When I say Ice Cream in relation to Athens Y Camp, most of you probably think of two â€˜squareâ€™ scoops. We are the only place left if the world with square ice cream scoops (and we only have one serviceable one leftâ€¦ if you know where we can get moreâ€¦). Remember the drill? You got in line when your table was called; your leader told you when to go. If you brought your spoon with you it was back to the table and the end of the line. That could be dangerous, because the last one back, often had their spoon â€˜saltedâ€™ (remember that trick?). Oh, and if you held out your cup in only one hand, you ended up chasing it as it bounced down the line (supervisors did not tolerate one handed cup holding). And if the choice were â€˜Black Walnutâ€™, you would drift to the back of the line, hoping it would run outâ€¦ and maybe you would get â€˜Fudge Rippleâ€™. Back in the day we only had about five choices: Vanilla, Chocolate, Fudge Ripple, Black Walnut, Strawberry, and Peach. These days you can get that many flavors in one tub!
On the other hand; when I say Ice Cream, you may have recalled a certain hike? Yes, we still make that hike every session. We donâ€™t do it on Sunday, however, because there is no Sunday (well, half a day). We usually go on Wednesday after dinner (then we go to cabin campoutsâ€¦ which most of us never did). Altered venue, but it is the same drill. Basically, an announcement at dinner that the Ice Cream Factory on top of the mountain needs rock for: a) new wall, b) wash out fill, c) new storage areaâ€¦ you pick! The deal is they only need a limited amount. The only way to make it fair is that rock can be carried by new campers who get â€˜pound for poundâ€™ ice cream for rock. Old campers have already had the benefit of this perk in previous yearsâ€¦ seems that factory is always in need of rock. And then we hike up the trail toward Lake Rabun; but instead of turning left to the old pile, we turn right and walk up to a power cut where you can see five statesâ€¦ no fooling! The pile has grown considerably over the years, but still no ice cream factory: â€˜Suckers!â€™ That is what we yell, all the while remembering that we were that once, too. It fact I was that once, two! I carried a rock when I was five and again when I was six; guess I thought they might have built it finally over the winter. â€˜Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.â€™ I did not carry at rock the third year.
And then (and you old guys may not remember this) Coach Clary (it began with him) would assemble the camp and tell us about South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgiaâ€¦ I guess it was four states after all. And then he would make us raise our right hands: â€˜I solemnly swear, never to reveal, the secret of the Ice Cream hike, so help me, Pop-cycle!â€™ And another group of young gullible boys would be escorted into the mystery with warnings like; â€˜Who would build a factory in the middle of nowhere (our first economic lesson about â€˜supply and demandâ€™)â€™ and â€˜Donâ€™t believe everything you hear (and even some of what you see).â€™ And we would walk home â€˜rocklessâ€™ but wiser.
Y Camp has always been a lesson in the dangers of disingenuousness (gullibility for those who did not major in English like John A and me). Do you remember â€˜striped paintâ€™, â€˜bed stretchersâ€™, and â€˜left handed monkey wrenchesâ€™? Do you remember the drug store at the bottom of the mountain near Jacobâ€™s Ladder on the Cove Hike (and this after the Ice Cream lessonâ€¦ first camper to the bottom gets a coke and candy bar). Can you hear a new tower-man calling Davis Cup to the tennis courts and Seymour Butts to the HD?
One of lifeâ€™s great lessons, so it seems to me, is to learn not to believe everything one hears, that there usually is not a free lunch, or a free credit card, etc. Funny how the simple things about Y Camp taught us all great lessons about life!