Disclaimers: Copyright: The characters belong to me, though they do resemble our
two favorite characters of Xena and Gabrielle. The location does
really exist, but I changed the name of the camp to protect the
innocent squirrels that reside there.
Sex: yes, but nothing graphic f/f and their will be a m/f
relationship that is very mild.
Feedback: All feedback is most welcomed. Please send to email@example.com . Thank you to everyone who takes the time to drop me a line and help make this story better.
The directors' office had seen better days. Hell, it had seen better decades. The wooden structure was built over forty years ago and balanced on telephone pole piers. It was large enough to house four large metal desks and four old office chairs with wheels that usually worked. This small building, complete with slamming door, was the hub of camp.
The camp director, assistant camp director and program director were lucky enough to each have their own desk. Most of their drawers held the usual paperwork, office supplies and assortment of clipboards, whistles and post it notes. Silver's drawers also held dog biscuits for Indy and beef jerky for her.
Pepper, the ACD or assistant camp director was the goddess of music- her desk held the beloved boom box and her drawers were full of CD's. Her most valued possession, a hand compiled songbook, which she had put together over her years as a camper and as a staff member, was tucked away in the top drawer. Mice were not uncommon in the camp, and sometimes in the office, so she made sure to protect her book from mouse teeth and mouse droppings.
Then there was Spike's desk. As the program director she was in charge of organizing the activities for the whole camp, such as flag ceremonies, weekly all-camp activities, campfire programs and "theme meals" in the lodge.
Her desk held the treasures of water guns, yo-yo's, a Frisbee and a hacky sack. An aluminum baseball bat leaned against her desk, though she kept her glove and ball in her truck. She had no desire to invite the mice to make a leather home in her glove.
The fourth desk was shared by a variety of staff, as was indicated by the contents of their assigned desk drawer. Whistles, batteries, dog treats and a pair of goggles belonged to Scooter.
Maps, compasses, phone number lists, campground literature and Equipment Requisition Forms were the contents of Copper's domain, er, drawer. Responsible for planning all outgoing trips, whether by canoe, backpack, or horse, Copper planned and coordinated the details of each trips for the counselors and campers.
Pony, the riding director, also had a drawer in the desk. Mostly empty, it contained just office supplies and a phone list of the horse supplier, hay supplier, local vet and other local horse people who could be called on for help in an emergency. There was a small desk up at the barn where the riding staff had most of their supplies.
The bottom drawer was crammed full of scissors, glue, glitter, glue guns and random scraps of material. Doodle, the arts and crafts specialist was known for her creativity but not for her neatness. An incident from the summer before including leaking glue, glitter and bits of paper lead to her reassignment to the bottom drawer.
Scooter had been the unfortunate recipient of a stuck drawer and whistles that were ruined by globs of glue and blue glitter. Pretty, but useless, the whistles had to be tossed out and new ones purchased. The whistles were taken out of the arts supplies budget and Doodle was reassigned the lowest drawer. It was no surprise when at the end of last summer Doodle was given a giant glitter covered whistle with her name on the strap as an end of season gift.
Silver leaned back as far as her chair would go without tipping over, and reflected on the support staff with which she would be sharing her summer and the office. It was a good group of people, dedicated to camp and to the kids.
She was fortunate to have so many of them returning again this summer. The consistency of her office mates, as well as Jo returning as cook and KoKo returning as camp nurse, ensured that the summer would be a successful one for both staff and campers. It sure made her job easier when she knew she could depend on others to do their jobs and she could focus on running the overall camp and dealing with the hot spots of problems that inevitably arose.
The arrival of the blue camp van brought her out of her thoughts and into the world. Pepper, Spike, Doodle and Copper poured out of the van holding various plastic bags that advertised ShopKo and Target on them.
Scooter and Indy ran over to the van and another round of hugs and "Welcome backs." were given. Helping to unload the van, Scooter was pleased to see that someone had remembered to pick up Dr. Pepper for their small office fridge.
They came into the office with their treasures, laughing and chattering about the deals they got. Bag after bag held arts and craft supplies, health care items, water toys and office supplies including thirty-five clipboards, one for each staff member.
Spike and Pepper had also picked up some new strings and picks for their guitars. Both played quite well and knew that staff training, as well as the 8 weeks of campers, would be filled with music. Though it wasn't necessary, it was nice if a guitar could accompany the slower songs and both musicians loved this aspect of their jobs.
Another vehicle made it's way to the bottom of main camp, and Indy softly barked to welcome Pony. Tall and thin with straight dark brown hair and eyes Pony was the stereotypical horsewoman.
"Is Mel here yet?"
Silver was the first to answer, "Yep, she arrived early this morning. Her horse is here too. She'll be glad to see a familiar face I'm sure. Thanks again for recruiting her for staff."
"No problem, makes my job easier as the riding director if I don't have to worry about the horses and the stables. She's good at what she does, but she's not a real people person."
