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Field Notes – Meanwhile back at camp

Dave Curry Contributing Writer

The guys had been hard at work at Camp Broken Antler as they usually were in the early fall. Every year was something new and different. A new sleeping room or skinning shed on the camp, a new porch or extra wood stove, always a project.

Finding volunteers this year was easy as Ern had found a spring around the hill and intended to develop it and bring water into camp. This was a public service project of the best kind.

Water the elixir of life, next to beer.

We had always carried water into camp in the biggest containers we could find, often spilling or leaking in the trucks and giving everything a bath before it got to camp.

Water on tap would be so nice.

So everyone turned out to help. Ern and Cookie scratched out a low spot in a little drain and sure enough, water began to puddle up. A kind of a tank was formed to hold the water and the overflow was headed into a pipe.

Coach, Elvis, Buck and Arch began laying out the waterline. Nine, hundred-foot rolls of black plastic pipe had been procured and were laid out end-to-end through the woods and around the hill toward camp. Engineering was slim and trial and error played a big part as there was barely enough drop to keep the water moving. Gravity was merely an assumption in places. And with all the tree roots, there was no thought of burying the line, so the plastic line lay there naked and exposed like a giant black snake in the middle of a highway.

Lo, and behold, as each section was hooked together, the water began to flow. At the last little dip before it ran across the swamp, it picked up speed. A pipe was run through the wall and connected to the kitchen faucet. The faucet was opened with great ceremony – and there it was.

Water. Glorious water. Water for washing dishes, if you had to. Water for washing your face or hands, if you had to. Water for drinking if you couldn’t find anything else. No more trucking in leaky containers.

The celebration began and as the guys were fond of saying, “Mr. Schaffer made a profit that day” referring to a certain brand of beer that was consumed. And plans were made for the next hunting season. Coach thought that he could find us an old shower stall. Buck figured he could relieve an old camping trailer of its hot water tank and heater. We would be living in “high cotton” then.

Suddenly Elvis noted, “There’s a deer coming into the swamp,” and things got very quiet. Cookie allowed as how this might be a good time to try out the new compound bow, so he and Buck went looking for a window that would open. The rest of us headed to various windows to see what might transpire.

Buck quietly slid open the window as Cookie readied his bow with a nice, new arrow.

“There he is. About 30 yards. Take him.”

Cookie whispered back, “I don’t know. It looks pretty far.”

Buck tried to encourage him by saying “Fling one out there. It can’t be that tough.”

A soft twang sound was heard in the cabin as Cookie released the arrow. We all watched as the arrow sailed over the back of the small buck and landed on the ground. Suddenly a narrow plume of water shot eight feet in the air like an artesian well. The deer looked over quizzically, possibly chuckling under his breath, and calmly walked away.

Cookie had nailed the new waterline with his hunting arrow.

What are the odds?

He could probably stand back there and shoot all day and never hit that water line again. Heck, all of us could shoot from there all day long and probably never hit that water line.

“How could you do that?” Buck asked.

Cookie squirmed and replied “I didn’t mean to hit the waterline. It just happened.”

Buck responded “No, I mean how could you miss that deer? He was broadside.”

For once in his life Cookie remained speechless.


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