Yesterday’s annual Thanksgiving lunch feast was marred by an unfortunate and unintentional, accidental poisoning of several of our campers. Seventeen campers in all were affected by consuming turkey stuffing that went terribly awry. Of these seventeen students, nine needed to be hospitalized. Of those nine, seven have been sent home, but two remain in intensive care, including Bwenda Neengle, the daughter of one of our counselors.
Camp lunch lady, Munthelda Dwerm, made a last-minute substitution to her favorite stuffing recipe. Handed down for generations from her Jamaican-born grandmother, it calls for one cup of chopped habanero peppers, to give it a little ‘zing”. As she was in the middle of preparation of the stuffing, she realized that she failed to purchase peppers at the local market. As luck would have it, Ms. Dwerm had the TV turned to FOX News. Ace TV journalist Megyn Kelly mentioned on air that pepper spray was “a food product, essentially.” She then remembered her ex-husband, Fenbrook Dwerm, left several canisters of Defense Technology 56895 MK-9 Stream, 1.3% Red Band Pepper Spray, from his days as a campus cop at UC Davis, before he left to go back to Huntsville, Alabama. She ran home and retrieved a canister and brought it back to camp.
The recipe called for one cup of chopped peppers. Ms. Dwerm, not being a mathematician, wrongly interpolated that a three-minute spray of the ‘food product’ would successfully add the needed ‘heat’. She was terribly, terribly wrong.
Within several minutes after the campers sat down to their holiday feast, screams of pain and terror could be heard emanating from the cafeteria. Many students ran out, mouths open, and headed for the lake, where some were able to subdue the pain by gulping down lake water.
Bobbie Dean Prunt, one of the affected campers, was asked by a reporter from the local newspaper what the stuffing tasted like. He replied, “It tasted like burning!”
And that’s the news from Camp Nickleby, where students enjoy daily, mountain hikes, and no child’s left behind.