Camp Kunitah and the WWW


Whippoorwill signals the Leni Lenape tribesman,

who dance around a scorching bonfire to an earth-pounding

drumbeat, a sublunary night skyrocketing with shooting stars.

Young teens wait to be "tapped out" sit cross-legged,

all those chosen immediately accept a vow of silence,

carve the arrow they'll wear around their necks,

and submit to a 24 hour fast, slave labor the next day

and a night spent alone in the wilderness.

Survivors of the ordeal inducted in an arcane ceremony,

having proven their courage

they finally learn the secrets of WWW.


They are now members of the Order Of The Arrow,

honorary tribesmen of the Leni Lenape tribe

at the Ten Mile River Boy Scout Camp,

We dressed in full Indian regalia and followed militant discipline.

Homesickness eased by packages from home,

fusty smelling tents reeking of salami, citronella

and calamine lotion, a flocculent blend of imprinted scents.

Impetigo and pink eye spread like wildfire,

mandated infirmary visits of no avail.


Camp lore fosters competition among units,

night time raids to "french beds" or set up

"midnight sailors,"

One nincompoop scoutmaster, who may have been

a budding pedophile, was often found plopped in

the double-seated latrine, ready to offer advice.

To progress from Tenderfoot to Eagle Scout is

no easy task, requiring demonstration of physical fitness, abstinence

from "self-abuse" as required by the scout handbook, and 21 merit

badges, earned as evidence of your knowledge of knots, birds and trees

and baking a bread in a home-made Dutch Oven.


The chant of my camp still rings in my ears:

Mahee, mahai, maho, marumstika, bumstika

ninnycat ninnycat, so fat a rat, hobblegobble

rickaracka, hobble gobble firecracker, hobblegobble

rasoon, Johnny plays his bassoon: Sis! Boom! Bah!

Kunitah, Kunitah, Rah! Rah! Rah!!


Sixty years have passed. Now grown men meet with tiny silver arrow pins

on their lapels, embrace in brotherhood, sharing the enigmatic

handshake, never having revealed the secrets of WWW, and

laughing smugly at those who think it's an internet address.


Milton P. Ehrlich