Imagine the soft pines of Vermont gently swaying over a row of peaceful, quiet cabins. Out each of those windows, a glassy, fog-lit lake shimmers. Turtles barely begin to even think about poking their heads out and the sun slowly stretches beyond the trees. The air is pointed and crisp, its cold fingers prodding you to stay curled in your cot, blankets pulled up to ears and wrapped beneath chins and tucked tightly between arms and legs.
Peaceful. Quiet. A lovely postcard picture of serenity.
Then, PA-POW: Reveille.
If you’ve been to camp, you know. That bugle sounds and somehow all the birds and woodland creatures in the area pay it no mind. That includes the campers, too, sleeping soundly in their beds. That scratchy recording went off every damn morning and those girls, tucked in so peacefully in their quilted burritos, would barely stir. Therefore, the most important job for the cabin’s counselor was to wake those sleeping woodland creatures up.
And yes, I was that camp counselor.
I absolutely loved being a camp counselor for this very reason. It was my job to set the tone for a cabin of eight preteen girls. If I left it up to the bugle to do that for me, there may be more bleary eyes and groans and sleeping in. But I had a solution. I knew that I could set the tone for my cabin of girls before they set out into the day to basket weave, canoe, make friends, and play soccer. I knew that I could plant some fun right from the get-go. That I could do it in a way that they would send any of their bleary-eyed discomfort my way — leaving it easily dissolvable into laughter.
Coming back in from a run and a very large coffee cup in my hand, I thrust Cabin 18’s door open as soon as that bugle cry whimpered off.
Fluttering around the cabin joyously, obnoxiously, and with a thunder of 20-year-old energy, I began to sing-song cheer to my campers:
Wake up beautiful ladies!
Today, oh today, is the best day ever!
Did you know, did you hear? Today, oh today, is the best day ever!
Sound carried well on that lakeside peninsula, cabin after cabin slowly awakening to the sputtering-yet-dare-I-say-lovely incantations of Babs in Cabin 18.
Because it was her (my) sole duty every morning to set the damn tone for the day.
I hope you have the best damn day ever.
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