From: Camp Fletcher Management
To: IT Department Management
Re: Twinkle Loblolly, the ‘Camp Elf’
Dear IT Management,
How is your claim that “no one in our department created the firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address” even possible? If you guys didn’t set up that e-mail address, then who did? Nobody, that’s who! Only you folks in IT know how to create things like e-mail addresses and websites around here, so I’m holding you personally responsible. I’m starting to get questions about this e-mail address, so this is rapidly becoming a black eye on our organization.
And what do you mean when you tell us you are unable to delete or shut down the elf’s e-mail, and “every time we eliminate that address it turns itself back on?” I’m no IT wizard, but even I know that e-mail accounts can’t create themselves and they definitely don’t “turn themselves back on” after being deleted. E-mail doesn’t work that way. I need a better explanation than that.
What is the matter with you people? Aiding and abetting a camp elf has to be a crime or something. Besides, everyone knows that elves don’t exist. And if I discover that one of you is responsible for creating the @twinkleloblolly Twitter account we just found out about, you are going to be looking for a new job so fast it will make your head spin.
The alleged elf left another piece of leafmail today. This one was a maple leaf covered with teensy-tinsy letters and left for us in its regular place outside the camp office. It was held down by two licorice sticks. The red licorice was scrumptious, but I’m not a fan of the black ones, so I left it for the interns to share. I’m attaching the latest message from this Loblolly character. Please have our IT security team analyze it for digital fingerprints to see if it can point to who this person really is and who inside the organization may be helping him or her.
This insanity really must stop. You can be sure that I’m going to bring this elf business up with the Big Boss in our department heads’ meeting on Wednesday.
Hi, it’s Twinkle. It’s been a nice week at Camp Fletcher, and spring is definitely on the way; but it’s still too quiet here without all of the children. That’s why I was so happy when Rick from Alabaster sent me such a nice e-mail this week.
Rick wrote to tell me he enjoys reading my leafmails, but he had never heard of a camp elf before. I’m sorry about the confusion, Rick. I’m actually a wood elf who lives at Camp Fletcher. People usually call me “the camp elf” instead of the more correct “wood elf who lives at the camp,” and I’m fine with that. There are several kinds of elves—there are wood elves like me, but there are also prairie elves, mountain elves, desert elves, and even city elves. There are water elves too, but our water elf cousins are kind of snobbish and insist that we refer to them as sprites. Lah-dee-dah.
And no Rick, I’m not invisible. I’m just as visible as you or any other third grader in your class. It’s just that we wood elves are very, very shy and very, very good at hiding, so it’s almost impossible for you to see us if we don’t want you to. And we almost never want you to see us. Elves can be like that mockingbird you hear singing in a nearby tree but can’t spot through the leaves, no matter how hard you look. Actually that bird you hear at Camp Fletcher might really be me. Wood elves love to hide in trees; and my imitation of Mr. Mockingbird is good enough to fool anyone, even Mrs. Mockingbird. If you do see me when you visit Camp Fletcher, it’s likely to be as a quick flash or tiny movement out of the corner of your eye—in other words, you’ll only see me as a twinkle. That’s how I got my first name, of course, but I bet you already knew that. So if you almost see something when you’re at Camp Fletcher, that’s probably just me saying hi.
Anyway, thanks for writing, Rick—tell all your friends that they can write me too. I can’t wait for you to come back to Camp Fletcher this summer. Good luck with your book report in Ms. Haling’s class. I’m sure she’s not nearly as mean as you say she is.
Do you have stuff scattered around the house that you no longer want or need but might just be another person’s treasure? Of course you do, and we’re here to help. Put all that junk in your trunk and head out to Camp Fletcher on April Fool’s Day (Saturday April 1st) where we’ll be holding our semi-annual community yard sale from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Here’s how our Junk In Your Trunk event works. For a measly ten bucks you are assigned a space to sell your goodies for the entire event. Even better, admission for everyone else is free, so it won’t cost you a penny to come to the camp and shop till you drop. Your rental fee will go toward purchasing supplies for Camp Fletcher’s upcoming summer camp season.
We’ll have food vendors on hand in case all of that shopping and swapping makes you hungry. We’ll have tables for rent for another five bucks if you want to get a little fancy with your display.
