Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Camp Shepherd - Part 1

So, my brother Erik comes to stay with us sometimes.  I'm not sure when he started this, but he calls staying with us "Camp Shepherd".  I know he's ready for a visit when he calls and asks for the dates of the next camp. That guy cracks me up.

Erik is 32 and is developmentally delayed (at least I think that's the current politically correct thing to say). So, in some ways he's like a 9 year old, and in other ways he's like a grown up. Whichever level of maturity he's on, he's pretty much one of my favorite people in the world.

Last week I let Spencer,my nine year-old son, take his uncle out on a walk in the neighborhood. After they were gone for a bit I asked Lee if he thought it was a good idea.  "Absolutely not," was Lee's comforting reply.

They were fine, of course.

Erik and Spencer had an epic sword fight that crossed multiple neighbor's yards.  Not everyone in the neighborhood knows us (yet) and I was worried someone would call the police if they looked out and saw my boy, and his adult-sized uncle, whacking each other with wooden swords.  Erik also lets out a high pitched scream when sword fighting, only adding more oddness to the scene.

Erik always has an agenda when he comes to Camp Shepherd.  That agenda always involves vacuuming. He vacuums the church, he vacuum the living room, he begs to steam-clean the carpets. He also enjoys mowing. In fact, when Erik is really stressed mowing and vacuuming are his tension relievers.  In the week he has been here he has mowed the yard twice and vacuumed every day.  No, my brother cannot come visit you.

This is a couple of years ago. Erik made me take this shot.
I crack when I hear one of the kids moan, "Mom, Uncle's getting out the vacuum again."

Vacuum on, my brother! Vacuum on!

There have been many highlights to this particular visit. One of my favorites occurred at dinner. Erik thinks it's hilarious when people bicker.  In a family of six, there is plenty of bickering to be had. Erik found whatever was said so funny that he laughed, with a mouthful of Sprite, spraying the entire table.  This sent us all into laughter, Spencer wanted a re-do and copy-catted and Erik ended up on the floor he was laughing so hard. I don't even remember what was said.

My other favorite (so far) was an overheard conversation. I had been upstairs folding laundry (the bane of my existence) and saw Spencer splashing in a puddle in the backyard. He was covered in mud and grass.  I went downstairs to tell him to cut it out. By the time I got down he was already in the house.  He got Erik to take a break from vacuuming so he could ask him a question.

"Uncle, hey, can you take this roll of toilet paper and wrap me up like a mummy?",  my little deviant asked.

Erik took in the boy in front of him, looked at the toilet paper he had been handed. He paused for a milisecond and then said emphatically, "Sure!"

I guess Erik was having a less mature moment.

I stepped in before the paper could be applied to the boy. Can you imagine the mess?  The mud, the water, the toilet paper. If he'd been wrapped up all mummy-like it would have been like glue. The kid wouldn't have been able to move.

Hmmmmm. Maybe my brother was thinking it through.

Erik on a riding mower. I couldn't take the time to rotate it. Sorry.


  1. LOVE this post. LOVE Erik. LOVE you all. Can I come to Camp Shepherd???? Can't wait to dance with Erik at our wedding!!!

  2. Sounds like there's never a dull moment at Camp Shepherd. I know you said your brother can't come visit, but if you ever change your mind, my vacuum is ready and waiting!

  3. How sweet ~ Camp Sheperd! It does appear there was a lot of adventure going on : )