Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Camp Goodtimes Cruise, etc.

On Monday, David had the pleasure of sailing on the Argosy boat, Spirit of Seattle, to take part in the Camp Goodtimes cruise. David has elected not to attend Camp Goodtimes this summer, but he was invited to join in the cruise by our good friends, the family of "Mooselips." (Everyone on staff at camp has a camp name.) David took the 8:45 ferry to Seattle in the morning with Mooselips' kids, and they walked over to the Argosy dock & boarded the Argosy boat. They cruised to Vashon Island, where Camp Goodtimes is held, and picked up the campers and counselors.

They cruised to Seattle to take photos and get some food, saw a great water-show (put on by the Seattle Fire Department's new fire boat), had arts and crafts and activities on the boat, then cruised to Blake Island for a show and a snack. There were some "Mooselips" shenanigans on board the ship, as he "fell" overboard for the benefit of the kids, and did some other fun stunts and MC'd the whole affair. After sailing back to Vashon to return the kids & staff to camp, Mooselips, his kids, David and the rest of the crew returned to Seattle on the Spirit of Seattle. Heidi (Mrs. Mooselips) & I took the ferry over to meet them, and we watched the kids help Mooselips clean up the boat while we sat on the deck of Red Robin, sipping margaritas and chatting. Then we all had dinner together, talking about camp and the cruise. Mooselips then headed back to camp with a bag full of wonderful photos of the day for all of the campers, and Heidi and I took the kids home on the ferry. What a great day for David. (I am trying to convince him to write a guest-posting about the cruise, but so far, he is resisting.) Now, he is thinking about what a good place Argosy might be to apply for a summer job!
While David was on the cruise, I had a visit with my mother's cousins, who were visiting from New York. They wanted to see Katie's bench and her slide show, so we had a walk on our beach and watched the slide show, then went to town for lunch and photos at Katie's bench. It was a lovely, sunny day, and they could see the Olympic Mountains from the bench. I am grateful that they were able to enjoy the view and the peace of the spot. They have three children, two who are grown and have given them the gift of grandchildren. Their middle daughter, Ruth, was killed by a drunk driver 27 years ago, so they have walked a long way on this path themselves. I hope that their trip West brought them comfort and joy.

This weekend is Andrea and Mike's 1st wedding anniversary, and they called to ask if they could spend it here with us. This means so much to me, I can't quite put it into words. If you have been reading this journal for a year, you will recall that Andrea and Mike moved their wedding date so that Katie could be their bridesmaid; she enjoyed having that dream come true more than anyone will ever know.

A week after the wedding, Katie's legs became paralysed and she was unable to walk again. A week after that, she passed away. It was a precious gift to move the date of that ceremony, and we will always be thankful to them for giving her that priceless gift. They are going to come on Friday, and I can't wait to see them. Since they moved to Bellingham, we see less of one another, and it will be so much fun to catch up.

David was invited to golf with my dad and his Wednesday golf group today. He has done this a couple of times before. Most of the group are in their 80s, with a couple who might be closer to 60 or 70. David enjoys their company, and he and my dad get to spend time together, driving to & from whatever course they will be playing -- with David doing the driving -- as well riding in the cart while on the course Last week, they had the privilege of playing on a (private) course called Caledon, owned by Craig McCaw , which was a new experience for David.

Today they are on their way to play a public course in Seattle.

On Monday, I had a chance to see the DVD of the interview that David and I gave for staff training at Camp Goodtimes. I had never seen it, and the funny thing is, it was like watching and hearing a stranger speak. I did not remember much of what I had said in the interview, as I was concentrating on answering the questions that Mooselips was asking me. Since I am not accustomed to speaking on camera, I was nervous in the beginning, but as I got into talking about camp, and David and Katie's experiences, I quit caring about camera. Watching the DVD, I learned some things from what I myself had said, and I cried at the end, as if it was someone else's story. Weird, yet I had compassion for my own story -- not self-pity, but compassion for the woman who was speaking, -- as if I heard the story from another vantage point. It was fun for me to hear and see David on camera.

I learned that the staff appreciated the information that we shared in the interview, and they were moved by it. I also learned that the Camp Mission Statement for the week was written as an acrostic, with the initial letters spelling out "FOR KATIE AND THE OTHERS." How cool is that? She is still inspiring people, and I believe that she always will.

I miss her very, very, very, very much.

We recently found out that, because of the generosity of many of our family and friends, the Katie Gerstenberger Endowment for cancer research at Children's Hospital is now over $79,480.00! In less than one year, the community of people who love and care about Katie has come together to help fund cancer research. Of course, this inspires me to want to do even more...and we will soon be visiting the new Research Institute that Children's Hospital has built. I will post more about that later.

THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to the endowment! We deeply appreciate your generosity.


HappyWifeHappyLife said...

That is amazing! How exciting that the endowment is that huge! Here's a virtual high-five to you!! (And, of course, to all the generous people who gave...)


Beautiful pictures, and I know some beautiful memories as well.


heather b said...

I love to hear about what is going on in your life and especially am glad David is able to have some fun. I have really been praying that he can continue to just be a teenagery boy; doing fun stuff, not thinking about much other than golf and what he's going to eat next!! ;0)

Also, what a blessing. 79,000$ closer to a cure.

The Engine of the Family said...

I'm so sorry that you must go through this time. I'm sure it gets harder and harder as the anniversary of her passing nears. I hope you are well - stay strong and lean on your family and God. Katie is always with you too :)

wiki said...

I was a counselor at both the June and July camps this summer, and was fortunate enough to watch your video at staff training. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Katie's story was and is a huge inspiration for me. I love camp, and I love how it gives kids like Katie and David a chance to enjoy life and leave their cancer worries behind. I missed seeing David on Da Boata, but I hope that he does get another chance to come back to camp.