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Friday, June 15, 2012

Kamp Sunshine

Greetings friends,

I am doing my best to steal a moment for myself here this morning but I confess that even as I do so, guilt rides on my shoulders for not attending to the mountains of Mensa gathering business awaiting my attention. Sure, they will still be there when I am done with this, but I take my responsibilities very seriously and try to always put them ahead of my needs or wants.

Yesterday was particularly rough, as I was attacked by spambots from India, then China and finally the USA, sending me advertisement mail of every conceivable type to the tune of 200 in an hour. While I was blocking, deleting and doing what I could to keep going, I noticed more warnings popping up from my security program and then failure messages and operational failures of programs. As I was shutting down all non-essential programs still working, I noticed to my amazement and consternation, that I no longer had control of my mouse and that it was being moved remotely in an attempt to open files.

I was being actively hacked! I did as instructed by a trusted computer expert and shut down! I pulled the power cord out, pulled the battery out and briefly turned off modem and wireless router. I stayed "dark" for hours and used my phone to email warnings and briefly answer critical mail.

When I got home from a meeting that we had to attend last night, I attempted to start my computer and had to resort to my restore programs and back up information to get it back online. I also had to uninstall and re-install my security program as it had been corrupted by the attack.

So, mister or miss hacker out there, let me save you the trouble; I have no government secrets, I have no money or secret accounts, I am not the droid you are looking for; move along.

We are just a little over two weeks from the start of the national Mensa convention and work is fast and furious at this point. The stress level for all of us is high and we are all tired; and the gathering hasn't even started yet! What a roller coaster ride!

Today is our day to take Mr S. to lunch and do his grocery shopping and I anticipate that it will be emotionally draining as we try to keep things in perspective. His dementia coupled with the desire to have everything back the way it was when he was in charge of the world around him, makes for a frustrating day.

All anyone can do who is in a caretaker role, is to try to keep smiling and do the best you can do. You can't turn the clock back, and you can't restore their minds. Remind yourself frequently that you are doing the best that you can for your loved one and their demise is no one's fault, it is just life. Then when you are done, go have ice cream. Hey, it works for me!

Why don't we hop into Mr Peabody's way back machine and travel to a time when life was so much simpler and guilty pleasures were the best, because we didn't know that we were "supposed" to feel guilty. Enjoy!

Kamp Sunshine                                                       

When you are twelve years old, as I was in 1965, it doesn't take much to get you excited.

 One of the benefits of living in south Florida is the almost continuous sunshine and fresh air, which makes being out of doors the natural thing to do. Who could stay inside with sunshine you could smell and sea breezes that felt so good on your skin? Not me!

The Snake

My nearly constant companions, Larry, Sam, and Ralph and I decided on one Saturday morning that it was an excellent day for snake hunting. Our destination was the pine and palmetto forest west of the Indian Reservation, between Hollywood and Ft. Lauderdale and west of the main concentration of people.

It didn't take us long to search the area that we normally messed around in. We knew it all too well, and possibly IT knew us that well too. IF there were any critters, they certainly knew what we sounded and smelled like and avoided us with great success. Not only had we not caught any snakes, we hadn't even seen one all morning.

We made a joint decision to move to a previously unexplored patch of forest even farther to the west. The area seemed more remote and quieter than all the rest of sunny Florida and this was a good thing. We relocated and set about searching for snakes.

We didn't get too far when a Blue Racer broke cover and the chase was on! This wasn't the first time that we had worked together in this type of endeavor and we quickly caught up with the snake. Like the local nickname for this species indicated, the "Davie Cobra" turned and faced us, rearing up at least one third of its body length in an amazing threat display. This was a good one, at least four feet long and ornery. They are NOT poisonous, just mean. They really like to bite!

Larry grabbed the tail from behind while it focused on me. The snake spun and bit him on the arm causing him to let go, and the other two to jump in. They were not fast enough to grab him and he was on the go again. He fairly flew across a grassy area, apparently heading for the cover of some pine trees which were all in a row. I didn't have a clue where we were. We had been running so hard to keep up with this snake that I had lost track of where we came from. But no matter, the snake turned and reared again, it was probably getting tired. I know I sure was.

