Campers and staff at Oakland Feather River Camp have a longtime tradition of inscribing their names on the lumber walls in the Chow Palace. Thousands of inscriptions -- many newer signatures written on top of older ones -- adorn the walls and ceiling. The tradition dates back 40 years or more. I've seen signatures that date from the 1970s.
While most recorded their name somewhere below the six-foot line, those written above the "ladder line" intrigue me the most. Written in 18-inch block letters on the ceiling near the main entrance are the letters "ARMY EOD 1986." The only way to manage the inscription would've been to bring a tall scaffolding into the Chow Palace, a difficult task when camp is in session.
The headstone in the photograph caught my eye when I first walked into the Chow Palace last May. Nailed onto the rafters high above the wall in the northeast corner of the dining room, the grave marker apparently commemorates the burial of the morning salad shift in the kitchen in 1985. One wonders what happened during the long summer of cutting and filling tubs with romaine and iceberg lettuce. Maybe it as a summer of torture for a less than enthusiastic salad maker.
I may never know the circumstances that led to such a morbid inscription. My prep cook assigned to the salad shift seems to enjoy her job. Maintaining the salad bar for lunch and dinner is a key position in the 2013 Oakland Camp kitchen. I doubt you'll find "RIP A.M. Salad 2013" next month when the kitchen crew departs.