At Red Oak Grove for the last couple years, we’ve done day camp. Kiddos of all ages come to church for a full day, three times in a summer. We read stories, eat snacks, play games, and do wacky things. And we play Sardines. Of course. It’s the classic church game. Someone goes to hide, everyone else searches, and once they find the person hiding, they hide with them. We always end up playing Sardines.
Today was no exception. I teamed up with Lacey. She just finished first grade and she’s the custodian’s daughter. Needless to say, we had an advantage in that we both know the church pretty well. We were the first to find a hidden person in one round which meant we got to hide in the next round.
We crawled to the back of the closet under the stairs in the basement. The key to this hiding spot was that the closet was deep, and if you didn’t fully walk into the closet, you wouldn’t see that there was a tiny space under the stairs. That’s where we camped. Right beside the quilt frames and the Christmas trees that go in the narthex every year.
People, again and again, opened the door to the closet but they didn’t turn on the light or walk in – hence, we stayed hidden. Pretty soon, the searchers got frustrated. No one had found us. Lacey and I were just hanging out, probably for 15 minutes, giggling every time someone opened the door to the closet just to close it again.
Then, from inside the closet, I hear yelling. Quite a bit of yelling.
Charley puked all over! Ewww! Charley puked!
Here were my internal thoughts: Shit. I don’t do puke. This is one of my worst day camp fears. How do I clean up puke? Can I stay inside the closet and pretend I didn’t hear it? Will the other adult take care of it? Shit. I’ll just stay here. No. I can’t. I need to be a leader and address this. Do I?
I tried to rationalize with Lacey, the seven year old. Do I go? Do I stay? What should I do, Lacey? Finally I decided I had to go. Brave Lacey agreed to stay hidden in the dark, creepy closet if I left her my phone/flashlight. I waited until I heard no one else in the basement and snuck out.
I found a big group gathered near the nursery. They immediately were all over me. Where are you hiding? We can’t find you! Give us a clue. Is Lacey still hiding? I saw Charley in the group. Charley! Are you okay, I asked.
The group laughs. Charley hadn’t puked. I’d been played. They made it all up to smoke me out.
(But their smoke out didn’t completely work because they didn’t see where I came from and Lacey was still hiding. It was ten minutes later, and only with my clues, that they found our spot. *Lacey and I high five*)