The Cedarville Review 2024

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 53 Every June, my mom packs up my acid-wash jorts and Sony Walkman and throws me on an airplane to her hometown, saying the same thing, “You’re going, Niki. If you don’t have a good time, I’ll apologize when you get back.” My Aunt Kay picked me up at the airport in Georgia in her 1970 canary yellow Chevy, my cousins already trapped inside. Like we were escaped convicts on our way back to the big house, I joined Sean and Patrick silently in the back seat. For the whole afternoon, the truck rattled deep into the backwaters of the Georgia swamps as the radio blasted the top forty, or what little of it would crackle through the ear-splitting static. Camp Nasworthy, or Camp Nasworthy Elise Hunnemeyer Camp Nasty-Water to those unfortunate enough to spend three weeks there every summer, was off I-75 in no-man’s land, marked by a whitewashed sign that simply said CAMP. Slamming on the brakes, Aunt Kay stopped just inside the chain-link fence. Sean, Patrick, and I fi led out and stood in a line on the poison ivy-infested mud. Aunt Kay jumped out of the truck and gave us a hug. Enveloping us in a toxic cloud of hairspray and cigarette smoke, she offered her farewell: “It’s more than a hop-skip-and-a-jump to come back and get you, so whatever’s ailing you, walk it off. Sean, don’t run Pat’s drawers up the fl agpole again.” Then she and the truck were gone in a fl urry of mud.