Camp Granada

Hello Mother! Hello Father! Here I am a Camp Granada!

We didn’t sing the song at camp but I actually attended a camp with the name of that amusing camp song.

After some Internet searching, I was unable to find anything about the camp and I have to assume it has closed. I attended Camp Granada for 2 weeks every summer for 4 years; from the time I was 12 to 16. I was fortunate to have a family who was able to send me to horse camp. My brother attended one year, but it really wasn’t his thing.

Two weeks out of the year, doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but those 8 weeks of my life gave me some of my best memories.

Our day would start out with mucking stalls in the morning, then breakfast, then our morning ride. The ride included going to the pasture to get our horses, then taking them to the arena to properly groom and saddle them. We would generally ride around the arena, learning the proper way to work the horse from walk to trot to canter. They would teach us formations and would practice a routine that would be shown to the parents on the last day of camp (I think I still have the VHS, yes VHS tapes of these rides from those sessions). My favorite was when we would go out on trail rides and get outside.

001 - Horses

Ghazid is the horse on the bottom left side of the picture.

The first year, I rode a horse whose nickname was Beans (you can imagine why, he was quite gassy), I can’t remember what his real name was but It was entertaining to a group of young girls trotting along and a horse letting out loud farts. Beans was a gentle, tubby bay for a girl who didn’t have a lot of horse experience. The second year I rode a horse named Ghazid, his main feature was that his tail was extremely short, for an unknown reason and when he would trot he would lift his tail and it would look like a streamer.

 

The third year, I started out with a pretty paint named Moon Beam, she was a mean tempered bitch, and that is the only description for her. Needless to say, she bit me in the shoulder while I was grooming her before one of our morning rides. Like I said, mean tempered bitch. Moon Beam was then replaced with Khalid, who was the exact opposite. He was a very mild tempered horse, and I ended up riding him for my 4th year as well. My final year, I tried an English saddle and wound up flying over Khalid’s head and onto my butt on the ground and switching back to a Western saddle.

20180916_194339-collageThe camp had a bunk house where the campers would sleep. A boys side and a girls side, but there was rarely any boys. In my 3rd year, the camp hosted a group of Japanese girls; we got to spend time learning about them and ended up making friends. At the end of camp we exchanged gifts from our home lands; I received a pretty pair of chopsticks, which I still have. That year we also signed t-shirts for each other and the girls signed them in Japanese, again, I still have mine.

Each year we would go on field trips. One year we went to Rogue Community College Amphitheater, where each summer they put on 2 musicals throughout the summer. That year had been Oklahoma and at the beginning of the performance they had a stagecoach with horses come from the hill behind the grass seating down to the stage. I thought it was amazing. The other interesting part of this particular performance was that Kevin Hagen, the actor that played Doc Baker on Little House on the Prairie played Ado Annie’s father. He had moved to the area and began acting in the local theatre.

Another year, we went to Historic Jacksonville and to the Britt Festival. I can’t remember what we saw but I recall that the owner, Carmen, and my best camp friends and I had one of the Old Time photos done. We did so many other things, but these are the one the have stuck in my mind over the years.

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Top Left to Right: Michelle, Me, Andy & Kara Bottom: Dan (counselor) & Mari Carmen (camp owner)

psx_20180916_201152A wooden mask hung in the dining room of the bunkhouse and legend was that it was cursed and the ‘witch doctor’ would get you if you touched the mask. Of course, we all dared each other to touch it. The closest we would get would be to put a hand in its open mouth (without touch the teeth, of course) and making faces.

 

There was swimming in the pond on the property or pool (which was closer), bonfires, story telling, sitting in the bunkhouse playing cards (we generally played one called Speed) and listening to music. We also watched movies…

I’ve never been a fan of scary movies, and one year we watched Poltergeist. Probably wouldn’t have been a big deal except one thing, when we had to go to the bathroom that night. The scene where the clouds are roiling over the house just before all Hell breaks loose…. (I will come back to this after a short explanation).

The bathrooms for the campers were in the barn. At night, the barn doors were open for the paddock horses to run back and forth into the arena and the paddock and we had to go through one side of the barn around the back and down the other side of the barn. During the day we were able to cut across between the paddock and the barn. The night we watched Poltergeist, we walked out of the bunkhouse and down one side of the barn, when we got to the other side of the barn we looked across the yard and the sky above looked just like the one we had just seen in the movie. Of course, as girls will do we squealed and ran to the other side and walked quickly (no running in the barn!) down to the bathroom and did the same on the return trip, all the while giggling and freaking each other out more.

The first year I was there, Carmen’s mother, had just moved to the U.S. from Spain. She was sadly unable to participate in the following years, due to age and health. However, that year, she cooked a traditional Spanish meal, which I have searched for, for 30 years now and have not been able to find anything like it. All I remember was that it contained chicken and a Spanish rice, sounds pretty simple but there was much more to it and for the life of me I haven’t been able to duplicate it.

Finally, there were my camp friends, I made quite a few over the years, but there are 2 that were my camp besties. I lost track of them after I went to college and started moving around but due to the invention of Social Media, I was able to find them again, and even got to meet up with Andy about 5 years ago and introduce her to my children.

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