Around lunchtime Sunday, a group of camp counselors in purple shirts emblazoned with the Camp Tall Timbers name waited nervously under the pavilion outside of the mess hall. Inside the cafeteria, the kitchen staff was hurrying to prepare their first massive meal in almost a year. The soccer nets were hung, the tents were rigid and the new putting green was ready for action. These were the final moments before we all escaped the everyday grind and began the next installment of the best days of our lives.
Then there was the sound of a large diesel engine in the distance and the crunch of approaching bus tires over gravel. The bus from Baltimore had arrived! Soon after the van from Tyson’s Corner and Rockville pulled in and finally, after all these months of waiting and the terrible snowstorms of this past winter, the first session of Camp Tall Timbers 2010 was under way!
If you’ve never been there, I have to try to explain to you how magical the first few hours of camp are. For those of us returning to CTT, the anticipation to see campers and counselors for the first time in what seems like forever is almost unbearable. It is very exciting to see familiar faces like Brandon Kagen, Miller Friedman, Hayley Sanders and Sydney LaPorte running around on these fields again, eager to recapture the magic of previous years. There are new faces as well, like Zach LaPorte and Caiomhe Ni Dhroighneain. They are quickly adopted into the camp lifestyle and soon understand the importance of things such as the summer’s first loomster, which Jakeabel was able to snag, and the excitement over being the first person to finish their class schedule (the honor went to Jennifer Heiman).
There is already a buzz in the air concerning Color War, Murder Mystery Night, an upcoming trip to a skating rink and attending a Winchester Royals game. It took the campers no time to man the tetherball courts and begin trying to hit a baseball to the art shack. And it didn’t take long to recapture the magic we were forced to put on hold at the end of last summer.
As we all were at the opening campfire singing John Denver’s ‘Country Roads’, I couldn’t help but think of how perfectly that song sums up the magic and the almost irresistible pull of Camp Tall Timbers. As we work our way towards a life-size game of Clue tonight and a trip to Cacapon on Thursday, it is hard to argue with the idea that our little slice of West Virginia is almost heaven, and that these country roads surrounding camp have indeed brought us home.