Fairhope, Alabama—I am with a thousand Episcopalians in the woods at Camp Beckwith. For the entire weekend, I have been wishing someone would eventually say to me:
“The Lord be with you.”
Then, I would answer with a quick: “And also with you.”
Because I’ve always wanted to say this. This is what Piskies say to each other, before they give each other a secret handshake and discuss world domination.
But alas, nobody has said this to me since I’ve been here. And don’t it turn my brown eyes blue.
Anyway, this morning is warm. Beckwith sits on Weeks Bay, surrounded by longleaf pines, magnolias, and mosquitoes who commit immoral acts upon your skin. It’s perfect.
I am here for a weekend of festivities. I am staying in a cabin next door to a bishop.
I had to call my mother to tell her this.
“Oh my word!” said Mama. “A REAL bishop?!”
I come from deepwater Baptists. The only bishops we have ever seen are the sort on chess boards.
At last year’s camp excursion, for instance, I slept in this same cabin, next to this same bishop. I told a friend back home about it. Word spread around town.
After church one Sunday, an elderly man shook my hand and said, “So, tell me what it was like sleeping next to the Pope.”
“He’s not the Pope,” I said.
“Did he have a bulletproof limousine?”
“No, he was a bishop, and he’s just a regular guy.”
“How about a pointy hat? Did he have one of those?”
Anyway, daybreak is approaching. The sun peeks above the tree line. And all at once, the camp is alive.
Laughter. That’s the main event here. At least that’s what one woman tells me. She’s from Magnolia Springs. She is walking to the mess hall for breakfast with…