Featured Post

(You Gotta) Accentuate the Positive and Eliminate the negative...

Pay no attention to the number by the month.  Here's a good thought for the New Year.  Shannah Tovah. Ron                        ...

Wednesday, November 1, 1995

This Land...

                                                                                                      November, 1995

Dear G.U.C.I. Staff:

The most well known American folksong ever written is undoubtedly Woodie
Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land."  I've been thinking about the song.  Since
camp ended last August, I have seen much of this land and marveled at its
beauty and diversity.  Soon after camp ended, Juca and I traveled on the Blue
Ridge Parkway into North Carolina to spend the Labor Day weekend with Rabbi
Jim(bo) Bennett and his family and congregation.  Three days in a beautiful
mountain top retreat.  The program itself was fun; I told stories, played the
banjo, and we got to spend time with the Bennett family to boot.  But the
setting was mind boggling.  We watched the sun set each evening over the Blue
Ridge mountains.  We drove down winding mountain roads, thick with evergreen
trees.  I could not open my eyes wide enough to take it all in.  After a long,
hot, mid-western summer, the cool and clear mountain breezes refreshed the

A week after our mountain romp, we found ourselves back in the Mecca of the mid-
west, Chicago.  It is always thrilling for me to return to the city of my
birth.  This trip was a special treat as we participated in a dinner honoring
Jerry Kaye for completing 25 years as the Director of our camp in Wisconsin,
The Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute.  I was at that camp for 14 years before I
migrated south to Zionsville.  As Jerry's first Assistant Director in 1970 when
he came to the camp, I was asked to speak at the dinner.  Honoring Jerry was an
easy thing to do.  Many of the 150 people in attendance had been my campers or
staff members in one of my units in the old days of Union Camping.  The
nostalgia flowed, and being back in the heart of my old hometown made it even
better.  Did I mention that the dinner was held at Commisky Park, home of the
White Sox, the dream team of my childhood (oh! how I remember that 1959
season).  I returned to Chi-town last weekend and had the good fortune to take
a boat ride out on Lake Michigan.  It was a cold and blustery day, but what a
piece of work that city is, and what a sight from a mile out on the lake.  We
stood out on the top deck of that boat, hunched over, leaning into the wind.  I
pointed out a beautiful old brown and tan building, dwarfed by the tallest
skyscrapers.  It was the hotel in which my parents were married. 

The day after the Jerry Kaye dinner, I headed down to Kentucky for four days of
sailing and sun on Kentucky lake.  We sailed over 30 miles down that lake and
anchored each night in a different deserted cove on the shoreline of the state
park called The Land Between the Lakes.  The sights we saw were many; fish
jumping, sun setting on the water, moon rising, calm evenings, windy and wavy
mornings.  We sailed in strong winds and calmer breezes, always marvelling at
the beauty around us.

In-between each of these trips I returned to Zionsville to witness the
progressing October techni-color performance put on by our trees here at
camp.  Quite a show!  From our beautiful camp to the tops of those magnificent
blue mountains of North Carolina, to the currents and coves of Kentucky, with a
few turns around the Loop in between, I'd say I had a quick lesson in
appreciating the words, "This Land Was Made For You And Me."