Do you remember me mentioning the Boy Scouts when I shared some camping stories? Lots of fond memories about the Boy Scouts. One of the best involves a “Jamboree Campfire” that was held during a fairly important scout outing.
Just to be clear, we’re not talking your average campfire here. During these big campfire outings, the scout leaders would build a big five-foot-tall tower of firewood called a “fire tower”. It was built with the largest logs on the bottom, each layer criss-crossed to the other and of a slightly smaller size, with the top layer being the smallest pieces of firewood. It was lit at the top at the beginning of the campfire and, with very little else needed but some babysitting, it would gradually burn itself down to the bottom layer of large logs with hardly a thing needing to be done to it. It was very impressive.
The scout leaders would start the evening with the lighting of the fire and then a variety of things would happen, from various skits thrown together to some unknown talent hiding among the scouts (long before “America’s Got Talent” was even thought of) to some form of a campfire song or two. Every one of these fires had an “MC”–someone who helped gel everything together by talking inbetween events and introducing the next “act”.
Well, one night during one of these jamboree campfires, the MC was mc-ing and doing his thing to introduce the next skit. The firepit area was decently large to contain all of us scouts, but it was surrounded by woods. We all suddenly heard a big commotion in the woods off to our left. We couldn’t see anything because it was already dark, but we could hear what sounded like someone being chased by someone else and a whole lot of yelling going on. The thing was, it sounded like they were coming right toward us! They ran right in front of us through the campfire area, the guy being chased hollering out things like, “No! Help! Don’t touch me! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it! Help! Somebody help!”, while the guy doing the chasing was yelling out, “I’m gonna get you for that! I can’t believe you did that to me! Wait till I get my hands on you!” And they disappeared into the woods on our right.
We all looked at each other in amazement, our mouths hanging open with what we had just seen. Even the MC looked surprised and asked some of the leaders if they knew what was going on. Well, they had the next skit and the MC got up to introduce the next one. Wouldn’t you know it, these same two guys could be heard in the woods off to our right again, coming our way! They went tearing through the campfire area again, yelling things at each other, neither one gaining any ground on the other as they disappeared again into the woods on our left. By now, the MC was looking a little peeved and sent one or two of the other leaders off to put a stop to whatever was happening with those two scouts.
After the next skit was over and before the MC could even begin, the same two scouts could be heard yelling and running right towards us again from the left! But as they came into the campfire clearing, the guy being chased stumbled and took a fall, right in front of the fire. The guy that was chasing him slowly walked up on the guy on the ground. As we all watched this drama unfold in front of us, every one of us was on the edge of our seats to see what would happen next! I looked at the “chasee” on the ground and could see the look of horror on his face as the “chaser” slowly bore down on him with obvious evil intent, muttering, “Now you’re mine! Finally, the time has come!”. As the chaser got closer to the chasee, I heard the chasee say, “No! No, don’t do it!”, as he raised his arm in a helpless effort to fend off the chaser standing over him. At the same time that he said that, I saw the chaser raise his hand up in the air! Did he have something in it? No! But what was he going to do to him?
As quickly as the chaser had his hand in the air, he brought it down hard across the chasee’s shoulder and hollered out, “TAG!! YOU’RE IT!”. The guy on the ground leaped up into the air in a fit of rage and took off after the other guy who had already begun running away in stark terror. The air was filled with, “I’m gonna knock your block off!”, “No! No! Don’t do it!”, “Wait’ll I get my hands on you!”, “Somebody help me! He’s mad! I don’t wanna die!”, as they disappeared into the night.
Never did find out what was going on….