Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Summer walk


I know, I should have some photos to go with this, but on my summer evening one mile walks I am often surprised by the images that pop up in my mind. Let me explain.

I’m ambling along down tree-shaded 22nd street, enjoying the soft summer breeze, when a couple drives by in a convertible. Ah yes, the summer of 1951 when four guys headed south in a convertible from Manhattan, Kansas, to play soldier at ROTC summer camp at Camp Gordon Georgia, near Augusta. The convertible belonged to our driver, Chauncy Julius Gundlefinger III. Why do I remember his name and not the names of the other two passengers?

Wait, there is more to the story. One of the guys knew of a camp deep in the Okefenokee Swamp in Southern Georgia, so it was there we headed. How we managed to find the wooden shanty is another story, but we got there after dark and were met by an elderly fellow who asked us if we wanted to go on an (illegal) alligator hunt. Of course we did, so we all piled into a leaky johnboat with our guide, a flashlight, and one rusty 22 rifle. We slowly wended our way into the featureless, pitch black swamp. I asked what we would do if we saw an alligator and shot it. Simple. We would drag it into the boat, already low in the water with the five of us. Silence. Four guys were silently praying that we would not see a ‘gator.

But presently we saw two gleaming eyes in the beam of our flashlight. Our new friend and guide reached for the rifle and fired at the eyes. The eyes disappeared, but our killer ‘gator didn’t charge the boat (unlike President Carter’s killer rabbit). Four sighs of relief.

Thinking back on the event, I rather think that the old guy was having a little fun with four scared twenty-somethings. I don’t care. Thanks for the memory.

We made it to Camp Gordon in time for our 4 weeks of training, living on free orange juice for the last part of the journey (another story).

Dave, smiling.


3 Responses to “Summer walk”
  1. Linda says:

    so… did you drag the gator into the boat with you? Guess not. I think you need to tell us us about the last part of the journey! Did you make up the driver’s name? Can’t believe you would remember that!

  2. Dave says:

    The name is real–a fraternity brother and good friend.

    Not much to tell about the rest of the journey, except we drove down to southern Florida before heading back to Georgia, and we ran out of food money. Florida was full of orange stands, and some of them offered free juice to stimulate orange sales.

  3. Leslie says:

    I’m still hung up on the name of your friend Chauncy Julius Gundlefinger III. he could be a character in a book or a movie. I Haven’t even absorbed that my Dad went on a gator hunt in the Deep South, Okofonokee (Obiewan Kenobe) Swamp no less. Good story, Dad.

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