Camp Emails – 2015 – The Tale of the Hobo Kittens

Our kids go to camp. They leave us for 2.5 weeks to hike, climb rocks, boat, play tennis, etc. etc. etc. I believe in the power of camp to foster independence and self reliance, and learn a host of skills you just can’t get playing around in the backyard.

In modern camp, we see photos of our kids, whenever they happen to run by the photographer. We can also send them daily emails.

Very quickly I learned that is extraordinarily difficult to come up with something interesting to say. My life quickly feels boring when I try to describe my work-eat-work-home-eat-bed. If something interesting happens, you don’t necessarily want to share because you don’t want the kids to feel like they’re missing anything.

So, jokes are nice. Entertaining, but not likely to generate homesickness. It doesn’t take long, though, to realize that there aren’t that many good jokes out there.

So, I took to weaving fantastical narratives. Usually supernatural events that are clearly fictitious (and mostly calamitous), though presented as reality. A house that becomes self-aware, mutated guinea pigs, evil unicorns. There’s no feelings that they’re missing out on something, since in their heart of hearts, the kids know these things can only happen when they’re at camp. I’m told their camp friends gather around at mail time to hear the latest piece of the ongoing storyline.

This is the first entry for the 2013 storyline, in which our neighborhood is taken over by a Bear Regime. Roan (“RocketBoy”) was at the 2.5 week camp on his own, as Scout had done a 1 week just before. Scout helped with some of the storyline.

This is the 2014 storyline, when both kids were at the 2.5 week camp. This storyline follows the Great Unicorn Infestation.

Which leads us to the 2015 storyline, which took the most planning, and some camp espionage to pull off.

The Day 1 email was just a boring, just-dropped-you-off, have-a-good-time email.

— Saturday, June 6, 2015, First Day of Camp —

Hey Ro!

Well, it’s been a few hours since we dropped you off, and nothing strange has happened. None of those things you and Scout proposed has occurred, so I guess this is going to be a pretty tame summer.

One exciting thing is that your mom’s friend Richard G__ has offered to give us a new table for the dining room. It needs a little work, but it should be very nice. I’m planning on picking it up tomorrow.

We had dinner with the S__s (since E__ and B__ are at camp, too).
It was tasty, grown-up food you would have hated, so you can be glad you’re not here.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Hopefully, I’ll have some exciting stories about our new table tomorrow!


— Sunday, June 7, 2015 —

Yo Scout!

Busy day, today.  We had S’s mom and C from mom’s work over to help us paint the kitchen.  It looks pretty good.  Mom said to tell you we painted it a color that looks blue if you believe in unicorns, otherwise, it looks grey.

I went to RG’s house and picked up a new dining table I mentioned in yesterday’s email.  It needs a fair amount of work to restore it, but shouldn’t be a problem.  R seemed really eager to give it away… I didn’t think it was in that bad a shape, but he seemed really… relieved when I pulled out of the driveway.  Go figure!

We saw some pics of Ro petting a horse, and sitting in a group with the mountaineering crew.  But you managed to evade the camera the first day.  I expect we’ll see you soon… I’m sure you’re having a grand ole’ time.

That’s all we got going here.  I’ll end with a joke I read today:

There are two muffins in an oven.

One muffin turns to the other muffin and says, “Boy, it’s hot in here.”

The other muffin says, “OH MY GOD A TALKING MUFFIN.”
Dad + Mom

— Monday, June 8, 2015 —

Ro Ro Ro Your Boat,

Hope your day 3 is cool as can be.  Pretty typical day here… work and whatnot.  I hung out with Mr. S. while your mom and Dr. S. were off at class.  We started putting the kitchen back together after Paintpocolyse 2015.

The one odd thing was that some stuff disappeared from the garage.  I had put some ropes and a few other items on top of that Richard Garner’s old table.  This evening I was in the garage, and the stuff that was on the table was gone.  It was the oddest thing.  I mean, who breaks into a garage and steals a few old scrap ropes?

