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Durbar VII - Some Stories

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Durbar VII
June 26-29, 2014, The Otesaga Hotel, Cooperstown, NY.
Where men can be boys again

     Our Director, Rusty Pickett, really gave Durbar 2014 an extra nostalgic kick by providing each attendant with the olive-green plastic army canteens we're all familiar with which was individually labeled with our names and Hyde Bay trunk sticker. He also had for each of us a right-angle olive-green plastic flashlight replete with the red filter in the unscrewable base and clip for attaching it to a belt, also labeled with our individual names. Batteries were included. Rusty also brought a Hyde Bay flag for the event, given to Dr. William "Billy" Lynn (an avid vexillologist) by Walter Lord which brandished a trunk-sticker circular design with the iconic Indian Hunter and printed "Hyde Bay Camp." The Director also provided plenty of booze which makes story telling flow easier. The older we get, the better we were.

      Durbar 2014 in Cooperstown went smoothly, almost.

      In a stunning victory, Peter "Pierre" Black snatched the Plumber's Award from the jaws of defeat by a close vote against Steve "Crazy Fingers" Cunningham and Frank "Nature Boy" Pine, who were all too happy to be rid of the Albatross.

      The winner: A contingent of campers including Rusty "Tinkerbelly" Pickett, Jeff "Santa Clause" Levi and Peter "Steady-as-a-Rock" Black took on Nebo. Almost back from their hike, Levi, who used a cane during the jaunt, warned of a log on the path. Black, ever vigilant of Levi's safety, fell flat on his face in the mud. Laughter ensued and Black was instantly nominated for the award. Black later used his hand to demonstrate walking vertically and then suddenly prone as fast as he could move his fingers.

      1st Runner Up: After the incident involving S. Cunningham and F. Pine three-years-ago when Pine could not keep a secret, Cunningham decided to exact his long-awaited revenge by punching the seated Pine in the arm at dinner every time he walked by. Catching on after several punches and using the Gila monster technique of keeping one eye on the conversation and the other on his surroundings, Frank lunged causing Cunningham to jettison himself into a tangle of chairs. In a frantic attempt at saving his composure, Cunningham broke the fall but badly sprained his shoulder.

(See 2011 Plumber's Award story here):

      2nd Runner UP: After Mike "Mikey" Hilliard, Tom "No Nickname" Wagner and Steve "That's Too Far!" Cunningham, and their wives, Georgia, Gail and Amanda respectively, decided to go canoeing from The Blue Mingo Grill to King Fisher Tower, Tom "Ever Ready" Lynn offered to kayak from Pegs Point and join them. When Tom arrived, he was wearing a survival vest with binoculars attached and a ready-knife clipped firmly on the front lest he should flip and get tangled amongst the taught bungee cords. After pulling the vessels together, Cunningham reached over to investigate the safety knife and could not remove it. Lynn tried as well, but had no luck bringing the rusted safety device to the ready. Tom was warned to be careful during his paddle home on the calm lake.

      The "incident" Resort: Happenstance had it that the doors of the elevators at the Otesaga were undergoing re-bronzing using chemicals that gave off a nasty smell and was harmful to all forms of life. One night, the odorous gas filled the fourth floor where Frank "Fume Boy" Pine was trying to relax. Concerned about the safety of others, Frank marched down and demanded the MSDS sheet for the chemicals being used. Knowing what the fumes were comprised of only made it worse.

      For some reason, right after the re-bronzing, a loud buzzer buzzed constantly for about 24 hours. Additionally, every time the elevator was used, the floor lights blinked on and off like a slot machine adding a bit more stress to the ride.

      A Valuable Treat: With good timing, Colin Murray sent a photo of Tent 16 from July 1960 which was well perused at Durbar and names agreed upon. This is a valuable addition to our tent groups.
See it here: http://www.hydebay.net/TentGroups/1960s_08.html

      Tom "Ever The host" Lynn hosted a wonderful and well-equipped party at his rented "Trosset" cottage on Saturday which included row boating, canoeing, kayaking, archery, chairs on the lake's shore, picnic tables, a grand porch, swimming and plenty of food and drink. Rusty Pickett completed his "Emily Pickett Memorial Swim" using a combination of swimming and lumbering to the off-shore wooden platform and back.

      Fred (Hurricane) Gale and John (Jolly) Schmick revived the Hyde Bay Players at Durbar VII, 2014, by presenting quick movie clips edited by Fred and Steve (Crazy Fingers) Cunningham. The scenes were extracted from Fred Gale's collection of Warren Hills' original Beta-Cam camp movies from 1953-1956, 1958 and 1961 (these are on our website).

      Fred "Brainstorm" Gale's idea was to show the contrast between Hyde Bay Camp and what a modern camp might be like, including safety, boating safety, top-notch responsible councilors, and swimming. The insurance restrictions and safety measures of modern day summer camps would prevent many of the dangerous activities we enjoyed as campers; such as using a large section of pipe, D batteries and a cherry bombs as a mortar aimed toward Clark's Point.

      Fred and John wrote the script for the presentation of Camp Muck-a-Muck, where all of the little muckers can enjoy a variety of activities in a safe, secure environment.

      As John read the script in a serious tone while Fred worked the computer using Rusty's digital projector shown onto a sheet taped to the wall, the clips showed kids without life-preservers in the Hacker speeding along at top speed, campers hanging onto and on top of cars entering camp, councilors smoking, giving a pink belly to an unwilling camper, kids being thrown into rapids, Mouldy pouring gasoline into the final barbecue pit and then tossing in a flaming napkin, the final bonfire before and after it fell, campers jumping into rapids from high bridges, a hint of nudity, standing in a canoe, spitting watermelon seeds at the camera, overcrowded boats filled with cross-dressed campers (the 8-inch Regatta fanfare), running en masse on the dock, campers fighting and a Dayman with a clipboard on his lap sound asleep in his Adirondack chair.

      Much laughter ensued during the presentation necessitating the clips to be paused from time to time.

      The Camp Muck-a-Muck movie might be made into a voice-over production in the future and uploaded to our website.

      Thank you to the late R. Warren "Hillsy" Hills.

      John Mercer then read some sonnets he wrote about camp, his brother, Tom, and a girlfriend he had during those impressionable years.

      John's sonnets have been uploaded to our website and can be read here:
Click here

      Durbar 2014, presented by our Director, Rusty Pickett, was a great success and all campers are encouraged to attend the next reunion in 2017. Mark it on your calendars.

      Not mentioned is that the dress was casual at the Otsego Resort during meals and meetings except for the John-Mercer-Bow-Tie-Night, in honor of Jon-Jon, who always wears the neck adornment and is suspected of wearing one while exercising and sleeping.


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