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.”

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