Eugene’s Proclamation

Perhaps this little piece of wisdom might most appropriately be classified in UndertheBigPine’s Advice of the Elders section. However, then you might take it seriously; yet, then again, it should be taken seriously. It is, indeed, important advice. It was just the way in which Eugene presented it that brings a smile to my face every time I think of it. And this is a true story that actually took place on that hallowed 17’x17’ patch of sand under the big pine!

Eugene came through the Waldo Gang Camp’s tent flap at the end of a long day of northern Wisconsin deer hunting. The rest of the crew was already gathered around the table with coffee cups in hand, trying to thaw out after sitting for hours in a relentless, freezing rain. (Now, these were mugs designed for drinking coffee, but with the guns put away after a cold, wet, deerless day, I can not promise what was in actually in those cups.)

Eugene was known as “The Proclaimer” among the camp regulars for his proclamations of life’s great truths, and on this day he did not disappoint.

Gentlemen,” he said with great enthusiasm and fanfare, “I’ve learned something of great importance today. When time comes to answer nature’s call on a day such as this, the three most important things not to lose are: ONE—your car keys, TWO—your billfold, and THREE—your balance! Now, someone hand me my coffee cup.”

I know for a fact this proclamation was made in the fall of 1976 because it was the first year I was allowed to join my dad and his lifelong friends—including Eugene—at the Waldo Gang Camp which was located “under the big pine at the first beaver dam on the KC Creek” in Marinette County. I will never forget the camp, the season … or the advice!

Can I have an “Amen, Eugene?”

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