A Journal of The Week

Gladstone Camp Meeting 2009
A short journal of the week

By Greg Brothers

Sunday, July 12
Drove in this morning from Lincoln City – the weather here in Gladstone is cool and damp, just like the Oregon Coast. Caught up on what’s happening with the other pastors; the mood here is a combination of family reunion and playing hooky from school, i.e. we're glad to see each other, and isn’t it nice to be away from business-as-usual for a week? (It's surprising the number of pastors who brought golf clubs – no doubt for the tournament next week!)

Monday, July 13   
Still cool and gray (which is probably making the children's division leaders nervous – nothing is worse than running children’s programs in the rain. Oh well, at least the groundskeepers are happy.) Interviewed a dozen people; I'm doing an article on what it takes to make campmeeting happen. Short answer: lots of people, and lots and lots of time. Most impressed by the person who runs Food Services – very busy, yet very patient and gracious in answering my questions. (That said, I still haven’t worked up the nerve to try a Pronto-Pup at the snack bar; somehow, this whole idea of “fried-food-on-a-stick” just seems wrong.)

Tuesday, July 14
“Out came the sun and dried up all the rain . . .” and all the children's leaders were happy once again. (Okay, so maybe I shouldn't quit my day-job just yet – still, the weather today is worth singing about: blue skies and warm!) Talked with some interesting people: a 100-year-old retired nurse, a woman who runs a rescue shelter for parrots, and lots and lots of teens who were willing to answer my question: “What is the best thing about campmeeting?” (Interesting: the younger children generally said that “programs” are the best thing about campmeeting; the teens were more likely to say it is “people.” Then there was that 100-year-old retired nurse, who said the best thing is programs and people.)

Wednesday, July 15
Sunny and warm today – no, make that sunny and hot! Tongue-dragging, skin-searing, don't-I-wish-the-air-conditioning-in-the-car-worked hot! (Fortunately, the Juniors and Earliteens are going to the Clackamas Aquatic Center today; I'm guessing many adults are wishing they could too.) Taught my class on the Book of Proverbs today; afterwards, my wife asked, “Honey – what time is your class supposed to be over?” This was a nice way of saying that I ran a little long . . . like maybe 25-minutes or so? (No wonder the people in my class started getting restless – though it would be more accurate to say those who were awake started getting restless.)

Thursday, July 16
Sunny and hotter. Taught a class on Ecclesiastes (which ended promptly at 4 PM, thank you very much). Dad was able to attend my class, but Mom wasn't well and so stayed home. She's not the only one: the word going around is that we've had at least one pastor check into the hospital during this particular campmeeting. And I've seen another pastor limping around, thanks to a fall he took from a trailer during Camp Pitch. (Went home in a thoughtful mood, and read about the Book of Job.)

Friday, July 17
If anything, today was even sunnier and hotter than yesterday. (Is this possible?) Forgot my cell phone, and so spent the day feeling as though something was vaguely wrong – the mental equivalent of having a raspberry seed stuck between your teeth. But the good news is that I've found the good fight. I've finished the race. I have written everything that needed to be written, proofread everything that needed to be proofread, and taught every class I promised to teach – including today's class on Job, even though I still don't pretend to understand why it ends the way it does. Still, there was reason enough to celebrate with a small order of Walla Walla Sweet Onion rings from a local take-out. (Onion rings are my own, personal solution to the problem of evil.)

Sabbath, July 18
Sunny with cirrus clouds, but the temperature’s dropped ten-degrees (which means it’s still warm, but pleasant in the shade). In the past, I’ve usually worked in the children’s divisions – but today, I was able to attend the adult meetings in the Main Pavilion.  Fascinating: good speakers, but no puppets, no game shows, no camels or snakes – and I’m guessing that, during the week, nobody took the adults to an aquatic park, either. Yet still they show up! (I also tested my hypothesis that, if you stand in the Main Pavilion Plaza long enough, you will eventually see anyone and everyone who’s ever been an Adventist in Oregon.  It’s true!)

Sunday, July 19
Before campmeeting, we had Camp Pitch; today it’s Camp Ditch, i.e. everything gets taken down and put away. Fortunately, the weather’s a repeat of yesterday’s so nobody’s likely to die from the heat; the only dangers are:
Falling off a trailer when the mule-driver takes a curve too fast.
Getting a finger smooshed while you’re stacking benches in the Sandpiper Building.
Getting bitten by one of those giant mutant radioactive spiders that live underneath the picnic tables.
But by 3:30 PM, it’s over. It’s finished. It’s time to go home. (And isn’t it amazing how many dogs suddenly showed on the campground today – I wonder where they all came from?)

See you next year. Until then may God bless you!