Thanks for tuning in to the third ever semi-regular Tuesdays with Topher Mailbag!
They’re lengthy, but they’re fun – check out the first and second mailbags…
As always, these are real questions from real readers (only the answers are potentially embellished…). Enjoy!
Q: What do rainbow pancakes taste like?
– M.K.V.W., St. Paul, MN
First, let’s define our terms.
Per Wikipedia: A rainbow is an optical and meteorological phenomenon that is caused by both reflection and refraction of light in water droplets in the Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky.
Per Wikipedia: A pancake, also known as a hotcake or a flapjack, is a flat cake, often thin, flat, and round, prepared from a starch-based batter and cooked on a hot surface such as a griddle or a frying pan.
Per Topher: A Rainbow Pancake is an optical and meteorological starch-based phenomenon that is caused by mixing rainbow colored food coloring into a starch-based batter that is cooked on a hot surface. When the prepared pancakes are arranged in the ROYGBIV order on a serving tray, it results in a phenomenal spectrum of light appearing in the Camp Gray Pavilion.
The Rainbow Pancakes were invented in the cramped quarters of the Camp Gray kitchen in the year of our Lord, 2013, by an exceptional group of people.
Perhaps Ryan & Tyler can write a new verse for the Pancake Song which would tell the story of the awesomeness that is the Rainbow Pancake.
Q: I’ve seen the Camp Gray Moose in passing a couple times, and there’s something that I’ve noticed:
He seems to have quite the collection of shoes, wearing 2 different pairs almost every time. What is his approach to securing his favorite footwear?
– J.P. S., South Orange, NJ
My good friend and professional farrier, Jim Riggs, seemed like the perfect person to contact regarding the hoof-wear of an ungulate. While Jim more commonly shoes horses, he’s well aware of the shoe practices of moose.
Turns out, moose require different footwear on their front hooves versus their back hooves for better traction and steering. It’s common to see low-top athletic shoes on the front hooves of moose, allowing for more versatility in making sharp and accurate turns. On the back, where the power of the elusive moose originates, it’s more common to see hiking boots or a high-top athletic shoes (we even saw cleats on the back hooves of a moose during Summer Camp 2007).
Never before have I seen, in all my time at Camp Gray, a moose with four of the same shoe, which I suppose proves Jim’s theory.
Q: Is Camp Gray really older than a really old cookie?
– David M., Madison, WI
Millions of years from now in the distant future archeologists will uncover a small camp tucked away in Reedsburg, WI and they will say, “This camp is one old cookie, but it is still delicious. Cause Camp Gray’s old, real old. How old is it? Not old enough. How old is it? Not old enough!”
Q: If Camp Gray was given a large sum of money specifically donated for updating the St. Patrick/St. William/St. John section of Camp, what changes would be made?
– George C., Milwaukee, WI
For those unaware, the St. Patrick/St. William/St. John section of Camp refers to a trio of buildings on the northern side of our Main Camp Area. St. Patrick and St. William are our cabins for Camp’s youngest boy campers (named in honor of the Diocese of Madison’s first Bishop, William Patrick O’Connor), and St. John is the bathhouse for these two cabins (Get it? St. John?). These three buildings are some of the oldest structures that we have at Camp Gray. I love the rustic look and feel of Patrick and William, so I wouldn’t change much in the way of their exterior appearance (save for perhaps adding large verandas on each cabin with enough rocking chairs for each person…).
However, I would be in favor of some minor work on the insides of the cabins to enhance the homeyness and lighting of these buildings (and good news, there are in fact plans for interior improvements to be completed this spring on St. William and St. Patrick, as well as the St. Francis and St. Martin cabins – so we got that going for us…). St. John, on the other hand, could use both interior and exterior improvements. If money was no option, I suppose I’d vote to tear that badboy down and start from scratch. In the plans for the new bathhouse, my only unwavering request would be to get those sweet rainfall shower spigots that rain water from the ceiling. The male counselors that stay in Sts. William and Patrick seem to always be those gentlemen that stand taller than 6 feet. The current shower spigots are positioned roughly 4’6’’ from the floor of the shower, creating difficulties in the way of rinsing ones shampooed hair.
