In 1989 New York State bought the land the Long Lake Hunting Club had leased for the better part of the century (1200 acres, 8 miles from the nearest road). They gave us 10 years to get out. So in 1999 we had to leave the place many of it’s members had grown up in, myself included. I’m not sure who, but someone wrote this poem and I’ve kept it hidden away in the dark bowels of my computer until now.
What I’ll Miss
As We give this camp a final toast,
I wonder what I’ll miss the most?
My bunk, the couch, that big green chair?
The smell of bacon in the air?
How bout that griddle made of steel?
Mmmm… we never missed a meal.
That big wood stove, it’s sides would glow,
and keep us warm at ten below.
Yes all these things were very nice,
and I’ll think of them once or twice,
But what hurts so much to leave behind
are all the people in my mind.
Harley, Bummer, Bob and Rod…
take care of them almighty God.
Roger, Howard, Loren, Chris;
It’s all you guys I’m gonna miss.
But there’s one thing we’ll always keep,
Within our hearts, way down deep;
Those memories of yesterday,
No one will ever take away.
And even though the camp is gone;
Those memories will linger on.
~Unknown Member of the Long Lake Hunting Club of Harrisville, NY
Every time I read it I feel the heat emanating from the old cast iron stove as we play just ‘one more hand’ of Euchre at the table built for 20 with the giant jar of maraschino cherries in the middle ready for Roger’s Manhatten.
I’ve seen very few of the members since the club folded. Some created a new club a few miles down the road from the old one, and we’ve visited with them a few times. Unfortunately, most moved on to places unknown.
I miss it. A lot.
I miss my uncle Loren (mentioned in the poem) the most.