If you’d like to meet our camp director, see the facilities or learn more about summer camp programs at Camp Fletcher, we’ll be giving Open House tours every half hour from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
If something you bring to Junk In Your Trunk doesn’t sell—no problem. You don’t have to drag your unsold goods back to your garage if you don’t want to. We’ll have a Donation Station on site where you may drop off anything that doesn’t sell, and we’ll arrange a pickup with one of our local thrift charities to pick up those unsold goods.
If you’d like to be a seller at Junk In Your Trunk, you need to register in advance. Don’t wait—the best slots will go fast. Here’s a link for more information and where you can download a registration form with all of the details, rules and other fine print.
If you have questions, need directions to Camp Fletcher or have any other questions about Junk In Your Trunk, feel free to call the camp office at 205-428-1059 or email us at email@example.com.
We can’t wait to see what treasures you bring to Junk In Your Trunk. If you’re like us you’ll end up buying as much stuff as you sell. So get your junk together and get ready to come see us at Camp Fletcher on April 1st. No fooling.
From Camp Fletcher Management to whoever is sending us leafmail: We found your latest message, and we are not amused. You think you’re so clever, but you can’t fool us. Twinkle Loblolly is obviously not your real name. We Googled “Twinkle Loblolly,” and we couldn’t find anyone with that name in the whole wide world. Besides, everyone knows that magical creatures like elves are not real. There’s no such thing as a camp elf or any other kind of elf, for that matter—so stop pretending that you exist. We do admit we still don’t know how you can put so many words onto the single leaf—an oak leaf this time—that was waiting for us outside the camp office this morning. Thanks for weighing that leaf down with chocolate kisses, though. They were yummy. No matter how many chocolates and jelly beans you bribe us with, we will not rest until we find out who you really are, Mr. Loblolly. To aid us in our quest we are once again publishing your message in hopes that someone can give us a clue that will unmask your true identity.
Hi, it’s Twinkle again.
I’m so glad that March is finally here and spring is on the way. Winter is the loneliest season for a camp elf so I’m glad this one is just about over. Summer is my favorite time at Camp Fletcher, of course, but spring is pretty great here too. I was born and moved in on the day the camp first opened in 1926, which makes this my 91st spring at Camp Fletcher. So, even though I’m still very young in elf years, I’ve been around long enough to know what seasons I like best.
It looks like this is going to be an early spring and that makes me very happy. Already some of my tree friends are showing signs of waking. The wildflowers also seem to be several weeks ahead of their normal wake up time this year. I can tell the trees are getting restless when they start putting out flowers. This makes my bee friends very happy. Another telltale sign that a tree is awake is when you see the first bits of green that aren’t quite leaves peeking out on her branches. Some of my tree friends are real sleepyheads, though, and they aren’t ready to wake up. The Hickories are one of those families who are notorious for sleeping in late every year. The silly Hickories will snooze away half of spring while everyone else is wide awake and leafy green. My name comes from the most sensible and wide awake of all trees. Loblollys are pines, as everyone knows, and pine trees are always green.
March can be a stormy month, though, and storms can be scary, even for camp elves. Camp elves love the rain of course, but we don’t like lightning and thunder very much—especially when it’s close. And the wind and lightning can be hard on my tree friends. We had a storm come through last week and it knocked over one of the old trees near the archery range. It was a great big loblolly pine—my name tree and home tree. This particular loblolly called himself Nat and he had been my friend for a long time. Nat was already weak because the nasty, wicked, icky pine beetles had been burrowing into him, and then the storm came with a blowing wind that knocked him over. Nat fell with a cracking sound as loud as thunder, only different.
The camp humans have already cut Nat’s wood into big logs and soon they will take it away so a new tree can grow where he stood for so long. That’s the way it is with trees. Trees can live a very long time—longer than humans, a lot of them, but not nearly as long as elves. No tree lives forever, though. I’m sad Nat is gone, but I won’t be sad for long. He lived a long happy life looking down at the children and shading them as they learned to shoot bows and arrows. Soon another tree will come along to take Nat’s place and lead a long and happy life of her own.
In other news, one of the Camp Fletcher humans (definitely not Management) believes in me and has secretly made an email address for me. If you want to ask me a question or just says hi, I’d love to hear from you. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve got so much more to tell you, but I’ve already filled up both sides of this leaf. Goodbye until next time.