Rise and Fall of the Bucket- August 1st Blog
With the break of day came surprises, one after another. Campers awoke to find that the elusive Midnight Phantom, the legendary Birch Rock poltergeist that makes mischief when campers are asleep, had once again struck. Adirondack chairs had been rotated 180 degrees. Tables in the grove, where we eat lunch, were rotated, and two were even stacked on top of each other. And multiple campers woke up to find that they and their beds had been moved to the middle of their cabins.
When the camp filed into the lodge for breakfast, they noticed that yet another thing was amiss. A curious towel was hanging from the ceiling, and seemed to be supported by some pulley. With the conclusion of the meal came a grand reveal. The towel fell and The Bucket was unmasked. A goblin-like face adorned this otherwise unassuming large white plastic bucket, which spoke to us as if possessed.
When The Bucket spoke, even our head counselor Musc had to stop and listen. Not since the days of former Field Director Russell “Coach” Wilson (or, 2016) has an inanimate object held such sway over the denizens of Biroca. The Bucket decried the actions of the Midnight Phantom, and demanded not only that we capture the Midnight Phantom but also our total loyalty to The Bucket. It spoke of evil plans and total tyranny, and before long our impressionable campers were chanting “BUCK-ET, BUCK-ET, BUCK-ET.”
The Bucket had won the meal, but the day was not over yet. Counselors required that campers pledge allegiance to The Bucket during activity periods, and yet dissent began to brew. During lunch, The Bucket began to demand visceral displays of devotion from individual campers who had slandered his rule. As it turned out, giving a platform to the most actively disobedient campers was not an effective strategy. Many campers rallied around these brazen rebels, one of whom placed a shoe in The Bucket and another one of whom even went so far as to *kick* The Bucket.
A clear divide was established between those who supported The Bucket and those who sided with the Midnight Phantom. In a flurry of announcements by the counselors, alliegances were formed and the two factions ended the meal in raucous disagreement. Claimed by the Waterfront, The Bucket had come to represent something greater than simple rulefollowing, it had morphed into the rallying symbol for order at Birch Rock.
On the other hand, the banner of the Midnight Phantom had been taken up by a very different group. These rebels celebrated the chaotic silliness of the Phantom, and repudiated the strict and fear based reign of The Bucket. These bold Birch Rockers claimed that the Midnight Phantom was a creative thinker and an invisible pillar of the community as opposed to the villainized outlaw that he is often considered to be.
Much like Switzerland, the field remained natural.
And so, the terms were set, and lines were drawn between the once united members of the community. As second clean up commenced, disputes and squabbles could be heard all throughout campus between neighbors, friends, and even brothers. Afternoon activities commenced uneasily, with no one truly knowing the allegiances of his neighbor. By dinner, distrust was palpable and tensions were at an all time high.
Just as all seemed lost, as Birch Rock seemed poised at the precipice of all out Civil War, something extraordinary happened. The Bucket returned, not to demand loyalty or threaten campers, but to apologize. It explained its real purpose, to expose the Midnight Phantom and return Birch Rock to order, not to impose a tyrannical reign or subject the campers to any more dessert-free meals (a terrible side effect of the lunch disputes).
Shocking though it may seem, The Bucket had made a full 180, and had emerged as the hero we all needed in these fraught times. As its words rang out, all of camp nodded along silently, and for a moment it seemed as if all might be well after all. The Bucket begged forgiveness, asked to be our brother, and proceeded with one more gift; information about the true identity of the Midnight Phantom.
Alas, fate had other plans for our poor Bucket. Just at the moment of greatest reveal and triumph, The Bucket was literally cut down. It fell lifeless to the ground, apparently murdered in cold blood by the Phantom. Men wept, boys cried, and all knew the depths of loss in that moment.
We have not found the Midnight Phantom yet. After what he has done, none can forgive him and none can forget him. He haunts our waking thoughts, sliding through shadows and appearing in our worst nightmares. His pranks speak to the true depravity of an individual with nothing to lose. But I promise you this. He will be caught. The Bucket will be avenged. And one way or another, we will return Birch Rock to peace.
Best Bed: Julien N.
Best Cabin: Owl’s Perch
Super Camper: Jake L.