The “Donut Man” of Space Camp

I believe it was the summer of 1992. It was a busy year for Space Camp in Huntsville and the number of children going through each week was mind numbing. An early morning schedule was started in order to handle the large number of Academy Level I teams.  This schedule required getting the kids up around 5 or 5:30 a.m. ! I am usually a morning person…but this was a little early even for me.

I had been watching too many military movies (with the Top Gun folks) showing basic training during this period, also. This combined with the early hour led to the creation of the “Donut Man” slash drill sergeant. My team members were in Habitat I. My routine was to enter the room; flip on the light switch; and, in a not too subtle tone announce, “Gooooood morning Gentlemen…time to get up…time to make the donuts!” Yes, the infamous donut commercial playing constantly on television at that time had come to life. Instead of the old man shuffling off to the donut shop–a crazy, sleep-deprived counselor had taken his place.

I was usually greeted by a groggy unintelligible reply and movement signifying that I could move on to the next room. The week progressed and the campers complained more and more each morning as I entered. The next to the last day I was approached by another counselor with a warning. It would appear that some of the campers had a surprise planned for me the following morning. What kind of ambush was waiting for me? Would it be the tried-and-true pillow assault that so many counselors had endured? Could it be something even more insidious?

The following morning I was extra careful as I entered each room. The first room…no ambush. Second and third…no ambush. Fourth room…I opened the door…the sound of something sliding behind the door. This is it. I quickly flipped on the lights ready for the attack. Adrenalin was rushing through me as I looked around the room…nothing but sleeping campers in their bunks? I quickly remembered the sliding sound behind the door…I leaped back and closed the door. There on the ground was a cellophane package of…donettes (those miniature donuts sold in vending machines)!! Taped to the back of the door was a small note that read, “We already made the donuts…let us sleep!”

Kudos to those campers for their creativity and ability to still make me laugh after all these years. My apologies to all of those sleep-deprived campers.

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