“I hear your dad is going on the camping trip, this weekend.”
Patrick smiled, “Yep.” he said. “Isn’t it great?”
“That isn’t how I would feel if my dad was going with us.” the boy said.
“Neither would the rest of us.” another boy chuckled. “Matt, your dad knows nothing about camping. Patrick’s does.”
“Very funny, Samuel.” Matt quipped. “That isn’t what I meant.”
“Dad and I have a great relationship. I think it will be fine. Besides, with Mr. Tanner breaking his leg they needed another adult or none of us would be going.” Patrick said.
When Mr. Stephens had called to ask his dad to take the place of Mr. Tanner, Patrick had been thrilled. He had been looking forward to the trip for some time and he thought his dad being along would be great.
Now as he sat on the bus waiting for everyone to get loaded the conversation with Matt again came to mind. He wondered if his dad going was a good idea after all. If Matt could be believed he and his dad never got along. But Patrick did have what he thought was a good relationship with his dad. He wasn't concerned about anything his dad might do.
The boys all chatted happily as the bus headed toward the trailhead where they would hike to the campsite. When the boys found out Patrick had been camping before, they pelted him with one question after another. Patrick could see the pride beaming in his dad’s face as he told the boys all he had learned from their camping trips. Patrick was glad his dad never corrected his answers even though he wondered if some of them had been correct.
Once they reached the trailhead, they unloaded the bus and headed out on the trail. It was a beautiful summer day; the birds were singing and the fragrance of the mountain flowers wafted on the air.
They had reached the half-way point on the hike to the campsite when suddenly someone started singing;
“When through the woods and forest glades I wander
I hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees…”
Giggles broke out through the group of boys and as Patrick recognized his dad’s voice, he felt his face redden with embarrassment. It didn’t help that Matt had to make sure everyone knew that the person singing was his dad. As the boys turned to look at him, Patrick felt sick. He wished the ground would open up and swallow him.
When his dad started the chorus:
“Then sings my soul, My Savior God to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art. . .”
Patrick began to focus on the words of the song. He stopped and looked around at the mountains, trees and the town far in the distance. As he listened to the birds he marveled at just how great God was. He no longer felt embarrassed - he felt proud. He didn't care what the others thought. Joining his dad he joyfully sang the rest of the song as they continued on the hike up the mountain.
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