Toil, Labor and Determination

DFH Volume 1 Issue 2

by Camilla Luckey

A tree in front of a house

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Lori Dayton’s West Chazy Holiness Campground cottage.

Another West Chazy camp note: That row of cottages where the “double” one was owned by Uncle Paul and then Johnny may have always looked (and probably still does) a little rough and tumble, hardly two adjacent siding boards matching, but it represented to “Chop,” my dad, a blessing/bonanza of major proportion. It put people into camp meeting ownership and fellowship cheap, the main cost being his own labor and tired muscles. That row was mostly put together with salvage materials from an agricultural school (Miner Institute) being torn down in nearby Chazy. Dad dismantled as much as he could before the dozers won. He worked in a “quick and rough” manner,  and mostly alone. As  the material arrived in load after load at the campground, I was recruited to pull nails, stack, draw chalk lines and otherwise help make the stuff usable. This was “utility not beauty,” though many of us  have learned now to appreciate the extinct North American virgin woods and untutored DIY products  and see great charm in the pre-sheetrock structures.  I don’t recall ever being taken to the salvage site; maybe my mother drew a line in the sand. Maybe this is why I always carry a tape measure.

By the way, these campground construction sites were the Conference President’s preferred office space. He would offer tomato soup and a grilled cheese — and a hammer. Psychologically very wise — preachers and laymen alike felt freer to let loose with the truth and accept it, too, man to man in work clothes—always several extra around. No ladies, alas, but Dad always spoke admiringly of a lady in Moores or the Elllenburg area (I forget her name but can see her face) who got up on the barn roof to help her husband. 

So, many may consider him a showman, but what he did in front of other people he also did when acting alone for his audience of One.


The Church Pews

DFH Vol 1 Issue 2

By Camilla Luckey

Dad was the District Superintendent  of the Champlain District of the Wesleyan Church in Upstate New York during my high school years.  We  lived in the District Superintendent’s home adjacent to  the  West Chazy Campground, our church retreat center. Dad grasped every opportunity to secure furniture and equipment for the camp (for “Free  or next to nothing!”).  Once he brought a truckload  of secondhand church pews complete with cushions he’d bought at a bargain price some place near Albany. All the big churches with fancy pews were located there, not in the country churches in and around the Adirondack Mountains that made up most of his District. It was  the dead of winter, and the snow was hard packed. He felt we had to get them into the tabernacle, the camp Worship Center. So we dragged them there. As I remember, it was all the way from our driveway, but that part could be a faulty memory because what I recall is the extreme effort required,  since we were on snowshoes. I don’t remember if anybody helped. If so, it was likely Bob (the Rev Robert) Finley who was always ready to “run down” from Ellenburg Depot at a moment’s notice when his DS needed him.