Blue. Giraffes.

One 24-year-old who in the past year has opened up more about death than he ever has before.

One 9-year-old who’s probably too mature for his cabin of 6-to-8-year-olds but still keeps a good attitude and leads by example.

And one 7-year-old who tends to get into a little too much trouble but deep down doesn’t mean anything malicious by it because he isn’t old enough to mean anything malicious by it.

72 hours ago, none of them knew each other.

48 hours ago, all three of them were getting ready to meet each other for the first time.

12 hours ago, the 7-year-old and 9-year-old were arguing and the 24-year-old had to quickly defuse the conflict, separate the boys, and calm both of them down.

Right now, all three are walking across camp because the 9-year-old woke up with his stomach hurting so the 24-year-old is taking him to the nurse’s station and the 7-year-old volunteered to join just to help out.

It is the third time in three days the 9-year-old has been in pain because of his stomach. It is the fifth time in two days the 7-year-old has been to the nurse’s station. It is the seventh time the 24-year-old has been woken up since 3am.

It is 6:43am.

During the next 5 hours and 45 minutes, they will make each other laugh at breakfast, they will sign each other’s shirts with silly inside jokes, and they will help each other pack as they already begin to miss camp.

And then at 12:27pm, they will fight again and the 24-year-old will need to take the 7-year-old back to the nurse’s station to physically calm down while other Big Buddies will need to console the 9-year-old who will emotionally shut down.

But in the following 2 hours and 33 minutes after 12:27pm, they will smash “feeling plates” together, they will write letters to future campers together, and together they will create and perform a last-minute Harry Potter-themed skit about grief “coping spells” casted by wands made out of branches and pipe cleaners to destroy “deathly stones” made out of rocks, paper, and double-sided tape.

And when all three say goodbye to each other at 3pm possibly forever, all three will be saying goodbye to each other as friends definitely forever.

Because friends may not be close in age. Friends may not know each other for very long. And sometimes friends may not even get along that much.

But true friendship is formed through connection. And this friendship is connected by death.

Death is not simple. Death is not easy. But death brought this 24-year-old, this 9-year-old, and this 7-year-old together and right now, at 6:43am, all three are walking across camp as friends helping friends so that is one nice thing about death.

Safe to say, this weekend was both one of the most challenging and one of the most rewarding weekends of my 24 years of life.

So thanks Camp Erin.

Thanks for these three strangers who had never met before. Thanks for these three friends who may never meet again. And thanks for these three survivors who are better off in the long run because of one short weekend together in Boys Cabin One.

And of course, thanks for all of my other Blue Giraffes too.

Blue. Giraffes. Blue blue. Giraffes.

Blue. Giraffes. Blue blue. Giraffes.

Blue. Giraffes. Blue blue. Giraffes.

P.S. this is 6:39am on the other side.

Tanner CiprianoComment