The Book - Bart Beck

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About Bart Beck

SAM

One time when we had about six Clifton men and one customer, at camp, we began to run dangerously low on booze, Now, when you are thirty or forty miles from a source of supply, the snow is up to your ears and you are about to run out of the spice of life, it will sometimes cause men to do things that they would not normally think of doing. So I guess that, under the circumstances, Sam's conduct could have been considered justifiable.

We had sent a contingent to town for reinforcements, but it was becoming more and more evident that they would never make it back before a real crisis developed. During all of this time Sam didn't seem a bit concerned. He was, in fact, out in the kitchen, washing dishes, mopping and singing, louder and louder all of the time. Finally the booze gave out completely, but Sam kept right on singing and mopping, but he stayed in the kitchen. We, therefore, concluded that he must have some booze hidden, but no one could find it.

We started to watch him very closely and discovered that he had a generous supply in the syrup pitcher, sitting on the kitchen table right in front of all of us. Sam lived for several years after that, but I am sure that he never realized how close he came to living a much shorter life than he did. Even though Sam exposed himself to the possibility of serious reprimands, he was able to get away with his departure from the conventional Hunting Camp etiquette for the reason that he was "family".

There was another occasion when a person almost got away with a similar infraction, not because he was "family", but because he had been invited by the Boss. We, including the offender, but not the Boss, had been in camp for two or three days when some one noticed that Mr.X was not drinking Company booze. He would retire to his room, at regular intervals and return, smelling of strong drink. Now, as was proven by Sam, who was an expert at such things, you cannot fool a bunch of professionals for very long, and that joker had reached his limit.

He was watched closely and when he went to the bathroom, Fred and Tom went into his room, got both bottles of his Chevas Regal Scotch, from his suitcase and set them right in the middle of the card table. He didn't say anything, when he came back, but his ears turned kind of red, for a while. Until it was gone, we all drank Chevis Regal, even though the most of us were not Scotch drinkers.

None of us were concerned about what the Boss might say, when he came in, because we knew that if the cheap skate did make any waves, the Boss would instruct one of us to take him to the Airport, because the Boss was not only "family", he was the God Father. We knew that he would not condone such conduct when it involved his "family".

Even though you might not expect it, we always ate real good when we were in camp. Some of the men were good cooks and some were not so good. All of the guests seemed to think that they should make an effort to do their part and, at times, we had difficulty convincing some of them that they were more qualified to wash dishes than they were to cook. On our Deer hunting trip at Thanksgiving time, Dale Hesher would always bring a big turkey, roast it and serve it with all of the trimmings, on Thanksgiving day. Fred Minger was an expert at cutting up, and preparing Venison and Stan Bloom was an expert at dirtying pots and pans. It didn't make any difference how many pots and pans there were in the kitchen, nor how many were required for a particular project, Stan could dirty every one in the camp, even if he only made a pot of coffee.

On an other occasion when the Boss was in camp, we had T-Bone Steaks for supper and while Ed and I were cleaning things up, he came out to the kitchen and told us to be sure not to throw the bones out, because he liked them, heated up, for his breakfast. I have always said that if you intend to be a success, in the contracting business, you have to learn to think quick, so we assured him that they would be made ready, when ever he wanted them. What we didn't tell him was that we had already thrown them out, with the rest of the garbage. That didn't stop us though, when the Boss went back to the card game, we went out to the garbage can and retrieved the bones. If the Boss wanted re-heated steak bones, for breakfast, that was what he was going to get.

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