It’s just past 9AM on Tuesday, July 16, and we’re enjoying our fourth or fifth consecutive day of sunshine!!! To those of you who sent dry (or drying) thoughts our way over the past several weeks, many thanks. Your psychic efforts seem to have paid off. Quite unbelievably, though, we’re now at the mid-season mark. Yesterday, 90-plus first session boys left us for other summer undertakings. Today, their bunks and bug nets will be taken by 90-plus others, looking forward to their own Pemi summer. Yesterday’s departures were marked by many sincere thank-yous and not a few welling eyes. We’ll sorely miss our companions of the opening three-and-a-half weeks, but we’re grateful for their cheerful and productive company and look forward to welcoming those to whom they are passing the baton.
As some of you may know and others will have intuited from the above, our changeover procedure has been a little bit different this year. Inspired by Assistant Director Kenny Moore (who’s unique gift seems to be the ability to think equally well inside and outside “the box”), we split what used to be one hectic day into two leisurely ones. As a result, our full-session campers were afforded what turned out to be a pretty special day yesterday. At 10AM, they all boarded our two school busses, accompanied by 15 or so non-cabin staff, and headed off to The Whale’s Tale, a local water park. There they most assuredly beat the heat of a high-80’s day, on and in the various slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers. Meanwhile, their cabin counselors stayed at Pemi, finishing up their midseason letters to parents (which you families of first- and full-session campers will be receiving very soon.) At 5PM, the water-parkers arrived back at camp – cool, happy, and lightly chlorinated – to be met at the Senior Beach by Tom and Larry Davis, who were grilling steaks while Bob Marley and The Allman Brothers blared on the music system. On a perfect New Hampshire late afternoon – sun brilliant as it settled over Pemi Hill, a moderate breeze rippling the pond and keeping the heat at bay – the 150 or so full-session campers and staff settled into one of the mellowest beach parties these shores have ever seen. With make-your-own sundaes topping it all off, all agreed that this was an innovation with tradition written all over it. Same for what followed – a screening in the Lodge of The Sand Lot, complete with individual bags of Smartfood for all cinemaphiles, young and old.
Today dawned with one other innovation. Sort of. In the Old Days of camp (we’re talking pre-1920s), directors, counselors, and campers alike began each day with a run to the point that juts into the pond half way down its western edge. This was the location of the camp potato patch and also, given the steep drop off of the shoreline, the perfect spot for Polar Bears (our traditional morning dip – infinitely more refreshing and character-building than a warm shower.) When, in the later 20s, the Junior Camp was founded by John Herbert Nichols (#4 of “The 4 Docs”), the practice was suspended, most Polar Bears then being taken closer to the cabins of what became, by default, “the Upper Camp.” So, with the thought of doing something new that was also very old, we conceived the notion that this mass collective run to the Junior Point should be resurrected in 2013. We also thought that it would be fun to have something to nibble on when we got down there – not to suggest the original dippers gnawed on raw potatoes or anything like that in the old days. So, Chefs Stacey, Betty, and Nancy whipped up a big batch of home-made cinnamon doughnuts and a big vat of hot chocolate and the tradition of “Dunkin’ Docs” was born. Appropriately (we are an all-American institution, after all), reveille was moved from 7:30 back to Seven-Eleven to make some extra time for the event. With those Seniors still in camp inspiring the troops in the Intermediate Camp (10 of their colleagues are currently on a five-day canoe trip on the Allagash in Maine, on which more later) and Kenny Moore whooping it up at the point, a jolly and bonding time was had by all. So inspiring was the event that Dottie Reed, who had come down to take pictures of the festivities and dressed to greet parents, was moved to relinquish her camera, remove her watch, and dash fully-clothed into the waves, whooping all the while. Talk about being moved by the spirit!
