Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Wapatuli: Sibling Assignment #27

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 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.


Jennifer said...

Wapatuli, I always thought this was a Canadian thing...LOL
I fell in love with my hubby that way! He was right blitzed and I had just moved into a new apartment. Sporting a new boy on my arm. It was 1am when Doug showed up, completely blitzed. He had drank a 2-4 and 6 Hawaiian punches. This scared the poor new boy and he left. I was quite upset at Doug (he was suppose to help with the move! later he said, he had no idea how he found the new place..LOL) and as I cleaned up from the move (partying and moving together is always an adventure)I turned to look at him and there he was....stripped down to his burgundy undies and a pair of cowboy boots. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" I yelled. He replies, "You don't want me here, I'm walking home." Well, at that moment, I know its strange, I fell in love. Maybe it was the fact I knew he needed me and couldn't take care of himself. Vulnerability is always an attractive trait. Maybe it was the cowboy boots? LOL
All I know is, he couldn't walk home half naked in the snow, he would have died from hypothermia and I had him laying on the couch with a blanket and he had passed out...after he noticed how the moon moved out the window and how his hand left a trail in front of his eyes...LOL
We don't drink no more (recovered alcoholics)but I still remember that night and he doesn't remember any of it...ROFL
Who knows? Maybe Linda was...?

raymond pert said...

That's quite a story,Jennifer. It's funny how we can be real sows' ears or horses' asses and have the most unexpected things happen. As they say, God moves in mysterious ways.

Sometimes I miss the old drinking days. They were dangerous and embarrassing, but sometimes they were just fun, but I think we're all better off for putting the bottle in cupboard to stay!

Thanks for dropping by.

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

Ah, Pritchard Days. I think '74 was the only year I went. I think I drove C Shonewald up there, but left early in the evening and she decided to stay. I had quit drinking the previous fall, and was not enjoying the presence of those who were.

Linda Davis was a sweetheart. I remember her from NIC also. She lived in a cottage 2 doors away from me on Government Way my first semester. We played on the volleyball team together. One night we heard a crash, she woke up to headlights near the foot of her bed as someone drove their vehicle through the wall of her cottage. (Apparently, they had missed the turn on the road, and her place was straight ahead. We marvelled that they came through the kitchen side of the one room apt. (not counting the bathroom.)

I haven't seen or heard from her since NIC days. Great post and yea, if you had played your cards differently, you may have had a Linda in your life.

Katrina said...

I just had to leave a comment on this most excellent narrative (and a lucid one, considering the state of your synapses at the time!), even though I don't have any good drinking stories of my own to relate. I thought I was walking on the wild side when I went to France at age 17 and got tipsy on the dinner!

Anyway, true kindness is a beautiful quality; I hope Linda Davis has been blessed in good measure for hers!

Student of Life said...

Ahhh. We had a similar poison that accompanied us on many float trips, camping trips, Tuesday

We called it Yucca. Yucca (as we had to say while drinking) will fucca you uppa.

InlandEmpireGirl said...

We did find the pictures of the makings of the Wapatuli when home. You can post one as a p.s. to this post! lol

raymond pert said...

Oh. My. God. Those pictures should be really flattering.

I can hardly wait to see them and I sure hope they scan well.

I think that'll have to be Waptuli Revisited or Part II or something.