A Concrete Tent

A campground cottage in the snow

A Tradition

Copyright © G. Wasdin All rights reserved.

Campmeeting meant summer and summer meant campmeeting. I didn’t know the season without the event. I first attended in utero as testified to by my mother’s story of a particularly fiery preacher. Seems the enthusiastic evangelist punctuated one especially critical point in his sermon with a thunderous pounding of his fist on the old wooden pulpit. My unborn self jumped in response, giving my mom a double dose of startle.

It would be a few years before I would have conscious memories of Tattnall Campground.

A Concrete Tent

Earthy, musty, damp and a bit sharp are the words that conjure to describe the smell of the “tent” that belonged to my grandparents. By tent I actually mean the small concrete block walled and cement floored cottage that was one of about thirty of various constructions that made a big square called “the circle” around the tabernacle. The windows were just wood-framed openings with no glass and no screening. There were operating shutters and during camp meeting weeks there were simple cotton curtains strung on strong string as no one wanted to close the shutters for privacy. In South Georgia in August, that would be invitation to heat stroke.

A Challenge

One of the hardest things to do in this unpainted concrete building was to keep skin on knees and elbows. It was easy to trip over the raised wooden thresholds at the back and front doors. Easier still was getting a little too close to the walls, especially in the shower and scraping one’s elbow as if sand papering a block of wood. Ouch!

 

A Shocking Experience

The shower was quite an experience. There was no water heater so it was wise to lock the primitive wooden shower door, not so much for privacy as to remind one not to dash out upon the first sprays of deep-well-cold water. Even so, the agony of almost icy water on sweaty body had to come out somehow so folks had grown accustomed to the occasional bloodcurdling scream.

There was also the issue of small lizards. I guess they liked the shower stall for its cool dampness and there’s nothing like groping around for the shampoo bottle only to feel something slithery escape one’s grasp. Thank goodness it escaped!

Looking Up

Since the cottage was only used for one week out of the year, it was extremely basic. There were no ceilings and it was interesting to look up through the rafters all the way to the tin roof. It was also interesting to note what had been stored across the rafters like extra bed springs, the old-fashioned kind that weren’t prettily boxed in with quilted fabric.

Another perk or not, according to what you might want to keep secret, was the fact that the walls stopped at eight feet and with no ceilings and the sloped roof there was an ever widening gap from the outer walls to the peak of the roof so sounds carried from room to room very easily. This meant that late night giggling and story telling in the kids’ room got shushed quickly.

A Time for Innocents

Now my cousins and I loved the fact that during camp meeting week, most if not all of us, seven, at this particular time spent at least parts of the week with Grandmama at the cottage. The big bedroom with three double beds was ours with boys in two of the beds and the girls in the other one. We were young and there was plenty of room.

One of the most fun things about the cottage was the open windows which were so close to ground level that we could clamber in and out with no problem. Wow! What a neat thing to do! Our glassed and screened windows at home were not amenable to this game at all. We loved locking the bedroom door and exiting through the windows much to the frustration of the adults who laid down rules against such foolishness. It continued but with a lot more sneakiness.

Time Apart

Of all these elements, the most precious was the coming together of friends and family to spend a week apart from the common routines of life. Campmeeting was primitive in its habitations but its novelty has never lost its charm for the young and young at heart. Most importantly, the reason for its being was and continues to be spiritual renewal and the fellowshipping of the saints, and I can say for sure that we kids found enrichment beyond measure for body, soul and spirit through the experience.

Copyright © G. Wasdin All rights reserved.

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Comments 12 comments

Putz Ballard profile image

Putz Ballard 6 years ago

Great hub


U Neek profile image

U Neek 6 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

Thanks, Putz, for traveling down memory lane with me.


dags the drover profile image

dags the drover 6 years ago from still lost in Western Australia

sounds like alot of fun. well described, I have the picture in my head

cheers

dags


U Neek profile image

U Neek 6 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

It was fun, Dags, and still is, just not in quite the same ways. The arthritis says I can't climb in and out of windows any more. ;)

I appreciate your reading me again!

U Neek


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Wonderful hub! Where are you? I'm in Tifton, and I used to live in Wayne County.


U Neek profile image

U Neek 6 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

Thanks so much, habee. I knew we had to be country girl sisters when I started reading you. I'm in Claxton, born and raised as the country folks say. My hubby is originally from Wayne County and our eldest is attending ABAC. Small world!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

I lived in Wayne CO when I was married to my ex, who's now running for Congress.


U Neek profile image

U Neek 6 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

Is there an opportunity here for hush money? Just kidding! Now I'll be looking to figure out who he is. My mom is originally from Tifton.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

I'm only afraid of snakes but I'm sure my hand on a lizard unexpectedly would probably say snake to me! Great story.


U Neek profile image

U Neek 6 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

I'm not really afraid of lizards, but they do startle me sometimes. Thanks for reading Pollyannalana.


RebeccaCurz profile image

RebeccaCurz 4 years ago from United States

I am ridiculously afriad of lizards and any other little crawling creature. I know the lizards are harmless, but its just their presence that freaks me out. I dont even want them within like 20 feet of me.


U Neek profile image

U Neek 4 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

Oh dear, RebeccaCurz, you would not enjoy staying in the concrete tent! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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