Our Journey Helping Those In Need Throughout North America
The second week at Camp of the Hills was the busiest yet. The RVIC ladies continue sorting crafts in the Games Room. Their men worked in the cold weather for a couple of days installing bathrooms in the girls’ dorms. The crew that arrived from Winkler, Man. was ready to go to work on Monday morning completing the forms for the new laundry building so that the 1500 square foot concrete floor could be poured. It was nothing short of amazing that the floor was able to be poured on Wednesday. With the cold weather, it did not set up, and the men were still trowelling it the next morning. Len commented that it would be a good hard floor under those circumstances. The three Winkler ladies that came along to provide meals made sure their working men were well fed breakfast, lunch and dinner, and delivered coffee and a snack up to the site where the laundry was being worked on every day. The floor being completed and dry, some of the men started erecting the steel laundry building and by the weekend had all the framework up and the roof on, while others tackled the new bathrooms on the second girls’ dorm. Mel’s admiration for the abilities of these Canadian Mennonites grows every time they show up to volunteer.
Wednesday afternoon it was 20 degrees down here in Texas, I was chilled to the bone! The RVIC ladies and I were in the Craft Room sorting crafts that morning . They do not work in the afternoons, so I was pretending I was an RVIC lady that afternoon…
Saturday was a beautiful day, appreciated by all, especially the Kenny Baker family. They were having an 80th birthday for “PawPaw” and it was wonderful to be able to sit out on the patio and eat! All the relatives were there and we were pleased Ollie Ann invited us, their friends from Canada. The forecast is for another nice day on Monday and then the icy weather is expected to return. John will be working underneath a cottage doing the plumbing…
Things are getting busy here at Camp. We picked up Len and Nettie at Austin Airport on January 29th and they immediately got to work. Len can fix anything mechanically and Mel was anxious for him to arrive so he could fix the starter on the John Deere front end loader. In short order, he diagnosed that parts were needed, and while they were waiting for those parts, he was found welding pads on top of all of the support posts for the new bathrooms at the back of the girls’ cabins. Mel has yet to find a task which Len is not able to do. He had also been waiting for Nettie, as she had previously cleaned up and organized the hardware part of the shop complex and it has gotten into a terrible mess over the last year. He knew she would do it quickly and efficiently! We are happy to have them back and will be travelling together quite a bit, as they do not have a vehicle here. They are staying until the last week of February and then driving their motorhome to Mississippi where they will look after returning all of the MDS vehicles and equipment from the various sites over the U.S.A. back to the compound at Columbus. They are a very dependable hardworking couple and we are proud to be volunteering with them.
Seeing as I had a slow start with my articles in January, I just realized that I have not shared with you some of the interesting events that have occurred; New Years Eve, for instance. We had just picked up our friends from Dallas Fort Worth Airport on the 31st and thankfully Kaki from the Camp had travelled with us or we would still be driving around that maze of roads in the airport complex… We had heard that there was a big New Years Eve party at the Sportsmans Biker Bar and Café and figured that as it was only 3 miles from home for us, we may as well have supper there. We had been told there would be a huge bonfire in the party area outside all day and a band playing on the outdoor stage in the evening. That sounded like just what the doctor ordered for New Years Eve! We were surprised then upon arriving at 6:30 p.m. to find no vehicles in the parking lot, and no lights on in the café part of the complex. The sign on the door said OPEN AT 7. When we asked at the Bar entrance, we were told the café sign was for 7 a.m. on weekdays and the café had just closed. Because of the very cool weather, the Band had cancelled for the outdoor gig, and since there were no patrons, they had not started up the bonfire. There was still going to be music inside the bar, but the bar side is very small and we still had to eat- this was New Years Eve and we were not inclined to drive all the way to town for a meal or New Years celebration. We have become friends with the owner and asked the waitress if it was possible for us to get supper on the café side yet even though it was closed. She checked with the boss, who is also the cook, and said SURE, they had two prime rib steaks left as well as two sirloin steaks and all the chicken fried steaks we wanted. She said the prime rib steaks were regularly $23.00 each, but she would give them to us for $15.00, the same price as the sirloins. The men each chose one of the prime ribs, and us three ladies each had a chicken fried steak. I tell you, it was a meal fit for a KING!! The side dishes kept coming, and the guys said they had never had such an excellent HUGE prime rib before! We had the establishment (and the cook, and the waitress) all to ourselves. We felt a little bad for the owner to have had such grandiose plans which did not materialize, but we could not have had a better New Years Eve!
The Paul Bunyan weekend finally was here, January 10th. 11th and 12th. The camp had sent out invitations to supporters to participate in a lumberjack weekend for all interested men, in an effort to accomplish some tree removal and have some fun at the same time. About 40 would-be loggers (and at least one professional logger) from all over Texas showed up at camp by Saturday morning to spend a couple of days logging and cleaning up brush and in addition, to participate in the extracurricular events.