Camp Schaefer 2013

June 24, 2013
Lola Schaefer is a children's book author

Ted and I always look forward to Camp Schaefer. We realize that in just 5-6 days we will be exhausted from all of the FUN, but it's one of our best summer treats. Our niece Leah (10) and our nephew Spencer (8) arrived this year on Friday evening after our traditional stop for ice cream. Saturday was a whirlwind. In the early morning we packed up and accompanied Ted to the Big Canoe Festival to set up his woodworking booth. Both kids decided they were his junior sales team. When an interested party entered the booth, they both slowly made their way toward him/her with smiles, business cards, and warm greetings. We had fun touring the other booths and buying a few of the artisans/farmers' goods.

In the afternoon we caught up on our ping-pong rivalry of men vs. women. The women took the gold and humbled the men. Uh-oh, revenge will be theirs.

That night we all dressed in western wear and headed up to the mountains north of Dahlonega to the R Ranch. We surprised the kids with a real, professional rodeo and they were thrilled. The evening was perfect. The ranch is nestled in tree-covered rolling hills. As the sun set and the arena lights blinked on, we jumped in the back of a tractor-pulled wagon and were taken down to the main arena where eventually 3,000 people gathered in the stands.

I used to watch rodeos on TV years ago when I was a girl. In that era, the clown was a distraction - a way of luring the bull away from the rider should danger arise. At this rodeo, there were two skillful riders who cornered the bucking bronco, or isolated the bull from a fallen rider. The clown was entertainment and appeared quite often with 5-12 minute skits in between the different events. The cowboys and cowgirls were the real thing and amazed the crowd with their riding, roping, and lassoing. As you can see from Spencer's expression, both kids were intent on everything that took place that night. Since they both love horses and horseback riding, they were especially taken with the beautiful animals. Of course, no rodeo would be complete without a funnel cake dusted in powdered sugar.

I know that the four of us will not forget that night for a long time. In fact, the kids have already asked if they can go again next year and bring their parents. YEHAW! Let's plan on it!

The past two days have been spent cooking, playing games, reading our mystery novel of choice, writing poetry, and working on their furniture projects. That's right. This year, they will each take home a piece of furniture that they make from scratch. So far they have cut the wood, glued up some panels,
cut legs, sanded, and are ready to drill. Oh, power tools! Such fun.

Looking at the world through younger eyes. It's a gift. So glad that Leah and Spencer are willing to share that with us again this year.