One very hot day (weren't they all) my brother, Bill and I were out hunting for dove along the drainage ditch that ran between the camp and the dike. This was when the company was just building homes on the other side of the new Staff School. Many of the homes were finished. The area where we were is in what we kids call the "dredge", a term which applied to all areas along the dike which had not been built up. At this time the golf course did not extend into this area. I will talk about the "dredge" later.

Well, we were walking along the edge of the ditch towards the pump station that pumped out storm water et al on that end of the camp perimeter. The ditch had a sheeting of water over oil leaks which drained into the ditch from two Shell wells adjacent to the ditch.

It was a great day and we were both enjoying the hunt. I had the pellet rifle and I saw and shot a dove which fell to the ground at the edge of the ditch. I gave Bill the rifle and worked my way through the brush and limbs until I reached the dove and I picked it up and turned to show it to Bill when the ground gave way under my feet and I fell into the ditch.

Little had I known how deep the darn thing was and it was deep and I began to sink slowly in thick oil. Bill came up to where I was and I pleaded to him to help pull me out. Did he, NAHHH!!! He wasn't about to get oil on himself he said.

I tried to climb out where he was but the side of the ditch crumbled under my hands and I was now up to my shoulders in stinking sticky oil. Somehow I was able to pull myself up on the other side and lay on the edge of the ditch thanking God that I had now drowned a slow agonizing death in the ditch -- manwhile Bill stood there laughing at me. Secretly I hated him for that. It took years to get past that point.

Well, once out what next? I had to get home and in front of me was a field of waist high stickers. No way around it. So I trudged off plowing through the stickers that began to coat my blue jeans and work their way into the fabric and irritae my legs. My nice new black Keds were ruined.

I reached home and kocked on the back door and called for me. (We lived next to the Staff School entrance and a sidewalk went by the house to the Country Club). Mom opened the door and I pleaded with her to help me clean off, “Nothing doing.” she said as she had a group of ladies over for coffee and bridge. “Get some gas and clean yourself”. So I found a gas can under the carport and some rags and got out into the back yard and stripped down to my underwear and using the gasoline scrubbed the oil residue off.

Meanwhile a group of girls in my age group walked by chatting and saw me and at that point my life as I knew it ended. I had been cool, girls liked me, the boys envied me because I had a bike without fenders that I road around on, etc, etc.

What did I learn from that experience? 1. Watch where you walk at all times. 2. Don't trust your brother for anything even if you might die. 3. You don't come before a card game.

 

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