So, to summarize, I wouldn’t do much to change the actual physical appearance of William and Patrick – we’re a Camp, let’s keep things rustic and simple – but I would destroy and rebuild St. John. If we were in fact given a “large sum of money,” I’d vote to dream big to enhance this area of Camp in other ways. Let’s do something that has never before been seen in the Camping world. Connecting the three buildings, let’s install an underground network of tunnels (oh, it’s raining outside and you need to go to the bathroom – no worries, just open the secret hatch positioned under the counselor bunk in each cabin, climb down the ladder to the tunnel, and leisurely stroll to the rebuilt St. John with the nicest collection of toilets any Camp has ever seen.).
Plus, bonus, a fireman’s pole in the middle of the tunnel would lead down to an indoor, underground football facility for campers and staffers to run around in during inclement weather.
Dream big, right George?
Q: How many pounds of spaghetti are actually consumed during the summer months?
– Amy S., Cleveland, OH
The tradition of serving spaghetti to campers and staffers on the first night of each session of Summer Camp goes way, way back. There’s just something comforting (and delicious!) about the Italian feast of noodles, delicious meat (or vegetarian) sauce, and hot-dog-buns-turned-cheesy-breadsticks. Also, for those of you that have been to Camp Gray, you know how paramount it is to carbo-load to start your week at Camp. With an abundance of activities, games, and events taking place at Camp Gray each week, the absolute last thing you want is to run out of energy early in your stay. Based on my calculations, the amazing Camp Gray Kitchen Crew prepared roughly 25 pounds of spaghetti per week, in order to satisfy the nearly 200 people present at each meal. With 10 different groups of campers joining us at Camp Gray each summer, that brings the total amount of spaghetti to an astonishing 250 pounds (just shy of the amount Patch Adams needed to fill a swimming pool…)!
Q: If for some reason the colors needed to be changed for the Cassidy Games, what would you change the colors to?
– Molly S., NYC, NY
It’s difficult to imagine the Cassidy Games with colors other than red and blue. During most days of Summer Camp, since the dawn of the 11th year of the 3rd millennium, the colors Red and Blue have been ubiquitous at Camp Gray. What items in the Camp Gray Canteen Store have sold the best since the start of the Cassidy Games? Any item that is Red or Blue (we have a huge bin of sunglasses of all colors, minus Red and Blue.).
If, for some reason though, colors needed to be changed, my vote would be to change them not to colors, but patterns. Imagine the plaids versus the stripes! Holy guacamole, wouldn’t that be fantastic?! My instinct tells me that such a combination wouldn’t make fashion experts very happy, but we’ve never been too fashionable out here, anyway…
Q: Walter’s facebook profile lists him as married… Who is he married to?
– Beth G., Frederick, MD
He met his wife on a trip down the Mississippi, his wife’s name is Zabob, and she’s a hippy – oy! oy! oy! She likes to eat macaroni, they got married at Camp Gray, their daughter’s name is Magazini, her favorite food is zucchini.
Q: When is Camp Gray’s sophomore album going to be released? And do you think it will have a sophomore letdown but become a cult favorite many years down the road? i.e. Weezer’s Pinkerton?
– Matt A., OKC, OK
While for the most part, we’re still focused on the marketing and distribution of our rookie album, there have been some early conversations about a second Camp Gray CD. Sales are still going strong for Bless Us for the Journey, and we’re still patiently waiting to hear if we were nominated for a Dove Award (the Christian Grammys…).
The early talk around a second album has been centered on gathering a collection of our more goofy and silly Camp songs to compliment the high quality Christian tunes that are on the first CD. Imagine a CD full of the best of the best Music Mondays tunes, meal graces, and post-meal-digestion-aiding songs, i.e. Cold Spaghetti. You’re telling me you wouldn’t jam to Cold Spaghetti every Monday morning after breakfast like we do during Summer Camp?
We’ll keep you posted, Matt! Thanks for being a fan of the Camp Gray Music Scene way down in the great state of Oklahoma!
Thanks for reading the third ever Tuesdays with Topher Mailbag!
Have a great rest of your week, friends (and stay warm!)!
Do you have questions (about CG, sports, faith, coffee… anything!) for the semi-regular Tuesdays with Topher mailbag? Email! Thanks to those that have already emailed over questions!