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Posted by on October 31, 2012

"water"The reports on Hurricane Sandy and her devastating effects make me think of the storms that hit Lutherdale when I was growing up. One year, a tornado blew through and tore the roof off the new dining hall. I was too young to remember that but I often heard others reminisce about it. One storm I remember drove rain in underneath the windows and left more than twenty trees toppled. We didn’t use the term tornadic thunderstorm in those days but I’m guessing that’s what it was because of the way the trees fell in different directions. One fell to the southeast, another just a few yards away fell to northeast. A tree in a different area fell toward the northwest.  Seemed very strange at the time.

Of course, there were blizzards that threatened winter retreats. Dad would call the churches whose groups were scheduled to arrive Friday night and warn them of blowing and drifting snow in our area. Winter campers usually arrived on school buses that could push through most snowfalls.

The event that made the biggest impression on me was unrelated to any weather phenomena. The camp was on well water and used its own pump system to bring water to the cabin bathrooms, the public showers in the administration building (most of the cabins had no shower facilities), and the kitchen.  Summertime in the 1960’s and early 1970’s often brought anywhere from 250 -300+ campers each week. In those days, if you wanted a drink of water, you had to get it out of the faucet or a drinking fountain. Bottled water was almost unheard of.

So when the pump broke one summer, it was a crisis. Toilets wouldn’t flush. Dishes couldn’t be washed. Meals were difficult to prepare without a ready source of water.

Fortunately, the lake was clean enough to provide a substitute for showering. A good swim left you feeling refreshed and presentable. The lake also provided water to flush the toilets. For cooking and washing dishes, we turned to the large dairy farm next door. Every available container was trucked over to the farm, filled with fresh clean water, and trucked back to the camp kitchen.

Fortunately, the crisis didn’t last long. As I recall, the pump was repaired within a day or two. I don’t remember the weather being exceptionally hot during that time but it seems like we enjoyed a rare evening swimming opportunity so everyone could cool off. We made it through the crisis thanks to the dedicated staff who worked tirelessly to fix the pump, and with generous help from our neighbors. Not to mention a little patience and ingenuity.

Hurricane Sandy will take a lot more effort for a lot longer than when our pump went out. I pray for all who have suffered loss from Hurricane Sandy, and for all who are working long, selfless hours to bring relief. Thank you, and may God bring comfort, restoration and healing.

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