Start of Summer Meme

May 29, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Life, Religion 

I’ve been tagged by Toby Brown of Classical Presbyterian for a meme.

Start of Summer Meme

Whether it’s the smell of the grill, the taste of fresh lemonade, the glow of fireflies or the pull of your fishing line, many of us have distinctive senses about what makes for the sign of summer.

So, you all know the rules–fill it out on your own blog and tag other blogs. If you have no blog, answer it in the comment section here.
Let’s dive in!
1.)  What first tells you that Summer is here?

Two things:  First, the need for air conditioning.  Second, the First Sunburn of Summer.  The latter generally happens in late April on a gray cloudy day when I’m out at a festival of some sort and forget that I need a hat on my sparsely-populated head.

2.) Name your five of your favorite distinctively Summer habits or customs.

  1. The Summer Afternoon Nap
  2. Cooking on the Grill
  3. Mowing the Lawn
  4. Volunteering for check-in on Sundays at church camp
  5. My Birthday

3.) What is your favorite smell of Summer?

The odor of the first few big, fat raindrops that fall before the full thunderstorm hits.  This is the smell that signals a reduction in humidity and temperature in the near future.

4.) What is your favorite taste of Summer?

Grilled cheeseburgers.

5.) Favorite Summer memory?

Sitting around the campfire in the evening at Work Camp at Camp Johnsonburg, circa 1984.  Work Camp was special.  The 50-70 campers were spread across all age groups from entering 3rd grade to graduating from high school.  The cost was half of a regular unit because the work camp spent mornings doing work on the camp.  I remember painting buildings and one year even re-shingling a roof.  The younger kids did things like cleaning campfire cooking equipment and lanterns.

Every evening the entire work camp would have a campfire together.  We had our own leaders (the same every year) and our own set of regular songs.  The evening campfire was a cross between the traditional campfire, a bible study, and a worship service.  The work campers were a close-knit group – many came from two churches that founded the work camp and they and others repeated work camp every year – but they readily accepted new people.  It felt like a giant family even more than regular camp.

I’ll pick one specific memory.  In 1985 I was a CIT (Counselor in Training) and for work camp I got to co-counsel with the Associate Pastor of my church (my youth pastor).  He was also the chaplain for the week.  The last night of work camp was always a communion service.  At the time I was already a deacon, and the Book of Order limited service of communion to elders or “deacons, if sufficient elders are not available”.  The communion service that he and I served at was my first chance to serve communion – something that was only ever repeated the following summer at Triennium.

Alas – Work Camp is no more in that form.  The closest thing today is that some churches will send a group (youth or adult) up to live in a cabin for a week and do a project.  Those folks don’t interact with the camp program much.


6.) Extreme heat or extreme cold? Which would you choose and why?

Extreme cold.

For one thing it’s easier for humans to “fix” extreme cold.  Heating is generally easier than air conditioning.  I dislike temperature extremes at either end.  Secondly, I’m a real homebody and love the snuggly “stay inside” call of a cold snap.

7.) What books do you plan to read for the season?

Because of the economy (national and personal), I’m re-reading things from my shelf.  Most of that is science-fiction.  Right now I’m reading The Tower and the Hive (Rowan) by Anne McCaffrey.

One book that I have ordered is:  Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum, No. 14) I like the Janet Evanovich “Stephanie Plum” series in part because it takes place in Trenton NJ but also because it’s REALLY funny.  Note – those easily offended by foul language, risque topics and less than Godly behavior probably won’t like these.

8.) How does the Summer affect your faith? Is it a hindrance or an ally?

An ally.

I’ll preface my remarks with a reminder that I’m a strong introvert.

During the rest of the year, church alternates between hard work, painful interaction with some (including some nasty fights on the web … ahem), and high moments.  I love working with the youth group, see the value of my work on committees (though they are a form of stress for me sometimes), and experience the difficulty of an introvert functioning in a large community.  We are called to be in community, but our current structures aren’t really designed to make introverts comfortable.

In the summer, all of the “large group” aspects of faith get less intense.  Our church has no air conditioning, and as a result attendance on Sunday drops WAY off.  Committee work slows down or stops completely.  The youth group doesn’t meet regularly which is both a bad thing (I miss them) and a good thing (I can get to sleep earlier on Sunday evening).

There are a few summer-only things too:

Church Camp – Carolyn and I will go up to help with check-in a few Sundays this summer.  We generally spend about 3-4 hours in the afternoon doing medical checks or doing the complicated and crazy job of managing the medical paperwork.  For that work, we get the privilege of spending the whole day there.  We generally arrive in time for Staff Worship in the morning and then have a leisurely lunch with our camp friends.  Sometimes we stay for dinner (if it’s not too hot) with 100-200 excited kids and staff.

Montreat – for the first time, I’m going with my church’s youth group to the Montreat summer youth conference (week VI, in case you’re going).  I’m doing this with some trepidation – the last time I did something like this was Youth Triennium in 1986 when I WAS a youth, but it should be fun.  We have something like 10 youth and 4 adults going for the program plus another adult in a support role.

Last, let’s not forget that my return to the church was sparked by a conversation at camp at lunch on a Sunday that I did check-in.  Summer is generally pretty good to my faith.

Let’s see.  I tag:

Cheesehead in Paradise
Alan of Some Amusing Blog Pun
Gannet Girl of Search the Sea
Adam Walker-Cleaveland of Pomomusings
Little Miss Sew and Sow

Kill the Wabbit, accidentally

August 17, 2004 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Life 

I have to confess – I accidentally killed a baby bunny last night.

We have a couple of rabbits living on the property – they were here when the land was a horse farm and moved back after our house and the rest of the neighborhood were built in 1995-96. We’ve lived in harmony with them ever since – my wife even puts an upside-down frisbee in the garden to catch water for them and the birds.

I was cutting the lawn last night. I had cut it the previous Saturday (9 days earlier), but the rainy week made it grow very quickly. I would have cut it over the weekend rather than on a Monday, but on Saturday I had too many family obligations and on Sunday we had Tropical Storm Charley. The grass was very long.

In the front yard, I noticed the big rabbit inching towards the lawn as I cut in an inward spiral. Unfortunately, I was in the way and she didn’t get into the lawn.

Suddenly, I ran close to a rabbit hole and 4 or 5 little bunnies came flying out of the hole. They scattered in the lawn and bushes near the house. I stomped around in the tall grass to flush them away from the uncut lawn, but didn’t find any.

A few circuits later, I was mowing when suddenly one of the bunnies ran out from under the lawnmower! He had done too good a job of hiding. He escaped. I looked around again and scared away another one hiding in the uncut grass.

Finally, I finished the main lawn and moved onto the part between the sidewalk and street. The Mama rabbit was still sitting in that grass, so I moved out to the street and scared her back onto the main lawn. Then, I started cutting.

I was about 1/2 way done with this section when a baby bunny came flying out of the lawnmower. This one wasn’t so lucky – he was bleeding heavily and clearly mangled. I stopped the lawnmower and went to the garage to find a way to put him out of his misery. After that was done, the bunny was bagged up for the trash and my wife went and got out the hose to clean the sidewalk while I finished mowing.

I mowed slowly for the last bit of lawn. After I was done, I went across the street to scare the baby bunny out from under a car where it had fled. Then I went inside, got some baby carrots, and spread them out near the hole. It was the least I could do.

I feel terrible about it. I think I did everything that I could to avoid this tragedy short of raking the lawn, but I still feel bad that it had to happen.