Pardon me, can my son get his frog back?

Camp Meeting at Pleasant Grove in Waxhaw North Carolina is as impossible to explain as it is enjoyable. If you haven’t been here, you’ll never be able to grasp why thousands of people look forward to this one week more than any other.

I think part of the problem arises because we’d like to pack a complete definition into a single breath, exhaling it all at once. But that’s now how we came to know and love Camp Meeting, so the method seems a bit off to me. Most of us were born here. Rocked in our cribs here. Grew up here. Camp Meeting revealed itself in millions of tiny snippets that continue to pile up and delight. Maybe we choke people with our enthusiasm instead of feeding them morsels.

Last night we were having a sit-down dinner in our tent. Nancy Moore, the organist from our old church, and her husband had joined us for tomato sandwiches (Duke’s Mayonnaise, of course) grilled chicken-on-salad, deep-fried okra, sweetened iced tea, and pound cake with ice cream.

It was a highbrow affair, with politics, economics, and hymns discussed over my grandmother’s old tablecloth. In the middle of the meal, a knock came at the screen door. The sound of it was jarring to me… most of the people out here just walk right in. Must be someone from the “other side” of the campground, or a mere 5th cousin.

“Excuse me?” the silhouette called through the screen door.

“Come on in,” a dozen of us yelled in unison.

“Actually, I don’t mean to disturb you during dinner, but can my son get his frog back?”

The amazing thing about Camp Meeting is that this story isn’t amazing at all. Nobody was the least bit surprised. 10-year-old Jordan ran over to the critter cage and scooped up the green tree frog with his bright yellow legs. The rascal climbed and hopped while the dinner conversation paused. The little boy from a few tents over got his frog back. And we got back to our ‘mater sandwiches and highbrow conversin’.

2 responses to “Pardon me, can my son get his frog back?”

  1. It has been such a delight–and an honor–to get to watch your confidence grow and your skills as a writer grow by leaps and bounds. And this piece here is just one beautiful example of it. Absolutely lovely–I especially liked the imagery brought by “my grandmother’s old tablecloth.”

    I’m so proud to know you! (That’s too icky, isn’t it? Okay, but I’m not taking it back.)

  2. Great Hugh. You should include “The Stand” in a story sometime. Little Scarlet going on and on about it before she ever even saw it just cracks me up.

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