Jimi and Fozzy

In my second or maybe third year of working at the Boy Scout camp, I was the Nature Director. It was a good job and it sure beat working in the Dining Hall. I loved nature and I loved teaching the kids who came in for nature merit badges. I worked out of the Nature Lodge and it was an old cool little building that hung off the hillside, just across from the Indian Mound and the Flag Grounds. Every morning, we held the raising of the flag and most of the staff and scouts attended.

One of the things I discovered about the Nature Lodge was that it used to be part of the civil service warning system during World War II. Nearby was a civil service tower (radio) about 150 feet high and the lodge had a huge loudspeaker that was used with it. Even though the loudspeaker was probably 40 years old at the time, I figured it would still work. A wire here and a wire there and I soon had it connected to my boombox. I tested it quietly and it still worked.

The next morning, I waited until a good number of people gathered for the raising of the flag. Then I qued the music. What came out of the loudspeaker was a fine rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner performed by none other than Jimi Hendrix. It was magnificent! That is until the Camp Director showed up. So much for a little hippie culture…

I was forbidden to ever do anything like that again. Being young and foolish, I saw this as a challenge. The next morning, I once again waited until most everybody was gathered before queuing my next selection. This time it was a fine rendition of America by Fozzy Bear. Seriously, who could argue with that? I’ll give you one guess.

CAMP DIRECTOR: I told you not to play that!

ME: No, you told me not to play Jimi Hendrix.

CAMP DIRECTOR: No, I told you not to play anything!

ME: No, you distinctly said, “None of that hippie crap.”

CAMP DIRECTOR: I MEANT ANY MUSIC!

Just then a Scoutmaster of one of the troops walked by. He was also an influential committee member of one of the committees for the district.

SCOUTMASTER: Loved it! I loved Jimi from yesterday, but who was this?

ME: Fozzy Bear from the Muppets.

SCOUTMASTER: I loved it! What’ll it be tomorrow?

ME: I’ve been censored.

SCOUTMASTER: By who?

Then his eyes rolled over to the Camp Director, whom nobody seemed to like, and shook his head before walking away.

CAMP DIRECTOR: Maybe you could find something non-offensive to play while we gather?

ME: You found Fozzy Bear offensive?

Anyway, I did find some music that seemed to work for everybody. It was a tape of the Army Marching Band playing patriotic hits. It wasn’t the effect I was going for, but it worked. A year later, the loudspeaker was used to play Reveille, Retreat, and Taps when a bugle player couldn’t be found.

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