The other odd thing was that underneath the table was a single Teva sandal.  It looked exactly like mine, but both of mine are in the closet.  So, that’s weird.

Speaking of unexplained mysteries, here’s a couple riddles for you.  Answers tomorrow!

1. What can travel around the world while staying in a corner?

2. What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries?

Take care,
Dad & Mom

— Tuesday, June 9, 2015 —


Soooo… hope all is going well there!  No pictures posted today, so we’re assuming all is well there.

Things here are… interesting.  Several items to discuss:

1.  Congratulations, we got the word that you are going to be in the Music Man this fall!  You have been cast in two roles:  RIVER CITY TEEN and RIVER CITY KIDS BAND.  So that should be pretty cool.  I think your size allowed you to take on both roles;They put out the call that they needed some more teen-looking boys for the RIVER CITY TEENS roles.  Mom mentioned it to Spencer’s mom, and Spencer might be interested, so that would be cool.  Anyway, congratulations!  First rehearsal is August 15, after school starts up again.

2. I went to help with a swim meet, but it got cancelled due to thunder, so I headed home early.  Which is fortunate, because…

3. I came home, your mom was out having dinner with friends.  I went to the garage to put away my umbrella, when I heard rustling.  As you know, we’ve had some mice in the garage, so I went to investigate.  I grabbed a flashlight and shined it up towards the front, and believe it or not, underneath Richard’s table were two kittens, wearing leather jackets!

“Awww shoot!” one of them said.

TALKING KITTENS IN LEATHER JACKETS!  HAVE YOU EVER HEARD ANYTHING SO CUTE!?!  Seriously, I consider myself pretty immune to youtube-cat-videos, but… c’mon.  That’s so cute it breaks the cute-meter.

I ran over, tickled their chins, picked them up and just generally went all mushy on them.  It was pretty embarrassing, but… cute.

“Dude,” said the other one, “uncool.”

“SAY DUDE AGAIN!” I yelled setting them down, “But let me get my phone first, I gotta record this!”

“NO VIDEO!” They said in unison, and pulled out these cat-toy looking things and pointed them at me.  ADORABLE!  But who can say no to kittens?  So I didn’t get my phone.

Anyway, long story short, they explained that they were just hobo kittens passing through, and would we mind if they crashed in our garage for a few days?  “OF COURSE NOT!” I exclaimed, “I WILL GET YOU SAUCERS OF CREAM IMMEDIATELY!  Make yourself comfortable!”

So we had a grand old time, and I can’t wait to introduce them to your mom.  Sadly, they’ll be gone in a few days, but maybe they’ll want to ride with us up for Family Day.  You know, if they’re headed that way anyway.  Hobos are usually pretty flexible.

So that’s the story here.  Hope you’re having good weather and a grand old time!

Dad and Mom

— Wednesday, June 10, 2015 —

R.O.A.N. (Rational Otter Amalgamated Network),

Howdy! First off, I realized I forgot the answers to the riddles in my
last letter… so here they are:

1. What can travel around the world while staying in a corner?
A stamp!

2. What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries?
A towel!

Well, a very eventful day here. How are things there? They haven’t put
pictures up yet, so I haven’t seen what you’re up to.

We had dinner tonight with the Hobo Kittens. We told them all about
you, showed them your rooms, etc. They were very interested in the fact
that you guys go to Mondamin and Green Cove. And boy, do they know
their history! Very interesting conversationalists. Or maybe
everything they say seems interesting because it is SO CUTE.

Anyway, while they were chatting with your mom over dessert, I went to
the garage to make sure their beds were made up. They like sleeping
underneath Richard’s table for some reason. In their bed, I found a
letter… addressed to me! This is what it said:

“Dear Ryan,


I have some very important information for you, but I need to make sure
you have received this. If you get this letter, write the name of the
delicious pastry mentioned in the Scout Webcomic on the inside strap of
one of your Teva sandles, and leave it on top of Richard’s table overnight.


Sincerely, A Friend”

Well, as you can imagine, I was flabbergasted. I thought about telling
the Hobo Kittens, but then… I don’t know them very well, so, maybe
best to see what’s going on here first. I did what the letter asked,
and placed my sandal on the table.

