Busted Axle Road
CopyrightÂ© 1993, 2001, 2010
If there was one purely social event in Spearfish Lake that got talked about, planned for, rumored over, recriminated as a result of, or preached against, it was the annual Halloween Party at the West Turtle Lake Club. In other words, it was usually far and away the most memorable social event of the year.
Like many things that get a reputation all their own, it started innocently enough, when Gil and Carrie Evachevski decided to have a few friends over for a little party the weekend before Halloween. Since it was right around Halloween, somebody suggested that costumes would be nice -- something Carrie hadn't even thought about, and had to amend the invitations.
Mike and Kirsten were among the twenty or so people that had been there. It had been a nice enough party; everybody had a lot of laughs, and several people suggested to Gil and Carrie that they do it again next year.
What with one thing and another, it was hard to keep the guest list down for the second party. No one knew how many people had actually shown up for the party, but the house was jam-packed. The party reached a critical mass of its own accord, and sort of got out of hand. Harold and LeRoy, the town cops on duty that night, got called to the scene three times before it died down, but they got paid back by making three DUIL busts of homeward bound party-goers.
Needless to say, when the party was over the house qualified for federal disaster relief, but Gil and Carrie were a little too bombed to care much.
Gil and Carrie weren't particularly drinkers, although they did enjoy a beer now and then, but this time they overdid it, along with everyone else. As they surveyed the wreckage the next morning, they were nursing heads as big as county fair pumpkins. They were still groping for coffee and trying to come to grips with the mountain of debris when Mike and Kirsten showed up to help with the cleanup, unbidden and still nursing hangovers of their own. Mike and Kirsten weren't even in the door yet when Frank and Diane Matson pulled up in their car.
It was a while before anyone had been very effective -- every one of them had drunk way more than normal -- but they started in as best they could, with frequent breaks. "God, that was a great party," Kirsten commented on one of the breaks. "I don't know how you're going to top that next year."
"Never again," Carrie replied, shaking her head. "Never again. Look at this house!"
"Frank shrugged. "Yeah, things were a little cozy in here."
Gil shook his head. "Well, we could have it out at the post. It'd be easier to get cleaned up if it got trashed like this."
"The post is so dingy," Diane commented. "Why not have it at Commons, out at the club?"
Since a falling feather would have made their heads ring just then, the idea hit them like a brick. The implications were obvious.
Even though the West Turtle Lake Club had been out north of Spearfish Lake since shortly after World War II, probably not one Spearfish Lake resident in a hundred had ever been out there. Every one of them had good friends that wouldn't be caught dead out there, at least in the summer.
Yet, the nudist club members -- and there were more of them from Spearfish Lake than the Matsons and Evachevskis that sat in the destroyed living room -- were proud of what they had out there. Not just the beautiful wide beach, or the cozy summer cottages. Commons was the showpiece, the huge Ursula Mandenberg designed log dining hall, built in the fifties. It had won architectural awards when it was built, and was featured in magazine articles and architectural books. It may have been the most famous building in the county, yet to most people from Spearfish Lake it might as well have been on the back side of the moon.
But a Halloween party outside the normal season would be a different story. Even if a guest didn't want to admit that they'd been there, it was a costume party and no one could ever prove they'd been there or not.
Kirsten was the first to speak: "Great public relations."
"You could do it right," Diane said. "BYOB, or a cash bar. An admission charge to cover the costs. Caterers. A band. Almost two months to get the decorations right."
"Janitors," Gil said, surveying the shambles. "Backhoes, if it got real bad."
Mike shook his head. "You're going to have to do something about people driving home drunk. Last night isn't going to look good in the police report."
"We tried," Carrie said. The plan had been for the two oldest Evachevski children, Jennifer and Garth, to drive home party goers who were a little out of it, but it had broken down with the number of people involved.
"You'll have to try harder," Mike said. "Harold and LeRoy could sit out on the State Road, call all their buddies, and have a feast."
"If you had a shuttle bus that brought people out from town, then they wouldn't have a car to drive home," Diane observed.
Frank nodded. "Get the Students Against Drunk Driving chapter from over to the school to run it, maybe for a donation. Let them see what kind of damn fools adults are when they get a load on."