Sam and his dad are back at my campground. They are most welcome return campers. Sam has Down’s Syndrome. He is pure delight.

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Some years ago, courtesy of the stimulus, my campground got new restrooms. Sam and his dad watched the installations. Lots of heavy equipment was involved. The toilets were 16′, 8′ underground and 8′ above. Big machines dug the holes and cranes lifted the new outhouses into their holes. Out of 6 outhouses, 5 were properly leveled. One still collects water in the corner when it rains.  Sam and his dad watched all day. Five outhouses got installed and Sam moved from site to site with the crews.

After the installations were finished, Sam’s dad appeared at my sight with a most unusual request. Sam wanted to sleep in one of the new bathrooms. Could we make that happen? I told him I’d talk to other campers to make sure that they’d be willing to use another one and that I was sure we could work something out. Sam and his dad spent three nights sleeping on a hard concrete floor but Sam was ecstatic. Other campers stopped by to thank Sam for watching out for the new bathroom. He grinned.

When I saw them again the other day, the father introduced me again to his son and Sam remembered me as the lady who let him sleep in the new bathrooms. Not wanting to go there again, especially based on the look on Sam’s dad’s face, I switched topics. I asked Sam if he could use a hammer. He gave me a big grin and said that he could.

I just happened to have a bag of trail markers and nails to mark the hiking trail around the edge of the campground. I told Sam that I could really use help putting the markers up on trees. He was most excited to help. I got the bag of trail markers, nails, and a hammer and met Sam and his dad at the hiking sign on the road. I explained that we had to mark the trail both ways so hikers could see from both directions and safely follow the trail. Sam did the hammering. He was also pretty perceptive about marker placement. A task I had been basically avoiding turned into a fun afternoon.

I have some embroidered patches for the BWCA. I gave one to Sam and told him I gave them only to people who helped protect the wilderness. He had a big grin, a thank you and a hug. He later appeared to ask me to sew it on his jacket which I did. As I said, Sam is a delight.


Credit: Adobe Stock Images. Standard License.