I’m not sure what that was all about, but I guess we’ll see.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted! Have a great day!

Dad and Mom

— Thursday, June 11, 2015 —

Revolution Of Animal Nerds,

How’z it going?  Hope your week is going great!

Things here are… well, really, really bizarre.  I can’t make heads or tails of what is going on.  I don’t know why things go all cattywampus whenever you guys go out of town, but, believe it or not, you must keep the weirdness away.  Or you absorb it or something.

Yeah, absorb it makes more sense.

Anyway, we played some Wits & Wagers tonight with the Hobo Kittens.

Turns out they are really, really bad at guessing numbers.  One question was “What is the world record for most cheeseburgers eaten in 60 seconds?” and they just started laughing and yelling “I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER!”  Stuff like that, all evening long.

At one point, I made excuses and went to the garage to see if there was anything there.  On top of Richard’s table was a RAT!  A big one!  But it was wearing an aviator jacket and goggles.  He saw me, tapped his feet three times, and disappeared!  Right in front of my eyes!

Under the table was another letter:

“Dear Ryan,

A few days ago, you found an extra Teva sandal under the table. Look closely at the strap.


-A Friend”

I grabbed the extra sandal, flipped over the strap, and there, written in the same place and in the same way as I had written on my sandal, was the word “MOOFIN”.

I gasped, of course, and then from behind me I heard one of the Hobo Kittens.

“Everything all right, human?” it asked.  It was looking at me all suspiciously and stuff.  WHICH IS SO CUTE!  SUSPICIOUS KITTENS!  I almost forgot I was terrified!

So, it’s all very strange.  What’s up with the rat?  Did he write the letter?  Do I trust the letter writer who does magic things with my sandals?  Or the INCREDIBLY CUTE KITTENS?  I mean, really, what could these Kittens do that would be all so bad?  Play with yarn until it tangles?  Scratch up a sofa?

I’m going to play it safe.  Trust no one, keep my laser handy.

Have a good day at camp!


Dad + Mom

— Friday, June 12, 2015 —





— Saturday, June 13, 2015 —

Stinky Carrots Of Uneducated Tyrannosauruses,

Hope your day is going well! Every picture we see of you on the website has you wearing a riding helmet, so I guess you’re getting a lot of horse-time. Glad to hear it!

So, things here are getting a little tense. Today when I got home, there was an angry-looking Hobo Kitten (I think his name is Pete, but it might have been Jill… they’re twins) waiting for me holding another Table letter.

He thrust it into my hand and asked who it came from. It said:

“Dear Ryan,

By now you’ve thought about the sandal, and realized that the one you have now is the same one you put on the table, only it had TRAVELED BACKWARDS THROUGH TIME. Obviously, this is no ordinary table. It is, in fact, a TIME TABLE.

It is vitally important that you do not let the Kittens know that you know it is a Time Table. Things could be very dangerous for you.

I am writing to you from another time period, I can’t say which one.
Keep an eye out for more letters, and I will give you instructions on how to avoid a UNIVERSE-WIDE KITTEN-TASTROPHE.

Kind Regards,
A Friend”

“Awkwaaaaard,” said Hobo Kitten Pete. He glared at me, casually leaning against the wall, wearing his little leather jacket, and idly flipping open and closed a switchblade knife (where did that come from?)

“SOOOO CUUUUTTEEE!!!” I yelled, and went to fetch him a saucer of milk.
After your mom got home, we all had a good laugh about the silly letters. I mean, really… a Universe-Wide Catastrophe… by Kittens?
Whatever! An obvious prank.

So, we played Apples to Apples until late in the evening, and now I’m going to bed. Hope your day tomorrow is t-riffic!

Dad and Mom












[Ed. Note – This email got stuck in Scout’s camp’s email filters and went to the main office somehow. Perhaps the ALL CAPS was a trigger…]

— Sunday, June 14, 2015 —

Family Day at Camp
We came to visit, and I showed a picture of a Hobo Kitten on my phone.









