Every so often we get a guest blog and tonight is one of those. I hope you enjoy it as mush as I did!
“We were best friends, starting our summer journey….”
One of my best friends co-wrote a color war song called “Summer Journey” twenty years ago, and I had the pleasure of sitting next to her while the entire camp sang it last night. We watched as her daughter sang the words above at her first Sing. And we watched my kids sing them at their fifth and second Sings. And if the Green Friendship and White Alma Mater hadn’t already completely destroyed us, that surely did. Among the past captains, family, and friends watching Sing from the sidelines, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. And so went my favorite night of the year….
But I digress. A bit of context for those who are new to the end of a Green Lane Color War:
You’ve already read yesterday’s blog and know about the INCREDIBLE Steeple Chase we witnessed. (By the way, when you look through the pictures, make sure to take a look at the crowd while the captains are eating pudding and melon. Their reactions, which run the gamut from nerves to excitement to fear to exhilaration, are priceless.) After Steeple Chase the teams switched off between a rally, to get a final song rehearsal in, and swim. Then it was off to shower and dinner, where scores were announced for some of the bigger Color War events and items, like Skits, Steeple Chase, Plaques, Score Boards, etc… While the teams may know who won each of these things, they don’t know how many points each team was awarded for having done so. Down in the Circle we could hear cheers erupting from the dining hall each time a point split was announced. From dinner, everyone headed back to their cabins to don their green or white Color War shirt and then to their designated flag pole to line up for Sing.
Each team entered the Globe to a theme-related song (The “Scooby Doo” theme song for White Mystery and “I’ve Got the Magic In Me” for Green Magic). The teams lined up in bunk order, marched in quietly, and stood at their seats until one of their captains seated them. Once both teams were seated and Uncle Jay gave some opening remarks, Sing began. Each team sang 4 songs:
March – a fight song
- Razz – a song poking fun at the other team’s theme
- Friendship – a song about the friendships we make at CGL
- Alma Mater – all about CGL, our summer home
This year they added a Memory Song, a past Color War song that both teams learned and were judged on. This year’s Memory Song was “Summer Journey”, which I referenced above.
After the teams were through singing their songs, the four judges went elsewhere to deliberate while, back in the Globe, bunkmates were sprinting across the room to hug friends who had been on the opposite team for a week. Everyone settled back into their seats when the judges emerged and when Uncle Jay announced the winner, there were cheers and there are tears. Cheers from the team that won. Cheers from the team that lost because they were happy for their friends. Tears because sometimes losing hurts, but also because the end of Color War signals the beginning of the end of camp.
And, yes, my son did beeline for me after Sing again this year and he was weeping. When his counselors tried consoling him (such menches), thinking he was crying because his team lost, he told them he wasn’t upset about losing, but because camp is almost over. Can a heart swell with love and shatter at the same time, because I’m pretty sure that’s what mine did at that moment. How am I lucky enough to have birthed two children who love camp as much as I do?
An excellent segue into the super-sappy portion of the blog. I have literally been crying since I woke up this morning, just thinking about how I am going to put this year’s feelings into words. I think I’ll start with another line from last night’s Memory Song:
“Green Lane has made us family, so many time you’ve seen me through. Nearing the end I wish I were standing at the beginning with you”
(annnnddddd….. crying again)
Family. Summer family. Green Lane family. We sure do throw that word around a lot. But if we really look at what family is I think we will find that it applies no where more than at CGL.
- The people you reach out to with your best news, or on your worst day
- The people who know your deepest secrets, biggest fears, and your wildest dreams and will help you keep them, conquer them, and achieve them
- The people who know your favorite color, food, song, and movie, and text you when they are experiencing any of them because they immediately think of you
- The lap that you can sit on when there is, seemingly, no room left on the bench, because there is always room for you
- The people who make you laugh the hardest and the most
- The people you want to be trapped inside during a snow storm (or a BUNKO afternoon) with
- The people who don’t want you to change a thing about yourself, because they know exactly who you are and love you for it
- The people whose hands you reach out to hold, only to realize that theirs are already reaching out for yours because they know exactly what you need
- The people you can be your silliest, weirdest, most honest self with
- The people who will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS have your back. Always. Period.
We are so lucky that this mysterious, magical place is ours (see what I did there?). A place where pretension and ego have no place. Where possessions and fashion are checked at the door. Or at the arch, as it were. Where electronics are banished and actual conversations are had and forever-bonds are formed. Where hugs, high-fives, hand-holding, laughter, silliness, and love are the only currency that is accepted. And where we wish we could be standing at the beginning, whether that be seven weeks or 33 years ago, once again.
Always yours in camping and crying,
Robin Stern Raskin