Thursday, November 17, 2011

Part Two

As promised, here is the second half of my blog post on the latest Thanksgiving get together at Game Creek. The top two pictures show the kitchen; its located in the tabernacle. I remember working in there on the new cabinets with Uncle Bill. I was sanding one of the cabinets when I drove a huge splinter right through my index finger. In one side and out the other. Bill didn't flinch, he just got out his pocket knife and pulled it through. He was always kind of a hero to me. Back when the farm was at it's peak there used to be a number of women in the kitchen cutting vegetables, baking bread  and cooking meals It was a pretty busy place. There was a trap door in the floor and underneath there were cases of jarred fish and maybe even some dried vegetables. For some reason there was a number ten can of Hershey's chocolate syrup too. I remember David Carver telling me about sneaking in there one night and opening it up and drinking it out of the can. In the early days we were desperate for anything sweet. Living on a Christian farm didn't mean you automatically acted like a saint. My own sweet daughters told me about sneaking in the back door of the Dietrich cabin where Allen  had a small store. He sold popcorn and coffee and a number of healthy snacks, one of which was a Wha Guru Chew. The girls grabbed out a handful of carob chips- a kind of healthy substitute for chocolate. My, if these walls could talk. We lived in an apartment overhead of the dining hall. When the girls were small they used to drop crayons down on the tables through a knot hole in the floor. They got in trouble when one of the elders was holding a bible study downstairs. At the time if I had known that they were doing it I might have filled water balloons for them to drop. Not that I had anything against bible studies, I just didn't like the elders. The eldership and I seldom seemed to see eye to eye. The third picture shows my good friends the Pinards. We still get together for cards on Saturday nights in the winter. There are other couples who lived on the farm with us who moved to Hoonah whom we almost never see. They became almost anti- social and I don't know why hardship brings some folks closer and others it repels.  Most of these pictures are taken from inside the tabernacle. I don't know how it is now, but we used to have to all eat together in the dining hall. For some reason when we came together for a meal, we had to have announcements before we ate and had a prayer. Sometimes the announcements lasted for like fifteen minutes so the food would be cold by the time you got to it. It was frustrating. Fortunately we didn't have to wait for this meal this time. At one time everyone was assigned to a particular table and then once a month you rotated so that you were sitting with different people, so you could get to know them better. We had an English gal assigned to sit with us once, but it wasn't a good fit. She was very much into proper etiquette, while we had seven kids, all under the age of twelve. It was mayhem at our table and she wasn't very happy. I used to greet  her during the day by saying "Wheaties" instead of "Cheerio". I never knew if she got the joke or not. When the boys were still in high chairs and mimicking everyone, the mistake was made of assigning a family who had an older teen-age son who, when he was young, had been given a dose of some drug by accident that left him with an inability to swallow. He had to push the food down his throat with his fingers. It was kind of unpleasant to watch, but it couldn't be helped. The bad part was that the boys would sit in their high chairs and do the same thing. Jan would slam the table with her hand and try to get them to stop. To say the least it was embarrassing.  The fourth picture shows my daughter Jen with her black eye. Beside her is Tim Banaszak and Jim Carey is on the end. I remember watching Tim when he was just a boy of about twelve. He would pack 100 pound bags of potatoes on his back from the root cellar to the tabernacle. Any job that was assigned to him he would do, and with a lot better attitude than I ever had. He was a real work horse, able to do a mans work. He's still got a great attitude and it's always a delight to see him  when we meet once or twice a year. Jim Carey is ninety now I believe. I think he's still doing what he can around the farm. At one time he was painting bear breads for sale at Tideland. He was a professional illustrator for General Dynamics prior to moving to the farm. If I ever make it to ninety, I hope I look half as good. Jim has always had the most upbeat attitude, so different from me. He also had a great voice-an Irish Tenor that I used to love to hear. Again, totally unlike me.  Unfortunately the next picture is kind of blurry. ( I think Jan took it). The closest gal is Sally Courtney. She was my neighbor in Charleston. I don't know how many gallons of iced tea I drank at her house. She is forever a proper southern lady, with hardly a bad word to say about anyone. Her mother, Rosa Robertson, we all called her Granny, was a sweet gal too. She taught Sally well.  I wish I had a picture of her. She was a saint.
