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CAMP DAKOTA

Every small town has a place where young people go to drink beer and party. It might be a grove, valley, hill or lake, but every town has one. Our not-so-secret spot was called Camp Dakota and included a nice lake and lots of trees. It was far enough from town to eliminate adult supervision and what police jurisdiction it fell under may have never been determined. They say sex went on out there, and I did see a couple of turtles mating by the lake but that was about the extent of it for me. If you furnished your own glass jug, a joint in town would fill it for $1.00 a gallon. I looked like I was under age until I was twenty-five so I probably didn't purchase too much beer, but I drank my share.

Camp Dakota had a hill by the lake that was steep enough to present a challenge for most of the cars the boys in the group were driving. The vehicle I drove was a 1936 Chevy that had been demoted from family car to "Morrie gets to drive it". I was proud of that car.

One night a bunch of us had gathered out at our wonderful meeting place. We had a roaring campfire and many jugs of beer. We liked to hook our finger in the jug handle and lay the jug across our arm and then we would tip our elbow and swallow as much beer as we could. We spilled as much as we drank, but we got enough in our belly to fog our brain.

Encouraged by the beer and the crowd, I decided it was time to attempt the hill climb. My girl friend at the time chose not to ride along for the thrill. I always admired her intelligence. I lined up the hill in the glare of the headlights and braced my self for what I knew was going to be the run of the year. I was off in a cloud of dust and was halfway up the hill when I clutched to shift into second gear and killed the engine. Damn! Now I had to back down the hill. I had the driver's side door open and was backing down, trying to see behind me, when a tree jerked the door off and right out of my hand. I continued back down the hill,  through the camp fire, and twenty feet out into the lake. Damn! What a performance!

I had destroyed the campfire, the beer was gone, and the party was over, so I retrieved my car door and my mad girlfriend, who will remain nameless, and proceeded to drive through town with no door on the driver's side. My passenger was getting madder by the minute. I stopped at the blacksmith shop and put two new bolts in the door, and it lined up perfect. This did not impress my girlfriend at all and I knew we were enjoying our last date. Damn! I loved that CAMP DAKOTA.

2002 Maurice D. Karst
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