From the Archives, February 25, 2018

“The Bread Cure” by Mike Brown

I believe this took place in 1985 at Camp Parnell. Sean C. Gallager was the victim of a joke he kept making worse and worse. Sean C. worked in the commissary/kitchen off and on that summer, was a world champion Ping-Pong player, played a mean French horn(the trombone/French horn duet with Rob Prytula at Camp Craig is remembered lovingly by male deer all over the reservation) , and he spoke with a lisp.

At one time he was walking through the activity yard during the poisonous plants demonstration by the instructor. Poison ivy was the subject, and the counselor had an example for showing his group. Sean C. spied the sample and insisted that this was not poison ivy, but a simple creeping ivy. When the counselor disagreed Sean C. took the sample and rubbed it on his arms, showed his arms to the group, said “SEE!!”, and walked off to be caught by Jerry Barnett for mulch duty.

The day must have been hot and he must have used his arms on his face and brow to remove sweat a few times during his labors. When the red itchy patches began to appear he made the trek up the hill toward the health lodge. The con yard site was on the way and Matthew “Peanut” Bailey was the director at the time. He was seen by Sean C. and asked what the red itchy skin was. Peanut answered immediately that it was syphilis, and the at Sean C. had best get some bread on it to draw out the poison. Sean C., being no dummy, still headed up to the health lodge to get expert medical attention from the Ft Campbell medic Steve.

Steve took a look at the situation and immediately pronounced the verdict for the medical situation- An acute case of Poison Ivy.

Sean C. immediately informed Steve that he was wrong because he had been seen by the Great and Mystical Matthew Bailey, who had declared the rash to be none other that poison syphilis. Steve, aware that there could very well be other explanations, carefully asked whether Matthew had recommended a cure. Upon hearing it he agreed that white bread was probably the best way to draw the poison out and ease the itching flesh. He also recommended changing the bread every half-hour.

Sean C. dutifully went to the kitchen and withdrew his prescription of two loaves of Bunny Bread. He sat on the back steps of the loading dock and placed slices along his arms and then held two pieces in place on his face. He explained to all scouts and scoutmasters that he had a bad case of syphilis and was taking the bread cure for relief. After four loaves, I believe that Jerry Barnett finally ordered him to the health lodge for his calamine lotion.

Jerry later asked Peanut why he had told Sean C. it was poison syphilis. The answer that still reverberates in the annals of Craig/Parnell history was: “It seemed like the thing to say.”

From the Archives, February 24, 2018

Camp Anecdotes: The Unsanitary Cat Project
as told by Pearl Schleicher

[This story is actually edited down from a taped conversation with Mrs. Schleicher from April 21, 1996. She was 87 at the time of the interview.]

Phil, Phil Roe, he was over at Stahlman [Kitchen Director ’65-’68] at that time. And I didn’t like a lot of things that Phil done. Number one was playing around with those boys and then he couldn’t boss ’em. They wouldn’t listen to him. Well, he had an old…I think that was a rabbit wasn’t it? He had this old thing he was doing studies on. And he took it in the Men’s room, you know where the men’s room is in the kitchen, and you know how that thing done. And he laid it in the floor, so the komode ran over, and I got the break…, it was breakfast meal was what it was. And he set up a table out there for the staff. And he put that old cat on the grey, I had a grey big platter there, he put that cat on that platter and set that on the staff table. And boy when I found out about it. Whew. But, Phil thought he was having himself a time and he was. He didn’t know it. And there those people, there was Tom Parker [Stahlman ConYard Director, ’60-’68], well the whole staff, come in there and set down and there was that blamed old cat that had been in that water out of the komode. Up there on that table. Boy I was fuming.

Well, can’t even think of the name. Bruce [Atkins, Reservation Director, ’66-’69]. Bruce come in there, walked up to me and said, honey, what’s the matter with you? He knew I was boiling. I said I’m going home. That;s whats the matter. And I was just about ready to fight. He said what in the world has happened and I told him. And he went over to Phil and said, Phil, I think you better get that off of there, she is really ready. But Russell, I had to fight for it. That was unsanitary. Plus it didn’t look right.

I can see the old cat now.

Announcements! Announcements! Announcements!

The Anecdotes Project
March 2018
You may have noticed that the VirtualBoxwell posts this month have all been stories by staff members. This was deliberate. I want you to start thinking about YOUR camp stories.
Next week, on March 1, I will be sending out a Camp Anecdotes Questionnaire to former staff members. I will be asking about your favorite camp stories as well what made camp meaningful for you and your opinions/recollections of the various leaders you worked for. This questionnaire is in part for VirtualBoxwell, but it is also one of the last pieces of research for a project celebrating the centennial of Boxwell for 2021.
Thus, I need as much participation as I can get.
I won’t lie (a Scout is Trustworthy!): the questionnaire is going to take you a little bit of time. It is not multiple choice, but long form answers. But let’s be honest, none of us–NONE OF US–could talk about camp stories or the people we worked with or work for with a multiple choice form. All of us as staff members were just… too unique. 🙂
I want to thank you all in advance for participating and encourage you to start thinking. The Boxwell Staff Anecdotes Project is about to begin!
Grady Eades webmaster

From the Archives, February 18, 2018

CAMP ANECDOTES: Setting the Cabin on Fire
by Grady Eades

[I’ve gotten so many great stories that I thought I would share one of my more amusing adventures.]

