Photo of Grahame Nicolson at Camp Sambica in 2010

A 2010 thumbs-up for my young Muckleshoot friend of long ago.

Our summer camp season is presently cranking up, and I find myself in eager anticipation and also in calling to mind camp-related memories. Here’s one of the reflections…

In 2010 while in Seattle, I made a pilgrimage out to Camp Sambica on the shores of Lake Sammamish; hence the photo above.

In 1965 when my friend Alan Woodley and I worked at Sambica, the building you see behind me in the photo above was used as a cabin where I tended some of my little flocks of energetic boys. A specific week of that summer and one young chap in particular are poignantly inscribed on my heart.

My cabin group was handful heavy with mischievous fifth and sixth graders. I believe it was on the Tuesday of that week that I had to step out of the cabin for a mere few minutes to attend to some matter or other. By the time I arrived back inside, “chaos” in the form of scattered pillows and other thrown items ruled the room. My little electric clock, so necessary for keeping things on schedule, lay broken on the floor. The young blokes couldn’t have known, but apart from pocket change and maybe a few dollars in my wallet, I was next to penniless.

Well, I didn’t yell at the group, but suggested that the one who hashed my clock should ‘fess up. Everyone had “Who, me?” written on his face, so I just tabled the matter with insistence the place be tidied up right away and with an ominous comment that “the Lord knows who broke the clock.”

The boys and I had a great time for the remainder of the week, and I never mentioned the Tuesday incident again; however, I did leave the clock’s shattered remains on its shelf for all to notice.

Come Saturday morning break-up time, the boys all received in cash any balances left in their snack shop bank accounts. We were all happily shouting good-byes back and forth when I noticed beside me one handsome native boy who, characteristic of his Muckleshoot heritage, never had spoken much throughout the week. Soon under cover of the din around us, he silently pressed two crumpled dollar bills into my hand and then whispered just three words:

“For da clock.”

To my shame, I failed to record that precious, young man’s name, but I have never forgotten him. And I can still hear those quiet, native-accented words, “For da clock.” He would be around 60 years of age now, and I often wonder what God ultimately accomplished through my young Muckleshoot friend’s life and conscientious heart.

What about you? What memories do you have of summer camp? Why not share them with us in the comments?


An ex-patriate Australian living full-throttle in Big Sky Country until he “lays rubber all the way into Heaven!”

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One Response to “For Da Clock.”

  1. I love this story!

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