Next to Sally is Sonia Bere. Her mother was from the Ukraine. When I found out that the Russian word for Grandma was BABBA, I quickly dubbed her that and seldom referred to her by any other name. She used to work at Tideland Tackle in town and I sorely miss seeing her there. Sonia had a son named Jeff who was one of the three men who died in a boating accident years ago when I was still living at the farm. Next to Sonia is  her daughter Debbie Banaszak. She's married to Tim. It was one of a number of farm romances. Good natured and friendly, its always a delight to see her, which usually only happens when they come for the Game Creek Thanksgiving dinner. The next picture shows Bob Clark on the guitar, Ben Mc Luckie with the violin, Dave Austin on the cello (his face is hidden by the post and two young gals whom I don't know. They sang a delightful song called  For the Beauty of the Earth. It was beautiful. Bob has been with the farm since the beginning. He's one of those guys who is good at almost everything he does. He's able to figure out most anything. He's a good hunter, fisherman, carpenter, mechanic, welder, musician- you name it. In other words, he's been a tremendous asset to the farm and I'm pleased to be able to call him a friend. Ben is a computer guru and a teacher at the school. I think he recently won an award for work in a statewide science project. When I would see him at the school I'd call him Uncle Ben and ask how the rice sales were, or we'd pass in the hallway and I'd call him O Ben One Kenobi. He was always pretty good natured.  Dave runs Tideland Tackle and is a jack of all trades. He's a world class musician and teaches different musical instruments once a week at the school. He also makes bows for musical instruments and I believe he makes his own bi-focals. I don't know how some people end up with so much talent, but they do. The next picture shows the stairs that lead to the path that leads to the road where the cars are parked. When I was on the farm the only way in and out was via boat. Now you can drive to within a mile or so of the buildings. There's a trip through the woods, across a slough, through the fields (watch out for the animal droppings) and down a corduroy road to the center of the camp. There is usually a festive air about the place when we arrive and everyone seems to have a good time.
 The last picture is of Libby Clark. That's her maiden name. I can't spell her married name. She's quite a good cook and for awhile she ran a little restaurant in town called, appropriately enough, Libby's. The building now houses Chipper Fish. Next to her is Donna Austin. She's petite, but what  a powerhouse! She works at Tideland with her husband Dave and is also a musician. Her and Dave get together and play for different functions around town. Lastly, we have Gary and Rosemary Lebowitz. Theirs was a farm romance also. Ol Brother Gary and I had a few heated discussions from time to time. He was always so zealous in everything that he did; an admirable trait normally. We weren't of the same mind for the majority of the time that I lived at Game Creek though and I was equally stubborn in my ways so there were a few clashes. I'm pleased to say that we've both mellowed out and now when I see  him I'm genuinely glad. One of the more interesting things I discovered about Gary was that he worked for a while in New York City with Allen Funt- the guy from Candid Camera. It was a popular show back when I was a kid. His wife Rosemary was an architect prior to moving to the farm. She was very good too. She designed a remodeling job for me at the house. She's always been a very gracious, well spoken woman. So, there you have it. For those who've lived there and couldn't make it, this post might be a time of catching up. For those whom have never visited, perhaps this will be enlightening. Anyway, until the next post, take care- God bless!


  1. I know it's bad, but I still crack up thinking about the boys, just little guys, using their fists to shove the food down too... :)
    Love ya!

  2. I remember me & John-John Elkins were fishing at Game Creek one time. The fish weren't biting so we wandered over towards the farm.
    We encountered someone, and they invited us to lunch and showed us around. It was a neat experience...

  3. Hi Autumn- your mom was so embarassed when they did that. Kids mimic what they see though and unfortunately they don't always adhere to what is correct.
    Hi Todd. I hadn't thought about John for awhile. That almost sounds like Gary Lebowitz. He loved the farm and the people and was very outgoing. I'm glad your experience was positive.

  4. Thank you for part two. I sure do miss everyone!

  5. That was a great post dad...good to see pics of everyone and see how much things have changed around there....I too can remember the boys mimicking people and how embarrassed you n mom would get..but it always cracked us up anyways...we couldn't help it...