For two extended periods in my personal history, Christian camping played a very important role in my spiritual and social life. I began my summer Christian camp experience as an eight-year-old at Camp Hunt, a fairly small camp in upstate New York. I was stomach-sick that week and had a bad time, transferring the next summer to a much closer camp with burgeoning loyalty.
Camp Manatawny in Southeast PA always offered something to look forward to. From age 9 through 17, I annually spent a week there as a camper, and I also served a few weeks of my later years as a staff member (dish washer and counselor). In 1998-2001, I returned as an adult and counseled and led hymn sings and devotionals, forming some lasting relationships. My memories include cabin devotionals, hymn sings, campfires with equally rich silly and spiritual sides, and girlfriends. It was an athletic experience, too, actually: I have a few athletic awards to my credit, notably including placing in the softball accuracy throw and winning the push-ups event at least one year. I don’t think I ever placed higher than 4th in a track event. Manatawny and I parted ways (arguably its choice, not mine), but I still have many fond memories.
I was pleased last year to learn a little of my nieces’ Christian camp experiences. They are growing similarly at other camps. Last year, my son Jedd went to a day camp at Camp Wyldewood and enjoyed himself. This year, baseball and a theater camp are filling the first half of the summer for him. At some point within the next year or two, I want to find a good camp at which he can grow relationally with God and with others. I want to start him fairly early, not waiting until the pre-teen or teen years for this important part of summer.
Academic buildings, dorms, and fields, etc., are often named with the largest donor’s name. This practice has always bothered me a bit, feeling that the “money talks” principle could end up compromising academics. The problem becomes more acute when it’s a church room or building that’s named for an individual. I’m such a purist about this that I don’t even think church facilities should be named for one of the twelve apostles. Of course, this problem doesn’t occur when a Christian group owns no real estate. Keeping it simple is better. And living rooms are more homey and comfortable, too.
Time was when more pro baseball stadiums were named for their teams (Dodger Stadium, Astrodome, Yankee Stadium, Tiger Stadium). A couple 1970s-built parks were named for their settings near rivers. These days (see complete list here), only three stadiums use their teams’ names, and the rest appear to have large corporate sponsors that presumably paid for naming rights. The ballparks now sport such names as Comerica, Miller, Citizens Bank, Minutemaid, and Target. Having some knowledge of the Kauffman Foundation’s work in the Kansas City area, I don’t mind that the Royals stadium is named Kauffman, but I end up doubting the philanthropy of major insurance companies and banking conglomerates. Incidentally, we’ve enjoyed one Royals game already and look forward to another. Kauffman is my second favorite stadium experience, just behind Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, but Kauffman is easier to get to.
Kids’ baseball teams also have sponsors, and this scene is good for the community and for the kids. Personally, I’m glad that my son Jedd’s team is sponsored by the River Cities Credit Union and not by a denomination or para-church organization like one of the other teams is. I wouldn’t prefer to play a role in advertising for churchy business concerns.
The mulberries have just about stopped attracting the birds, which probably spend half their time now nesting in diabetic comas. It is almost safe to park our cars in the driveway again. See Mrs. Shuck and the mulberry tree for the backstory. I’ve since learned that Mrs. Shuck did indeed have quite a Christian legacy, and that she passed from this life a year or two ago.
Time was when a friend and I attended a few Philly Orchestra concerts at the Mann Music Center. One could often get cheap or free tickets to sit on the lawn. Good times.
This year, I’ll again be missing the summer Concerts Under the Stars at the Garden Theater at UNC. There is really only one UNC, by the way, and it’s in Greeley, Colorado, not in North Carolina. Since I was a UNC grad student and was able to participate in one or two of said outdoor concerts, I’ve only been able to attend one or two other concerts there. It’s always a nice time. For some reason, I feel more loyalty to UNC than I ever did to my high school or to two other universities I had attended prior to my last degree. I’ve never been a rah-rah type, but hey, “Once a Bear, always a Bear.”
Summer sounds in eastern Kansas have so far involved raucous, sporadically nocturnal neighbors who don’t handle the clock or their booze very well. On the plus side, Jedd and I heard the Kansas City Symphony a few weeks ago, and I look forward to hearing a local jazz group and a children’s folk singer in July.
Bonus: the Android “Gumdrop” ringtone sound
And now for a cool sound that has nothing to do with hot summer. At some point while listening to this “Gumdrop” ringtone on my phone, I realized it included asymmetric meter.¹ I couldn’t resist writing it out. For us rhythm geeks, the fun is built into the 7/8 bar, which makes it seem like the repeat comes an eighth-note too early.
¹ Since none of the first six WWW sources I found had a very good definition of “asymmetric meter,” here is my simple one: a unit or measure of music in which not all pulses (beats) have the same duration.
In the above case, the 7/8 bar
- contains one eighth note less than the 4/4 bars
- theoretically has a final, or fourth, pulse that’s only half the length of the others (one eighth vs. one quarter . . . or one quaver vs. one crochet, for the two Brits or British-trained musicians who might be reading this), but it
- would be conducted with three pulses—beats one and two are “simple,” containing an evenly spaced two eighth notes each; whereas the final pulse is “compound,” comprising three eighth notes, and requiring 50% more time than each of the first two pulses