There are only 2 official days of camp left. It alternately feels like I've been here forever, and like I just arrived. So, in memoriam, I wanted to collect a few of my favorite highlights from the past 9 weeks of camp. These probably won't mean anything to anyone but me, but here goes:
1. The wonderful people I have met, and the friendships forged, that I do truly hope I keep up with. I have met some of the most humble, welcoming, intelligent, down-to-earth, open, good-hearted, funny, and all around irresistible people here. And I know that if I'm ever in South Carolina or Tennessee, I'll always have a welcoming place to lay my head.
2. The $2 nightly drink specials at Hannah Flannagan's, the local Irish pub in downtown Hendersonville. Which we visited frequently. And which we nicknamed Flannery 'O Connor's.
3. David saying to me at one point, "You try to act all tough and hard, but I know, in here," he taps his chest, "you have the heart of little puppy dog. You're not fooling anybody."
4. A little boy just randomly walking up to me and saying, "You should be a counselor." When I asked why, he simply replied, "Because you'd make a really good one."
5. Mills Dog (what am I gonna do without seeing his smiling face and funny waggy butt
bounding up to me every day??!?)
6. Spending a whole day out on the lake with five 10-year-old boys, tubing, skiing, wakeboarding, and jumping off cliffs, and having more fun than I can remember having in ages.
7. On that same trip, being intimidated by a boy named George into jumping off the cliff, when I was terrified of doing it. He stood behind me and said he wouldn't let me walk back down, and he wouldn't jump until I did, so I may as well go ahead and do it, so he could get back to swimming.
8. Stealing Max's pair of $100 sunglasses and holding them for ransom, and him having no idea that I had them. And making him do ridiculous things to get them back.
9. Realizing how rewarding it truly is when a kid decides they like you, and they go out of their way to talk to you, or they actually come up and compliment you, or confide something in you. Because they don't talk to anybody they don't want to talk to.
10. Me and Charlotte rolling on the floor (literally rolling, clutching each other) laughing so hard we were crying, watching David and Joey do their impressions of people at camp. And then when we finally tried to leave to go to bed at 2am, having David say, "I just want to see you guys laugh one more time before you leave."
11. Tearfully confessing to David, in his office the second week of camp, how miserable I was, and him taking me seriously, and making me feel a lot better. That was the beginning of the love.
12. Laughing through the tears (my favorite emotion).
13. Driving back from previously mentioned bar at 1:30 in the morning with Charlotte, singing "Fix You" by Coldplay at the top of our lungs and laughing hysterically.
14. White-water rafting for the first time with a bunch of 8-year-old girls, and having the raft guide throw me out of the raft purely for the girls' amusement.
15. Having Trey, one of the head counselors at boys camp, run up and tackle me, and say, "Ryan, my baby, where have you been?!?" when I got back from leave that one time.
16. Getting over my fear of the boys, and having that be one of my most rewarding accomplishments. Because that meant I could just have fun with them, and begin to appreciate them for who they truly are. And some of them were fucking amazing.
17. Numerous venting sessions at night that never ended in anything besides uncontrollable laughter.
18. All the awesome road trips I got to go on, and how much of the mountains, lakes and rivers I got to see.
19. Impromptu dance parties in the dining hall during dinner.
20. Getting to go kayaking for the first time and not rolling one single time.
And, on an un-camp-related note, but still of the utmost importance, getting to spend so much time with Matt & Angela in Asheville, and being so grateful that I got to know Angela, and add yet another amazing friend and ally to my life's list.
I'm sure I've forgotten something crucial, but that's what I can think of right now, off the top of my head.