The Bus Ride Home
By Beth Lester
As a camper I refused to get to and from camp by any other means than the bus. Counselors, however, don’t have the opportunity to take a bus back and forth with all of their friends. This past weekend, at the end of the second session I took the bus southbound with another counselor, Frankie, and all of the campers headed home.
The “see-you-later’s” started early for me. Last year, I had been directing cars as they came into camp, so I had been afforded the opportunity to say “see-you-later” to campers one-by-one throughout the day. This year, however, I was hugging crying campers and 4-week-counselors alongside the rest of the bus-riders at one of the premier sleep away camps in New England.
The bus ride down was nothing like what I had expected: tears for hours. The tears were gone by the time we pulled away from camp onto Bishop Road. We had brought movies for the kids to watch if they wanted, but the DVD player wasn’t working. While the kids were initially disappointed, they soon realized that not having a movie to watch wasn’t the worst thing to happen. They started playing a word game called CONTACT! and trying to solve riddles.
By the time we got to the Massachusetts stop in Newton, the kids were emotionally and mentally prepared to give their friends a last hug before going their separate ways for the winter. In all, the trip was significantly less dramatic than I had expected. I would love to take the trip again at the end of the summer. Meeting parents was so much fun, and one of my old camp friends came to the stop to pick up her sister.
There is truly no comparison to the feeling on the bus as it pulls off the highway, something between excited anticipation and melancholy silence, but I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything in the world.