Camp Anecdotes: A Gift of Firewood, 1985
by Kerry Parker
There was some int’resting stories about [my Ford F-6] Old Blue. One is the story that… we started doing these pranks. So, Camp Stahlman had had trouble with their campfires; a couple of times hadn’t lit. Oh we just thought that the greatest thing there ever was that Stahlman had troubles with their campfires.
So, low and behold, I got this idea that what we oughtta do was, and I was the instigator of it I guess, we ought give them some firewood. Also in 1985, the year before, they’d put up these curtains in Stahlman Dining Hall. They’ve taken down now I believe. But you couldn’t see out. It was to keep the heat out of the dining hall and everything. So we got this idea. And the Waterfront and the staff all got together and they loaded Old Blue up to the top, I mean with this wet driftwood that was off the waterfront. They’d piled it up there at the beginning of camp and then we piled on that truck. And one day at lunch, there was four of us that went to the dining hall, and I can’t remember who all was in there, but we went over there on Old Blue… I drove the truck and there was three others. The plan was we’d backed Old Blue up, I had it in gear, ready to go, motor running, and ready to dump this load of firewood right about where the flag pole was. They went inside. The other three went inside. And two of ’em stayed over at the windows next to the flag pole, so they could open the curtains back and the other one went up and told the Program Director he wanted to make a presentation to Camp Stahlman.
He went up and when he started the presentation, the guys started pulling the curtains back and the bed of the truck started to raise. As they raised the curtain back and the bed started to raise and that stuff started to come off and then they [Stahlman staff] came running out of the dining hall about that time the wood hit the ground right there, jumped in the truck and on the running boards. And I never see so many staff members come out of dining hall in my life! Man, they were going to kill me! And Web Webster, big guy, helping us with the reunion this year , he came out of that dining hall and he got on that running board and I mean, he was beating me through that window. I mean, he was mad. He was red faced and he was going to kill me if he could. And all the others…
Realizing a good Program Director, Ernie Ragsdale, realizing, you know, that it was a prank, you know, that it wasn’t actually an invasion of Stahlman, and it was a prank and a good prank, he came out of the dining hall and he was yelling at ’em to get back up there, get back up there. The other guys were getting in the cab of the truck, getting on the truck, trying to get out of there – those three guys. And it was one of the best pranks. Matter of fact, I would say it was the best prank that I ever pulled on anybody. And we left it sitting over there.
And of course, as things go, why Ernie… ‘course Tom [Willhite] got involved with it a little bit and Jerry [Barnett], Tom wanted to know why was doing that. He was all bristled up, you know. He didn’t actually say too much to me or anything like that. But he told Jerry, “Jerry those boys are going to have to cut them pranks out, you know. We don’t want to have that out here, you know.” So, to be the good people that we were, we let it sit there for, I don’t know how long it was, it was certainly all day that day and I’m not sure when, but we went back over, as good neighbors, as good Parnell neighbors, and picked it up and carried it off properly. Ernie held his staff off of us while we picked it up. They didn’t offer to pick up any of it either, by the way, but it was a good thing.