"Well, I look forward to working with her and getting to know her better. Make sure she and the rest of your staff know that everyone participates in staff training activities. No using excuses of having to muck the stalls to get out of games and songs." Silver smiled as she said this, to ensure that Pony knew she was serious about the message, but understood the challenge the riding director would have in persuading her wrangling staff to participate.
"No worries, we'll be there. It will be řinteresting to see Mel interact with everyone. I don't think it will be easy for her, that's for sure."
"She's got a couple of days until she has to deal with that, the staff don't arrive for four days so you all can settle in and get the barn area ready for horses."
"Aye, aye Captain Silver." Pony gave her a mock salute. "I'm off to the stables. See ya'll at dinner." And with that, the white pickup truck and its driver departed followed by a small cloud of dust.
The drive to the other end of camp where the horse area was took about five minutes. Pony turned left off the main road onto the dirt road that lead to the barn and the stables.
The view that greeted her was a dirt covered Shadow inspecting and repairing the water trough in corral number five.
"'Bout time you got here Pony." Shadow came over and clasped Pony's forearm in a handshake. "Thought I would have to do all the work myself."
"Nah, you know that I wouldn't let you have all the fun. Let me get my gear in our tent then I'll come give you a hand."
A few minutes later they were silently working side-by-side inspecting and repairing the corral gates, water troughs and feeders. As the afternoon sun rose high in the sky and a fine sheen of sweat covered the laborers, Pony declared a work break.
Sitting down on the tailgate of Pony's truck, they each pulled a Coke out of the ice chest and lay back in the trucks bed.
"So, how you doing so far Mel?"
"Guess you better call me Shadow. I have to get used to it."
"Shadow? Where'd ya get that name from?"
"Scared the hell out of the cook and she came up with it. Said I moved like a shadow and that people would smell me before they saw me."
"Welcome to being part of the riding staff at camp. Gotta remember to change our boots and wash up a bit before heading into the dining hall or the lake. Guess the horses rub off on us, literally."
"As for your first question, I'm doin' ok. Nearly got run over by a blue jeep earlier, but other than thatř."
"By Scooter? Nah, I don't believe it. She usually drives slower than molasses in camp. Bet you weren't overfriendly with her were ya?"
"Hey! I nodded my head at her. See? My communication skills are improving already."
Laughing, they both drank the last of the cold cola in their soda cans and got back to work.
The warm June sun reflected in sparkles off the lake. Scooter hauled her gear down the trail to the swim docks where the waterfront tent was located. Choosing the front left bed, she unrolled her sleeping bag onto the bunk and placed a few items, such as her alarm clock, flashlight and lip balm on the wooden crate next to her.
Unpacking her swimsuits and towels, she changed into a dark blue one-piece suit and red nylon shorts. A soft 'woof" told her that Indy was looking for her outside the tent.
"Here I am girl. Let's go see how things in the waterfront shed look."
Indy trotted after Scooter towards the wooden shed that wore a new coat of tan paint thanks to Ranger Bill's efforts this spring. A large red cross was painted on the side indicating that rescue and lifesaving equipment were stored inside.
She removed the three reach poles, used to rescue swimmers while not entering the water, and nested each of them into their hooks on the three docks. The "buddy board" that each swimmer and staff used to identify if they were in the water or on land, was hung by the right dock which was the primary entrance onto the u-shaped wood docking.
Inspecting her rescue tubes and finding them to her satisfaction, she placed one on the lifeguard chair on the cross dock that separated the beginning swimming area from the advanced area and the rest of the lake. One was left in the storage area and one would be taken to the boating area, along with a reach pole and the megaphone.
Indy watched from the shade of the bushes that lined the path of the waterfront trail and separated the lake from the path. Content to just keep an eye on Scooter and be in her presence, she lay in the sand of the swimming area beach and rested. Her head would rise whenever Scooter went out to the dock area, but assured that her friend was in no harm, Indy would lay her head back down on her paws and watch.
"That does it for now girl. Let's head back to the main camp and drop the boating equipment off. Then we'll find you a treat."
At the mention of the word treat, Indy was on her feet and padded over to Scooter. The distant buzz of motorboats and the songs of birds flying over the lake accompanied the quiet lapping of the water against the shore as they walked back on the dirt trail.
Having disposed of their boating equipment, Scooter and Indy ambled back over to the office, which laid fifty feet from the waters edge and to the right of the boating docks. The office door faced away from the lake and a dirt road leading up to Sky Meadow cut from the main road in front of the office door and disappeared over the small hill.
"Hey, Silver, anything else I can do for you?" Scooter inquired as the office door slammed behind her.
"Just take a look at the staff training schedule and see what you think. I have swim checks for staff scheduled for Monday morning, so they can go swimming on breaks during the ten days of training. You'll need to schedule guards for the daily breaks in case anyone wants to swim."
"In Coeur d'Alene Lake in June? It's still pretty danged cold in the water." She reached into her desk drawer and slipped the dog a biscuit.
"You never know, plus it's a nice option for the staff. Only time they really get to play together and get to know each other is during staff training. You know once the kids arrive, they have a job to do and only two hours off a day."
