After I Graduated high school, I spent the rest of that summer and into the fall wonderin’ if I’d get drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam.
At the time, my father was planning to go deer hunting at my uncle’s hunting lodge during Thanksgiving week of 1968. In early November, Dad had asked me to go along with him on his hunting trip. He knew that I had already put in my two weeks quitin’ notice at the bakery I was delivering bread for, so I was free to go. It was to be my fourth trip up to Katahdin Lodge, and the nearby town of Patten, Maine. My parents had taken my sister and I up to the Lodge for one week vacations during the summers of 1966, ‘67, and ‘68.
On my 1968 summer excursion, as a normal teenage male who was always lookin’ for a teenage female to love, I had become enamored with Patten’s country girls. Patten’s fun loving country boys had made darn sure that I didn’t make the mistake of puttin’ a move on any girl who had a steady boyfriend, but they had shown me where it was safe to take a girl parkin’ and get a car’s windows all steamed up. The people who lived in and around the little town of Patten were very friendly, healthy, and full of life. The town’s folk there didn’t mind if I pursued their unattached, sweet, young ladies.
During that summer of ’68 trip to Maine, I went out with a fine young lady named Deanna Caldwell a few times. We went out for a ride together one evening just after dark to go "spottin' deer." I very politely, quickly asked if anyone else in the Lodge wanted to ride along, but I sure enough did that too quietly for most of them to hear me over the friendly conversations that those Cribbage playing folks were enjoying among themselves. My uncle glanced up at me, waved me on and said that nobody else wanted to go. They all really turned down the invitation because they knew that it was OK for her and I to go be alone together for the first time. Deanna and I drove down an old back road and stopped next to some overgrown farmer's field to look for some deer who mighta' been feeding out there. I took out a flashlight and shined it around briefly to see if we could spot some deer. You never have a gun in the car when you do this, cause the game warden can get ya' for night hunting. There weren't any deer out there in the field, but there was a dear in the car with me. I put my arm around her and looked at her alabaster skin in the moonlight and she glowed soft and oh so beautifully. When I told her this she said, "Oh jeeze, why do all you guys say stuff like that?"
Well I assured her, and I assure you, that she glowed softly and beautifully in the moonlight that was shining down on us and on that dark back road on that fine evening in Maine.
When Deanna was asked by a couple of the other pretty and sweet Patten, Maine girls about me, she replied, "He's quiet, but he's fast."
I weren't all that fast, it's just that they were kinda' old fashioned up there.
I went to my first Northern Maine high school dance over to Island Falls and man o' day did I ever have a good time. I left the dance that night with my dad's big Ford station wagon full of a fairly well balanced mix of teenage girls and guys.
One evening, a couple of the kids showed me where we could by beer underage out at Fifefied's Wildland Store, a place that was so far out the road into the woods that electrical service hadn't made it that far yet--they had propane gas powered refrigeration and lights in there. Fifefield had one of them real old timey, hand crank, glass globed, gasoline pumps that most people have only seen in movies. Just for the fun of it I bought five gallons of gas so that I could use the pump. When I told my dad and uncle about it my uncle laughed and said, "Don't ever buy gas off Fifefield, he waters it down."
On the Friday evening before Thanksgiving Day 1968, my dad and I drove his car up to the Lodge together from Maryland. Then he allowed me the use of the car to run around with the local teenagers.
As they said around the Lodge, Dad went out to hunt four legged deer, and I was after the two legged dear.
Photo by My Former Neighbor Mr. 'Hob' Cox
Here’s me in my back yard in Dundalk, Maryland just before I moved to Maine in 1968.
I Took This Photo With My Inexpensive Instamatic 104
Patten, Maine circa 1967 when Main St. was being repaired and repaved.
I had a long debate with myself about whether or not I'd write about the underage alcohol drinking aspect of my Maine story. I put it in because it is a part of my story about living in Maine that needs to be in there, or the story would fall short of being a true tale. I am very fortunate that most of my personal experiences as an underage drinker were fun ones. That may be the same for many other former or current underage drinkers, but when the shit hits the fan for an underage drinker it can devastate their life or end it abruptly in an onslaught of horrendous pain. Too many teenage drivers have terrible wrecks when they drive under the influence of alcohol. Too many people who develop devastating drinking problems began drinking in their teens. I do not approve of underage drinking anymore. I am against it all the way.
Copyright 2006 David Robert Crews
David Robert Crews