Sound – Most impressive sound memory? When I was 7-ish, I volunteered Matt Mayes, my brother Greg and me to sing at Campfire, at a morning meeting…sitting on the floor of the old Big Gym. My Dad came over and worked with us. We got together a few songs (I don’t remember which ones…Bill or Liz might). That evening at Campfire we sang a couple songs as: The Hambone Trio. I think we did pretty good. In ’84, too, Matt and I did a lot of singing at the Campfires and other gatherings…including reworking old tunes off a Smothers Brothers album (really, a record or album) and an album by Mo Bandy and Joe Stampley. Gawd! Too, don’t forget THE PC ROCK…IT’S THE SURE SHOCK! Chad Brendle on drums, Mayes lead guitar and vocals, Guillo(Rap Rooster) on lead vocals and one off tune and groove-less dancing Cuban who pitched at South Carolina…called himself ‘Starlight,’ as a stage name. Wow!
Fear – What scared you most? Headless Hattie? Step and the Drag Man? Black Panther? My second to the last year as a camper…think I was 10 (1975). Started at 5 ’cause my Mama, Sweet Linda (who passed on March 23rd…God rest her beautiful soul) was the camp nurse. I slept in the infirmary at night (weening took a little longer for me and the issues are evident to this day) and played in camp during the day. I was on the top bunk and the wooden window shutters mandatorily were open at night. My screen was ripped from the bottom. Open. I went to bed every night, scared to death that that damn Black Panther would pull me through the window for a midnight snack.
Secondly, Bill trapped me between cabin 10 and 11, as I was hanging my bathing suit up after the All Day Trip. He said, having invaded my personal space, “You trying to run me out of business?” I had no idea what he was talking about. I guess he could tell by my reaction. Then, he said, “Tell me about Sliding Rock.” Then, it hit me. Fear, son. I had gotten kicked out of The Rock earlier that day for going down standing up, 3 times. But, the biggest deviation is I had the kids going down in push up position, trying to stand up, stacked on each other, etc. Major Deviation, son. And one of my campers came back and told everyone about the great time we’d had at The Rock. Well, I bowed up and TM backed off, real quick like…and apologized. Yeah, right. I don’t remember what happened, but for an instant…I thought I was going to get, not a fine, but a whuppin’!
Lastly, we were camping behind the old wood shop, I think. I know Kruger Ragland (sp?) was my counselor. And a late night raid was made on our camp…guys in white sheets. Scared the be-jesus outta me. I thought sure they were ghosts.
Embarrassment – Son, Embarrassment is a cornerstone of Deerwoode life. Limit to one or two. The Perfect Storm. I don’t embarrass much. But, [at the reunion] last year, after a monsoon wiped out my wood fire around Mr. Taylor’s cast iron cauldron, I, affected by a moment of ‘et up with the dumbass’…brought upon by trying to keep up with John Nixon drinking a little brown likker (Crown and ginger, son)…took TM’s gas can and attempted to augment the flames by sloshing some gas on the fire. My gawd. It couldn’t have gone any worse. Well, maybe it could have. And, it almost did. First, I splashed gasoline into the Hopkin’s County Stew. Second, flames leapt from the fire and trailed to the can mouth. If I didn’t have the presence to kick the can away, separating flame and explosion…I might not be here, and neither would Bill’s little white Toyota camp truck. Ironically, all Bill and the attendees, seemingly, cared about was the stew and the truck. Shock? I’m laughing out loud right now. Time does heal, my brothers. You can’t make this up, I promise you. And then, I’ll never forget how the brotherhood turned on me at Court. Kale’s sitting over there, in his best Friday the 13th-esque chant: Kill. Kill. Kill. It made for great drama. I can promise this…I am undaunted. I’m back and looking for the next deviation.
The Stolen Sign Caper
In ’84, my first full year (being spied upon by JC’s) as a counselor, Keystone came to camp for a Dance. We unleashed THE PC ROCK* on’em. This was a tenuous situation betwixt Billy Mayes and old man Ives (Keystone owner), since TM had kicked Keystone off the property for not dancing with all the handsome and well perfumed Deerwoode studs, just a few years prior. Nothing like a little impromptu white boy rap tune about circuit training to quell an anxious gathering.
*”It’s the sure shock!”
Sweet Liz confided to me, during one of my interviews with her about the Craft Shop (Craft Shop…all time leader in most favorite daily Deerwoode class…just barely edged out PC and Nature…like by thousands of attendance marks), that most of the JC’s would mosey up to the infirmary on dance day and complain of “Poison Ivy” on the face. Liz and the nurse, would put women’s foundation creme on them, to cover up their acne. It was something like this…but, you can’t fix ugly, son. I don’t know why they bothered; most spies live in the shadows with faces made for radio, okay.
When I had OD, which was not often, ’cause TM and Radford, I guess, thought I was good at walking the cabin line at night, yelling “Get Quuuuiiiiiieeeetttt!”, Alden Smith took my cabin. Cabin 10, Blackfeet. Years later, I learned, the young man I thought my ‘young brother,’…He was spy. A spy for TM and his secret story tellin’ army, who posed, each summer, as cooks and maintenance workers and poor campfire talent. I hate a damn JC. As was the practice of TM’s version of MI6, Alden would engage the kids in talks and camp stories…then, make his way around to ‘damaging leading questions’ about their most trusted advisor…me. Their counselor. You hurt me bad, Shrek. Real bad. 🙂
(Embarrassing that I have to type an emoticon so it’s not misinterpreted that I’m just joking. Might have something to do with global levels of testosterone being down, per the report in the USA Today, recently).
Back to the dance. Upon leaving, those thievin’ Keystone lasses, swiped the Deerwoode sign down by the OD shed. They hammered it up in their “Tree Top” cabin. Chris T. David’s daughter, Cassie told him about it and he told me. When I picked up my 14 year old, Olivia, end of June, this year, I talked the picture taking mom (good thing this wasn’t the practice in TM’s era…posting 200 pictures of camp day on a website every evening) in to walking me to the cabins on the hill, to find the sign. I ripped it off the wall, fending off 4 angry CIT’s (16 year -olds), and it’s now in my possession. Bringing it to the reunion. No need to thank me. Stolen 29 years ago. Recovered. Deerwoode is whole again.
Gx: I told you I was going to get it, TM! Here, 29 years in a Keystone cabin. Thieves.
TM: I don’t want that thing. Get it out of here, and give 20 push ups for being a DA. Good ones, chop stroker!
Anyway…Powermove mentioned I might receive commendation at Campfire this year. Whatever. Conversely…I have, hereby, retained John Savage, Esquire, to represent the prosecution, me,…against the JC’s for ‘Failure to Protect Deerwoode Property.’ Statute of Limitations runs out in 30 years. Sorry son.
Here’s the picture of the old Deerwoode sign up in the Tree Top Keystone Cabin. Note the commemorative sign to their thievery. Page Ives, the current Keystone owner, confirmed, when I paddled her with the sign, that Colleen Fogarty was the thief. I think this is the same gal that lured McGuire back the following year, against TM’s orders, prompting his dismissal. TM: “McGuire, hit the River Road, son. I know it’s undefeated, but you’re out!”