April 16, 2010

Many, many years ago I worked at a camp in western North Carolina.  For those Californians who read this, that means inland North Carolina, and not just inland but the mountains.  It was called Camp Tekoa.  Camp Tekoa continues to have a special place in my heart and I cannot help but smile any time I think about it and the people that worked there.  It truly is an amazing place where young people get to experience the amazing world we live in.

I worked there circa 2000 (we used to call it “Y2K”, glad that’s over) in the summer.  Some of the counselors sported beards that were larger than small shrubs.  Others were clean-cut and earned nicknames like Johnny Bravo.  There were two constants.  Everyone loved Jesus, and everyone had a nalgene.  For those who are unaware, a nalgene is/was a smoke grey indestructible water bottle with a royal blue top.   Now they come in a variety of colors and shapes and things but grey/blue is the original and there can be no other.  Camelbak was around at the time and there were a few of them.  But not like the nalgenes.  In fact, one week I worked in the kitchen (great stories to come) and remember running dozens of load through the Hobart, it’s a sanitation machine, of upside down bottles and randomly distributed blue lids.

They are economical, rugged, have a measuring thing and hold enough water for a good hike.  The only problem is that the mouth was too small for a brick of ramen, but I digress.  At one point I had a score of them, and have recently broken down and purchased colors other than grey.  That brings me to the point of this particular entry.  I needed a vase.

I have a vase, in fact I have 2.  One modern and the other borrowed from the old lady who used to live here.  Neither would work.  I had daisies.  So standard “You’ve Got Mail” white ones and a few baby gerbers, or “gerbs” as the girl referred to them.  They wouldn’t work in either the modern vase of the one that must have been the first made in the history of glass vases.  Where do I turn?

This is a common problem that I have.  I’ve got something the is meant to do the job, but it’s not quite what I need.  You have this all the time.  A few examples for you.  I had a bike.  It worked fine.  But it isn’t very mobile.  So I now have a folding bicycle.  This will no doubt differ from your own experience but substitute your own and you will understand exactly what I am saying.   It’s not always that I need the newest or best or most technologically advanced.  It’s like Occam’s razor for consumer products, often the simplest product is the right one.  So you get where this is going.  The mouth of the nalgene too narrow for ramen is perfect for some daisy’s.  It’s not the best looking.  It’s not statuesque.  It won’t be making any appearances in your local flower shop as a must have and it kinda reminds me of my sister’s senior quote.  “Always keep something beautiful in sight, even if it’s only a daisy in a jelly jar”.

So to Camp Tekoa; thank you for the wonderful memories, experiences and friends.  And thank you for providing me with my favorite vase… the nalgene.  So, not particularly relevant, but I guess it means enjoy the simple things, and go buy a nalgene.  Or daisies. Or both.


One Response to “Nalgene”

  1. Justin said

    I request…nay, demand that there be a post about summershining it up in Williamsburg. Preferably the one in the summer of ’04. We had one thing better than daisies: TULIPS!

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