Sunday, March 18, 2007

Hay Rides Under the Moon

"We stick it up its ass, then we light it!" Erik said, as his brother, Mike, nodded in affirmation. "We've been doin it all day!"

I sat on my bike watching warily as Erik stood, up to his knees, in the golf course water trap with a wriggling frog in one hand and a fire cracker in the other.

I had my doubts.

There had been no explosive rapport that morning, and the golf course was conspicuously void of any frog carcasses. A frog's ass, I assumed, was simply to small; and Erik, I knew, was too stupid to accomplish anything so complicated.

As it turned out, the frog was, in fact, too smart for Erik. As it hopped away down the fairway, Erik squatted back down into the murky water to fetch another amphibious victim.

This was Church Camp. Canyon Meadows. A small green patch skirting a sandy creek bed, high up in the Angeles National Forest. Horses, hay rides, rattle snakes and Jesus. Every Memorial Day weekend the entire church would pack up and head for the hills. Everyone with camping gear, that is. Tents, campers, RVs; hell, one year I slept under a tarp on a banana lounge...

Every year I went. Usually, with my grandparents. Occasionally, with my parents. I only stopped going when we changed churches, sometime in the 8th grade. It is, in all of its simple splendor, indelibly engraved in my consciousness.

I remember the old-timey covered wagons that smelled of sweat and saw dust. I remember the shock and surprise when I touched the electric horse fence. I remember waiting to find out, each year, with horror and intrigue, who would wake up with with a snake in their sleeping bag.

I remember building dams in the creek. I remember watching the old man playing the trumpet by the fish pond each sun set, and listening to the associate pastor preaching on Sunday morning in the open air on the golf course.

I still dream about the home-made ice cream buffet. I still have the scar on my hand where I burned it making hot cocoa.

I remember where I rode the horse. I remember hearing, for the first time, about the kids in the high school camp playing spin the bottle.

I remember where I kissed the girl.

"What a great Lounge post that would make," I thought, as I Google-mapped my way around Castaic Lake looking for an aerial photo of the camp ground. I eventually found it, at least I thought I did.

The golf course, once lush, now looks dead. The horses are gone, and there is a giant fucking baseball diamond in the middle of the meadow! It doesn't even have the same name anymore. "Canyon Meadows" is now "Canyon Creek Sports Complex!" Whatever the hell that's supposed to be.

Looks like it's become a summer sports camp for loser kids. Think Bad News Bears meets Meatballs. At least the camp counselors are kinda sexy...

Ah well, one more childhood memory bites the dust.

Hey, Californians, Disneyland is still open, right??


  1. Disneyland was closed when I visited - it's now a rehab centre for people forced to wear a furry animal suit and be nice to kiddies to make a living

  2. I think the Meatballs/Bad News Bears camp sounds like a hell of a lot more fun than the Jesus Camp you attended.

  3. Disneyland is open. You have to be gay to get in. Or at least gay to work there. There is a new Michael Jackson ride too.

    Knotts Berry Farm is now known as Oswoldo's Tamale factory. Good times for all and plenty of salsa.

  4. Actually, Fred has a good point. Sports camp is probably more fun than Jesus Camp.

    Although, the little brats don't get 18 flavors of home-made ice cream...

  5. For all you know, they do get homemade ice cream. But, you can be sure they don't have flavors like Jesus' Jamoca Almond Fudge, Holy Rocky Road to Heaven, or The Passion Perfectly Peachy.

  6. Loaves and Phish Phood?

  7. Trinity (instead of Neapolitan) and Miracle Mint Chocolate Chip

  8. Beattitude Banana? Noah's fudge flood?

  9. I can show you a fudge flood...

  10. Years of Biblical brain washing turned into ice cream flavors...

    I'll be sending in a prayer request to paster Booher.

  11. Rapture Rasberry Ripple, Left Behind Lemon Custard, and Pastor Pralines and Cream

  12. :-O

    That's frog sacrilege!!

    Brings to mind the age-old question: "Is a frog's butt water-tight?"

  13. Celia4:28 PM

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  14. I went to Presbyterian Jesus Camp. Camp Clearwater in northern Minnesota. It didn't have fancy ice cream though. Just a lot of Kumbaya with coordinated dance moves and extra sugar for breakfast cereal.

  15. Celia should realise by the comments on here, we don't need pot..

    we have icecream

    and Brian, sport camp would only be fun if you are sporty. You would have been picked last for the teams and had a miserable time

  16. Celia, study harder in your ESL class.

    And, isn't the term "water bong" redundant? I mean, even a gravity bong uses water.

  17. Speaking of ESL, my father substitute teaches, and some of the high school kids got his cell phone number and tonight started pranking him. They kept using different multicultural accents. My favorites were the vaguely Japanese and the one that sounded just like my Russian ex-boyfriend. Lately someone from New York has been calling me looking for Tito. I answered my father's phone and asked the kid if he knew Tito, he hung up on me. Then he called back using a different accent. Yet he kept hanging up on us, which is odd behavior for a prank caller. Amateur.


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