Dawn Day Newbern
(Daughter of Arnold and Ruby Day)
I can never remember a time when camp meeting wasn't a part of my life. As a matter of fact, my mom left camp early Sunday morning, the first Sunday of camp meeting in 1956, and I was born in Brunswick while the 11:00 AM service was going on at Hortense Camp. Since that day, 47 years ago, I have not missed a Hortense Camp Meeting.
As a youngster I stayed with my grandparents, Dewey and Flora Day, while my parents worked. This is when the love of camp meeting was instilled in me. Nanny and Granddaddy started preparing weeks ahead for camp. Back then you brought everything from home. They cooked their own meals at camp, so they moved to Hortense for ten days - and there were no conveniences right around the corner. We looked like the Clampetts going to camp. Granddaddy had a home-made trailer and it would be loaded. We couldn't wait to get to camp.
My first recollection was staying in the wooden cabins. My granddaddy had worked for Lewis and Harrell so they saw that our family had rooms. My granddaddy, my Aunt Reba Ammons, and my parents each had their own individual cabin. My mama made two bedrooms using sheets to section off our cabin. I loved the wooden windows that pushed out and were held open with sticks. The cabins had all wooden floors and no air conditioning. Also the outhouse was way out in the corner behind the cabins - it's a wonder we didn't get bitten by a snake, but I’m sure God was protecting us. Snakes were not allowed on holy ground. I loved our cabin. We would get our water from the hand pump you had to prime each time you needed water. My Uncle Glenn Day built a brick cabin at the end of our row of wooden cabins and that was like the Hilton to us. That building is now the store (concession stand). My, how it has shrunk.
Unfortunately, times changed and the wooden cabins were torn down and replaced with nice block buildings. In the first block building there were three rooms. Nanny and Granddaddy got the largest room, Uncle Bobby Day took Reba's room (since she had gone on to her heavenly home) and my parents got the other room. When Uncle Glenn moved to Orlando, he donated his cabin to the camp to be used for the store. After Nanny died and granddaddy was aging, Doyle and I were engaged, so granddaddy gave his room to us. When I got married in 1976 I made sure we were home from our honeymoon in time for camp. Since that time I have had three wonderful sons and have tried to instil the love of camp in them. Early in our marriage, our work schedules during camp required us to drive back and to from Brunswick during the week, so we could only stay at camp on the weekends. After time I was able to take vacation during camp and stay the entire ten days.
Now my children are almost grown, but I trust once they marry and start their families, they will continue the tradition of attending camp.
I have always loved camp meeting - some of my most wonderful memories are here - I loved the straw floor under the tabernacle as a child, the old dining hall, where the bowls of food were set on the table and passed, the two story wooden boarding house which seemed to be the hub of activity on the camp in its time. I even remember the first facilities on the camp - superb! Most important of all I've met so many wonderful saints in my lifetime that have already gone on that have been an influence on my life - I can't wait until that day we have that everlasting camp meeting in Heaven all back together again.