Filed under: Uncategorized
by Lucas Stangl
Summer always brought two things I could count on as a child: swim lessons and Lake Arbutus. My mother’s father (Grandpa Ed) was an underwater welder. He had helped construct this dam/canal.
My mom’s family spent many summers in Hatfield, WI while Ed worked underwater. Once she had a family (Dad, me and Sister), she would take us to Hatfield every summer. Often Grandpa Ed and Rosemary would come also.
We stayed in log cabins. Nothing is sweeter than a log cabin when you’re six. Behind the lodge, there was shuffleboard. Nothing is more boring than playing shuffle board. It was by the shuffleboard that I first drove a MoPed. Nothing is more frightening than driving one of those when you can barely reach the peddles.
The days at Lake Arbutus were spent swimming in the lake, often referred to as The Root Beer Lake. The water has a deep brown color due to the minerals in the local soil. The lake was also extremely frothy. As you walked the beach, white foam would wash up with some small waves, waves caused by boats way off shore.
To get to Root Beer Lake, we had to walk through some pine forest. Towel thrown over my neck and sandals on my feet, I would trudge across the sandy trails. Quickly. There were Daddy Longlegs everywhere. Nothing is scary than having a Daddy Longlegs crawl up your short legs. My sister was unafraid. My sister was mean. Sometimes, she would pick up a Longlegs and throw it on my back.
When we weren’t swimming, we were fishing behind the dam. To get to the good spots, you have to cross this railroad bridge. Like the sandy, Daddy Longlegs trails, I walked across the bridge quickly. I was certain a train would come along and cause me to jump off the bridge to my death. Never died. Never caught many fish. It was cousin Josh who was the angler of us youngsters.
After the sunset, the family would gather around the table for some nickel poker. This was before Texas Hold ‘Em grabbed hold of popular culture. We played One Eyed Jacks/Kings With The Ax. Five and Dime. Five Card Stud. Seven Card Draw. Dealer picked the game. This was before I was able to shuffle the deck. Someone would shuffle and I would deal, always picking Five Card Stud for my game. If I got up money, I would quit and head to bed. If I got behind, I would quit and go bed.
Sleep the sleep of the worn-out child. Waking the next day, ready for more spiders, more swimming, more fishing and maybe a hand or two of poker.
Here’s a song I wrote:
“Drawers” — The Sheeptones
And a few I didn’t:
“Lay Lady Lay” — Magnet
“Big Wheel” — Tori Amos
“Unworthy” — Cheryl Wheel
“How To Fight Loneliness” — Wilco
“Lucas With The Lid Off” — Lucas
Lucas Stangl is the founder and CEO of Duke of Straw Productions. The small time operation is most well-known for its music blog The Late Greats and One More Song The Radio Won’t Like. You can also find some of his writings in various literary mags (both in print and online). He lives in Pennsylvania with The Duchess and Duke Jr. He is still afraid of spiders and quits too early while playing poker.
Bonus poem by Lucas:
6894 Reasons Why Poetry Is Still Important
1) Depressed Middle School Students: The suicide rate of pimple-faced, lonely, outcast, 12-15 year olds would skyrocket w/out poetry. Dateless Friday nights would no longer be spent w/ their soothing, rhyming, embarrassing poems.
2) Laughter: Contrary to the unenlightened, poetry can make you laugh; and we all know that is the best medicine (unless you’ve had stomach surgery).
3) Tears: To validate the unenlightened, poetry can make you cry.
Relating to #3 is September 11.
Relating to those 3000 plus lost lives is poetry’s ability to console, comfort, cover people’s wounds like a Band-Aid laced with Neosporin.
4889) Insecure Gods:
As long as there are believers, there will be poems written to boost the gods’ self-esteem.
Besides the national and state Poet Laureates, think off all the jobs and materials that go into poetry: paper, ink, glue and/or staples, the Post Office stuff—stamps, envelops, address labels—gas to deliver the poems to the publisher, the booksellers, and all those editors who weed thru the good, the bad, and the ugly.
6126) Ode to Socks:
Bored high school kids from small towns get glimpses of- and escape by Jack’s open road.
To paraphrase Kenneth Rexroth, poetry’s sole purpose is to ease us out of, or into, love.
Relating to #6128-6893 and to paraphrase myself, poems help get hay for the donkey.
4 Comments so far
Leave a comment