Hillary Beth Miller’s week at BJU Science Camp July 6-11, 2003
Sunday, July 6, 2003 – As soon as we had packed we went down into the lobby at the motel to get some orange juice. Holland got a cinnamon bun and apple juice. The orange juice I got was extremely tart! Mommy got two cups of coffee to go.
About an hour-and-one-half later, we arrived at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC.
Of course, first off Mommy had to go to the bathroom. After she came out, we looked at the gigantic rocks and the little pretty waterfalls in the gardens at the zoo. We were amazed at the huge pink hibiscus flowers, which were the size of Holland’s head! As we started down the pathway that led deeper into the gardens, we saw more and more different kinds of flowers, even “antique roses.”
Holland was only impressed for a short time and then she met this cat which she later named some silly name. Daddy told her to stop messing with that cat and pay attention to the flowers. Also, we saw a tortoise that was in the dead center of the path.
This time we took the tram down to the main section of the zoo. The ride was so bumpy that we were holding our chests. I loved going across the bridge over the Saluda River. Daddy reminded us to look at the remains of pilings on the river bank that were left over from when there was a bridge there during the Civil War.
During the ride, Holland and I turned the map for the zoo the right way so that we could see where we were and where we wanted to go. Sadly, the polar bear exhibit was not listed on the map and I figure he must have died. I will miss him because he was my first favorite, and when I was four I wanted so badly to see a polar bear. I talked and talked about wanting to see one. Then we went to Riverbanks Zoo on the way to cousins Tracy & Tracy’s wedding and as soon as we entered the zoo, first thing on the left was the POLAR BEAR! I visited him again three years ago when we went to visit Aunt Rita.
This time my favorite animals were located in the new bird center. Splashing, paddling, preening, and diving, these funny little birds wanted anyone’s attention! Yes, they were penguins! They’d come right up to your face at the glass so that only an inch separated you from them in their watery playhouse. There was one penguin we were worried about because he hid in his little cave and acted like he was ill. He also had discoloration on his feathers on his lower front. Poor baby!
While Mommy was in the gift shop, Daddy took us to see the gorillas, bats, elephants, and seals. Sitting with this his back to the glass, the young gorilla relaxed in the shade and made it seem as if he was mocking us for trying to get his attention. Daddy said that the gorillas must have just eaten because all of the chimps were taking naps and the gorilla was lethargic. There was also a little baby girl who squealed in delight when she saw this animal that was three times her size sitting so close to her.
Next, there were the bats. Holland acted as if she was scared of them, but I loved them. There was a female zookeeper in one of the bat exhibits and she was taking up dishes from their feeding. Several of the bats fought and she tried to see if they would eat more. They refused.
Later on we saw the elephants and Daddy jokingly said, “I can just see the little red angry faces rising up from their heads!” You see there were piles of “poo”
sitting everywhere. On our computer zoo game, animals tell you whether they are happy or not by little faces that rise into the air above them. Red angry faces are not good! I can’t even imagine what it would be like to scoop elephant poop! One pile is two feet in diameter!
As we approached the seals, we noticed that one looked kind of funny as he was swimming. Suddenly Daddy exclaimed, “He’s swimming upside down!” They had just been fed so I am sure they were very happy and in a playful mood. The other seal sped around the corner of one of the large rock islands, then disappeared for half-a-minute. When he returned, he went partially across the pool and then sped right back around again. Upon our leaving, the first seal was sitting sunbathing on one of the islands.
Mommy found us at the elephant exhibit and we happily continued on our adventure. Ostriches, giraffes, and zebras were grouped together. Since Mommy wanted a picture of the closest ostrich, which had her back to us, she called out in a sweet, high voice, “Turn around for me girl. Come here girl, turn around.” Almost instantly, that ostrich responded by turning around with what seemed like a smile on her face. Mommy got a great shot.
We couldn’t see much of the black rhinoceros because he was dozing in the grass at the back of the exhibit. So we went on to see the lions, a couple more birds and the koala bears. In the petting barn, we saw three beautiful barn owls sitting in a row up above the door. They were each in slightly different positions and did not seem to be moving so Daddy, Mommy, and Holland thought they were stuffed. I was curious about the sign and read it because it implied that they were real. I watched and watched. Finally one of them moved! I showed Daddy and we waited for them to move again thereby certifying that they were real. Then we had to leave because it was getting late for us to get to camp on time.
Quickly, we found a motel and rushed to change clothes and to eat potato salad for “lunch.” It was a meal on the run. I had a hard time walking up and down and up and down the stairs at the motel in my new black skirt. Finally, I arrived at Bob Jones University Science Camp despite the clueless directions given by the motel lobbyist. I was so scared when I got to my room in the Margaret Mack dormitory, that I wanted Mommy to leave and I wanted it to be bedtime, so that I could figure out what I was afraid of.
My room mates names were Kristin Smith who slept above me, Whitney Fromm who slept on the other lower bunk, and Mary-Elsye ________ who slept above Whitney. Kristin seemed nice at first and Mary-Elsye did something extremely funny. She dumped absolutely everything she brought into her three drawers without looking or giving a second thought. This included bottles of shampoo, conditioner, makeup and other things that can spill.
Whitney was the only one not in science camp and not in the room when I arrived. She was in music camp and her instrument was the piano. She was really sweet right from the start.
Our first event was Sunday evening service. It was held in the Collins Auditorium. There were many songs that I did not know. The pianist was a good instrumentalist. She did her own special performance for us, which sounded very difficult to perform.
As we were dismissed, the camp director said, “ We’re having lunch in the junior high cafeteria.” Immediately there were whispers around the room as people wondered why he called dinner, lunch. As soon as we were led there, we found out why. It was just stale meat and cheese sandwiches. The bread was as hard as the Cuban bread Daddy and I bought for Mommy one day last year. That was the time that Mommy pretended that her bread was a baseball bat, and she swung it around the kitchen before making it into garlic bread to go with our spaghetti dinner.
Well, next up on our schedule was the introduction to science camp which was held in the science building. Can you believe they have two, two-story buildings dedicated solely to science? These buildings have case after case of different agates cut in half, which look like all kinds of things like sea horses, butterflies, and tons of other things. There are also animals that have been preserved through taxidermy including the largest crow I have ever seen in my entire life.
Anyhow, we got an idea of what activities we were going to be doing and what days we would be doing them on. Things like the Mars Mission, the Great Oscillation Race, and the ___________ Derby. The _________ Derby was a mystery to be unveiled by Mr. Harmon himself. I knew that it would be good because after having Mr. Harmon all year for Physical Science, I knew he had a trick and a joke up his sleeve. I was too afraid to say anything except hi to him when I first met him. It was such a shock seeing him right there in front of me instead of behind the television screen. He was just standing there just like on video, but more relaxed and waving us in with a hi.
Although I was interested in the web newspaper team, I figured many people would be signing up for it and since there were only three positions, I thought I’d let others have them.
Back in the dormitory for the evening, it was getting late. It was about 9:30 P.M. and we still had to take showers, brush our teeth, and finish unpacking around our devotional time. It’s not as bad as it sounds, because we had until 10:55 P.M.
There were three rooms our counselor Sarah was assigned to, and they all met in our room. After she took up prayer requests, we prayed and she explained how our personal devotion time would work for the rest of the week. We were supposed to devote the entire half-hour even if we were done early everyday. She suggested that we read other passages in case of finishing early.
Tired and cold on the bottom bunk about an hour after lights out, I finally fell asleep. We had followed the rules and didn’t talk, but it took me a while to fall asleep because there were so many strange smells and I was still sorting out my day.