Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What Happens At Stone Mountain....

….Should never be experienced again.

I graduated from high school in May 2000. I had a summer of activities before starting college in the fall. In mid-July I went on a youth group trip with my church. We spent a week at camp at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. We had no air-conditioning and no hot water after two showers plus we had to get up insanely early. We left on a hot Friday morning and returned home on an even hotter Wednesday afternoon. I knew my parents had made plans to go camping at Stone Mountain in Georgia and I thought my plans were to relax, sleep a lot, and use as much hot water as I wanted. I was had…..

To keep this story from being 10-million words – I’ll break down our trip.

1. The starter in my mom’s van had to be fixed while I was away. Basically, the key just wouldn't go back in the ignition. We arrived at Stone Mountain and stopped to check in at the front and that’s when our first mishap took place. We returned to the van only to realize the starter had died…the brand new one. So….what do you do? You take two redneck men (I mean….my wonderfully crafty dad and his redneck friend).... They managed to make the ignition stay on the entire time – so every time we stopped we had to pop the hood and pull the battery cable. I usually jumped out and ran ahead so it would seem that I was not with them....

2. My parents are NOT campers – their idea of roughing-it is a cheap motel. So, behind our van was a trailer packed full of “essentials.” We had a massive tent where my parents slept in one “room” and I was in another. We also had two air mattresses – sounds reasonable right. Well, I mentioned it was mid-July….. The next things my dad unloaded were two window-unit air conditioners. He rigged them up at each end window of the tent so while the outside temperature was 109, our tent was a chilly 65 degrees.

3. On our second night in hell, I mean Georgia, we started to make dinner – grilled chicken and steaks. About mid-way through cooking, the tornado siren goes off and we are told to evacuate. My dad – not going to let anything happen to the food – ties down the grill, turns it off but covers the food with lots of foil so the lasting heat helped the food keep cooking. We spent two hours walking around a Target store before returning to camp. We had no damage (both A/C units were still intact) and our food was ready to eat!

4. The last major highlight of our trip was the enormous amount of yellow jackets at our campsite (which by the way was not made for tents but rather travel trailers – which our friends had). Just FYI - We had originally intended to stay until Sunday. Saturday morning, my mom our her friend made breakfast. They made pancakes. Uh…DUH! While watching my mom fight with yellow jackets for food – I decided to pass. I’m horribly allergic and not even pancakes were worth that. I think at this point everything caught up to my sweet mother – the heat, the bees, the tornadoes, my dad’s redneck motel, and the van – so she took her last bite of pancake (flicking a bee off first), put her fork down and turned to my father. She smiled the sweetest smile and said “We are going home. Now.”

At youth camp, we were encouraged to keep a prayer journal. Mine came in especially handy during this trip. As for my plans, I got no sleep (especially when my air mattress deflated and the A/C leaked in the tent and I woke up floating), there was no relaxation to be had, and I had to wear shoes in the shower.