Archive for July 3rd, 2011

3rd July
2011
written by amber

Across the Border

The letter of recommendation from Reverend Wilson worked – I was across the border. Naturally, I had no intention of volunteering at a Christian youth camp. I was here to make my fortune, and the scheme I had in mind required only access to a computer and a legal loophole that Canada had yet to close.

I stepped through the gate into the freedom of the Edmonton airport and was immediately accosted by a large man with sandy hair and big horsey teeth bared in a grin. “You must be Allen,” he boomed.

I was about to deny this when I noticed that his loudness had attracted the attention of some airport cops, so I quietly agreed, keeping my head down in a manner suitable for a devout foreigner come to work in the fields of the Lord. “Yes, Reverend Wilson, I am Allen.”

“Oh, don’t call me Reverend. Call me Preacher Bob.” He picked up my bags and loped quickly toward the exit.

I decided that when he drove me into town, I’d plead a prior obligation and head into urban anonymity, never to see him again.

We drove and drove. “The airport’s a long way out of town,” I remarked.

After an hour, we were still driving through fields and brush, and it was starting to get dark.

“When do we get to the city?” I asked.

“We’re heading right to camp. I should have asked if you needed anything. But no worry, we provide a shuttle into town every Monday. Not to Edmonton, mind you, to Sundre, the nearest town.”

“A shuttle?”

“Just the van we use to take the kids on field trips. Nothing fancy.”

“Couldn’t we walk to town?” I certainly wasn’t going to wait until Monday to make my escape.

“If you started early enough. It’s 23 miles.”

“Miles?”

“Oh, I’m old fashioned,” he laughed, although I had no idea why. “Ummm…about 30 kilometres?”

“Is there a computer that I can use at the camp?”

“Oh, sorry, Allen. Guess this is going to be culture shock for you. But you’ll have hiking and horseback riding, rock climbing once a week. Didn’t you read the literature I sent you?”

Why would I read it? I never expected to actually go to the camp. “I had no idea it would be so far into the wilderness.”

We passed only one town on our journey, and Preacher Bob caught me looking longingly at the MacDonald’s. “Dinner will be waiting when we get to the camp.”

It was – some kind of stew in a huge dented aluminium pot, steaming on a wooden counter while a rag-tag group of hopeless looking kids sat on benches at a long communal table, hands held neatly in their laps. Preacher Bob introduced me, then invited me to lead them in asking the blessing for our meal and the wonderful fellowship in this wonderful camp.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

Thanks to Jerry Fochler for his contribution to this story idea.