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Sunday Walks at CRL

2020 has certainly been a year where anxiety has run high for many of us. As a working mom, I have personally had to balance work stressors with home school, concern for the health of family and friends, and new ways of living our lives! Like many others, I have been recalling ways that bring me to a place that feels more peaceful, more centered and less anxious. While this year I was unable to return to my “happy place” at CRL for that annual dose of peace, I have often gone back in my mind reflecting on a simpler time.

One of my favorite memories is the Sunday walks we used to take. After a picnic dinner, we would grab friends old and new, link arms and walk down Riva-Lake Road, talking and singing. Now, back then this was a dusty dirt road surrounded by farmland and an occasional home. Horses and cows would greet us, corn would sway in the breeze and we would pick queen-anne’s lace on the side of the road. It was always an eclectic mixture of girls- counselors or seniors had to escort the younger girls, so you might have a chance to walk with your big sister! But I also recall being with campers from both teams and always a lot of laughter.

There were 2 houses we could visit: Sis’ house was close by. Sis had been the tiny, fire-cracker director emeritus in my day. Some days she would drive through camp and tell a few lucky ones to hop off the trampoline and into the backseat of her car where she’d take us on a surprise visit to Dairy Queen. But on Sundays, we would stroll over and pile in her house for cookies, a tiny black-and-white TV and to hear her stories. A longer walk took you to Vera’s house, and as she had been in charge of the CRL kitchen for years, you can bet snacks were waiting for us there.

We would stroll back to camp at sunset. We must have been a crazy and beautiful sight- almost 100 girls in our Sunday whites, in groups large and small, with arms around one another, just singing our way down the road.

Times are not as simple now. The road is paved, there is a neighborhood of modern homes with too many cars for Sunday walks. Many of the fields are gone, replaced by homes and tidy yards. But every time I drive down that road to CRL, I am pulled back in time. I have stopped to look for queen anne’s lace and to listen for that singing in my mind.

These are the memories that join me to my Riva-Lake sisters. We have new traditions now; but I am comforted to know that today’s campers will also experience simple pleasures at camp that bring them peace and a “happy place” that they will always hold in their hearts.


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