Camp Run-a-Pup is in full swing from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and a tail- wagging good time is had by all. People and pups are coming and going from sun up until way past sun down; there is never a dull moment. I juggle food dishes and referee who gets the deer antlers, click pictures, all while reassuring the anxious owners that their pups are doing great.
This year’s summer busyness has been punctuated by Cole’s senior project. He is rehabbing a 1973 VW Bug. The Bug took up residence in our car port in early June, and as I looked at it through my kitchen window, I took a deep breath and fueled my fortitude with Cole’s enthusiasm. Over the following six weeks, Cole learned everything he could about his Bug while he painted, house sat, taxied, delivered, and dog washed to earn the money he would need to cover some of his Bug expenses. In between meeting and greeting campers, I helped him design a blog where he could journal his experience of rehabbing the Bug and solicit sponsorships to cover additional expenses.
August arrived (my busiest summer month) at the same time Cole hit some stumbling blocks and worried that his senior project was too big an undertaking for him. I hate kids sometimes. Taking another deep breath, I launched into a pep talk, reminding him that I was along for the ride and that he had lots of support and reassuring him that he could learn what he needed to know. After all, VW Bugs don’t snap together like Legos and detours are to be expected. Rah! Rah! I then started reading the VW manual at night and visiting car forums. Do you think I will get mechanic overalls for Christmas?
Ironically, Cole misses having his Dad work on his project with him—the archetypal father and son building a car together, the lyrics of country music. The problem is, Dearly Departed, Joe hated country music and could recite his mechanics’ phone numbers by heart, and while he liked classic cars, I’m pretty sure he never saw himself under the hood of a car or pouring over VW Bug manuals. But I said nary a word to Cole and full heartedly agreed it would have been nice to have Joe along for the ride and then went to fill an empty pill bottle with some of Joe’s cremation ashes and put them in the glove compartment of the Bug. No, it’s not the same as if Joe was working alongside Cole, but it’s the best I could do in the moment, and I just wasn’t up to the “he is with you in spirit” pitch. Joe can offer a little spirit intervention, get his spirit hands a little greasy, and sell the spirit pitch. I’m busy trying to figure out how to satisfy a deer antler customer who wants a medium set of deer antlers that aren’t “too hard.” (Vickie, our friend and camp helper, suggest finding a deer with osteoporosis)
Life’s a challenge, isn’t it?