I drove to work this morning and it was already 90 degrees. Good Lord.
Two days ago, I dropped my son off at Camp Kitaki. It's a camp right outside Louisville, Nebraska. Did you know there was a Louisville, NE? I myself did not and I grew up in Nebraska. Anyway, as we drove under the hand-carved sign that read "Welcome to Camp Kitaki where the magic never ends" I couldn't help but think that somewhere tucked in a cabin in the back there might be someone who somewhat resembles Bill Murray, getting ready for the day. He would be tuning his receiver and welcoming the campers and telling them to head to the dinning hall for "some kind of meat."
I spent one week at a camp when I was in third grade. It was called Lake Mary Ranch Camp. It too was in Nebraska (can't remember where). It was a Church camp and a horse camp. Those two facts seemed to have escaped my best friend who waited to tell me the second I got in the car to leave for the camp. Had I known that before, I probably wouldn't have gone. I don't like horses and I don't choose to talk about God with a Pastor every evening around a campfire for at least an hour. I also don't like to swear on the blood of Jesus (how do you even do that?) which I was asked to do by another camper because he described the moment as "amazing." Thankfully, I never swore on the blood of Jesus and I have probably been a sinner ever since. Because of the religious undertones that haunted me that entire week and the dread that I would have to get on a horse at some time, I never had a good camp experience. And thus I never had a proper "Meatballs Experience". I never played peanut poker with the head Counselor. There was no rival camp that we competed against because I'm sure the message at the Ranch Camp would have been "we're all brothers in God's eyes."
While Meatballs is in fact a fictional movie and not a documentary, you do still hope and wish that there is a little Meatballs in every camp experience. Some camp hijinks if you will. I'm hoping that at least one morning when my son wakes up, there might be word that the head counselor just had his bed suspended from a tree somewhere. Or that there might be some blooming romance between two counselors carried over from the year before. And I didn't read it on the itinerary for the week, but maybe there's a final dance where my son can kick it on the dance floor with some old school moves like 'the robot.'
I have to admit, Lake Mary Ranch Camp left me somewhat bitter and wanting more. As I checked my son in and I watched him get his t-shirt and a lice check, I quickly thought that I should drop everything and buy an existing camp or open one myself . That way I could bring Meatballs to life. Perhaps even name the camp the "Meatballs Experience" and hire people that look and act like the people in the movie. I could play Elmer Bernstein music all day long (why is this soundtrack not available on CD or itunes?) It seems like something I could charge top dollar for. Who knows? Maybe one day. Until then, I'm hoping for many things for my son this week. 1) That he does not break anything. 2) That a tick does not end up finding a nice warm home in his nether regions and that 3) He has at least one "Meatballs Experience." He's a good kid, he deserves it.
I will say that there is some promise to Camp Kitaki. When I dropped my son off at his cabin, the counselor's name was "Cecil". It's no "Tripper" but it's a nice start.