Wednesday, July 14, 2004

"It's Always Sunny At Mohican!"

I've gone through an awful lot of the summer without talking about my job at the Mohican State Park Campground Swimming Pool. This is a place where, if campers get tired of swimming in the "crick," they can come play in water that isn't very deep (the "deep" end is four-and-a-half feet deep. I typically work there four days a week, eight hours at a time, with one other lifeguard.

Camping is a big industry for Loudonville; if you drive south out of town you will find, packed together on one road, numerous canoe liveries, even more campgrounds, every single franchised restaurant we have except our Taco Bell Express, the entrance to the state park, and one overpriced gas station. And when summer arrives, we don't say, "summer's here, it's really hot" or "you know it's summer when school's out." We say, "summer's here, it took me 20 minutes to get to East of Chicago? or, "Smell those campfires [from the other side of town]? Yep, it's summer."

Now, as my friend Kristen (who also works at the campground) would say, campers do some pretty crazy stuff. Here are a few things I have learned about the summer-folk now that I work for them:
First of all, you don't come camping alone. Oh no. You have to bring lots and lots of people, preferably your extended family: Grandparents are a must; brothers, sisters, and of course your children's boy/girlfriend are also welcome. The aunts and uncles are necessary to bring your kids to the pool while you are busy doing something like building the campfire or running to Dollar General.

Second of all, friendliness to all the other campers is key. You hang out with everyone who camps near your site. You go fishing with them, you play videogames at the arcade with them, and you come to the pool and terrorize the lifeguards with them. friends forever. I mean, for a week.

Alright: You have to ask the question, "what is there to do in this town after 9 o'lock?" I have two replies: " can go bowling...?" and "when you figure it out, let me know." What I should probably say is, "you're going to have to drive about half an hour." You also have to ask what happened to the diving boards (they were taken out in the 80's when the new, more shallow pool was put in), because, you know, you and your family love it here at Mohican and have come here to this very campground for about 35 years.

All in all, it's an interesting experience. Definitely different from working at the public pool where all the little kids know our names and we know all the little 13-year-olds' names because we've thrown them each out several times. Ah, summer.

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