This is a picture of the Prichard Tavern as I get out of the car to help my Dad have the last beers of his life. It's where he wanted to go.
InlandEmpireGirl has assigned Silver Valley Girl and me to write a piece about "Up the River". Up the river is up the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River and we are to make our entries family friendly. I'll do my best, but tell your kids they should not see me a responsible role model for responsible drinking. No, I'm going to write about an epic drunk.
Silver Valley Girl's pictorial post is here, and InlandEmpireGirl's piece is here.
Now for the Homeric drunk:
I haven't seen Linda Davis since that night at Prichard Days. I have and always will consider her the Mother Teresa of kindness for how she helped me. But that's the end of the story. Let me move to the beginning.
My life long friend Scott Stuart went on World Campus Afloat for the spring semester of 1974. While he had many stirring cultural experiences, he also did nearly graduate work in learning more about alcohol consumption.
He came home with a Wapatuli recipe. It's not very hard to make. You get a garbage can, dump fifths of vodka, rum, whiskey, gin and other booze of your liking and mix in Seven-Up, fruit juices, and pour in bags of ice.
On this August afternoon, when we made Wapatuli, it was Prichard Days up the river. Prichard is a speck of a town up the river, once a thriving gold rush town, but now basically a tavern and some houses scattered around.
Prichard Days was the next in a long line of "Days" celebrations in the Silver Valley. Wallace had Gyro Days (including a Lead Creek rubbery ducky race), Smelterville hosted Frontier Days, Pinehurst had Pinehurst Days, and Kellogg put on the Elks Roundup.
These celebrations were really riots of a sort: countless waves of people moving in packs with open containers of alcohol, laughing, roaring, whoring, fighting, dancing, having a good old time.
The Days days are over. Even in the Silver Valley, things have gotten tame.
But, in 1974, a group of me and my friends decided to make a garbage can of Wapatuli and head up the river to Prichard Days. We threw it together in Mom's front yard. (I wonder if she still has the pictures.)
Most of the guys headed east and went to Prichard the Wallace way.
Ed and I, though, wanted to shoot some pool at the King's Inn in Kingston, so we headed west, with a half of case of iced Lucky Lager beer.
When we got to the King's Inn, old man Batista had the pool table and we put a quarter down to challenge him. Batista was not quite on his lips, but he'd been throwing back Blackberry Brandy shots and was feeling feisty.
"I'll take ya both on. You two pups take turns shooting. I'm on my own. We'll play for shots. What ya drinkin'?"
"Fuckin' A." We were into it. We were still fairly sober, despite a couple of beers on the freeway and some sampling of the Wapatuli. "We like Windsors."
We racked 'em and Ed, who shot good stick, and I, who was mediocre, but had a good day, couldn't lose. We put back several shots of Windsors, but we ended up winning more than we could drink. We wanted to leave.
Hog Holland was tending bar. "Here, take 'em to go."
He poured our remaining winnings into a styrofoam cup for each of us and we were off to Prichard Days.
The North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River is shadowy in the afternoon, running through a fairly narrow canyon and its shallow summer waters run clear and cold. It's a magnificent sight.
Not that Ed and I knew that.
We drank our shots to go and washed them back with Lucky Lager. We were on our lips and we knew it. We had to get a foundation if were going to be drinking Wapatuli, so we stopped at Gloria's Steakhouse and had a generous steak with potatoes and the works.
We stepped out of the steak house. I asked Ed, "Was that good?"
"I think so."
We headed to Prichard. It was dark.
We parked and stumbled to where we could hear the music and were met by a joyous, rowdy group of Kelloggians (including InlandEmpireGirl), cried, "All right!!" to each other, exchanged some drug brotherhood peace handshakes, slapped some skin, and found the Wapatuli.
It wasn't in that good of shape. Cigarette butts floated at the top. The ice had melted and the aging process left it warm.
I didn't care. I found a cup and re-fueled, avoiding the butts, but not bothering to filter out the flecks of tobacco or the ashes.
We staggered to where the band was playing and danced and raised our arms above our heads and shouted to anyone we saw who we knew.
I started dancing with Linda Davis who I could tell was one of the cooler heads among this inebriated mob. We'd been classmates and friends that school year at North Idaho College. I was happy to see her.
But, I got tired of my Wapatuli. So, I dumped it over the head of a random girl dancing.
Mike Borden came to me and said, "Jesus Christ, Pert, you just dumped a drink on Danny Bush's girlfriend's head."
He may as well have told me I'd been sentenced to death row. Danny Bush was a fighter, a good one, and would kick ass for the hell of it. He had good reason to kick my ass.
Linda escorted me away from the music into some brush. I started throwing up. Too much beer, whiskey, Wapatuli, and cigarette remains. And fear.
"Let me take you to my place," Linda said.
Linda took me to her trailer. She put me on her couch, covered me with a blanket, and I passed out (again...I'd already passed out on the drive to her place).
In the morning, Linda gently awakened me and stroked my forehead, like a mother ministering to a child with a fever.
"How ya doing?"
"I thought so....do you need to get back to your friends?"
My tongue was swollen and caked with stomach acids. My mouth was dry. I was still drunk.
"Uh, yeah, I think, uh, yeah, I'd better."
She drove me back over Dawson's Pass and answered my non-stop apologies with reassurances, telling me it's just what happens some times.
I was on the verge of being engaged to be married. If I'd ever thought I'd break it off, it would have been right then. Linda was being the kindest person I could ever remember.
I've never seen Linda Davis since then. I have and always will consider her the Mother Teresa of kindness for how she helped me.
Explaining to my friends what had not happened between me and Linda was futile.
I let them think what they would on the day after Prichard Days up the river.
Linda Davis' kindness really couldn't be explained anyway.
Not at Prichard Days.