Bullet Hill.

One of our fellowship speakers last year was a funny guy who talked to us about the nomenclature of jurisprudence — why we say “at odds,” what do we mean by “just,” etc. That he made this into a comedy routine tells you why he’s a law professor and we aren’t, or maybe it doesn’t. It was an entertaining talk. Then he went off on a side trail, discussing risk and childhood.

“You know those stories about the knights in armor, how they’d get suited up and then they’d have to be hoisted onto their horses because they couldn’t mount otherwise?” he said. “That’s a kid on the west side of Ann Arbor, learning how to ride a bike.” Parents strap their kids into every possible sort of pad and shield, because God forbid little Megan might fall and skin her knee.

I thought about Ann Arbor kids again today, when Kate went off on a treat we thought would be denied her this summer — a week at the Franke Park Day Camp.

This is a hugely popular city program that’s been going on for nearly 50 years, and normally if you don’t sign up the first week after registration opens (in February), you’re out of luck. We got shut out last year and didn’t even consider this year a possibility. But lo, there were openings late, and we got her into one.

It’s popular because it’s a real leave-it-to-Beaver summer day camp — no computers, no weight loss, no SAT drills, just fun and games and singalongs and getting dirty. And because it’s Fort Wayne and not Ann Arbor, it’s totally un-p.c. The kids divide up into Indian tribes, and there’s a powwow on Wednesday.

But I hadn’t realized just how far we’d come from Ann Arbor until today, when she reported one of the activities. “We dug for bullets on Bullet Hill,” she said. Bullet Hill, they were told, was an old police firing range, and the ground still contains rounds and rounds of spent ammunition. Kids, go dig and see if you can find a bullet of your very own!

I still find this story a little dubious — How much digging can Bullet Hill sustain? How does one find a bullet in the ground? — but just the idea is so amusing. I tried to imagine Ann Arbor kids being told to root around for spent shells and pancaked slugs as part of a summer camp activity. Clamor for the cast-off detritus of our gun culture! Clutch lead slugs in sweaty palms! Finally I gave up; it just wouldn’t happen.

Kate said one kid found a whole bullet and others found “squashed bullet parts.” She found nothing. Tomorrow’s activity: A trip to Bloody Gulch. Oh, I can’t wait.

Not much linkage today — I’m still up to my neck with trying to get acclimated to my new job and schedule — but I thought this odd NYT story about Metallica going through therapy, en masse and in front of cameras, was sort of cool.

Take care. Tomorrow.

Posted at 10:11 pm in Uncategorized |

4 responses to “Bullet Hill.”

  1. Enderby said on June 21, 2004 at 10:36 pm

    Bloody GULCH? You mean Bloody Gorge, I think. Unless they changed the name. Which they might have. Nothing stays the same. Everything changes. Everything flows. Errrrgggghhhhhaaahhhhhh!!!

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  2. poochlover said on June 21, 2004 at 10:49 pm

    Loved the very amusing day camp story today… thanks for the chuckle! Enjoyed the neighborhood story yesterday, too, brought back lots of fond memories. How’s Spriggy?

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  3. Carolyn said on June 22, 2004 at 12:39 pm

    You have got to admit that there is nowhere like Fort Wayne in the summertime. It truly is Pleasantville – for better and for worse.

    I’m glad you are saving these stories, Nancy.

    Makes me crave an ice cream cone from Zesto.

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  4. chris said on August 3, 2004 at 9:50 pm

    It is still called Bloody Gorge. My kids just finished up this week and the big pow-wow is Aug 10th. The camp is exactly as it was in 1973 when I had my first year there. My daughter mentioned that some kid in her tribe found a bullet…hard to believe because we dug for bullets in the same place thirty years ago.

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