Al Jemima

True narrative by Alex Forbes

Al Jemima and friend at La Loma. Click for larger image.

This is a sequel toSunrise at Loma Prieta 1979“. This happened on one of the very first hunts to which I was invited. Most everybody had a “camp name” — a name or nickname by which you were known, but mainly in camp. Tom became “Tomasco”. Joe became “Speedy”. Uncle Tom was “Tio Tom”. Here’s the story of how my camp name became “Al Jemima”.

Many years ago on a hunt, I volunteered to be camp cook for breakfast. My neighbor’s dad, a large man, was particularly fond of flapjacks and kept telling me, “Man, I sure am looking forward to them flapjacks, Al!”

I was known as “Al” in those days. And I would keep chatting the subject up to the family patriarch. I would keep telling him, “JP, how do you like your flapjacks? Light and fluffy, or thick and crusty”?

And he would reply, “Oh, boy! I’ll have mine light and fluffy. Man, I sure am looking forward to them flapjacks!”

At 4AM the next morning I slept right through the alarm clock. No camp cook. No wake-up calls. Not even any coffee. At 5AM we all piled into the jeep in the dark, sleepy, grouchy, on empty stomachs.

I apologized profusely. I thought everybody would be really mad at me. But JP just laughed and said “Man, I sure was looking forward to them flapjacks. And now, no flapjacks at all. I name you Al Jemima.”

And to this day, anybody on the hunt that year knows who “Al Jemima” was, and why.

Alex Forbes ©2004

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