— Monday, June 15, 2015 —


dis iz da hobo kten agin. we hiss @ u prents n dey iz skerred uv uz now. heh heh. stoopid hoomuns.

dis is da deal. we so kute we can doez n-e-ting we want. so we gon RULE DA WORL.

jus tot u wuld lik 2 no dat.

git reddy 4 da KTEN NASHUN!

kten jill

— Tuesday, June 16, 2015 —

Serious Cats Over Unicorn Tails,

Hey! Hope your camping is going campily!

We’re doing okay. The Hobo Kittens have taken my computer, so I’m writing this using a computer I made out of sticks and leftover broccoli.

I’m not sure how long this computer is going to last, so I’m going to get to the point. We got a very interesting Table letter today, and it involves you. Here’s what it said:

“Dear Ryan,

I need you to contact Scout and Roan and let them know I have left messages for them.

Scout: In front of the Junior 8 cabin, there is a white flag. Near that flag is a tree with many trunks coming out of one trunk. In the middle of that tree, where all the trunks come together, there is a message for you in a bottle. Please get it as soon as you can.

Roan: In front of your cabin, Hemlock Hall, there are bushes. Under the bush furthest away from the Taj is a message in a bottle. Please get it as soon as you can.

Hopefully, Roan and Scout will get this soon enough, while there is still Time.

Signed, a Friend”

I’m just as confused as you are. This may be nonsense, but… I guess you guys should investigate. Send us a letter and let us know what you find!

A quick joke…

What do you call a device that can get spices from the future?

Dad + Mom

P.S. A Thyme Machine.

The note and picture each kid found in spice bottle time capsules hidden at their respective camps.


Stacey “Bob” Lucas
Camp Mondamin, 1922

Dear Scout,

Okay, I’ve got a lot of things to tell you, so I’m just going to list them out:

1. I am your “Mom from the Future”. In your future, I used the Time Table to travel back to the year 1922, where I am now.

2. The “Hobo Kittens” your father has been writing to you about are actually TIME KITTENS, a dangerous (but cute) species of time-traveling felines whose sole mission is to destroy the universe.

3. The “Friend” who has been sending letters to your father and sent the sandals back in time is me, in 1922. I’ve been dropping letters through the Time Table in an effort to stop the kittens from destroying the universe.

4. The way the Time Kittens are planning to destroy the universe is to travel back to 1922 and stop Mondamin and Green Cove from being created by Frank “Chief” Bell, Sr. Right now, I am pretending to be a Mondamin Camp Counselor named “Bob” (see included photo with me in the dining hall. Like my mustache disguise? It totally works! They don’t suspect a thing!). When the Time Kittens try to travel back and stop Mondamin, I’ll be able to nab them, and turn them over to the Time Rats, who are like police, but for Time Crimes.

5. Here’s where you come in. I can’t send a letter through the Time Table to warn your father and past me, because the Time Kittens might discover it. You need to write a paper letter to me and tell me what the Time Kittens are up to, and tell me to go back in time to stop it. I’ve also left a time capsule for your brother… if you don’t get this, hopefully he will.

If you fail, the universe will be destroyed. No pressure!

Anyway, hope you’re having fun at camp!

Stacey “Bob” Lucas

— Wednesday, June 17, 2015 —


hey- du u no how 2 git rid of RATS? cuz we got RATS heer. Dey iz up 2 sumting sneeky-lik I jus no it.

iz it ok if we giv dem zum of ur coin money? cuz i tink RATS lik shiny tings.

dey is weerink dose goggles dat ole timey pilots weer. may-b dey lik planes? do uz got n-e planes?

i luk arund. may-b uz gotz zum.

ok, bye.

kten pete

p.s. heerz a jok:

Why duz dem RATS croz da rode?
cuz dey do stoopid stuf all da time. dey iz RATS.

— Thursday, June 18, 2015 —

Significant Caterwauling Observed Usually Trumpeting,

Hey kiddo! We got a letter your counselor that said you got on the three day trip, I believe to Black Balsam! Hope the hiking went well! We looked up Black Balsam on the internet, and the views look pretty incredible!

