A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Vacation, plus church youth group, equals unChristian thoughts

What IS it about the Cornelius family that our vacations always seem to bisect some strange part of the universe where we are swallowed up by a riptide of youthgroup punks dedicated to running wild? And it seems the more strict the denomination from whence they hail, the wilder they run?

Example 1: We have a spot where we love to go camping for a week at a time. The first two days we were there, we had Wild-Turkey-swillin', Hank Jr-blastin', deer-guttin'-in-the-campsite capital-R Rednecks as our neighbors, and I can't describe the relief we felt as they announced that they had to git back to town to check in with their probation officers. As they were leaving, along comes two of those giant vans with crosses painted on the side disgorging an unending stream of gangly teens like a mama wolf feeding her pups. They are obviously pretty fundamentalist, since the girls are wearing completely modest attire and have not cut their hair. They cheerfully begin setting up two camps-- the boys across the creek and on our left, and the girls to the campsite on our right. They are so gosh-darn clean and shiny and cheerful, singing old-timey hymns as they worked, the boys playing in the creek and gathering firewood while the girls prepare lunch, I felt like I needed to check my blood sugar.

Until the sun set.

We turned in at about 11:30, after being asked if we were saved, telling them we are Episcopalians, and having that information inspire them in their zeal to save us, and finally being accepted that we are never going to abandon our heathen ways after we began a little scriptural discussion that did not go to well for the kids but was way amusing for us. Anyway, once their chaperones began to nod off, the kids waited a decent interval, and then began tramping THROUGH our campsite to "sneak" off to the campsite of the opposite sex. Non-stop. Boys to the girls' camp. Girls to the boys' camp. Lots of giggling. Lots of tripping over long skirts. Until about 2 am, when I finally stick my head toward the tent flap and ask my husband where I put my gun. I heard kids scramble off into the brush frantically-- right where the poison ivy was, because, yes, there IS a God--and finally be still.

They then actually had the nerve the knock on our tent flap at SIX ACK EMMA to join in their sunrise worship service on the sand bar in the creek directly behind our tent. When my husband profanely told them what to do with that suggestion, they went to the sandbar, pulled out the guitars, and proceeded to pray for our souls for the next hour. They then hurriedly left when I got out my guitar and began playing "Smoke on the Water" and "Stairway to Heaven"-- all eleven pages worth.

So now fast forward to our current trip. We are moving our way up the Atlantic coast from Georgia to Virginia, and just settled into a nice hotel, when we walk down into the lobby to go out to dinner and see about three hundred teenagers milling around with wet sleeping bags and smelling of wet dog. It was a youth group campout that had gotten rained out, and so the sponsors decided to put them into a hotel or something. So guess where most of the boys were placed? On our floor, right next door and moving down the hallway. They were kicking a soccer ball outside our door against the wall until 11:30, when a wrathful and terribly sunburned Ms. Cornelius opened the door in her jammies, saw the idiotic chaperone standing there with them while they shouted and shoved and fell into walls, cryptically said "Ten seconds," and then firmly shut the door. Very quickly, I heard the doors slam and silence descend like a peaceful little cloud over the hallway, and got to enjoy everything 100 bucks a night ought to provide.

Meaning: I'll control my kids, and you control yours.

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11 Comments:

At 6/14/07, 3:10 PM, Blogger mrschili said...

Why do I not doubt that, coming from you, "ten seconds" sounds like a credible death threat?

 
At 6/14/07, 6:33 PM, Blogger Polski3 said...

Snicker. We once stayed at a "nice" hotel in Sacramento that was also infested with tennis camp brats. Our complaints of the noise resulted in a free nights stay. The tennis camp brats caused such a ruckus throughout the hotel, they got kicked out by management.

Have a Happy Summer!

 
At 6/14/07, 6:47 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I am a demure teacher lady, I assure you. I have no idea what you are talking about, I am sure.

And free stays sound good....

 
At 6/15/07, 12:32 AM, Blogger Mike in Texas said...

That's what you get for camping out, when there are always plenty of hotels to stay at.

Of course, my idea of roughing it is a dial-up internet connection.

 
At 6/15/07, 7:02 AM, Blogger CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

My guess is you could have achieved the same results without uttering a single word, just by giving them The Look. We all know how intimidating you are!

 
At 6/15/07, 7:11 AM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

They were too clueless for The Look, because they were making so much noise they wouldn't have noticed I was there unless I spoke. But I spoke softly, oh yes. See they're used to being screamed at from the pulpit, so obviously they are inured to screaming.

Any fool also knows if you pack 8 kids to a hotel room, you get mayhem.

And MIT, you'll appreciate this: camping makes your vacation buck go further.

 
At 6/15/07, 9:03 AM, Blogger Robert Talbert said...

As a former Southern Baptist, I read this with a mixture of ROFL-ing and sad agreement. How many times have I seen church youth groups act like a horde of unwashed barbarian heathens, their youth ministers ( = 20-somethings who can't desperately want to be teenagers again, aren't disciplined enough to be pastors, and can't find regular jobs) standing around like there's nothing they can do, or want to do?

Hope your trip gets better!

 
At 6/15/07, 9:24 AM, Blogger Mike in Texas said...

Sorry, Ms C, as thrifty as I am I would rather spend the extra 30 dollars and sleep in the air conditioning and have a fast internet connection.

Plus, I don't have to string my food up from tress so the bears won't eat it.

 
At 6/15/07, 9:27 AM, Blogger MommyProf said...

Just because there is a cross on the van doesn't mean that the contents are changed. Kind of like calling it Chicken of the Sea doesn't make it chicken...

Wow - that could be a sermon illustration...

 
At 6/15/07, 5:36 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Haha-- I like that, too, MommyProf.

Okay MIT, so now we know the limit of your stinginess...

and robert, I was a Southern Baptist once. For three months. Because my parents made me. I was miserable. One entire month was spent preaching about the evils of Monty Python's Life of Brian. I kid you not. I almost died.

 
At 6/16/07, 8:57 AM, Blogger Mrs. Bluebird said...

Wow, this is even worse than getting caught across the aisle from a drunken bimbo on a nearly 5 hour flight - as I was recently! At least the bimbo eventually passed out.

 

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