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
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