"I remember well! The hardest part is helping counselors remember that when their kids are swimming or boating does not mean that they are on their time off. Monday morning will work well for swim checks. I could use the entire morning with them, go over their duties as 'watchers' so they know what to do when they are at the waterfront areas with their kids."
"Ok, I'll work that in the schedule. Figured that Wednesday afternoon you could go over the fun yaks, paddleboats and the basic info on sailing and windsurfing safety. Friday morning will be canoeing dry dock lessons, swamped canoe test, and then let the staff canoe around the bay a bit to get ready for the overnight canoe trip on Sunday."
"You planning for us to canoe across to Echo Point?"
"Yep and probably go into the swamp for some practice in turning the canoes."
"Sounds good. Pax should be here tomorrow morning. Once she's settled, we'll take the big power boat over to Echo Point and make sure the site's in good shape."
"Alright. Take Copper with you, too. She'll need to check the campground area and pull the equipment for the trip. Your two other lifeguards will be here on Sunday with the rest of the staff, so make sure to bring them bring them up to speed on the schedule and their duties."
"Will do. Mind if I take a copy of the training schedule and look it over on the lawn?"
"Feel free, just let me know what you think."
Settling down into a comfortable sitting position on the grass, Scooter wasn't surprised when she felt Indy firmly lean against her back. The warm sun on her face and the gentle breeze off the lake helped Scooter relax and focus on the schedule.
Hmmm, horseback riding is scheduled for staff on Thursday. Wonder how I can get out of that. Last thing I need is to fall off a danged horse and break my leg. Better have a chat with Silver.
The wind changed directions, and in doing so, dropped a few degrees in temperature. Scooter absentmindedly rubbed her slightly chilled arms. She stood and stretched her taut body, raising her arms over her head and standing on her tippy toes. Feeling her back give a satisfying pop, she rolled her head and shook out her hands.
"Well, dog, I'd better go get a shirt and get to dinner. Don't plan to miss out on any of Jojo's cooking." And with that, the blond, slightly sunburned woman and the big black dog hiked back to the waterfront area to grab a t-shirt. Putting a sweatshirt into her backpack and throwing in a water bottle, she closed up the pack and draped it over her left shoulder.
It may have been summer, but once the sun set, the temperature dropped and June proved to have cool nights on the lake.
Walking back up the path to the Lodge, Scooter left Indy outside. Health Department rules, blah, blah, blah. "Sorry girl, ya gotta stay here." She entered at the far right door of the Lodge, which led directly into the staff room.
The one place that was a camper-free zone in the summer, the staff room came with the prerequisite early Goodwill couches, a dusty boom box, and a fridge with a reminder note to "Write your name on your items. Please don't take what isn't yours." It also contained a hotplate, two sinks and a rugged old coffee table that had been battered from over ten years of abuse.
The staff mailboxes were also located on one wall. A large wood box attached to the wall was separated into six inch by six inch compartments, each bearing the name of a camp staff member. Mail- the most anticipated item of the day for staff and campers alike. Mail was good; packages were better. Scooter knew that the only mail she would receive was bills that were forwarded from her school address. That and junk mail.
Secret Sister gifts would be placed in the mailboxes, too. At the end of staff training all the staff would pick the name of another staff member from a hat. For five weeks, as a secret sister, you were responsible to write notes of encouragement, give small gifts of chocolate or hand-made arts and crafts, generally anything that would help your sister feel supported and wanted.
Midway through the summer, names were redrawn, in part to let the staff get to know other people, and in part to help those who's Secret Sister failed in her tasks.
Scooter was diligent in her duties as a secret sister and found pleasure in surprising the recipient with nearly daily items in their mailbox.
Leaving the staff room by the only other door, Scooter entered the living room, a large log cabin room with an oversized stone fireplace and wagon wheel lighting fixtures. The hardwood floors were kept polished by the maintenance staff. Two heavy picnic tables were the only real furniture in the room.
There was one old scarred bookshelf filled with random children's books. She stopped, looked, and found the book she was searching for. Jonathan Livingston Seagull. She took the book out off the shelf and dropped it in her backpack for late night reading by flashlight.
She left the living room and entered the breezeway, a long narrow hallway that connected the camper entrance to the lodge to the dining room. The spicy smell of Italian food wafted from the kitchen and Scooter made short time of getting to the dining hall and sitting at one of the three tables that were set up for eating.
"Make sure you leave some for the others." an amused voice came from the kitchen.
"Well, if they don't get here soon, it won't be my fault if there's nothing left, Jojo."
Just as she said that, the breezeway door slammed shut and the rest of the hungry crew entered the lodge, intent on giving Scooter a run for her money in the eating department.
Their numbers had grown, with Pony and the two wranglers arriving in the afternoon and KoKo back from visiting with the Camp Doctor.
Those who knew the words and tune sang a quick song of grace. Then Jojo brought out the salad, lasagna, garlic bread and green beans.
"Save room for dessert! Tonight we're having brownies." And with that Jojo sat across the table from Scooter and dug into her first helping of lasagna.
To be continued...