Memoir Monday is brought to you by that fabulous funny guy Travis @ I Like to Fish.
So this troupe of high school students, armed with cardboard boxes and every bit of clothing they could fit on their body, traipsed into the cathedral parking lot one cold Montana evening. We were given $5 for food for dinner, and told we would be walking to the nearest grocery store. Our herd was gathered and we started our walk to go find some food, all of us murmuring and talking about what it was like to be "on the streets." Once at the grocery store, we scattered. Some of us formed small groups of two or three, and planned little mini-meals. Like, "Alright, well So-and-So, you get salad stuff, You-There get bread and cheese, I'll go to the deli and get some ham and turkey." Yeah. We were all resourceful like that. There were some folks who went and bought chips and dip or fried chicken or candy (not even kidding...) and later on when we got back to "camp" were a little disappointed in their choices. (Hindsight is rough, ain't it?) What really wound up happening is that everyone eventually came together and shared their food, so everyone had a bit of everything and no one was forced to eat an entire bag of Snickers Minis for dinner.
Someone had also brought their guitar, and of course we made a fire (it was controlled, and in a parking lot) so we all sat around and had our very "Kumbaya" moments. Which really, is kind of the point of church retreats, is it not? So we sang, and ate, and I think someone even thought to by marshmallows so we went and grabbed some sticks from around the yard and roasted them over the fire.
When it was time for bed, we busted out our cardboard boxes and duct tape. The same groups that had planned at dinner time, had a plan for the night as well. What we did was tape all our boxes together to make a little "house" and share the space. So all the little intricate tunnels of cardboard boxes were littering the cathedral lawn. I'm sure it looked awesome. :) The girls whom I wound up sharing with said the next morning they were cozy and slept just great. I, on the other had, slept in one of the outer boxes and practically froze to death. I mean it's Montana in November people, it gets COLD at night! And here I am, layered in three shirts, a sweatshirt, my heavy winter coat, mittens AND gloves, and a hat and I'm freezing. I think I actually over-layered, which caused me to sweat, which then in turn made me colder because of the air hitting my body. (Again, hindsight's rough, ain't it?) But you know, we all made it. I know that our little evening was hardly a comparison to what some folks actually go through, but amidst all the goofing around we did have some serious discussion. Some of us faired better than others, but in the end we all learned a lot and were much more thankful that we only had to do this for one evening and not every day for survival. And I have to say, it was a really cool experience.