Dan, the Showoff at Moss Lake in the Adirondacks of New York

Moss lake trail itself

Moss Lake Trail, some 50 miles north of Utica, New York

This early August Hannah and I have come to the Adirondacks of New York for a mini-reunion of the Moss Lake Camp for Girls.  Some thirty-five of us, former campers and counselors, husbands, family members, and visitors to the area, assemble at the trailhead off Big Moose Road in Eagle Bay.  Click here for the previous blog describing Hannah as a camper and enjoy pictures of this legendary camp.

Geof Longstaff, son of the camp founder, will lead us around Moss Lake ( the trail is 2.5 miles) stopping at key spots to charm us with stories from the nearly fifty year history (1935 to 1972) of the girls’ camp.  In the early 1960s, Hannah was first a camper, then later a counselor and a water skiing instructor.

Moss trail H at lake

Hannah returns to Moss Lake, 51 years after she was a counselor/water skiing instructor there

On a hike that will take three hours, the pace is leisurely and the socializing and chatting up new acquaintances occurs seamlessly.  As one who is naturally curious to learn more about Hannah as a teenager and other people’s lives, I seek out and chat up different hikers along the trail.

Throughout the morning, I talk with Karen, Hannah’s dear friend and a camper when Hannah was a counselor.  I introduce myself to Tom, whose wife Margie went to camp a few years after Hannah.  Susie and her husband are a delightful couple, both interesting and interested in my story.  Geof’s sister fills me in on camp life with a father who was bigger than life.

Moss trail outlet better

Geof speaking while Hannah chills at the bridge at the outlet to Moss Lake

After Geof’s commentary at the bridge over the outlet stream of Moss Lake, Hannah stays to skip stones with the millennials (twenty-two Longstaffs of all ages of are here for a family reunion) while I go ahead.  I see Bo, a Longstaff by marriage, one hundred feet ahead and figure I’ll strike up a conversation.

I step around three hikers and then pass two women.  As I pass the women, one says, Show-off.

I am immediately put off.  Who wants to be labeled a show off?  It feels like an indictment.  I don’t know what to say, and just continue on, without looking back.

I’m just thinking, Really?  It seems that saying something encouraging might have built a momentary bridge between us.  Like, Looking good  or Way to go.  Either comment would have made me smile.  Show off does not make me smile.

I get that yelling out show off is all about her not me.  I don’t take it personally; I’m just surprised.  Is it a joke?  It certainly isn’t a friendly joke.  As Ellen DeGeneres says, If it were a joke, we both would be laughing.

Readers, What am I missing? 

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