“Born in the USA” blared on the Dining Hall speakers this morning as we entered for breakfast, lest anyone had forgotten that today we celebrate our nation’s independence. Of course most already knew, judging by the patriotic colors entering the building. In fact, as I was walking to the office early this morning, I could hear the Mountain cabin area singing the National Anthem off in the distance at Morning Watch. This is actually one of my favorite times of the day, listening to the songs, hymns, and chants of distant Morning watches as I walk to the office before breakfast.
One of the most fun Morning watch traditions is a group shout to another group or person nearby. 3 of the 4 Morning watch areas meet along Little River, so long distance communication is very possible. The Hunters meet on the back porch of the Lodge, looking out over the river just below the dam. Trappers and Scouts (rising 5th and 6th graders) have a pie shaped amphitheater just below their cabin area that also sits on the River. As you follow the river out towards the Ridge cabin area, the land actually slowly rises as you progress out in camp (the main road parallels the river all the way out to the Ridge). By the time you get to the Ridge Morning watch area there is a lovely view from on high, looking down at the rapids flowing from probably 30 feet in the air. It’s actually one of my favorite views in camp, and one in which not many people know about except for those smart boys that stay at camp through their Chief years. By the way, the actual seating area is set back a safe distance from the vista.
So, sometimes at the start of Morning Watch the Head counselor in the Canyon will let the boys scream “Wake Up Ridge” at the top of their lungs. Because everyone in camp knows those teenage boys have a harder time getting out of bed and singing that early in the morning! Or sometimes the Hunter Head counselor, at the Lodge next door to the O’s home, might say that Mr. O is still in bed (which of course he’s not). The little boys will take great pleasure in trying to coax Mr. O out of bed with their screams.
Morning Watch is meant to be a fun time, and it is. Fun Christian songs are mixed in with a few upbeat hymns, with guitar accompaniment. The Head counselor delivers a short devotional from the Bible. Sometimes after the boys will have a few minutes quiet time to reflect on the Scripture or talk about it as a cabin in the case of the younger boys. Then they are off to breakfast. It’s a great way to start the day.
That was quite a detour from Bruce Springsteen (which is also a great way to start the day, especially on the 4th of July!). Back to the fun we had today. Carter and her mom had decked out the dining hall with red, white, and blue banners, streamers, and even 4th of July flower arrangements on some of the tables. Carter is the art major in the family and adds many creative touches to camp.
We dined on pancakes, sausage, bananas, and cereal as we listened to “Saturday in the Park” by Chicago and “Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood. Does it get any more American than that? Afterwards we carried on with a regular day of activities, seeing as how it is early in the term. We will celebrate our Olympiad and County Fair later in the term as a part of our Mountain Day, quite a cultural tradition in it’s own rite.
Cold, fresh watermelon replaced the standard apple and peanut butter cracker mid morning snack. Sliced by Roderick on the Dining hall lawn, this created quite a mid morning boost for everyone at camp. The afternoon brought yet another surprise. Caroline, Gigi, and several other young children in camp cooked and decorated almost 300 mini cupcakes to serve as an afternoon snack. They had a little help from their parents and a few friends! Donning their best 4th of July apparel, they set up a booth near the Team Sports field to “sell” their goods. Apparently they were popular but I don’t think I needed to even say that. They are chocolate cupcakes with red, white and blue frosting on them. What’s not to like. Plus we sort of have a monopoly on baked goods at my house. Not much competition. And they were free!
I have just returned from the Team Sports Field where we rounded out the night with a fireworks display that garnered lots of Ooohs and Aaaahs from the gallery.
Good night from Lookout Mountain, where we are grateful for our freedom, and all the fun we get to have celebrating it.