September 23, 2007


I was up bright and early this morning... 5:30 to be exact. I did some laundry across the street, and then watched the sun rise over the tree tops. Not as impressive as the view from work, where we get to watch the sun creep it's way over the mountains, casting their shadows into the sky, it was beautiful nonetheless.

Anyway... I was probably the only one out and about in the complex. Save for the security dude. I spied his car parked over by the offices... he, staring and watching me, and I, returning the favor.

And then, I had a thought pop into my head. Yes... it's an annual event, and the timing coincided with today.

Long, long ago, at a church camp far, far away...

The Perfect One and I... hell... it may have been all four of us kids... anyway, we attended what we knew was probably going to be our last camp. For years, our family had spent many weeks at the United Pentecostal Church campgrounds in Shawano, Wisconsin. We attended Family camps, Ma cooked for Junior camps (with us kids helping... and stealing all of the best cookies that each church sent), and we kiddies attended Youth camps. Youth camp, or Senior camp, was for any singles, from teens to twenties. Once most hit eighteen, they either stopped going or became counselors.

This year was going to be our last, and while we'd been asked to be staff, we had passed. Why be responsible when you can screw off? Besides, we'd talked with some of the Youth pastors who were going to be staff, and they were going to let us run wild on the second to last night; however, if they caught you, you'd spend a couple of hours the next day policing the campgrounds. It was their way of a good final cleanup.

During the week, we talked with one of the pastors from Eau Claire, and he got to talking about some of the places that they used to run and hide out from the "guards", night security, when he was a youngster. We payed close attention, and then filed those places in our "do not go there" file.

The head of security was from Madison, and a pretty decent guy. He felt pretty confident that no one would be able to keep from being caught by his crew. He said that a couple of them had nvg's (night vision goggles). I don't know if they did or not. I do know that he, himself, was a sneaky bastard. He could sneak up on you without you having a clue. It came about that he asked us if we were going sneak out that night, and The Perfect One and I just grinned at him. Then we told him that if we were stupid enough to sneak out, we'd grab something from the other side of the girls dorms, across the campground, to prove that we were there. He smiled and accepted the challenge.

The night of the Great Escape, TPO and I got ready for bed. Security man John came around to check on everyone, reminded us that whoever got caught had police duty, and then called for lights out. Within five minutes of his walking out the door, guys started to sneak out. TPO and I, along with another friend of ours, changed into our BDU's (cammies) and climbed into our beds.

It wasn't long, and guys started showing up in the dorm, caught. John had gone out and snuck through the cornfield alongside the dorms to get to the backside of the building. That is the best place to sneak out, as there are no lights back there. He stood there in the dark and took names as he caught those trying to sneak out. A few of them took off before he could figure out who they were, so the great hunt was on.

A couple of times, he would come in and would do a bed check. Each time, he'd stop by and talk to my brother and myself. We could tell that he was trying to figure out if he was going to have to hunt us or not. While hanging in the dorm (waiting to catch sneaks), he spotted one of the guys heading for the camp kitchen, and he lit out. We hopped out of our beds, stuffed them, and were off.

We were out the door like a cannon shot, with one of our friends, who'd been caught already, holding the door so it wouldn't slam. It was a short sprint to the cornfield, and then we were alone.

Crossing through the cornfield, we made our way to the campground perimeter. We moved slowly and steadily, never swatting at the hundreds, more like thousands, of skameetos that were sucking the blood out of us. Once, we had two of the guards stop within twenty feet of us. TPO and I were caught out on the edge of the treeline, so we pulled off our cammie covers and held them over our faces, hardly daring to breathe when their flashlight beams swept past us. After a few minutes of small talk, they took off. We couldn't believe our luck.

It took us over an hour to work our way across the campground, but finally we reached the ball diamond. It was located right behind the girls dorms, and we could see the guards hanging out around the dorms. (Heheheh... there were hardly any girls that were willing to make their way out, but they knew that most of the guys would be heading for the ladies' dorms.) Around the diamond, there were the bases, and an equipment bag full of bats, balls, and gloves. I grabbed the gear, and the other two grabbed the bases. This is where we split up.

Getting to this spot had taken a long time. We'd lost blood to vicious insects, and we were soaked from low crawling to the diamond... a good part of that was through an alfalfa field that had been baled only weeks before. It provided decent cover, but it also held all of the dew. Our buddy Jeff decided he wanted no part of the return trip, figuring that he could take a path (a regular path) through the woods, and from there, cutting through the cornfield that let around to the guys dorms. This was one of the spots that the youth pastor had told us about. I tried to warn him, but he was off.

TPO and I grabbed up our loot, and low crawled back through the alfalfa. We actually left the campgrounds, a no-no, crossed the road, and booked back in a big arc through some farmer's hay fields. I mean we ran... we were tired and wanted to get back to the dorms to get some sleep. Leaving the campground like we did, we were able to lose noise discipline without fear of getting caught. The hang up was that we got stuck in the cornfield behind the dorms.

John Security guy was camped out in our dorm, waiting for us. We were lying there in the mud and the skeeters watching his silhouette through the windows. Thank Gott that the lights from out front gave him away. As it was, we didn't think he was ever going to leave. He kept walking to the back door, looking out at the field, and then making his way to the front door where he would stand to the side in hopes of catching us. Finally, he left. As soon as he walked out the front door, our buddy who had held the door for us popped it open and hissed for us to come in. I guess we weren't as quiet as we had thought we were, though John didn't hear us.

Turned out, Jeff had gotten caught almost immediately after leaving us. As a matter of fact, TPO and I were the only ones who did not get caught. We set our bags of loot beside our racks, and went to sleep.

John was laughing about it the next day. He had walked into the room after we had taken off, and was talking to my rack, thinking that I was still in there. He was initially pissed, but he had gotten a huge kick out of our lugging all of that stuff back to the dorm. While he wanted to know how we did it, we never told.

Seeing the apartments' security guy today, I had the sudden urge to sneak back through the complex and jack with him. Toss a few rocks at him or something... I don't know if it was his car that I saw later, or not, but I was glad I didn't opt to do it.

Seeing the words "Armed Response" kinda takes it out of you...

Posted by That 1 Guy at September 23, 2007 05:34 PM | TrackBack

Church Camp stories are the best. Your's is probably the best I've heard. The last time I went to Youth Camp (at the Pentecostal Holiness Church Camp, weird, huh?), the girls from the Eternal Light Church got caught at the top of the stairs of the boys dorm. No, I didn't go to the Eternal Light Church. They got yelled at and almost sent home. Then there was the couple who showed up at morning vespers with the hickeys on their necks. Every adult there tried to die!

Posted by: Tina at September 23, 2007 07:42 PM

"We actually left the campgrounds, a no-no,..."

For some reason that, right there, made me LMAO!!

Damn Dude. You seriously have that story telling gift....

Posted by: Tammi at September 23, 2007 08:10 PM

Church camp... oh yea. I remember those.

Posted by: Contagion at September 24, 2007 02:07 PM

Yep, I'm a heathen...not a single story about "church camp" to tell

Posted by: ktreva at September 25, 2007 07:06 PM