People keep walking up to us and asking, Are you having a good time? How was your day? Did you have a nice day?
Nice, folks, is too small a word. Good is too flimsy an idea. Let me offer a few snapshots:
- The chef who came up to us and said, 'So, what would you like from me?' and quietly produced enough Imperfect-friendly chocolate cupcakes (with chocolate banana frosting) for the entire camp. And a fabulous dinner of dilled roasted salmon, fried potatoes, broccoli and pasta in a red pepper sauce. Oooh. I want to take him home with me, I said to the staffer sitting with us. You'll have to get in line, she told me. Yes. I can see that.
- The Eldest, almost catching Wee-Pee, the 800 pound fish of legend who lives in the lake. I saw Wee-Pee's gold scales, he told me. I nearly had him! (Our thanks go to the HitWGC's staffer and CFO who, seeing the Eldest dissolve at the idea of not managing to catch a fish, leaped into action and persuaded him that in fact, he had. Nearly.)
- The staffer assigned to our family, who chose to have shabbat lunch with we Imperfects instead of with the happy crowd. (Did'ja shake your bushy tail, Lucinda? The Toddles did!)
- The Eldest, watching in awe and terror as campers climbed the Tower. (His thumb was so deep in his mouth that it required professional extraction.) The Eldest, deciding to climb himself. He tried, got scared, and tried again - and got two or three body-lengths off the ground. I was proud that he tried, prouder yet that he tried again. Our thanks to Lou, who backed the kid up on all three decisions.
- Me, climbing three-fourths of the way up. Good grief.
- The Eldest at the front of the rope, helping a friend with an elbow bleed get to the top of the Tower via a 'group fly' (group lift).
- The staffers who realized that sitting at the allergy table can be lonely, and chose to eat Imperfect cuisine with us.
- The tree-house. The tree-house's xylophones. The tree-house's drums. The tree-house, the tree-house, the tree-house.
- The perfect loop in our cabin, suited just right for the tricycle someone left there. Happy, happy boys.
- The Toddles, saying 'I walk! I walk!' and trotting all the way.
- The OK Corral, stocked nicely with latex-free but deeply funky bandaids.
- Etc, etc, etc.
The camp psychologist said to me, I can't believe that people actually pay me to do this. And I agree. I can't believe that Hole in the Wall exists, with its attention to kid-friendly detail (the murals! the hiding critters in the woods! The three rooms of arts and crafts - one for woodshop, one for paints/woodburning/decorating, one for beading! The sliding board that lets you check if the person at the treehouse door be friend or foe), the immense supplies and resources (it was cold, so the staff pulled out a box of knitted hats and gloves for the families). The gardens. I can't believe the buckets of money it takes to run this place. And I can see the pleasure in every face: the families who are there, the people helping the families - it's unreal.
This much good-will and the ability to exercise it is, true, as things are meant to be. In a pipe dream, maybe. But, as my free market-lovin' man likes to remind me, the market will bear what it's willing to bear. So, this much good-will and ability is impossible. It's a gift, and you can see the delight and astonishment on each face as they think,
Don't you dare pinch me - this is right. This is impossible. This is what I need.
No, I'm not kidding.
Did you think I was kidding? I'll show you pinching, buddy. Oh, but I'll show you PINCHING. Right on that there bushy tail!