Reflection on a friendship with Brad Mott

“The Power of Moments”

On any given summer day, amidst the Deerwood pines, one can find energetic and happy campers down in
Toots Shor. It is in this place campers eat their meals, give out baseball scores from the night before, have
letters airmailed out the window, find canoes relocated there from the waterfront, hear “Hey, back to the
sack!” on a rainy day, scream to have a counselor thrown out, or get a surprise visit from Batman. The walls
are lined with championship banners showing the name of the captain of the winning team from the
Blue/Gray rivalry over the years. In 1970 Brad Mott was the Captain of the Blues and I was the captain of
the Grays. Brad and I were campers together for five years and went to the same school in Connecticut
from kindergarten through ninth grade.

In the book The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath, they posit that friendships are made up of
moments. Deerwood provides the atmosphere and opportunities for countless moments of connection and
shared experiences for its campers. I believe the moments Brad and I accumulated over the years as
campers created a friendship.

At Deerwood we were always in the same cabin due to our age. Every year we chose beds next to each
other, much to the dismay of our counselors as we played many pranks on them. Once we ran fishing line
from the light switch to our beds. When the counselor turned off the lights, we could pull the line to turn
them back on. Since the line could not be seen, it took them quite a while to figure out what was going on.
On group overnight camping trips we climbed mountains, canoed down rapids, and did some of the dumb
and risky things memories of youth are made of.

Even at a young age, Brad was at his best when entertaining others. His enthusiasm brought people
together, like when he “directed” our Sunday Tree Talk skits (including many song parodies by Allan
Sherman). I’ll never forget his infectious laugh. After our senior year at camp, Brad and I went off in our
different directions. Whenever I read about his acting in Chicago theater or watched him in various movie
roles, I remembered the laughter and positive feelings he brought wherever he was.
I imagine many of you reading this have had similar camp experiences and relationships with fellow
campers. What surprised me when I learned of Brad’s passing was the depth of my sense of loss. The
connection created by the moments we shared all those years ago went deeper than I knew and were not
diminished by the passing years.

Good-bye my friend and fellow Captain. Thank you for the moments.

J.B. Boynton
Captain of the Grays, 1970

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