Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Once Upon a Time at Camp Part II

NOTE:  Please excuse the multi-part aspect of this post.  I've decided to present my Camp Opus to you in this manner so that you're not taxed with a longwinded essay of life spent in the woods (and thus, being bored, you're off to find that adorable "Charlie Bit Me" video instead).  Plus, since this has already been written, I can pop off a couple of posts while I go off to work.  But, hey, I've included plenty of pictures!  By the way, as of tomorrow, I'll have to put on pants and sally forth to earn some money.  You may notice that I won't be here as often as I have been this summer.

"Let's see...is it 'swill' on this table and 'slop' on that one?
    The evening meal gave us a chance to interact with the staff.  Sullen teenagers, they were nothing like what we saw in the charming literature passed out by Sister Edward Agnes in May:  A Pastoral Camp Setting Staffed by a Cheerful Corps of Outdoor Professionals!
    Following evening prayer, led by the Senior SAP, the grumpy Monsignor Hudak, we dug into the first of a week-long series of theme meals. 
Ya know, starving kids in Detroit
would still throw this crap away!
    “Oh, Goody-Beets!” was both lavish in its presentation and bizarrely creative in the many different ways one could prepare ground tubers.
    “I don’t know about you guys,” I complained, “but no matter how much ketchup I use, I can’t get away from the fact that I’m eating purple roots.”
    After dinner, we shuffled gloomily back to our campsite.  Called Mattatuck which, in the original Algonquin means “Land of Few Trees,” it actually was devoid of any significant plant life.  Resembling the Tgunska blast site more than a “pastoral camp setting,” Mattatuck consisted only of a half-dozen canvas mosquito condominiums ringing a weed-choked stone campfire. 
Yeah. A lot like that.
    When I asked where the bathrooms were, I was directed to a small wooden latrine tucked behind a boulder painted with a Smiley face wearing an Indian headress. 
    Hmmph, more like “Land of Few Toilets,” if you ask me.
    After choosing the tent with the fewest amount of holes and mold, we furiously brushed it clean of pinecones which littered it like potato chips in Phil’s bed.  Skittering here and there were dozens of panicky Daddy Longlegs which, Spags gravely informed us, were the deadliest spiders known to man.
NOTE: Actual Daddy-Longlegs do NOT wear masks.
    “Don’t worry,” he continued as a freaked-out Donny played Whack-A-Mole with every one he spotted, “their mouths are way too small to hurt you, though.”
    Little comfort to Teddy “Spindle Arms” Williams, who slept with a flashlight on the whole week.
    Joining us was a moonfaced 7th-grader named Timmy Dolan.  No stranger to wedgies, Timmy looked familiar.  As I watched him set up his inhaler bottles, it dawned on me. 
    Oh, yeah, I remembered seeing him hanging upside down from the monkey bars at High Park.  I didn’t immediately recognize him because he had his underwear pulled over his head at the time. 
    So, I guess he met the Zowine brothers.
    Living quarters swept clear of the most noisome of God’s creatures, Donny began rolling his sleeping bag out on one of the rusty bunk frames.  With a soft grunt, he dumped his duffel bag onto the cot and began rifling through it.
    He pulled out a portable record player.  It was kind of beat up and had a couple of pennies taped to the top of the needle arm, so I guess it was old.  Plus, it was pink and covered in Tiger Beat stickers, so I guess it was his sister’s.  I hope.
    “I told you guys I had tunes!”
    I looked at what appeared to be an empty bag sitting next to him.  “How many records you bring, Don?”
    He shoved his hand into the bag.  “Like I said, I got plen-uh, oh.”
    In his hands were only two records.
    Spags frowned.  “You’re kidding me.  Don’t tell me you only brought two.”
    “Guess I forgot.”
    I shook my head.  “Which ones are they?”
    He looked at the labels.  “Layla, by Derek and the Dominoes...”
NOTE: "Hot Dog" not as cool-or annoying-as "Scooby
Doo".  Same could be said for "Jughead" and "Velma."
    “Well, that’s not bad.  What else?”
    “Sugar, Sugar.”
    Spags gasped.  “By the Archies!?”
    Donny sputtered, “I, uh, yeah.”
    Before he and Spags came to blows over the finest animated musicians this side of Josie and the Pussycats, I stepped in.  “Well, that figures, doesn’t it?” I said.
    Spags swung around.  “What do you mean?”
    I pointed at the red-faced Donny.  “Who else would bring the Archies but Jughead?”

To be continued....


  1. You don't need toilets when camping, just shit in the river. And I had no idea that The Archies were a cartoon band. I never stop learning.

  2. Damn, those roots look tasty! I didn't much like Archie and his gang, they seemed to be a bunch of "friends" who didn't like each other. Your camper club seems similar in that respect.

  3. You are an entertaining critter :o)

  4. Agreed with Tony! The bushes are your toilet!

  5. @Eva: I am so happy I'm allowed to use adjectives.
    @Tony: They were like the Monkees with a comic book.
    @Gorilla Bananas: Archie liked Veronica but he shoulda got busy with Betty. Jughead mighta been gay, though. As far as Reggie...? Let's put it this way: you couldn't leave him alone with the dog. Good GOD! How do I even know their names!?
    @Deborah: I do card tricks, too.
    @Kid: They were when we went camping in Rhode Island.

  6. Give me a toilet any day. I've long since had to use porta potties at the lake. I don't like them. When I was a kid I visited a latrine...yuk. I so knew about the Archies. :)

  7. I've always felt bad for you ladies when it came to those skeevy porta-potties. We at least had trees. But, did you also know about "Josie and the Pussycats"?

  8. i remember those stupid daddy long legs & how they were the primary dwellers in our summer camp cabins. some of the boys would open their mouths & let them crawl around inside & then walk back out & then they wondered why none of the girls wanted to kiss them. ~~shudder~~

  9. Kiss the girls...or the spiders?

  10. Church camp, rusty bunk frames, Dandy Long Legs, and theme meals! I think I went to the same camp! Did they make you peel potatoes too?!

  11. First...no spider is okay...none! Daddy Long Legs are supposed to have mouths too small to bite you but I am positive I'll be the first to get bit by the genetic freak of the species...no thank you!

    Second-hell to the no on the lack of toilet--yes I used hell to the no in a comment.

    Third-I absolutely had that record player and I loved every single thing about it. I'd totally forgotten about it until I saw that picture!! Oh the memories!!

  12. It's what I could do to help. These kids today with their iPods; they have no idea how much fun it is to tape pennies on a record arm to hear the "Archies" screech "Bang-Spang-A-Lang" through static.
    Justin Bieber, my ass.

  13. My parents still grow beets. I always hated those things.