By: Chris “Topher” Aderhold

As if dropped from the sky, out of nowhere it seems, a large, glittery, pink frame became a quasi-staple at Camp Gray these past couple summers. More than a thousand campers and staff have come into contact with this glittery behemoth – and like a sandbur passes on its seeds by sticking to the fur of an animal or the clothes of a human, the glitter from this frame has been sprinkled near and far. (Though unlike a sandbur, the passing on of this glitter will not grow subsequent pink frames… or will it?). Thankfully, many of these encounters have been captured on film the past two years. We’re talking hundreds of encounters. Seriously, hundreds… Check this out:

The story of how Camp Gray acquired the big pink frame is simple. Steph Moran, the generous mother of four long time campers, gifted the colossal glitter spreader to Camp Gray in February of 2011. The story of how Steph acquired the prodigious pink monster isn’t quite so simple. It’s truly a story of “one man’s (or woman’s) trash is another man’s (or woman’s) treasure…”

It was a cold December day in the year of our Lord 2010. Steph was at the local mall, and as she was leaving, she happened to drive by the dumpster. As she was driving, something large and sparkly caught the corner of her eye. She slowed her van down, looked to her left, and there, sticking out of the dumpster was an enormous pink frame. This thought, or something like it, crossed her mind; “Why on earth would anyone have the feeblemindedness (yeah, I know what you’re thinking; “that’s a good word right there…”) to throw such a unique item into the garbage?”

The big pink frame is magical – how could one not smile while being framed by such a monstrosity? – plus it hangs magically in mid-air!

Instantly, images of ways she could use this gargantuan frame danced in her head. With four uber-creative daughters and her fun-loving husband at home, she pictured (ding!) this frame serving as a fun addition to her home for years to come.

She found herself in a quandary, though. She was at a mall on a Saturday afternoon in December, meaning the place was crawling with Christmas shoppers and a heightened level of mall security – in fact, at that moment something else caught her eye; two mall cops zipping by on segways (I may have made that part up…)

Though she was up to no bad (how come we say, “up to no good,” but we don’t say, “up to no bad?” I think we should…), she knew that snooping around a dumpster in the light of day could be perceived as though she was up to no good. She decided to return later that night under the cover of darkness.

Steph awaited the cover of darkness to come that day, and when it did, the frame found itself in the back of her minivan.

Two months after the frame arrived at the Moran home, a couple of long time Camp Gray staffers – Mo-T and Corey – were at the Moran home celebrating the birthday of one of the Moran girls, Erin. When Mo-T and Corey saw the enormous frame, their enthusiasm and excitement for the frame sparked a realization for Steph; while the Moran household would make a good home for the frame, more people would have the opportunity to enjoy this one-of-a-kind frame if it was donated to Camp Gray.

The pink beast has been ‘framing’ smiles and spreading its glittery joy ever since.

The big pink frame recently made a trip to Oklahoma, where it framed dozens of happy smiles at the wedding rehearsal dinner for Topher’s big brother, Matt and Matt’s new bride Kacy!

The large pink frame has even gone on tour, sprinkling its glittery goodness all the way to Oklahoma. Earlier this month I drove to Oklahoma for my big brother’s wedding. The rehearsal dinner was to be held in the backyard of my parent’s house. In preparing the house and backyard for the rehearsal dinner, my Mom felt there was something missing. Aaah yes, if only there was something that she could hang from a tree to encourage photo taking in a fun and creative way. My mother is an avid follower of Camp Gray, and has seen the frame pop up from time to time on our facebook and youtube pages. In the back of my pickup went the frame, wrapped in a protective tarp first, of course, to preserve the glitter and to prevent any damage from the elements. 840 miles the frame went with me, and dozens more photos were taken with countless smiling faces. In addition, the frame spread its glitter to many more people.

Thanks to the Moran family for the gift of the pink frame. Thanks to whoever it was that threw the frame into the dumpster. And thank you for taking the time to read this (mostly) true and random story of The Pink Frame.

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