First Memory of Deerwoode? Driving down that windy river road hugging the mountain and wondering what my dad had got me into. Being from a beach community in South Florida this was not my normal habitat.
Greatest Achievement at Deerwoode?
1) Setting the all-time sliding record at Sliding Rock. I wore holes through TWO pair of cutoff jeans that day.
2)Winning the camp 2-on-2 basketball tournament.
3)Winning the decathlon bike race one year, which I admit was completely by accident. Because I’m tall I got stuck with this old black 3-speed bike that looked like what the Wicked Witch of the West rode in Wizard of Oz. Turns out the gear shift was busted and it was forever in 3rd gear, so at the start everybody left me in the dust. But because it only had 3rd gear, once I got the damn thing moving I was hauling butt. I caught up to the field at the halfway point and soon I was in the lead for good. All these guys on 1 speed bikes couldn’t catch me.
4) This one isn’t mine alone. My last year in Cabin 13, Bill had these guys come in from Brevard to play us each week. They were guys who played pickup hoops all the time with each other. First game they beat us so bad it was embarrassing. Like 100 to 56. The game was stopped out of mercy. But… as we practiced each week on fundamentals, defense, and playing as a team… we got better. Soon they were only winning by a few points, and by the last time we played them we beat them by 20 or so points. The guys from Brevard were better athletes as individuals, but we were a better TEAM.
Yet another powerful lesson from Deerwoode & TM.
Best memory of either the Rifle Range or Archery? When we shot against rifle teams from other camps, it was more like we gave them a lesson in shooting. I remember one time this team had a kid with a fancy high-priced target rifle. This thing had a scope, tripod and all kinds of other gadgets. Turned out it didn’t help him at all. We had those old school basic peep-site 22’s with a strap and proceed to eat the middle out of our targets while he was lucky to get his shots in the black.
That was another lesson for me… it’s not the fancy equipment, it’s solid training of fundamentals.
Shooting a musket. One year someone visiting brought a musket replica up to the rifle range complete with black powder, flints and handmade lead balls and wadding. We set up a cardboard target between some trees past the normal target spot and each got to shoot it a couple times. It was like shooting a freaking cannon, and those lead balls ripped giant holes in the cardboard. I think of that every time I see a Civil War movie.
For archery it was when O.K. Smathers came to do a demonstration. He was World Archery Champion in 1957 and an Olympic team member. Watching him put all the arrows in the bullseye from 100 yards blew my mind. It was like a real-life Robin Hood.
I loved shooting. Pistols, rifles, shotguns… I loved it all. I still shoot fairly regularly (Yes, they do have ranges in California-amazing as it seems.)
I think I still have my NRA medals & certificates stored away at my dad’s place.
Best memory of the Craft Shop? The patience Liz had to help clumsy kids like me make amazingly awesome pottery. She would help guide your hands, so the spinning lump of clay ended up looking like a pot or cup. I still have the mug which I (she) made my first year at Deerwoode. I was also big into the lanyard craze and was one of those guys who could do the giant boxy rectangle that morphed into the spiral and then spilt into multiple thin multicolored parts that went around your neck. It became a lanyard escalation battle –who could do the craziest lanyard designs, but nobody ever wore the big crazy looking ones.
To my knowledge, no samples of my amazing lanyard artistry still exist.
Most notable/memorable Cabin Inspection story? Eating steaks. A lot! It’s all about the hospital corners son.
Favorite River Trip Memory? Maybe not my favorite, but one I’ll never forget. It was our turn forthe inner tube river trip. Normally a crowd pleaser, but this was a particularly cold and rainy summer. The day started out sunny enough that the trip was a go, but no sooner had we rounded the first bend than the sky opened up and it rained and got extremely cold. Add to this my inner tube had a leak, so that by the time we got to Deerwoode, it was a few puffs shy of flat. We were so cold when we got out of the river, that the canoe lake felt like warm bathwater. And when we tried to take hot showers it felt like molten lava, so we all started with cold water and it felt warm. Weird. I think we all had mild cases of hypothermia as we were all shivering badly, but no one died and we all made it back safely, so it was just another adventure at Deerwoode.
I still love river trips and have done numerous white-water trips over the years in the USA & Costa Rica. Also canoe trips in the everglades with my brother and ocean kayaking here in California. All inspired by my time on the French Broad River.
Favorite Dance or Spaz Day Memory with Illahee, Keystone, etc.? It wasn’t the dance; it was who got the perfumed letter with lipstick kisses on it after the dance. Followed by endless ribbing, and if they were lucky… a mention by Hank at dinner time announcements. 🙂