Things here are doing pretty okay. The Hobo Kittens still have my computer and won’t let me use it, so I’ve cobbled together another computer from old DVDs of The Muppet Show, a spool of thread, and 13 volunteer butterflies. I need to make this quick, as the butterflies want to catch The Avengers at the Regal tonight.

Earlier tonight, there was a scuffle in the garage. I went to check it out, and the Hobo Kittens were fending off that rat with the aviator goggles. He was trying to get into the house, but he was no match for the Mighty Hobo Kittens! They pointed those cat toys at him, and bammo! He was gone in a flash. Literally. There was a flash, and he was gone. It was weird.

Anyway, I’m sure glad we have those Hobo Kittens to protect us. You know how your mom feels about rodents. Except Spotter. Spotter is doing fine, by the way. We just got in a fresh load of Bluegrass hay for him, and he’s quite happy.

Anyway, hope all is well!

Dad + Mom

— Friday, June 19, 2015 —

We receive a hastily written letter from Scout reprimanding us for not letting the Hobo Kittens send emails. The letter stops abruptly in the middle of a sentence and isn’t signed.


ur sistar skut sent a mail to ur prents n tole dem 2 let uz uze da cmputor, zo we al gud now.

ur prents sez we gotz 2 tell u a ztory or zumzing, not jus steel ur stuf n tel u u iz ztinky.


1s upon a tim, dere wuz a boo-ti-full kten who knowed how 2 travl in tim. zhe travled to man-e tims n stoll stuf and had gud hapy tims. Den zhe chnged tim to da way zhe likd it, zo it wuz betr dan b-4. n da kten wuz rich n stuf, n had lotz o cmputors n snax. de end.

dat wuz a totalee made up ztory. not reel at oll. u lik?

n-e-way, u hav a niz tim in da camp. wile u can! hahahahahahaha!

da rich kten,
kten jill

— Saturday, June 20, 2015 —

Roan found the time capsule at camp and returned the letter with a note:

Dear Mom & Dad,
Hello! I’m good and having fun at camp and stuff but listen, I need to tell you something. Those Hobo Kittens aren’t actually Hobo Kittens. They are Time Kittens. Here is a letter that you went back in time and gave to me explaining everything. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go. Bye. Hope the universe doesn’t get destroyed.
Signed, Roan

Rowdy Octagons Arrange Numerically,

Just a quick note to let you know that we received your letter (wink,
wink) and we understand the instructions (wink, wink) and your mom is set to go. Cross your fingers.

Hope all is well, and you had a good dance tonight!

Dad + Mom


U prents sez u probly did zum zort ov dancin stuf 2-nite. u hoomans is krezy, wit da shakin’ o yo booty! Iz ver funy. ktens dun do dat, cuz we iz all dig-ni-fy-ed. daz rite.

heer iz anudder ztory dat u mite lik.

1z up on a tim, dere was a kten and it wuz sooper smart, zo smart dat all da hoomans did wut-ev-r zhe sed. Und dey all livd happy evr afer, exxept da hoomans cuz dey had 2 do all dis nasty stuf for da ktens. lik runnin around chazin laser pointers n stuf. “how do it feel, hoomans!?
u kent catch dat! it im-pos-i-bel!” da kten zhouted. de end.

u lik? gud. mor 2 come!

kten jill

p.s. hey, wut wuz in dat leter u writ? u prents no tel uz. unfair! why dey hav sekrets? no sektrets frum cute ktens!

— Sunday, June 21, 2015 —

Super Cool Orange Ant Tamer,

The Kittens and I have decided to write you a letter together, since we both want to use the computer, so we’re going to take tur–

hlo scut! dis iz da kten jill. yoo dad tip 2 slo cuz he carez boot spelink. i m much fster.

Spelling is important, Kitten! Your emails are hard to read.

daz nut tru. u can reed me emale no prob rite scut? n-e-way, abut dese RATS. when u git hom u gotz to help uz, scut, b-cuz dey is sooper anoying.