The Fence

That's when we heard the laughing.

When we stopped running and could hear again, the sound of women laughing floated to us on the breeze. A quick scan of the area made it most likely that the sound was coming from beyond the pine trees. So we went on over to the trees; we might as well, while we were gawking and listening, the snake had given us the slip and was nowhere to be seen.

When we got to the trees we could hear the voices clearly and realized that there were several women talking. What in the world were they doing out here?

Inside the tree line was a vertical board fence, meant for privacy I guess, but from whom? There wasn't even a road the way we came in. The fence was only about six feet high, problem was; we weren't. It wasn't too hard to find a break in the boards as they looked like they had been there a long time and were in need of repair.

Kamp Sunshine

Oh My God! I was so glad that they didn't fix that fence. If I had caught that snake, I'd have kissed it on the lips! Those women didn't have ANY clothes on! We had stumbled upon a nudist colony, or a naturist retreat, as they were called by some at the time. Whatever anyone else wanted to call it, to us it was paradise. We were only about twelve you know, and looking was much more than we could hope for. And, there they were; naked... ALL OVER!

There were men there too, but who cared. The women were mostly older, but all ages seemed to be represented, (from babies to grandmothers), and all shapes, sizes, hair color and degrees of tan were on display.

We had found enough openings so that all of us had our own spot to look through, and we recognized several of the people inside. I was glad that I wasn't required to speak at that point. I don't think that I could have made any sound come out. WOW!

Being deeply engrossed in our studies of the female version of human anatomy and its moving parts, we didn't hear the old guy walk up on us. He was the caretaker and security guard for Kamp Sunshine and was patrolling the "perimeter" when he spotted us.

This guy was the walking, talking example of living to be old. He was in his late seventies or more, wrinkled, a scraggly grey beard stubble like he hadn’t shaved for a week and suntanned the color of old leather. He was uniformed in Khaki shorts, flip flops and a pith helmet, with a gut hanging over his belt line that seemed to need a wheelbarrow, and with the white coating on his nose like a lifeguard, maybe he was that too!

When he saw us he spit out the stump of a cigar that he had been chewing on and started yelling obscenities and making threats against our male parts if we didn't depart with the utmost haste and certainty. The guy was very annoying... but we were under the influence of guilt at the time, so we complied.

By the time we had entered the trees on the other side of the grassy clearing, we came to our senses. We went right back to our spots and continued our observations of the female form in motion; which was lovely, just lovely!

I guess the old guy must have figured us out. Instead of continuing around on his loop, he doubled back on us, stopping by his guard shack to grab his shotgun.

The Battle

He came at us yelling and pointing the shotgun. Not knowing what he would do, we had to go on what he could do, and took off on the run. As we gained momentum we felt safer and then the blast hit us from behind. Thank God it was only rock salt, man that stuff stings!

Shooting us was not necessary and we were mad about it. We went back to the car, which we found by back-tracking our own footprints, and went after some equalizers.  We rounded up some BB guns and ammunition and headed back to even the score with him for blasting us while running away. One slight problem: we didn't recognize the starting point to get to the Kamp.

Then we caught a break. Where there is a helicopter circling, there are naked women below. The local "Eye-in-the-Sky" traffic helicopter was locked right on to the volleyball game in progress and turning in tight circles.

We took our positions once more, but up in the trees this time, loaded and ready. There we waited for our chance, which came before too long. The old man appeared, talking to himself and still packing that shotgun. When he got close enough we yelled at him and as he raised the shotgun to shoot us again, we let him have it from all sides! We were only shooting BBs and without much power behind them, so they weren’t going to do any damage to his leather-like hide. And, no head shots were ever allowed, by our own rules.

He retreated and we figured that we had stirred up enough trouble. What we had done was very likely to get the cops called on us, so we reluctantly left "paradise" and went back to the world of "clothing NOT optional" and other bitter realities of life. We didn't return again. We figured that the old guard probably changed his ammunition to something more lethal (like bird shot) and would be waiting for the chance to get even with us.

When I recognized certain women after that I couldn’t help but remember what I had seen, and it always brought a smile to my face. Life was indeed very exciting at twelve years old in the Sunshine state! 

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