, but amazed that this day was such a positive one despite our outside challenges. It’s hard to know even where to begin. Maybe not. It began in praise and thanksgiving. Tuesday morning early is our Bible study with our counselors. This was our last one with our “big” group…those faithful girls who have slogged over to Pinecrest, bleery-eyed and pajama-clad to enjoy coffee, treats, and fellowship with fellow believers. It has stayed steady at twenty-five to thirty young women, and my cup has been filled by their example. I am be sad to see them go, replaced on the same couches by my men’s Bible study that meets at our house through the year. We spoke of “perfection”…being created perfect in God’s eyes, but how hard that is to see in ourselves sometimes. We strive for perfection with others, and at times it feels like a treadmill. We talked a lot about how to take the growth from this “mountaintop” experience and make it last in the often (very) “secular” world of academia.

It was one of those mornings that caught me off guard. Not long ago on these very pages, I bragged about my weather prognostication skills. I must have missed the front that passed through as it was pretty low key, just steady. We got to breakfast in the drizzle, and about half way through, I heard a distant pop…not a close one, but a couple miles away. The power surged…flickered, dark. It came on for an instant as if it was trying to gasp for life, and then…nothing. I have Duke Power on speed dial, and I don’t even have to listen to the Numero Uno para Espanol. 1 and 3 and I’m in. 0 0 and I get a human…one who speaks English with a Southern drawl, which instantly puts me at ease. I’m the first one to call…after she finishes taking my information, 345 more have called. Eventually, it will reach four thousand. That distant lightning caught a number of transformers at a substation and left all of us powerless. Powerless. What that means for camp is that there are no phones our phone system is smarter than us…no computers which means no pictures. At any given time, there is $5-10,000 worth of inventory in the walk-ins in the kitchen. In five hours or so, I start to worry. We had our purveyor on the way with a Food Delivery truck to park the trailer for us…which runs on diesel. Luckily, we turned it around in route as the power was restored around 1:30 PM…just as I had finished a post by iPad about what was going on. In that five hours, I started some generators to give lights to the kitchen crew, cycle the walk-ins intermittently, and work the ovens so that they could make grilled cheese to go with soup and salad, chips and cookies. Our water is good for a day or so without power…stored in a huge tank and gravity fed. We keep it close to full for that reason, though we seldom lose power.

So, I ran around playing junior handyman, while the rest of our crew planned for a late night with lights…nights off were going to be cancelled so that every counselor could be with her cabin and their double or JC since there might not be lights. We planned to rearrange some evening programs…Laurie bought burgers at the local grocery store so we could grill out. Paper products were brought in. It was a well-oiled machine. And then just as quickly as they had gone off, they came back on. I want to tell you…we live in a pretty good world with electricity…reliable electricity at that.

I thought it would be back to normal when the lights came back on, but there were networks to bring back up, breakers popping because everything was working at once trying to catch up, and an oven fan broke in the kitchen. So after all that, I spent a hour with a gear puller getting the old fan off the motor spindle…with my head in an oven. I wish I had a dime for every time someone quipped, “don’t do it…it can’t be that bad!” Everyone’s a jokester.

What’s awesome is that despite all of this going on…camp was too. Activities were a blast. Meals were on time. We had spaghetti, french bread, salad, and some terrific grilled zucchini for dinner instead of the burgers that were Plan B. Sliding Rock hosted Hillbrook with a steady flow from this morning’s showers. Pineview watched Despicable Me in McLeod, and Heigh Ho played “movie themed” bingo in the dining hall. Each cabin was given a movie quote that they had to figure out the origin and then dress in character. Is it Tuesday already? Hard to believe. We’ll check in tomorrow.

One response to “Roughin it for Five Hours!

  1. What a day! I am so thankful that you started the day off right and were able to deal with all of the craziness that occurred. Guess it keeps life interesting. :). Glad to know everyone is safe and happy. Thanks so much for the posts and pictures. They really help. I really miss my girls and can’t wait to see them Friday!

Comments are closed.