I have fond memories of Camp Seymour, the classic summer camp on Glen Cove off Henderson Bay.
Not that I went there myself. I could never sell enough toffee peanuts to cover the cost.
But both of my daughters spent many summer weeks there, and my fond memories are of the suddenly quiet house they left behind.
So I felt the pain of campers who were hit with the dreaded norovirus earlier this month, as well as their parents who had to rush out to retrieve them earlier than expected. According to YMCA officials, 70 campers and 24 staff members were hit by the stomach bug that is known for its rapid onset and brutal symptoms including nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
Time is the only cure. And the virus is so virulent that a thorough scrubbing of every surface with bleach-based cleansers is required, something that has been going on at the camp since the outbreak. With the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s approval, the camp could reopen in time for the next batch of campers this Sunday.
Those who were sent home, as well as those who couldn’t attend this week, will be offered either camp weeks later in the summer or credits and refunds. Still, there will be some who can’t reschedule or don’t want to.
Not that there’s anything funny about a stomach bug – well, actually, there kind of is as long as the bug isn’t in you. So I have decided to ease the pain by writing new lyrics to a classic song about summer camp. If you are not familiar with Allan Sherman’s 1963 hit, itself a parody of Amilcare Ponchielli’s “Dance of the Hours,” you can find a YouTube version at bit.ly/campgranada.
While Sherman’s version was subtitled “A Letter From Camp,” mine would more likely have been delivered via text message.
Camp Seymour (sung to the tune of “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh,” with deepest apologies to the late Mr. Sherman)
Hello Muddah, partner Lenore
here I am at, Y-Camp Seymour
Camp is very entertaining
’tho the virus we all have is rather draining
I went hiking, with Joe Seplik
He and I are, now dyspeptic
You remember, Leonard Skinner
He got diarrhea last night after dinner
All the counselors, they are groanin’
And the waiters, they are moanin’
And the Reverend, does no preachin’
He is busy on his knees with scrub brush bleachin’
Now don’t you, worry ‘bout me
But my bunkmate’s, on an I-V
You remember, Mary Cyrus
We think she’s the one who came here with the virus
Take me home
Oh Muddah, Lenore
Take me home
From Y-Camp Seymour
Don’t leave me,
Out in the forest, where
I might, get eaten by this bug.
Take me home
The health department’s at the gate
They’ve quarantined the whole darn place
Oh please don’t make me stay,
I’ve been here one whole day
Dearest Muddah, darling Lenore
Please come get me, from Camp Seymour
Let me come home, if you miss me
But wait two days before you hug and kiss me
Wait a minute
We’ve stopped hurling
Guys are boating, sails unfurling
Shooting arrows, feelin’ better
Muddah, Lenore, kindly disregard this letter.Peter Callaghan: 253-597-8657