Daniel & Claire Makins (Campers & Staff, late 1980s-2000)
Married: May 18 2003
Children: Cal (May 1 2008) & James (March 5 2010)
As we made our weary way back from Blue Hole in 1991, a precarious Doug Cooper was perched and ready to pounce with a “surprise” river dance from atop the rappelling site. He wore full KISS makeup and wig as the stars unleashed the ceiling of heaven with splendor.
That night I asked Claire to dance, setting the course for the rest of our lives (even though I AM an Outlaw and she IS a Tejas Indian).
Waltzing across Texas at rodeo’s end, the 4th of July, Sugar Shack conversations and awkward, brief kisses were shared. I shot a quarter for her on the rifle range, and she made me a ceramic bowl in the arts & crafts pavilion. We sat together at roundup lightly holding sweaty hands. We shared Cross Talk, side by side as Frog Sullivan’s old, faith-filled, almost tearful voice pleaded to convey a lifelong understanding, “He died with his arms wide open.”
We wrote letters, and I made nervous phone calls hoping for Claire’s cautious, “Hello?” rather than the slightly past bedtime, “HELLO” of her parents. We reunited year after year, served together on Work Crew, and then as counselors.
Actual dating commenced our senior year of college when another camp friend, Michal Jarrett, reconnected us. Then through the years, despite different interim journeys, we stood again and silently acknowledged what we both knew to be true: we belong together.
We were married in 2003 in the presence of numerous LLYC friends. This spring we will introduce our boys, Cal and James, to LLFC. For them to have the same opportunity to create memories so sweet, to form lasting relationships in the Canyon, and to venture into knowing Christ for themselves between cypress and water is truly a blessing beyond comprehension.
Laity Lodge is the most special place in the world to us. It has been set on a foundation of the grace of God where we are free to ask questions and engage the mystery.
As adults, we visit the Lodge and the Quiet House at least once a year for a time of renewal. It has not been all roses, nor will it ever be, but it is real, honest, and genuine. We are always thankful to return to the place where so much of who we are began, where we often discover that the most redemptive thing to do is to simply get in the river and dance.
Claire is a teacher and tutor. Daniel is writing songs and singing them to anyone willing to listen. Follow this link to hear a song about what you have just read entitled, “Windfall.”