Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Camp Connections

During the summers of '99 and 2000, I worked full-time at Riverview Camp for Girls in Mentone. The owners and directors are like extended family, and I have many fond memories of Louisiana-style shrimp boils, late-night Sonic runs for a banana-split-in-a-cup, and plenty of long, hard, hot, fun days spent climbing trees and corraling campers at the ropes course and in the cabins. I also made some lasting friendships.

That first summer I remember being a bit intimidated by my now best bud, Jen. Probably because of our height difference (my mom referred to us at Mutt and Jeff), but mostly because of how she knew EVERYONE, and I was, well, new. It wasn't until we spent time together back in Birmingham (she went to Samford, me-- BSC) that we got to know each other better and we realized how much we have in common-- musical tastes, movies, books, and at the time, boy troubles. After spending a summer sharing the duties of Head Counselors as well as the confined space of a small, cramped cabin our friendship was permanently sealed, and she served as maid of honor at our wedding. Lately, she's been travelling back and forth to and from Brazil every six months as a pharmacist/missionary, and recently found out she'll be going back for two years as a Journeyman. I'm excited for her! She's coming back to the U.S. soon and I can't wait to see her.

What brought up all these memories? Well, Saturday night's show.

Not only did we see a great concert, I also got to hang out with my friend Mary Louise for the first time in about 4 years. She worked with me at Riverview during the summer of '99. That first day, when I saw the plethora of stickers on her guitar case, I knew we'd get along just fine. During that summer we shared many things, including a boat on the Ocoee and a near-death experience in a car on a dark, rainy road in Tennessee. She's the first person I met who really liked Vigilantes of Love, so it was fitting we met up at a Bill Mallonee show. Mels has just returned from three years in Moscow (she's from Atlanta, but left about the time I arrived), so we had a lot to catch up on. She's about to go to GSU to get a degree to teach ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages), which I highly endorsed and encouraged. Woo-hoo! I loved hearing about her trip to a local Russian-speaking church. Bilingualism is cool.

Also, while at the show Saturday night, I noticed a waitress who looked incredibly familiar. Sure enough, I called her name as she passed and it was none other than Emily Kate Boyd, who was a counselor at the Riverview ropes course with Jen and me in 2000. While at camp, she either had a sketch pad or a guitar at all times, and I vividly remember watching her jam with Jen, playing Indigo girls' tunes or an original song. For some reason, anytime I see Toulouse-Lautrec sketches I still think of her. When she had a quick break and we got to talk, I was glad to hear she's doing well, though I'm a bit envious that she's living in a house in Grant Park, one of the neatest renovated historic areas of Eastside Atlanta. She's a talented artist and musician, and I think all her practicing has paid off. She's working at Eddie's now and actually gets to play there quite a bit (including this Sunday for a benefit). Emily has been recording her first EP, which should be available soon. This connection is just one more reason to visit Eddie's more often.

Saturday night just proved it is a small, small world after all.

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