Reader Contributions


By Tammy-Thao Tran     6/5/2019

“Do you want to go up to mountain to help sisters clean up their camp sites? I don’t know what they want us to do but the last time I spent time fixing mattress,” Ethyl asked her friend Luci.

“Sure, we can spend some time together,” Luci said. “Where do we stay?” she asked.

“Sisters not only feed us but they let us stay there in exchanged for our labor,” Ethyl responded. “You have to bring all bedding; we will be sleeping in the dorm on bunk beds.”

They drove up on Friday, early afternoon. Traffic was not so bad until they near the exit to mountain. It’s seemed like miles of autos were waiting to get on that road so Ethyl found another way a few miles father. On the way up, the sky was so clear, wild yellow mustard flowers popped up along the road, patches of fresh snow cover sides of mountains. “It’s so beautiful, God creation is obvious. How can someone say there is no God? We are on the way to Heaven…..”

They made up a song and sang. Very soon, the sky turned dark and rain came down. It’s a shower from above and probably angels wanted to wash their car because it’s kind of dirty. The ladies enjoyed their drive on mountain road, up and up toward the sky, appreciated the beauty scenery. However, other cars behind them seem in a hurry to go up even though Ethyl was driving near to 40 mph. It made them nervous, so she moved over a few times to let other cars pass and she took her time. Finally, they reached their destination: dry, clear, crispy air. Sisters welcome them with open arms. They checked in and were ready to go to work (These two retired nurses are always ready to deal with whatever throwing at them and made it fun). But they were told that there would be no assignment until tomorrow morning; they have to idle in place. They sang and prayed before and after meals.

Saturday morning after breakfast, Luci and Ethyl were assigned to clean up group No.2 with five mothers, who also brought their children up to help. They were marched up and down the hills to the camp’ first group bathroom, carrying a long handle round head broom, rags, brushes, cleaning solutions. They swiped spider’s webs and dirt on top, hand scrubbed the wall, toilets and floor, moped the floor, clean trashcan, and swept pine needles off the walkway, but they were too short to wipe those glass windows. They asked a sister to find a ladder for them.

Shower of the day: after scrubbed, scrubbed, scrubbed, wiped, wiped, wiped and toilets were being flushed. Sound like thunders in the sky. One of them, instead of going around and down, it decided to swirled and splashed Luci from head to toes. Luci went outside speechless.  They reported to sister and the sign “Out of Order” posted on the door of that stall.

“Where is Ethyl?” Sister asked. “Do I look like her mother?” Luci responded. Walking around that building, they found Ethyl on top of ladder. She was singing, with “Glass and window cleaning” bottle in one hand and paper towel on other, cleaning building glass windows. Ethyl said she is now looking for high rise windows cleaning job because she’s retired and afraid of height. Does anyone have a job for her?

Walking down to another building, Luci thought they would help to put bunk beds in the covered tent but no, sister used her walky-talky and within a few minutes, young men came down and moved those bunkbeds outside to reveal more toilets and showers to be clean. These toilets are much dirtier than the others and this floor are covered with dirt running down from the hills. Luci had to look around for hose, connected to water pipe & used it to spray down some dirt from showers stalls. One of the mothers had to shovel that dirt back up to the hill. Few minutes later, Ethyl found Luci standing outside of building visible upset. “What happed?”

“I am so mad. I don’t do this at home and since this morning, I have been scrubbing toilet after toilet, six already and here are six more. I love your God and I love my God but I am sick with these toilets.” Luci said.

“Don’t be too upset, you don’t have to do it if it bothers you. Find something else to do or you can wash these windows. But… who clean toilet at home?”

“For the last 26 years, my husband does it, he volunteer,” Luci answers. Mr. Husband, today your wife verbally, out in public with a loud voice saying how much she appreciated you for doing this job for years without complaints . We applauded with many handclaps.

Finally, after lunch, they finish cleaning this bathroom and showers. They did not see the sister. “What else do we have to do?” they asked other mothers. “I don’t know. I think that’s it,” one mother said.

Luci and Ethyl carried ladder back to main house and went to their room. Luci had to take a shower to wash off the toilet’s spray earlier and Ethyl was going taking a nap. Since retirement, they developed a habit of taking nap after lunch. Today is no exception.

Like skipping class in high school, their principal, the sister, found Ethyl in bed few minutes later. “Are you OK? I couldn’t find either of you and wonder what happened?” sister asked.

“I didn’t see you so I asked other people. They said “that’s it” so we went to take a nap.”

“Oh no, we have things to do. After your nap would you and Luci come down to the shower room?”

“Sister, I don’t wait for Luci. I want to go to shower with you, now,” Ethyl teased the sister. They went to shower room to put new covers for the stands.

Later that night, Luci and Ethyl talk about their experiences. They now could laugh about the toilet workout and malfunction flushing mechanism; giggling for hours past bedtime, and making their beds shake.

Sunday early morning, before the sun came up, they lay in bed, thanking God for giving them time to share, able body to move around, all five senses intact so they can enjoy this day, talking about their work weekend and how they appreciate the gratitude these sisters shown to all peoples who come up here to help to prepare for their summer camp. Everyone is well behaving, even kids, especially a very handsome young man name Joseph. He is about 8 year old. After breakfast, they said goodbye to sisters and other volunteers, left camp ground to go down as they not use to drive in wet and snow road condition. Weather predict rain and snow is coming soon

Thank you, sisters for give us chances to serve. Thank God for allow us to take advance of this opportunity to refresh our lives and our souls. We look forward for our next “work weekend.”