Scary times at camp!

Paul’s nose didn’t look as if he had broken it during capture the flag, so I had him apply some pressure and tilt his head forward. I left him with the counselors after the bleeding had seemed to abate after about five minutes of pressure.

My kids were beat! They dragged their little feet in the gravel as we walked towards the main house. They were pretty quiet as we trudged up the stairs to our rooms. They stripped their clothes off and plopped them on the floor. I was glad that they had already had their showers earlier. My son resembled a drunk man. His eyes were glassed over and his head tilted to one side as I helped him get into his jammies. Man! These long days, all this activity, and the fresh air was sapping the kids big time.

Within ten minutes of putting my son into his sleeping bag, I could hear his gentle snoring. Perfect. I had about a half hour before night time meds. I pulled out the ghost story books from my backpack, found a flash light, sat on my bunk bed and cracked open the first book. Some of these were old familiar ones.

The first story was one about ‘ghostly hand prints’. In this story, a group of five teenagers, who were coming home from a night at the movies when their car stalled in the middle of the railroad tracks. It was the same railroad tracks where, forty years before, a school bus full of children had also stalled on the tracks. Everyone on board the school bus perished when the freight train collided with the bus. There were reports of the ghosts of the school bus kids haunting the tracks. It looked pretty dire for the panicky teenagers as they couldn’t get the car to budge and the train was bearing down upon them with whistles blowing, when at the last second the car lurched forward as if pushed. The teenagers waited for the train to pass and got out of the car to have a look, when they noticed little hand prints in the dust on the back of the car. As they are bent over examining the half dozen hand prints they heard the sound of giggles of little children and then one soft  little voice saying, “You’re welcome!”. 

Ooooo. That one sent chills down my spine.

The next one I had heard of when I was a kid. It was about the escaped insane asylum patient on the loose. There are a couple of kids who are in a car, parked in a forested area that, of course, was very near to the asylum. The girlfriend got scared and made the boyfriend step outside to check that the coast was clear. While he was gone she hears something scraping against the roof of the car and imagined it was the escaped lunatic. Turned out it was the boyfriend’s shoes scraping along the top of the car. The insane patient had gotten to him. 

Ewww. That one was too graphic. That would not work.

I read about the girl with the ribbon around her neck. She wore it her whole life and was evasive whenever her husband asked her about it. Only on her death bed, after many years together and raising a family, did she finally allow him to remove her ribbon. When he did so, her head fell off. 

That one was pretty lame. That would probably get more giggles than shivers, I figured.

The disappearing hitchhiker seemed like a pretty good one. It was the story of a young woman dressed in a pretty gown walking along side the road. A middle-aged traveling salesman pulls over to offer her a ride. When he did so he noticed that she was soaking wet. She took the coat he offered her to keep warm. He didn’t ask too many questions and she politely gave him her address and requested him to drop her off at her home. As he pulled down the long driveway to her house he turned to speak to her and she was gone! All that was left was his wet coat. The gentleman was confused and knocked at the door of the house. A sad old woman, who answered the door, told the salesman that indeed, it was her daughter. She had died twenty years ago when returning from her prom night. Her car drove off the road and into the river. Every year since then she would attempt to make it home on prom night. 

That story was creepy enough, I thought, without being too gory. I figured I had a winner. I heard a soft knock on the door. Anita and Sammy were at the door, ready to watch the kids as I went for night time meds. They sat down in the hall outside our bedrooms and I hiked down to the health office.

There was a line of twelve kids waiting for me outside the office! Now, that was a really scary situation! I had expected the walking wounded from ‘capture the flag’, and the regulars for their meds but what was up with the others?! Ugh! Did I have another little contagious outbreak on my hands? That reminded me, that I needed to do another ‘clean hands’ check soon.

I gave out the scheduled meds to the two campers. Ten left now.

I reassessed Andrew’s ankle, and it looked pretty good. I wrapped it with one of the two ACE wraps I had in the office. I gave him some more ice.

I applied antibiotic cream to Luke’s ‘road rash’. It looked pretty sore. It kinda made me cringe as I spread it on there.

I reassessed Zack’s arm, and it still looked pretty benign but he was still having pain. He got some more ice and some tylenol. 

Paul’s nose bleed had stopped. There was no swelling there, so I sent him on his way. Now I had six campers left to see.

“What’s up with you, young man?” I asked a little Deer hut camper.

He had a sore throat. I had a look in there and saw nothing. He didn’t have a fever, and no swollen lymph nodes. 

“Well mister. I am not sure what to do with you.”

“Can I just have one of those cough drops?” He asked innocently.

Oooooh! Uh huh. I had given Benjamin one of the cough drops earlier that day. I guess the word had gotten out.

“Are you a friend of Benjamin’s?” I asked as I looked out over the little guy’s head into the hallway. I noticed four other little Deer hutters out there. He nodded his head vigorously. I asked him to hang tight in the office. I stepped out into the hallway.

“Hey guys! Who all came to see me because they have a sore throat tonight?” 

The four little Deer hutters raised their hands. 

“OK dudes. Come on in here.” 

I waved them in to the office and lined them up. I plugged them all with thermometers. None of them had fevers. I whipped out my flashlight and had a look in their throats. Not one of them had any redness. I palpated their little necks and couldn’t find one swollen lymph node. Hmmm. I didn’t feel quite so terrified and nervous now. I reached into the cupboard and pulled out the bag of cough drops. There were six left in the bag.

“Would you guys like to try a cough drop for your sore throats?” I asked as I shook the bag.


“Yes please!” 

“Uh huh!”

“Well let me see here. I have six cough drops left. I have one for each of you and it looks like one for me too, cuz my throat feels kinda sore too. And then the bag will be empty. I won’t have aaaannnnyyyyy more cough drops. None. And…I won’t be getting anymore from the medical delivery truck. OK guys?”

They nodded their heads and held out their hands as I deposited a cough drop into each of their open hands. I then took one for myself, unwrapped it, popped it into my mouth and waved the empty bag in front of them all.

“Spread the word. My supply has dried up. K?” 

Cough drops. So dumb. I escorted the boys out of the office. There was only one kid left in the hallway.

“OK buddy. Wazzup with you?” I asked as I crunched on my cough drop.

“I need a Sponge Bob band-aid please.” He said as he pointed the smallest little scrape on his knee. 

This was my fault. I only had myself to blame.



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