Chapter 4 -- Winter Camp
When the campers arrived for Winter Camp XXII, they found Jeff Rand and Doug Wilson sitting at a table eating breakfast. Luckily, a few of them had been to Winter Camp before so they knew the two even though they weren't active in the chapter anymore. Mark Bollman greeted them and headed straight for his traditional bunk. As he began making up his bed, he could hear Steve Donohue snoring in the "adult room" just the other side of his bunk. Mark had hoped Steve would move back to Clearwater this year, since Donohue's snoring had kept him awake several nights the year before. Mark made a little extra noise and the snoring stopped -- perhaps Donohue was awake.
Peering around the corner into the room, he saw the traditional set up of the adult room. Jeff's gear was neat and organized and he'd taken the bunk on the west wall. Mr. Wilson was on the north wall, and Donohue, the room's newest occupant, had taken the east wall. The shelves above Donohue's bed were filled with his usual dizzying array of toys and games, and his bunk was far and away the sloppiest. Donohue looked up at Mark from bed and smiled.
"G'morning," he said, "Any trouble getting here?"
"Just the usual; we had three drivers for the twelve people today and you had eight drivers for your ten yesterday."
The set-up day had been a bone of contention for a number of years, but no one really had a good solution. Those who came early weren't interested in changing their ways, and those who came the 27th were just as disinclined. At Winter Camp XIX, it had been agreed to disagree and both sides were equally unhappy.
Donohue got up and began dressing. As the advisor, he'd really planned to get up early and greet everyone as they arrived but, true to the Winter Camp tradition, he'd overslept. The cabin was filling up rapidly and he could already hear a few people complaining about Clearwater being filled before they even arrived. He reminded himself again that there should be some sort of bunk lottery to decide who slept where and wondered if he'd ever convince anyone else to do it that way.
He made his way out to the main room, pausing to exchange small talk as he went. Once there he noticed that Tommy hadn't made it up yet either; in fact, when he looked towards Clearwater, he didn't see any signs that they were moving. He asked and was told that several people had tried to wake up the Clearwater bunch but had been told to get lost. He looked over at Doug with a conspiratorial smile and Doug just nodded.
Late the night before, Doug, Jeff, and Steve had snuck down to Clearwater to install a special surprise. Doug put in his "Post Horn Gallop" tape and Jeff hit the override switch on the intercom. The speakers in the attic of Clearwater thumped into life and the music was loud enough to be heard clearly in the BC building. By the time the music stopped, the Clearwater building was empty.
John Howey was the first one from Clearwater to make it up; he hadn't even bothered to get dressed, and the sight of him in his red sweat pants, gray t-shirt and bunny slippers provoked fresh gales of laughter from the BC crowd.
"I don't think this is funny at all," he shouted, punctuating his speech with a number of blood curdling invectives; "That music is so loud it's dangerous, and what right do you have to play it like that? Someone could've been hurt; I think I may have suffered permanent hearing loss."
"Quit whining," said Ron Donohue, better known as Dr. Beast; "just admit that we got you and shut up. By the way, nice shoes."
John looked down at his bunny slippers, "Thanks, I got 'em at K-Mart on the way to camp. Just promise me we're not going to hear that every morning."
Doug and Jeff exchanged solemn glances. Steve looked at John rather sheepishly.
"We promise." the three intoned simultaneously, not bothering to mention that they had other musical selections in mind for other mornings.
By noon, Winter Camp was underway with the Hot Potato Lunch. Following lunch, there was a brief meeting. Tommy presided since he was the youth leader. He went over the schedule briefly and double-checked that everyone knew what they were supposed to do. He made a point of putting the Daily Plan on the wall next to the schedule so everyone could see when they had to get things done like bread baking and activity set-up.
When he called for questions, the only one came from Mike Quirouette who wanted to know if he should wear his Medieval garb all the time or not. Tommy explained that the theme garb was always acceptable but only required at the theme activities.
Once the meeting was over, everyone broke to get dressed up for the Quest. The Quest had been invented at Winter Camp XVI and remained the only segregated activity at Winter Camp. The adults set the event up and manned various challenge stations, and the youth competed in teams to see who could best accomplish the quest. Dan Bollman had been the principle designer of this year's quest and he held a brief meeting in the adult room to make sure they all knew their parts.
Ron was already wearing his ogre mask, and Mark Bollman and Lou Pezet were clad in their wizard's robes. Wilson was running a tavern, and he and Howey were going to cook dinner over an open fire. Steve Donohue and Tim Hunt had spent weeks choreographing a duel to take place in the tavern. Rand wasn't costumed, but he did have on his ski boots. The snow had made his job as stalker much easier. Ozzie was already out in the field, making sure that the wizards' spells were going to work.
The two teams gathered in the main room with Paul Lambert as leader of one and Tommy the other. Dave Woods entered the room clad in a hand-made suit of chain mail, something he had constructed as part of a hobby draw assignment years earlier. He pushed the crowd back with a menacing glare and Mark Hunt came in.
"Bow to your king you impudent dogs," snarled Woods, "or taste my steel." He reached for his sword and eyed the crowd menacingly. A few seemed kind of confused, but when their leaders bowed, they did the same.
"Rise, my loyal subjects, and hear of my quest," began King Mark, "I need you to find a missing item, the fabled Ring of Hallovia." He finished the instructions and watched as the questers left. He and Woods congratulated each other on doing a good job, then set to work baking some bread for dinner.
The quest went well, with only a minor injury to Donohue when he'd stepped left instead of right and been nicked by Tim's blade. The others hadn't even noticed and thought that it was intentional. The two teams solved the riddle almost simultaneously and both wound up at the traditional goal of all quests, the CHR Memorial Site. Once there, they took pick and shovel and began the arduous task of retrieving the capsule. This year, it was even harder than usual, since they were finally digging up the ten year capsule as well.
The only one who wasn't on hand for the digging was Jeff, who had been called to the front for an emergency phone call. They dug up first the one year, then the ten year. Everyone was getting ready to leave when Howey asked about digging lower in case of Jeff's time travel. The group got a good laugh out of that, since the time travel thing was kind of funny. Jeff had insisted that if time travel became possible in his lifetime, he would travel back in time to Winter Camp I, take some pictures, and bury them a foot below the ten year capsule.
A small debate over whether to satisfy Jeff or not ensued, with about half the people wanting to dig now rather than hear about it later and the other half unwilling to give Jeff the satisfaction of having dug. Steve pointed out that if time travel became possible in his lifetime he would travel back and dig up the photos just to spite Jeff, and more laughter followed. The debate finally ended when Woods grabbed the shovel and began digging. He hadn't been at it long when he hit something.
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