The kids arrived after lunch
There were usually one or two buses,
but it was mostly mini-vans and
Mom and Dad dropped off their young Lutherans
for a week of Jesus and mischief and
I was their counselor.
I was there to help,
to teach them,
make their faith stronger.
I was a train wreck.
I was a time bomb.
Usually when I met the kids
I was still sweating out the weekend,
hard, hazy chaos and blackouts.
My friends would tell me what I did
on Saturday night.
I would nod, say,
Yes, that sounds like me.
I wore a Miller Lite t-shirt (seriously?) and
I snuck cigarettes in
whenever I could get away for 5 minutes.
I was a horrible counselor, but
I loved those kids.
They were wide open,
funny, fearless, full of life,
5 foot heroes with big, high voices.
I would be cool when I met them, but
later I would yell at someone for something,
so they would be a little bit afraid of me.
I was there to teach them, but
in reality, they taught me.
They were little stars
at camp universe.
God pumped them up
like birthday balloons and
they flew into the sky.
I am thankful for those lessons.
Yep, on Sundays the parents
dropped off their wise little children.
We became a family for one week,
holding hands, hitting baseballs,
swimming in our miniature sea.
At night we sang praises
as the fire sent sparks up to join the stars.
I can still see the world
through those 12 year old eyes,
shouting with joy
like puppies barking.
Thanks to them,
I’m still innocent somehow.
I’m still enchanted by this life.
I’m still hypnotized by the orange, gold glow of
the summer sun dissolving into that silver lake.
- Copyright Timothy Downs