The Big Chieftan

When I was at boy scout camp in the 1970s, there were always campfires.
Big bonfires, small cooking fires, and always the smell of wood smoke.

One of the best things about Boy Scout Camp was the opening bonfire, and the closing campfire, cause they were the two times that the entire camp got together. These assemblies were also the time when family and significant others could attend, and see awards given, recognition and sample some of the traditional Indian dancing, costumes, and make-up.

The campfire is always started by a mystical service, in which a leader (usually a member of the order of the arrow) calls upon the great spirit to light the fire of friendship, and amazingly, the campfire begins with a flash of flame, and grows into a roaring bonfire. It's all very impressive, but there's a secret.

What the family doesn't know is that prior to making the campfire, the camp staff had buried a length of electrical cord under the wood chips and run it back to the wooden benches. About two rows in, sat a 9 volt battery or a large lantern battery, just waiting for the contacts to be closed. The other end, the business end, was an exposed coil of higher resistance wire, so that when the circuit was closed, that coil would glow red hot and ignite a wad of kitchen matches that it embraced.

You couldn't control exactly when the flames would ignite, nor how fast they would spread, but they would certainly start a fire if you knew how to build one from scratch. It almost always worked, except for when the battery ran too low, or when someone forgot to disconnect the circuit as soon as the flame started. (It only failed once when I was at camp, and someone else supplied the light that night.)

But as I said, the flickering firelight was the centerpiece for the assembly, and in one or two spots, the painted Indian dancers from the Order of the Arrow would take center stage and dance in prepared routines, drum beats and war paint. It would usually impress the visitors, especially to see well-muscled young men dancing, hunched over, nearly naked except for a loin-cloth and war paint.

The camp clerk (much like MASH had radar O'Reilly) was named Cecil, and to my mind he resembledbed "Toad" from American Graffiti more than Radar. He liked to smoke cigars, and throw his weight around, compensating for the fact that he was only 5 foot tall and blonde and probably would never grow any more. He was already in his mid- 20s, when the rest of the staff was 20 and below.

He was a good Indian dancer, and after a couple of years, his role in the campfires changed so that he was the Indian chieftain...the person who invoked the great spirit...the master of ceremonies, the lead dancer. In short, we all depended upon him, his booming voice and serious nature when he was in front of the crowd.

But this particular night, fate had other plans for him. Cecil had frequently commented that the biggest fear he had was NOT that the fire wouldn't light, but when he was dancing around half naked, that he would pull a *****. That is, he would have an erection, and that it would be visible to the public. Thought some wore athletic supporters, dyed in the wool indian dancers did not. They were naked under the buckskin loin cloth.

He already was dancing without his Radar-O'Reilly glasses, which made it harder for him to see, but he was very aware when there were shapely female guests in the front row, and he would always dip and turn, swoop and play to them just to ham it up and show them a good time. Week after week, for about three months each summer, he would preen and dance, and all went well. But tonight, there would be an unexpected surprise, and one that we would never forget.

As Cecil was dancing, his beads and feather flying, other braves following him about the fire in a line like a writhing snake, his loin cloth was secured by a leather thong...a ***** of bootlace that ran around his waist and held the flap of loin cloth in place.

This particular night, the front row was packed with visiting staff members from the local girl-scout council who were taking notes on how we presented the campfire and how to impress the audience. All eyes were on Cecil as he danced around the fire.

But as he danced, I could see that he was only gesturing with one hand now. Normally, he would have both arms outstretched, gesturing and waving, but one was clutched to his side...and then moved to his belly. The line of dancers seemed to hesitate in the far shadows of the stage area, only to return to the center of the campfire. I would learn later that Cecil's big fear was coming true that night: He had reached to smooth his loin cloth to try to hide an erection, when his concern had backfired, and the thong had started to come undone. He was holding his "belt" with one hand, praying that he could get out of the firelight and tie it up. He did, quickly and pulled it tight with a jerk. Then he lead the dancers back to the center to continue with the narration.

Just as Cecil stood silent behind the campfire, so that he was illuminated fully, the thong snapped, and with his arms outstretched above his head, he was holding the carved bowl that represented the bounty of the season. There was no way he could make a grab for his shorts for he was wearing none under the loin cloth, that fell away in stages as the boot lace separated and unwound from around his waist.

While all eyes were on the carved bowl held high above his head, his naked whitish *** and groin suddenly came into view as the buckskin loincloth fell away.

An audible gasp ran through the crowd as he stood there, panicked, frozen in the firelight... his raging hard-on pulsing in front of them.

Later, he said he thought the silence must have lasted five minutes, but in reality it was only for 15 seconds or so as he repeated a shortened version of the speech thanking the great spirit for our large blessing and what we were about to share. We, on staff, caught that he was ad libbing and rushing things, but if you weren't looking right at him, like the audience was doing, you didn't notice his problem.

He said later that he couldn't figure out why someone from the staff didn't step forward to help him...take the damn bowl, or cover him up or step in front of him, though there was no room between his front and the roaring fire without getting singed and burned ourselves. Cecil was beside himself, sure that he was going to get fired, and just as sure if he broke and ran that he'd destroy the mood of sober reflection.

Just then, the second dramatic pyrotechnics went off, as the powder was dumped on the fire by the medicine man, and with a large flash, a large roll of smoke obscured Cecil's body, and he turned and ran straight for the lake behind him. With a rustle of weeds and then a large splash, he seemingly vanished from sight as the audience's eyes reacted to the flash.

Now was the time for the scout leader to make his remarks of welcome, and he stumbled up to the fire, searching for the words to apologize to his female guests. As he started to speak, he stammered, lost his way, and started again, "I want to tell you ladies...how sorry I am...."

It was at that moment that the district executive stepped in, cutting off the scoutmaster's lame excuse, and redirecting the tone of the speech.....
"....how sorry we are that you can't experience the drama, the excitement, and the solemn wonder of a campfire like this every week with us. Let's give a big round of applause to Cecil (it is Cecil, isn't it?) for his gracing us with his dancing skills, and sticking to the program despite any problems."

There was a moment of silence as the audience digested this amazing piece of Bullshit that the man had woven in front of them. The women turned his words over in their minds, and just when you thought someone was going to shout "B-S"....the applause started.

It was thunderous, and the women rose to their feet, clearly unsure what was expected of them. You could read in their faces that the didn't know quite if the sudden nudity and outrageously large **** that they had seen was intentional or not, but the were going to play along...and they cheered, and whistled, and hooted and roared.

Poor Cecil... wading away in the shallows, out of sight of the campfire, he shrank away and headed for the staff showers...ashamed and convinced that he had worked his last day at the scout camp.

The next day at breakfast, the scoutmaster called us all to attention, and with perfect composure, thanked us all for the most moving demonstration of courage and dedication that he had ever witnessed at camp. He introduced Cecil who just hung his head and blushed, totally embarrassed again, and told us that it was the most original show that he had ever seen. Cecil just laid his head on his arms and hid his face from us. "God, No..." he moaned.

When someone in back piped up, "What did the women think of it?", the scoutmaster said without cracking a smile that they said it was absolutely the largest, most well organized display of manhood that they had ever seen. And they wanted to thank Cecil personally for putting his all into the performance.

The breakfast erupted into the loudest laughter and cheers that I had ever heard in the lodge before, and with that, we were dismissed.

Cecil never spoke of that night again, but the next campfire we held, he wore an old fashioned leather belt with two buckles around his waist.
studfinder studfinder
56-60, M
Nov 30, 2012