Our day trip on Aaron's birthday

Yesterday morning, Alicia folded 13,000 copies of Coffee News while I did other stuff and went to a BNI meeting.

Then we raced around doing I-can’t-even-remember-what.

We rented a car so we wouldn’t experience being stuck in the middle of nowhere in one of our 200k plus mileage vehicles. Then we went to Mooresville and dropped off the week’s papers for delivery.

It was 4:30, and we were finally on our way to the mountains, off to visit our son, Aaron, on his 25th birthday.

This is his third summer working at Camp Mondamin, a boys camp near Hendersonville that’s been in operation since 1922.

About the time we hit Charlotte rush hour (not too bad at all yesterday), he called and asked where we were. He said he had thought we would get there sooner and suggested we skip it.

She and Aaron went back and forth for awhile. I could tell he was making a case for us not coming. I asked her to give me the phone.

“Aaron,” I said. We’ve been busy. We’ve rented a car. We’re on our way. What time are you going to drink beer with your friends?”

“About nine thirty.”

“We just want to have dinner with you on your birthday. We’ll leave at nine thirty. There’s time.”

“We eat about six here,” he said.

“Don’t eat. Wait for us.”

He’s worked there three summers and we’ve never seen the place.

We made good time and arrived a few minutes before seven, sooner than he thought. We saw him walking down the road in his bathing suit. He was just coming out of the lake. While he showered, I took a bit of a walk.

I knew it was a pretty good summer job. Had no idea.

We escaped the rat race of the Piedmont and entered an idyllic, slower world in which nobody watched one minute of Michael Jackson news.

The kids at this camp come from all over the world and stay for six week sessions. No TV, telephones, computers.

Just mountains, camping, sailing, swimming, tennis, and play.

They have a screened gymnasium in which they play a game that’s sort of a soccer/kickball hybrid. We watched for a minute and I gathered that the point of the game was to move the ball around the court, with one’s feet, pick it up, freeze, and throw it as hard as one can at another kid — hoping to hit him. Hard. Fairly intense. Rather aggressive. No girls around.

Aaron is in charge of the tennis. His girlfriend, Lange, handles art.

“This place is unbelievable,” I said. “It looks like Dirty Dancing.”

“They shot parts of it here,” he said.

Aaron has always been resourceful. He had to be. We’ve been too pre-occupied with making a living to offer much help. His first two college summers, he worked as a counselor at UNC tennis camp. A pretty decent summer gig. He got to know and hit tennis with some of the top college players in the country. He got the job by calling and asking for it. He kept it by working his butt off when he got there.

He spent one summer working at a horse farm near Asheville and playing every music gig he could get.

The last three summers, including two since he graduated, he’s worked at this place.

When he graduated from college, his two grandmothers gave him a guitar. I don’t remember what we gave him. We were starting a new business at the time. Whatever it was, it wasn’t much. That was two years ago, and this is the first time we’ve visited.

He’s done well, and I’m a proud of him.

When I was in college, I worked in the mountains in the summer — teaching tennis (at a resort, not a camp). I forgot how magical summers in the mountains were. Yesterday was a reminder.

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