The most popular destination on the weekend had to be the dance in St Lawrence, South Dakota. For the young men, a bottle of Old Crow or Four Roses, cheap blended whiskey, or a case of Hamm's Beer - from the land of sky blue waters - was as important as gasoline for the car. The booze gave us the confidence to ask the girls to dance. The fact that we smelled bad and were rubber legged did not enter our minds. The alcohol almost guaranteed one fight in the parking lot, which we considered part of the entertainment.
Max Hargens and his band was a favorite at the hall and always drew a crowd. He was a farmer and musician and well-liked for his smiling personality. Max had a great deal of enthusiasm, and he livened up the crowd. I would always smile when he announced that he had a new number, because I knew it would sound a great deal like the one he had just played. Max and his band were just right for the crowd, the time and the place. He lived up to his slogan: "Music with a smile --- in that Hargens style"!
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Another place we liked to go on the weekend was the Brown Derby night club in Huron, South Dakota. It was known among the young crowd to over look the age requirement and not check I.D.s.
My friend, Jim Yost and I had spent several hours at this establishment when he disappeared. I was glad to find him curled up under a blanket in the back seat of my car. We'd planned an early morning duck-hunting trip, so I headed for home. It took about an hour to make the drive, and as I pulled in front of Jim's house and announced, "We are here", a figure crawled out from under the blanket, and in a girlish voice said, "Where am I?" I asked, "Who are YOU?" I had left Jim at the Brown Derby and brought home a female I did not know. When we arrived back at the Brown Derby, a small group greeted us in front of the now-closed bar. I quickly explained I did not kidnap the girl, nor did I abandon my friend. The poor sport did not go duck hunting.
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On another late night, after checking to see if the grass was greener on the other side of the fence in Highmore, South Dakota, I agreed to meet a classmate back at the 24-hour Silver Grill in Miller, South Dakota. I was not far behind the family's old farm pickup he was driving. He had pulled out the throttle like a cruise control, dozed off and hit the ditch. He was thrown clear and was standing in the ditch when I caught up. The pickup was running in circles in the prairie field and was out of control. Our choices were to let it run out of gas or try to catch it. We decided to catch it. My friend got on the fender of my car, and we managed to pull along side of the runaway truck. Luck was on our side as he leaped from the fender to the truck's running board. He reached in and turned off the key. He said, "Don't tell anyone I did this". I assured him no one would believe it anyway.
The sausages and eggs at the Silver Grill tasted really good, as I avoided looking my buddy in the eye.
Not too many people I knew spent their weekends like I did.
©2002 Maurice Karst
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"From the Land of Sky Blue Waters (Waters),
From the land of pines, lofty balsam,
Comes the beer refreshing,
Hamm's the Beer Refreshing".