Tuesday, 26 June 2012

El Zorro is deceived...


The story about Jake is very strange.  Indeed so if he is fictitious.

As you remember, I was a counselor at Camp Capers just a spit away from Dime Box (I can’t say if old or new).  My summers at Camp were 1962 and 1963 not more than two or three sessions each year.  We had a fellow come around from Dime Box from time to time to do handyman work.  He was about late 20s or early 30s, quiet, and country smart.  He liked the smell of skunk and handled rattlesnakes by hand.  I had conversations with him on Hill Country lore.  His name was Jake.  That is for real!

The open-air Chapel at Camp Capers

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Where El Zorro and Mountain Joe worked.
Truly a pleasant place.  Deer by the billions
and birds, and all that stuff.  Just nice.
It's Texas, after all.


El Gringo Viejo responds:
     Of course it is remembered!   For OROGs who are not familiar, Camp Capers is set on the Guadalupe River in Central Texas some distance to the northwest of San Antonio.   It is in the German country, not far from Fredericksburg, Comfort, and Kerrville.   El Zorro had a posh job of it, working at the camp....it is quite nice....still.   Probably 40% of all Episcopal squirts in the Diocese of West Texas (actually what is now geographically South Texas) suffered pleasantly through 2 week, 3 week, or 4 weeks sessions there in the Summer.    It was also a place that had Acolytes' Conferences and retreats.
     During my time at Camp Capers (Summer of 1959), we were told that there was a monster man in the oak and cedar forests surrounding the camp.   Supposedly, he was a friend of Charles Lindbergh who had been involved with Lindbergh's flight from Brownsville to Mexico City in 1930.   When the friend left Brownsville to fly to El Paso, weather forced his plane down, and he was never found.  It was assumed he was dead.   But some time after his crash, strange and violent things began happening around the ranches and farmsteads near Waring and Comfort.   There were even tales of a monster....or a badly disfigured man...would wait for people to go out into the night to throw the day's garbage into the farm's burn pit.   He would wait for morsels that he might find....unless it struck his interest to brutally murder and cannibalise the hapless errandeur.
     He was known as "Mountain Joe", and we were not to venture out without flashlights and a "buddy"....perhaps it was so that Mountain Joe could kill and eat two of us instead of just one.   Susan Sizer observed during a conversation about Mountain Joe that it was good that our Camp Director for our session was (Suffragan) Bishop Dicus.  I guess that having a Bishop made the Camp safer or something....I'm really not clear.   At twelve years of age, nothing is too clear, except it was my great desire not to get into trouble and to get back for the rest of my Little League Baseball season. 

     El Zorro is distressed about Jake....but my Jake is fictitious....while his Jake is real....and yet El Zorro had dealt with a Jake from Dime Box....go figure.  I remember El Zorro being gone in those days, but he did not run back to McAllen and say "I met a guy named Jake and he liked skunk scent, and he's from Dime Box!"
     These are the peculiar congruities and phasic focus episodes that El Zorro and El Gringo Viejo have had to put up with since about 1958.   The position of Camp Counsellor was "very prestigious" for a summer job in those days, and only for responsible young people, considering the reality of the rattlesnakes, water moccasins, the heavy rain episodes (it was very possible to be isolated for many days, especially in June and July....huge heavy rains....very pronounced rainy season) and 10 - 14 year old squirts full of all kinds of complexes, anxieties, and pimples.   It provided room, board, and MONEY!!!!  Real paid money.  We complained about the food, I guess, but it was actually quite good.  When my parents came to get me in the 1959 episode,, we barely made it out before the little rural road was closed due to flooding from the heavy on-going rains.
     It was during these times that a fellow came from Runge (RUHN - gee), Texas to our Church in McAllen, on the border.   Runge is not far at all from both Old and New Dime Box.   Runge also has an Episcopal Church.   The fellow's name was Ken Chandler, and he had a younger sister named Judy.   Ken looked like Elvis Presley's younger brother....almost indentical....and his sister looked like his twin.  She was a very attractive girl who adapted well to McAllen and excelled in school.   They were very "country" but in a dignified and classy way.   Hard to explain, exactly.  Perhaps it's a Texas thing.

El Gringo Viejo