Sunday mornings were a bit unconventional at LVR. A bell rang to call us to the outdoor chapel on the trail to Outpost Camp. The service began with a sing-along of requests, usually goofy camp songs with motions requested by ranch kids. After the service, every person there had to stand up and introduce themselves. The staff memorized each others’ intros, which came out pretty much the same every time.
With a monotone delivery, Eddie Harth’s was the best. “Hi, my name is Edward or Eddie. My camp name is Stedward or Steadie.” We never told the campers our real names until the last day, so they’d always try to guess. Steadie’s was so obvious, but for some reason the kids never seemed to get it.
Steadie is quiet, but not shy. He’s full of soft-spoken wisecracks. His teasing was direct but not malicious. Throughout the summer, I remember him being perplexed on several occasions by the unpredictability of some of the women on staff who would laugh along with his jokes until suddenly a line was crossed. He never quite understood the tipping point. I can’t blame him though; sometimes I didn’t get it either.
Steadie had the sometimes undesirable role of camp maintenance. I respect his patience; I don’t think I could handle that job. Besides all the random tasks he had to do on a daily basis, he worked a lot more weekends than most of us to get things done. I felt bad because he deserved the time off as much as the rest of us, but he usually took it in stride. People consider working at LVR to be a sacrifice. I think for counselors it’s a sweet deal. For maintenance though, I see the sacrifice. And it was a greatly needed sacrifice: the place probably would have fallen apart without Steadie. I hope he comes back this summer, maybe as a counselor.