There was a long cabin camp in the middle of a popular mountain range in Northern New York. A beautiful place surrounded by a forest full of wildlife. It was 30 years ago this past summer when the head of the company my father worked for decided to take those who worked for him and their families on a trip as a thank you for good work. I was 5 or 6 and my memory is a little iffy but when my parents, older sister and I got to the cabin you knew you were someplace special. All the beds were upstairs and there was a large kitchen and living space down. During the day the men would chop wood and the term “spaghetti arms “was born. It was yelled by spectators at the men who couldn’t quite spilt straight or missed the logs all together. At night there was a bonfire, it was at this time that the younger me discovered the beauty of fire the way the smell stayed on your clothes as you went to bed and how if you set the end of a poking stick on fire and quickly blew it out you could write your name with the smoke in the night sky. All were having a great time, that is until later that night when suddenly my dad and a couple of his fellow co-workers came running out of the woods. The story goes they took a couple of canoes to a nearby river to do some fishing, well you know when a group of men fish they also drink and lost track of time. Unexpectedly they heard a noise in the darkness a “Woo Woo” sound. These men lived and worked in a city and this was not a sound they ever heard. They jumped out of the boats as quickly as possible and ran for their lives. They were wet, cold and out of breathe when they returned with no idea about what they left back in the dark woods.
A few months later I was lying in a hospital bed recovering from open heart surgery when my grandmother came for a visit. Like all who came to cheer me up she brought a present. It was a grey, fuzzy looking stuffed animal with big feet, short arms held up in the air and with two double A batteries it made a mechanical unrecognizable noise and tiny lights blinked for eyes. I named him Charlie Woo Woo, he got his very own hospital bracelet and to this day sits in my childhood room as a reminder of the trip in which my dad was chased out of the woods by an unknown creature of the night.