Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Can I Go Too?

One summer when I was young, probably 1967 or 1968, I and a bunch of my friends and acquaintances from Butler High School went camping.

I’m thinking that this was in 1968.  This was just after we had graduated from high school and shortly before many of us would be leaving for jobs, various colleges or military service (this was during the Vietnam era), so it was a sort of last fling.  Most of the campers on this particular trip were from my “Class of 1968” but there were a number of "69ers” – the class behind us – there too.

Our camping spot was in a little depression, a glen or hollow, north of Kershner Road, between Dogleg and Fredrick Pikes.  You took about a quarter mile or so drive up a dirt road.  When you got to the spot, you’d have thought that you were a lot further from “civilization” than you actually were as you could see no signs of any homes or buildings. I’m not sure how we happened to get this spot, I think the land belonged to someone’s family or relative.

I'd guess we were camped just about where the yellow circle is.
The group was all guys and we were a pretty tame bunch.  Someone might have brought some beer, but I’m not sure of this (and if there had been any, it would have been 3.2 – the low alcohol content type).  There were definitely no drugs.

So we were talking and joking with one another around the campfire.  I remember that we walked over to an abandoned farm house which we’d been told to avoid.

I’m trying to remember who was there.  George Moore, Steve Schieltz, Larry Schieltz, Ron Stapleton, Jack Hopkins, Dale Dalrymple, Monte Henderson, Tom Hertlein.  There were quite few others.  I guess about 10 or 12 guys altogether.

I also remember that the Father of Nancy Knuge, a girl in the Class ahead of us, ’67, visited us.  They lived on Frederick and I guess he heard us or maybe saw the campfire.  He was very pleasant, stayed and talked for a while.  I’m sure he was just checking us out.

Anyhow, getting to the point of this story, during the evening we had used up most of the firewood.  A couple of the guys dragged a log into camp.  One of them decided to cut it into smaller pieces and began chopping it with an ax.

Well it only took him four or five swings before the ax ricocheted off the log and into Larry Schieltz’s leg.  A good sized flap of skin and muscle was seen looking through the large slit in his pants’ leg.  He wasn’t in a huge amount of pain, but it was obvious that he would need medical treatment.  There was a car parked quite close, I think it was George Moore’s.  A bunch of guys quickly piled into the vehicle.  The driver started the motor and the car began to move out.

Then a voice was heard.  Somewhat meekly, as though the speaker didn’t really want to bother anyone, but still feeling the need to have his say, he said, “Can I go too?”

All eyes turned toward the speaker.  Why did this person want to go?  Didn’t he know this was an emergency?  That there was no time for fooling around?

Many of us were stunned when we saw who the speaker was.  Yes, it was Larry!  Apparently the injury to his leg had slowed him down to the point where he was unable to move fast enough to get a seat before the car left.

The driver stopped the car and the other passengers sheepishly got out.  Yes, they had filled every available seat.  Larry got in and they went off to, I think, Good Samaritan Hospital.

They were back a few hours later.  The injury wasn’t serious.  They’d taken a few stitches and Larry was fine.

Probably the most serious and lingering injury was to the axe man – he was teased much after that and even got the frequently used nickname of “Hack.”   I remember hearing him addressed by that name by people who I’m sure had no idea why he was called that.

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