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lodge pole tails

A long time ago, in a different life time, my family started to go to rendezvous. Many a week end was spent out in the middle of no where (usually farm land) camping in a teepee or a lean to. Usually there was around 15 to 20 people camping. People would drive in, set up camp and then park their cars off to the side away from the camp. in the end it would look like you stepped back in time to the 1800's.

To get to a place many people would get their gear in to the vehicle and then tie up on roof racks the poles you would use to set up your teepee or canvas lean to. For a lot of people they had 18 foot teepees so this meant 23 foot long poles would be on the top of their van or even in their trucks. This usually got strange looks from people wanting to know what you was up to. When you would stop for gas a lot of times people would ask what the poles was for.

My family was friends with a set of identical twin brothers (Bub and Willie) who loved being asked what the poles was for. One time as they was headed to an even they had to stop and get gas. Picture this, 2 guys in a refurbished panel van (painted orange and brown) with a metal rack holding 15 long lodge poles. You would want to know what they was for. I remember 2 things they told people.

Once a guy asked them what the poles was for. It was about this time that a rumor was going around about large Missouri catfish that had been seen near a dam. So they told him they was fishing poles. The guy believed them. They told him about being hired by the state to go fish for the large fish as the fish was causing damage to the dam they was at. He wished them luck on the fishing.

The other one that I remember was my personal favorite. Again someone asked what the long poles was for. They told the person that they owned a parakeet ranch. The poles was going to be used as the new perch for the birds to set on. They had to get a large set of poles because the parakeets was always working their way through the perch with their little talons.

My family used a lean to since it was easier to move with the mustang we owned. Since it was a family of four in a small car, we often would not have room for every thing we used. So my parents would wrap around the poles the canvas for the lean to and some of the blankets and canvas we used, then tie it to the roof. Once we was stopped by the police to be asked what was on the roof of the car. The cop had seen it and thought we had a body wrapped up and tied to the roof. We told him what it was and he sent us on our way.

ah the memories…..


Uncle Duke
Jimmy Hollaman and GUS

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