“A long time ago, when camp only had a dining hall and one tent unit, the groundskeeper was an older man who went by the name Old Tom and lived in the shack by the boat dock. He lived alone and kept a shot gun by the door for both his own protection and the protection of the camp. One summer, he planted a sycamore tree beside his shack, hoping it would soon grow large enough to cast a shadow that would block the sun’s light and heat.
“He loved the girls who came to camp, and he kept a stash of sweets inside to give out anytime anyone would come by and say hi. He taught the girls how to fish, and how to row their boats, and everyone loved him back. Everyone wanted to make sure Old Tom was okay. Whenever someone would ask him how he was, he would always tipped his hat and smile, showing that he was missing one of his two front teeth, and he’d say, ‘Jus’ fine, little lady, jus’ fine.’
“When he wasn’t taking care of maintance issues, the old man liked to sit at the end of the boat dock and fish, and sometimes he would bring the fish he had caught to the dining hall for dinner. And every night, from ten to midnight, Old Tom stood in front of his shack, his shot gun across his chest, and wait until the rest of camp was safe and asleep before he retired for the night.
“One night a bear found its way into camp and stopped at the lake for a drink of water. The old man, not wanting the bear to scare any of the girls or worse, hurt someone, took his shot gun outside and and shot the bear. Once it was dead, he dragged it into the woods and buried it next to a tree. Unfortunately, the bear had friends. And one of the bear’s friends came to the old man’s shack in the middle of the night and slaughtered him.
“Two campers found Old Tom the next morning when they wandered down to find out why he wasn’t at breakfast. There wasn’t much left of him, and blood was splattered all over the place. He was buried underneath the sycamore tree he had planted himself.
“If you look between the shelves in the shack today, you can still see the stains from Old Tom’s blood. And if you watch very carefully sometimes in the late afternoon sun, you can see him sitting at the side of the lake fishing, and he’ll turn, tip his hat at you, and wink. And sometimes, very late at night, Old Tom is seen standing guard outside his door, shot gun in hand, always protecting the camp.”