The summer of 1992 was one of the last summers we did Native Americans at the campfires. It was a Sunday night, about the third week of camp I believe. Anyway, there were three of us playing Native that summer–myself, Ron Holder and Jason Shumaker. So, we get dressed up in our make-up and attire and shuffle our way down to the Sunday night campfire area at Parnell. We stand solemnly in our breeches clothes, holding our torches as the Scouts come in and sit down. We give our spiel, which I confess, I don’t remember a word of anymore, and then we leave. Getting to leave the campfire early was the big perk of doing the Native American of course!

Anyway, our torches are still lit as we shuffle down Parnell Road, campfire program roaring full steam behind us. The torches are falling apart as we come up to the cabin at Parnell. Now, at the time, we kept a big barrel of diesel back behind the cabin and we stored torches there during the week. Of course, there were more than just those three torches. There were also the other nine (12 total) that we used for the Scout Law closing on Friday night. But I digress…

Our torches are still burning and Shumaker and I lean over the barrel and look in. Now, EVERY staff member who’s been around awhile and played with diesel knows that diesel is one of those fuels that has to be exposed to a LOT of heat before it will catch on fire. In other words, if you move quickly, you can put out a flame IN diesel. Well, we looked in that barrel, decided there was enough diesel in there and figured we would just dunk out torches like we’d done a million times before and then we’d be off for a nice shower.

Well, we were wrong.

I dunked my torch first and needless to say, there was just a wee bit too little diesel in the barrel. The flame from the torch was not entirely extinguished and diesel barrel behind the cabin turned into a big ball of flame! We freaked out a bit, but got the kitchen staff to run up with some fire extinguishers to put it out. Not, of course, before we had left a nice, big black scorch mark on the back side of Parnell office.

Barnett was Program Director and he was a ‘little’ irritated (for those of you who remember Jerry, I’m sure you know what I mean!). He didn’t fire us though, just made us write a thousand word paper on Firemanship. All three of us joked about just drawing a picture that would be worth a thousand words, but Ron Holder ended up being the brave soul among us. His paper?

“Fire Bad. Damn Prometheus!”

Valentine’s Day, 2018

In reviewing the Web Webster interview for Sunday’s “From the Archive,” we ran across this jewel from Web about Floyd “Q-ball” Pearce.  Here Web tells a story from his days as Handicraft Staff member at Stahlman in the early 1980s about Q-ball and his wife Tillie.  The story seemed appropriate to share on Valentine’s Day…

[From a 2003 interview with Web Webster… Story has been edited for content and clarity.] 

[Q-ball] was big in the OA and big in Scouts…[He] had crossed into this other plain of Boy Scout consciousness, if you will. I mean he won every award there was to win. He was a Silver Beaver. He was Woodbadge… I do not recall if he was an Eagle Scout or if he…I don’t remember, but there was not a whole lot else he could do and it was sort of like, as a mystic, he had risen beyond the point of where any rewards, any badge, any ranking that the Boy Scouts could give him wouldn’t really have any meaning. He was Q-ball. [H]e was Boy Scouts. Because he was.. He was almost up into a realm of the theoretical and the abstract, as opposed to a Ragsdale or a Barr or a Barnett or some of the other guys that I worked with who were, they still living it; Q-ball was in the abstract.

And yet, now as a grown up, I realize that in some ways he was living it more than any of us were in the way that he was, in the way that he carried himself and the realms of honesty, and integrity, and living out the Scout Laws. That’s just who he was.

I think the other thing is that, and this is one of those things you don’t notice until you talk it through for a little while, he was married to the same woman and had been married to the same woman [for a long time]… and he always so spoke so fondly of her. I mean just, his face would light up when he talked about her.

And I, you know, having been born when I was and being the age that I am was right in the husk of the first group of kids to grow up in divorced families. My mom and dad aren’t divorced, but I would say that the majority of my friends at the time moms and dads were divorced and it was already beginning to be, seem a little bit strange to be in a family that had a mom and dad who were still married to each other.

Beyond my grandparents and my parents, here’s this guy who was still as clearly in love with his wife at eighty some odd years old as he was when they first met. And I think that had a very subtle influence on sort of  how I looked on what relationships with women could be. It was like, up until that point it was like ok, yeah you date, get married, then turn boring like my parents and then you die. And here all of a sudden was this guy who once a year left his wife for six weeks to hang out with some kids to tear up tools and loved this woman and would go back and see, and would go back.

You know you pick up lessons; you pick up important things in very small ways. As I have gotten older, camp sort of helped me realize this, epiphanies tend to be very quiet and if you’re talking too much you could miss them. And Q-ball said, “you should love your wife and treat her with respect.” He could have said that all day long, but it wasn’t  nearly as powerful as here was this guy who was ancient, ancient beyond all belief, and…they were still married and still, you know, just as much man and wife as someone who had just gotten married. That was subtly important.