AND THEN AGAIN…….by Tamara Pettit

………..I had forgotten a basic principle in my adjustment to being alone again and in my quest to alleviate my sadness.  “Just cause you can do something doesn’t mean you can do it well.”  We’re talking about painting.   I’ve been looking for projects and my front door was looking shabby so I decided to paint it.  It’s red, the house is cream and my shutters are sage green.   So after much consultation, I choose sage green.

……I did a lot of painting when the kids were young,   I did whole rooms.  We had a one story house on Flat Cemetery that I….just me…..painted the exterior every three years.  But  enough time has passed that I had forgotten I have horrible fine motor skills; am not detail oriented; and get bored easily.  I also fail to do prep work.  Mainly cause I don’t know what prep work is.   I know I have painter’s tape and some newspapers to help in case of spills.  I think there’s more to it.

…….So, the door is half done and it’s appears that it’s “obnoxious green” and I’m going back to the paint store to look for a different color to try.

…..I see where it’s time for 4-H camp and I sent a note to the Extension Office pleading with them to send a release.  A word about flyers. They are great to plaster all over town and hand out.   But they are difficult to cut and paste for the paper so I’m asking for just the facts and I’ll write the story.

……I see on Facebook all these adults and kids write about 4-H camp was the best experience of their life…..the most fun.  My West Virginia grandkids loved it.   They were outstanding campers and won honors.   They cried the final night when they had to go home.

……I hated 4-H camp.   Yep, there’s always that one kid and it was me.    My sister was 7 years older so I was basically an only child….we had no neighbors so I didn’t play with other kids let alone share my sleeping space.  It was damp and humid and the perm my mother had convinced me to get made me look like Little Orphan Annie without the dog and the bald guy.    My Mom had a list of what I needed to take and made sure all my shorts and tops were pressed and matched.  But this stuff about staying in a cabin…. making my own bed…..not having air conditioning…..taking a shower under the open skies,,,,was not revealed to me until we arrived. 

……My parents must’ve known how this would go down cause they registered me; showed me to my cabin; told me how delighted they were that Barbara and Linda Chetock were sharing the cabin ……and ran for their life.  But, not before my mother whispered to me that she had paid a kid who lived nearby to ride his bike to the swimming pool each day and ask me if I wanted to come home.   All I had to do was tell him and she’d come and get me.  And, with that she was off with her high heels sinking in the grass and her sun dress setting her apart from the other moms,

…..I had the sinking feeling right then that I was not in my element.  I was only ¼ mile from home, but I was homesick.  I wasn’t athletic…..couldn’t grasp the reasoning behind “How…How””  and no-one thought it funny when I responded “Why? Why?”   But I toughed it out. And when that boy stood at the fence on Sun, Mon and Tues, I told him to tell my Mom I was fine.  I tried. I swear I tried.   I made a clay ashtray that would never see the light of day and wove a basket that was crooked and I wasn’t quite sure what you did with it….….(why? Why?)  Every evening when it got to be dusk, I could see in my mind my Mom turning the lights and lighting candles.  There would be a bubble bath awaiting and a bowl of ice cream and my latest Nancy Drew when I was done.  I threw in the towel, Wednesday. And was waiting by the fence to tell the kid to get my. Mom.     Only, the kid didn’t come back.  He took my Mom’s money for the week and never came back.. 

……Finally, the final night came and all the kids were excited about the camp fire, I was excited about going home.  As soon as I saw my Dad in that big black Lincoln, I opened the door and hopped in.   “No campfire,” he said.  “No award ceremony “  Nope.  And away we went.  All my friends talked about 4-H camp for years in glowing terms..  But, there’s always that one kid..