For many families at Cattle Creek Campground, the annual camp meeting signifies a time of fellowship when families can spend a week away from the hectic pace of modern life.
Children learn that they can live without air conditioning and television. During the day, they engage in water fights or make numerous visits to the "store," where cold pineapple sherbet is sold.
Nightly preaching is scheduled at the tabernacle, a large, open structure with a tin roof, wooden benches and a gravel floor. Many a young child has kicked the gravel to watch the dust fly and then been admonished by a watchful mom or dad, in some cases both.
Grownups sit in lawn chairs in the front or back of their "tent" and talk about the latest news, how the children are growing up and what has happened since the last camp meeting.
Of course, anyone who has seen the campground realizes that these "tents," as they are called, are wooden buildings with either sawdust or hay on the ground. And, there is plenty of food. Everyone prepares an abundant supply of their best recipes.
Begun by traveling Methodist preachers in 1786, Cattle Creek Campground has held camp meeting services annually ever since. The entire campground was rebuilt after burning during a forest fire in the late 1800s. Many of the standing tents are well over a century old. With the addition of electricity, refrigeration and rudimentary plumbing, the tents are somewhat more comfortable than they were 200 years ago.