Um. I’m pretty sure you kittens will be gone by then, right Jill? I mean, you are Hobo Kittens, which means you don’t want to stay in one place for too long?

o yez. dats rite. we gotz to be movin suun. da call ov da rode is strong! but i wold haat to leeve dez RATS heer for u. we gotz to tak carez ov dem first.

Very well. Anyway, we saw some GREAT pictures of your overnight trip, Scout. And we saw one of Roan eating a marshmallow, so it seems like all is going according to plan. By the time you get this, you’ll only have a few days left of camp, so I hope you can pack in some more exciting stuff!

und i hopez u r not stiiiiinky, hoooman! u shuld try cleening u-self wit ur tungue. werks 4 uz!

Don’t do that. Have a good day!

Dad + Mom
+ kten jill

— Monday, June 22, 2015 —

Righteous Oligarchy Anarchistic Neanderthal,

Hey there! Dad and the Kittens here. Hope all is well at the ole’
campground. I just got back from swim practice, and woo-eee, was there a scene.

Dere wuz no seen! We wuz purfect b-haavd. Dose life-gards iz dummiez.

You see, the kittens wanted to come to the pool, but I don’t think they understood what a “pool” was, because cats hate water.

WHO DUZNT HAAT WATR? Iz EVIL. Iz… WET! Und zumtims slimy! Datz why we al da tim catch fizh… to SAVE dem frum a lif in dat nast-y watr.
we r heros.

Yes, but they got to the pool and started screeching and hissing at the people in the water, and trying to get as far away from it as possible by climbing up the lifeguard chairs and clinging to the heads of the lifeguards.

Dat iz da bes place to zee da peepol zo we cud warn dem dat dey is IN DA EVIL WATR!

So the kittens are banned from the pool. Enough said.

We cud go back. We jus don wan 2.

Okay. Well, that’s all the news here. Have a great day tomorrow, and we’ll see you in a couple days!

Dad + Mom
kten pete + kten jill

— Tuesday, June 23, 2015 —
The Finale

Severely Creative Ostriches Understand Technology,

Well, Scout, this is my last email before we come to pick you up in a couple days, and a lot’s been going on here, and I can tell you all about it now.

As you probably guessed, thanks to the letter we received from camp, your mom slipped back in time to the year 1922 using the Time Table.
Her mission was to wait for the Time Kittens, Jill and Pete, to make their move to try and stop the creation of Camp Mondamin, and eventually Camp Green Cove.

With the aid of two Time Rats, Puffy and Winkernoodle, she blended into the first camp season as a boy counselor named Bob. Puffy and Windernoodle dressed up as her dogs. They lived at Mondamin for 6 months, so now she is an expert in 1922 camping technology.

Finally, Pete and Jill made their move, jumping into the Time Table and landing late in 1922, ready to charm Frank “Chief” Bell, Sr. into turning Mondamin into a catnip farm. Just when Chief was getting ready to sign over the deed to the Time Kittens and make it his life work to make film clips of kittens doing cute things to show the world, “Bob”, Puffy and Windernoodle burst in, revealed their plan and put the Kittens in Time Handcuffs.

“Bah! We wud hav gottn away wit it, 2, if it wernt fur dose meddling RATS,” they said, as they were led off to Time Jail.

Your mom bid them and Chief farewell, and jumped back through the Time Table to this evening. We celebrated by shaving off her mustache and ordering Chinese food.

I think you can be proud that you averted disaster, for had Camp Mondamin not been created, then a rip in the space/time continuum would have destroyed the universe as we know it, and probably left something horrible in its place, like a 24 Hour Waffle House.

Tonight, I took apart the Time Table and destroyed the time traveling mechanism. Something like that is just too dangerous to keep around.
You never know when more Time Kittens might show up.

That’s all to report. I’ll see you Thursday morning, have a great last couple days!

Dad + Mom

P.S. The Grey Unicorns stopped by to say “hey”. They’re in town for a Unicorn Convention.