Going to Camp!
“Are we there yet?” Becky asked for at least the tenth time as she stretched and yawned in the back seat. The sun shining through the window of the car was making her sleepy, and her legs felt restless. She yawned again, and then shut her mystery novel with a loud snap!
“Stop whining,” her friend Megan said from beside her. Becky swung her feather pillow and made direct contact with Megan’s face.
“Hey!” Megan laughed, slapping at the pillow. “I was just kidding!”
“We’re almost there, Becky.” Mr. Lawson glanced into the rearview mirror. “Probably another half an hour to go.”
Becky groaned and slumped down in the seat. “David, look out!” her mother yelled. Gravel crunched beneath the tires and the car suddenly jerked to the right, hitting the shoulder of the road. Becky bolted upright. Her dad braked hard and the girls braced themselves against the front seats. The car skidded to a stop on the side of the road.
“Whoa! I didn’t see that coming!” Becky’s dad gripped the steering wheel with white knuckles.
“What happened?” Megan craned her neck to look over the front seat.
“Look over there in the field.” Mrs. Lawson pointed out her window. Two deer were bounding and leaping away across the field, their white tails flicking up and down. “They’re probably as shaken up as we are!”
“I know we’re almost there, but I need a coffee!” Mr. Lawson declared.
Becky wrinkled up her nose. She had tasted coffee once and didn’t understand why adults liked it so much.
They pulled back onto the highway and turned in at the next rest stop. While Mr. Lawson went in to get his coffee, the twelve-year-old girls got out to stretch their legs, and they chatted excitedly about their upcoming week of camp.
“What are you looking forward to most?” Megan asked Becky.
“Definitely swimming,” Becky replied. “How about you?”
“That’s easy,” Megan said. “Trail riding.”
“Oh, and singing around the campfire!” Becky added.
“S’mores!” said Megan at the mention of campfires.
The trip from Nova Scotia to Ontario had been long, and Becky hated to get back in the car. As they rolled back out onto the highway Becky’s stomach protested. “I feel gross.”
“I told you to stop reading that book,” her mom reminded her. “That always makes you carsick.”
“I just couldn’t put it down.”
“I get it. I was also a serious bookworm when I was your age, and mysteries were my favorite too! You can finish it during your free time at camp, though.” But Becky’s nose was always buried in a great story.
They took an exit off the highway and passed through the quiet countryside into the tiny hamlet of Winslow Station. A heritage sign marked the spot where a train station used to stand, and a photograph of the original building was printed on the sign. The car rumbled over the old railway tracks, and it wasn’t long before Mr. Lawson called out, “Here we are, gang!”
The sign at the road read “Welcome to Melody Lane Music Camp.” Underneath, in smaller letters, was written, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!” Butterflies took flight in Becky’s stomach, and she couldn’t help but feel a little nervous since this was her first time at Melody Lane. Becky was so thankful that she had her best friend with her. They were both seventh graders at the same middle school back home in Nova Scotia.
A conversation with Mrs. Guthrie, the pianist from their church, came back to her.
“I just know that you’re going to have a marvelous time, dear!” Mrs. Guthrie’s eyes had been gazing wistfully off to someplace in her memory. “I had such wonderful times there as a young girl. I was just about your age the first time I went!” Becky had a hard time imagining Mrs. Guthrie as a twelve-year-old girl since now she had deep wrinkles and hair as white as freshly-fallen snow.
“Melody Lane has a long and proud history of helping young musicians perfect their performance style,” Mrs. Guthrie had continued. “Did you ever meet Colby McGlaskin?” Becky shook her head no. “He was accepted at Juilliard, that fancy-shmancy school for artsy types in New York City. Colby went to Melody Lane for years. Besides all that, the adventures and fun you’ll have will make so many special memories for you. Have a lovely time, honey!” She had given Becky’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze.
The car continued up the long, winding laneway. Tall trees stood thick on both sides until they came to a clearing where they could see the waterfront. Green, yellow, and red canoes rested upside-down on the beach with the paddles hanging neatly in a stand nearby. Adirondack chairs were arranged in groups, just beckoning her to relax and enjoy the view and some conversation.
“Look at that diving board!” Becky said to Megan. “Cannonball!” She couldn’t wait to chase the July heat away by jumping into the lake. She could almost feel the cool water breaking around her and see the white wash of bubbles as she kicked up to the surface.
A little further on they saw a barn with the words “Melody Lane Stables” printed in bold, white letters on the gable end. A mare calmly grazed in the pasture beside the barn, and her foal danced around beside her as if to entertain the guests as they arrived. Becky thought horses were beautiful, but she preferred to admire them from a distance. Ever since her Aunt Susan had been thrown off a horse and badly injured, she hadn’t wanted to get too close. She imagined herself flying backwards off a horse and then getting trampled as she lay on the ground. She shook her head to chase away the troublesome thoughts. They were supposed to choose two instruction periods aside from their music studies, and trail riding was not going to be one of hers.
“Oh, look at them! They’re amazing!” Megan exclaimed. “You’ll sign up for trail riding with me, right?” Becky ignored the question since she didn’t want to admit her fear. “We’re here!” Megan continued excitedly as the car came to a stop in the parking lot.
“Finally!” Becky got out of the car, stretched her arms high, and turned in a full circle, taking it all in. Becky’s parents helped them unload their things, including Megan’s violin, which they had packed carefully between the sleeping bags in the trunk.
“Looks like it survived!” Mr. Lawson said jokingly.
“I sure hope so!” replied Megan. She strapped it across her back and shouldered her other bags, ready to go.
Becky’s mom looked like she was going to cry, but she held it together while she gave them her goodbye speech. “Now, you know we’ll be staying with your Aunt Susan this week, and it’s not far away. If you need anything you ask to phone us, okay? They have her phone number.”
Becky smiled. “Don’t worry, Mom.”
“You might as well give me your cell phone, since you’re not allowed to use them here anyway. That way it won’t get lost.”
Becky handed over her device.
“You girls have fun! Behave yourselves. I’ll miss you so much. I love you!”
“I love you too! We’ll be fine.”
“Bye, Mrs. Lawson!” Megan said.
Becky’s mom gave her a long hug and said, “I’d better get out of here before I make a scene and use up a whole box of tissues with my blubbering.” Her eyes welled up as she turned to get back in the car.
“Your mother will be fine,” her dad reassured her. “She’s just going to miss you like crazy, that’s all. You’re going to have a great time! Don’t forget about us completely, okay?” He laughed and kissed her on the cheek. “I can’t wait to hear your performance when we come to get you at the end of the week.” The campers would be performing for their parents on closing night. Becky was looking forward to working on her grade seven piano requirements during the week and polishing her performance skills.
After Mr. Lawson was sure the girls knew where they were going, he got back in the car and called out the window, “Bye, girls!”
“Bye!” they answered together, waving as the car disappeared down the winding lane.
“This is going to be awesome!” Becky said, sounding a little more confident than she felt. She threw her backpack over her shoulder and said, “Let’s go!”