Blood, Sweat and Tears, part 2, or How To Turn Gray In One Week

As you can see, I survived. Was there any doubt? Nah, not really, but life does get interesting upon occasion. Murphy wasn't too ornery this trip, just a minor pain. I ended up with only eight teenagers. I’m not sure one missing kid makes a whole lot of difference, but it did free up some seat space to separate my oil and water girls. They didn't always mix, which meant lots of skirmishes. Some minor, some major, but all were a lot of fun. Not!

My pastor found someone to look at the van before we left. He reset the computer. That lasted until Joplin, MO on Interstate 44. The cruise didn't die quietly either. It surged. Twice. Not fun while surrounded by semi’s going a minimum of 70 mph.

The deluge didn't hit until after we left Bella Vista, AR. No cruise, no speedometer, pouring rain, rush hour traffic, antsy teens. Yup, lot’s of fun. Driving up the muddy, winding, tightly curved mountain road was even better. At least the tires maintained their traction this time. Feeling the van’s rear end sliding sideways into thin air with a bunch of kids in tow ain't for sissies. Been there, done that, don’t want to do it again.

Driving through the creek to take said van into the shop for a look-see was fun too. It’s the shortcut. Low, to a true mountaineer, turns out to be a foot or more of running water. Feeling the tires spin on loose rock submerged under that rushing current as the van went nowhere fast added a few more gray hairs to my frazzled head. Ditto for trying to get on the highway at the end of that shortcut. It’s about a 60-70 degree angle with no place to stop and look for cars. You just gun it and go. And pray, with eyes tightly closed.

Camp was true to form. We had young love, three different flu bugs floating around, assorted squabbles, rain and ticks galore. Did I forget to mention I hate ticks? Fortunately, they don’t seem to be too fond of me. My other driver said she picked twenty-plus from her person over the week. Only one was attached. The rest were just crawling around looking for a good place to land. Ick!

Instead of hot it was so chilly we were wearing jackets and jeans. If we had them, that is. Some of the kids were turning blue. Never thought it would be so cold mid-June. They still managed to go swimming three times. Maybe I’m just a wimp. Of course the humidity was so high your bedding and clothes were always damp. Quite the weird experience rolling over at night wondering why your bed’s moist. And, no, I didn't wet the bed.

Only two sprained ankles this year. One was mine. I’m still limping around. For some reason my body thinks it’s older than I am. Hmm, maybe I think it’s younger than it is. Don’t like it much either way.

Oh well, enough about ol’ Murphy. The real news is one of my girls forgave God for letting her brother die. She’s been angry at Him for years. Another learned that there are consequences for rude behavior and that some adults expect you to do what you’re told. Imagine that! She made tremendous strides in the growing up department which included a few laps around the soccer field and one set of push ups.

Two brothers forgave their dad. He’s in jail for pedophilia. They lost their home, financial support, friends and their secure family structure in one fell swoop. Both have struggled with the shame they feel over what he did. The older son had to forgive his mother also. You can imagine how it affected her. Unfortunately, she didn't deal with it well and that left the boys rudderless.

The other kids all have a story to tell of God’s goodness in spite of old Murphy. That’s why I go. No matter what. It may be a pain getting there. It may be a pain when I get back. These kids are our future and they are worth it. 

As for Murphy, I find it best to just ignore the old buzzard. He may whine, but he never wins.