1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



 Kamp Kneedeep on Douthat’s Creek
John McCurdy

When Grayson got out of bed that morning I knew it was going to be one of those days that would go with one of those nights. Scratching his butt through his long underwear, he announced, “By God, boys we’re gonna have to make some arrangements about my head! I’m sick and tired of that damn Rowe stepping on my face every time he gets in and out of bed!”

No one knew what the devil Grayson was talking about , a not unusual state of affairs in dealing with Housby. He was in neither the mood nor did he have the ability to tell us what particular incident had fired him up.

It was 5:00 on the morning, in hunting camp on Douthats Creek near Rimel in Pocahontas county. A two room shanty that should have been a cozy nest for two or three close friends, but that generally had about 8 or 9 by the time they were all sorted out, was rousing for a day in the woods. The owners of the camp had traded a dilapidated school bus they had converted and used for several years, for enough land to build the camp and a one-hole outhouse. A kitchen with a wood-burning Home Comfort cook stove and a sleeping room with a oil burning heater in the corner was all there was.

The owners; the two Shawver brothers Curtis and Cletis, Jim Rowe, Melvin Huffman, and the afore-mentioned Housby, had been golfing, hunting and poker playing friends for years, Curtis was  renowned for his tale-telling and plain-out lies, Cletis for his dead-eye hunting ability & his curls, and Rowe and Housby for their general irritability and appetite for strong spirits, Huffman was a non-drinker and horses-rear, (even his friends didn’t like him as Rowe used to say)!

There were generally two or three semi-invited guests in the crowd and often a couple of uninvited ones who wouldn’t take a hint, but who were allow to remain because they had brought several large containers of refreshments. When bed space ran out, (and the bunks were three high, which in itself had the potential for excitement), the over- flow slept in the kitchen with the cook. He, (they were never able to convince a lady to take the cooks job), had his own corner of the kitchen and he guarded his space jealously, if there was one person not to mess with, it was the cook, his bad humor could cause everybody’s bad humor.

The poker game of the night before had contributed to Grayson‘s aggravation, he’d lost several dollars and had a lot more to drink than his share, he’d rolled into his lower bunk with his cloths on, and promptly and in a stupor, fell asleep. Some time during the night there was a commotion as he tried to find the front door and get out before he puked in the shanty, a situation guaranteed, by previous experience, to really cause an uproar! It was probably best that his buddies were asleep in little , if any, better shape than he.

When he returned from the unaccustomed fresh air, he thought he was a new man. In celebration of being alive he lifted the jug sitting near the kitchen stove and proceeded to have a drink. Alas! The moonshine jug was under the kitchen table! The cook, in preparation for the mornings fire had set the kerosene out. It was provident there was no fire in the stove, for after Grayson had spewed kerosene all over the kitchen and hacked and coughed and spat and cursed each and every one in the camp and told them all about their parentage, everyone was awake and most were out of bed trying to figure out what in the hell was occurring. Each one knew of a fool-proof remedy for making one puke, although the general aroma of the room made it remarkable that no one had, as yet, done so . A concoction suggested by one of the Shawvers, consisting of Carnation canned milk and kraut juice, made certain that Housby had nothing left in his stomach. At least two of the others decided they had better throw up also..

When the cabin again calmed down it was 2:00AM, and sleep was going to be very short. When the old wind-up alarm rang Housby professed to having had a good night’s sleep except for the occasion of Rowe stepping on his face! No one was ever able to figure where he’d gotten that idea, but then unexplained things had a way of happening pretty often, too often at old
“Camp Kneedeep” up in Pocahontas County, West Virginia



For A. H. S. Ever Always - In Every Way For A. H. S.