Dear Mom and Dad, Camp Wanakawa is really great. So is the food. I like my counselors and I’ve met a lot of neat guys. My two favorite classes are canoeing and starting a fire Indian-style with just flint, straw and napalm. Camp rules forbid having electronic gadgets such as smart phones, iPads, even stereos and satellite TVs. Luckily, our mattresses are lumpy. I seem to have left a few items at home, so could you please mail me shoes, socks, 2 sheets and Spot. I really miss him. Your son, Motley
PS: Please send a few dollars for the camp store.
Dear Mom and Dad, Camp is still great. The food is not so terrific, but I sort of like my counselors. Maybe the reason I haven’t been getting your letters is because Camp Wanakawa’s name has been changed. My counselors say this is necessary since the U.S. Dept. of Victimization has ruled “Wanakawa” is a Comanche word for “white babies’ scalps” and thus is insulting to the Comanches. The new name is Camp Empathy.
Dear Motley, we just received a letter from your counselor. He reports you are doing well in your various activities, although we didn’t know Camp Empathy taught tattooing. We are sure you will get the hang of bear wrestling soon. We have called FedEx to mail the items you requested, plus some you didn’t request like toothpaste and soap. Back at home, we miss you very much, but the family of gypsies that rented your room say you apparently never swept under the bed or emptied your fly traps, and are moving out.
Dear Mom and Dad. Yesterday we visited Camp Koo-Che-Koo-Me right across the river and took them on in softball, tennis, swimming and arm wrestling. We lost in every event. Our counselors called us “a bunch of wimps” and “total losers,” which made a lot of us cry and ask for our mommy and bankie. The food is not so great but just OK. However, gruel three times a day is getting monotonous. Our horseback riding classes have been suspended after PETA sued, accusing us of “unethical abuse of God’s creatures.” I didn’t know God owned our horses. Did I mention that Camp Koo-Che-Koo-Me is a girls’ camp? Exciting news! Sheriff’s deputies came to camp and arrested a counselor. What’s a pedophile? Your son, Motley
PS: Please send a few dollars to cover expenses at the camp store. Thanks.
Dear Mom and Dad. Camp is getting worse. The chef changed the menu after the food riot. I’m getting used to oatmeal for dinner. Today we went for a hike and almost everyone returned. My cabin mates have a new nickname for me, Drippy. You’d think they’d never seen a bed-wetter before. A letter from the U.S. Dept. of Victimization says we must start using the term “Native Americans” or “Those Defending Their Homelands” and stop using the word “Indians” as it violates the U.S. Code of Politically Correct Titles. My bunkmate, Ralph Little Eagle, says the U.S. government bureau dealing with Indian affairs is officially named the Bureau of Indian Affairs, (headquartered in the same city as the Washington Redskins), so he asks: what’s the problem? The food is much better now that we use John-Bob’s smart phone to order from Domino’s. Your son, Motley
Dear Motley, glad you are having fun at camp. We just received a letter from your counselor. He says you are an “exceptional” camper for the most part. He apologized for your stay at the camp infirmary but explained they have “a first-rate snakebite clinic.” He wrote you are getting along fine with your fellow campers outside of the occasional tar and feathering. He also wrote that he can’t understand why you would need money since items purchased at the camp store are paid by the parents at the end of camp. Sorry we could not send you Spot. He was run over by a FedEx truck. Love, Mom and Dad.
Dear Mom and Dad. The movie last night was “A Few Good Men,” which explains why I was given a Code Red treatment by my cabin mates. When I complained to the counselors they just laughed and said it was “a camp initiation rite.” PETA has allowed our horseback riding classes to resume, but now the horses ride us. In our Native American lore class we were told that Sen. Elizabeth Warren is not really Pocahontas. I have had to change classes just because I showed my ability to start a fire Indian-style with flint, straw and napalm. My bunkmate, Ralph Little Eagle, said that most Indians don’t start a fire while still in the canoe. When is camp over? Your son, Motley
Dear Motley’s parents. Enclosed is a bill for $1,200 for one canoe.
Dear Mom and Dad. They closed the camp mess hall due to health department violations. We were told that real campers could live off the land. I’ve lost 10 pounds. We went on an overnight hike to Lake Rancid where we put up tents, slept on the ground (fortunately, I brought my lumpy mattress so we could watch “The Bachelorette,”) and sat around the campfire telling stories, some about our parents. I wrote them down, and you won’t have to send me any more money. Oh, I forgot to tell you, Camp Empathy is being sued by the Wanakawa tribe, which claims it sold naming rights to the camp in exchange for 40 guns, a keg of firewater and a subscription to Netflix “to last as long as the rivers flow, the buffalo roam and the Great Spirit personally advises Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.”
Dear Motley’s parents. Please come get your kid. We’ll refund the fee.
Dear Mom and Dad. Camp has been over for a week. Isn’t it time you picked me up? My last letters have been returned, stamped: “Addressee Unknown — No forwarding Address.”
Ashby camps at email@example.com