With the first of our second-session boys about to roll in, we’ll now think about reunions and new greetings. To fill out the remainder of these pages, though, we’ll forward the limericks written by Ian Axness and Jamie Andrews (with a half-dozen by old hand Tom Reed Jr.) for reading at Sunday’s Birthday Banquet. The drill here, as you may know, is for boys and staff to get cheers in the Messhall on their actual birthdays – but no cakes (or poems) until this one day of joint celebration. Then, at the requisite moment in the evening’s program, the Bean Soup editors step up to the podium and read a limerick for each Birthday Person. Here are this year’s:
Hello and bon soir and good eve!
We’re up on this bench here to cleave
To a Pemi tradition:
(If you’re likely to heave, kindly leave.)
To ye masses we’ll dutifully answer
With limericks, each an enhancer
Of the natal day joys
For all girls and boys—
Each a Leo, or maybe a Cancer.
For you, the directions are clear
Stand up when your own name you hear.
Do not be nonchalant:
For the audience wants
To see whether you smile or sneer.
So these are the poems we’ve penned
We hope that to them you’ll attend.
But if you can’t swallow
Them or find them hollow
Just zip it and clap at the end.
Ackerman’s hip to this scene,
A Pemi kid, boots to his bean.
But he’s met with the menace
Who teaches us tennis
In one-on-one lessons with Greene.
Andre’s caught the performative bug
But you’d never consider him smug
For after he croons
His incredible tunes
He finishes up with a shrug.
Ian Axness is so OCD
If I don’t rhyme he’ll massacre me
So I shouldn’t recite
Words like “orange” or “vacuum”…|
(I should go hide in a tree.)
When painting with saxophone sound,
Belinowiz aims to astound,
But sometimes his alto
Sounds more like Balto
When it honks out a noise like a hound.
Vicki-B teaches tennis with power—
On the court her competitors cower.
But her uncle is scary,
Her brother’s lip-hairy,
And she takes a relaxing fourth hour.
Young Chuck was apparently ready
To party with cake and confetti
But since we’re at camp
His plans got all damp—
We’ve only this poem for Bonetti.
Any fool with two eyeballs can see
Robert Cecil’s as tall as can be.
Truth be told, we have heard
He attracted a bird
Who was looking to nest in a tree.
Observe the domestic Matt Cloutier—
A professional doing his duty, eh?
He is so keen to be
Our Mess Hall maitre d’
Second half he’ll start wearing a suit-ier.
The G&S leads have been booked—
At tons of raw talent we looked!
When auditions were through
Somehow we just knew
Iolanthe would have to be Cooked.
Jack Davini digs all things sustainable.
When he learned that his eyebrows were trainable,
He conceived ‘twould be fun
To get by with just one.
Want his other one? Sure. It’s obtainable.
Henry’s discovered the trick
To teaching his team how to kick:
The creed of his corps?
Simply SOCCER IS WAR!
He’s best known as Drill Sergeant Rick.
If you’re down for a walk in the bogs,
Lend an ear to the croaks of the frogs.
Some go “Crickety Crack.”
Some go “Jiggedy Jack,”
But the big ones emit “Elvekrog”-s.
This camper in Junior 2 hath
Some signs of a young psychopath.
With him we’ve had words
For his killing off birds—
It all stems from Reed’s falcon wrath.
When writing a lim’rick for Al
It is tough to keep up one’s morale.
His best lim’rick was done
Back in nineteen 9-1
But attempt to surpass it we shall.
So Al’s in his ninety-eighth year,
Still married and driving I hear.
Indeed, Bertha and he
Were just destined to be
Matrimonially sound and sincere.
Peter Fauver, the grandson of Gar,
In New Hampshire was called to the bar.
When he rose to the bench
He gave Exxon a wrench,
Saying “Keep your darn gas in the car!”
Upper Three’s studly jock, Owen Fried,
Is a lax player gifted indeed.
His attacks on the net
Are the sickest, you bet…
Unless Owen gets tripped by a weed.
This is his first year on staff,
So Gales is due for a gaffe.
But it’s no ballyhoo
For our Teddy’s the true
Embodiment of the big laugh.
Szervac, one may justly surmise
(When you see the wide look in his eyes)
Is real new to these parts.
Though he’s dear to our hearts
He is endlessly filled with surprise.
Our resident bug thug is super
And he studies just south of the Yooper.
A true max level Scout
This guy is, without doubt,
An entomological trooper.
Nick Holquist, Nick Holquist, Nick Holquist
His whole frame of mind is a goal quest.
For him soccer would seem
Like a criminal scheme:
Take the ball, take it back— that’s the whole gist.
From purchasing pounds of confetti
To ordering tons of spaghetti
When looking for cash
It’s to Judy we dash—
For this gal no transaction is petty.
Kurt Koons is a jovial chum.
In rugby he powers the scrum.
This game he is loving
Reminds him of shoving
Through crowds in New York, where he’s from.
Heather is simply incredible
And she’ll tell you the whole truth, instead o’ bull.
She’ll unwrap all your boxes
Shin-guards and knee-sockses,
But confiscate anything edible.
As a waiter one must meet all needs
And cater to each whom he feeds.
Leave nothing to chance—
It is more like a dance
And wouldn’t you know it: Zach Leeds.
Mr. Leunis thought he had it made
In charge of our boats as camp aide
But Olivia’s in
Much to Antoine’s chagrin
So now he just wants to get paid.
Ms. Martin likes finding a nook
To hide away with a good book.
But don’t mess with her mood
She might poison your food,
For Chloe’s our quirky new cook.
Will has a manner laconic,
And a curriculum, well, economic.
He is strikingly brave
When he’s getting a shave
Just like that hedgehog named Sonic!
In baseball, he covers home plate.
James Minzy hands runners their fate
An eminent catcher
He’s someone we’ll bet’cher
Plays ball full of love, not with hate.
Ezra’s supposedly able
To waiter the new “Planning Table,”
But when serving that locus
It’s harder to focus
When channeling Frederic or Mabel.
Debbie Pannell is so smart
And she’s made it so cool to do art,
But we’re now halfway through
And there’s still lots to do—
The campers may never depart!
A retiring athlete he’s not.
On the soccer pitch this dude’s so hot
That when rain comes, it seems,
He just sizzles and steams,
Does footballer intense, Tate Suratt.
Young Tempro’s got fash’nable tips
And real studs in his ears, they’re not clips.
But en route to the Carters
He could have been smarter—
Don’t forget earring cleaner on trips.
Dan Walder’s a traveling sort
And he’s more keen on Nature than Sport.
But now he might say
The outdoors are passé
And he’d rather be at a resort.
At the lake we all answer to Paige.
Her safety procedures are sage,
But don’t swim like a fool
Or you’re out of the pool—
Goofing off at free swim makes her – angry.
Jackson Welsh swam his distance this year
But the story is rather severe,
For the guys in the boat
Stranded him on the float
Shouting “Hey, you big jerks! I’m still here!”
That’s it! We sure hope you’ve been sated
And limerically re-celebrated.
Big thanks to TR
Who helped us make par.
(I hope we’re not going to be graded.)
We’ve got to wrap up and we’re stuck
I suppose we’ll just pack up the truck.
Now the last thing to say
On this pro-natal day
Is much JOY, LONG LIFE, and GOOD LUCK.
Many thanks to Ian and Jamie for this epic undertaking, reminiscent (in our jaded minds) of the songs of the scops in the ancient mead halls of our collective past. Smiling faces, full bellies, and heroic verse. What could be better? Before we close, though, thanks also to the first-session boys and parents who made 2013.1 so joyous and fulfilling for us all. Your good spirit, efforts, and trust are hugely appreciated. Here’s, also, to all the full-session campers and families who are keeping the summer’s ball rolling – and to all the newcomers and their clans who will invest 2012.2 with the energy and enthusiasm that we’re certain they will. That’s it for now – except to repeat that signal contemporary phrase of approbation: “It’s all good.”
— Tom and Danny