Thursday, February 24, 2011

Okoboji: Urbandale 1975

Ah, we took numerous trips up to Lake Okoboji which is in the northwest corner of Iowa (more or less). By we I mean Bob, Kevin and I. I don't recall the first time I visited the place--Okoboji a rather renowned spot in Iowa due to its natural lakes and natural beauty, to its original theme park in Arnold's Park and some other small claims to Iowa-centric fame--but I do know it was with Bob (Bob my first real friend in Urbandale who lived down the block from me on 65th). We were old enough by then to be on our own. I believe I was able to drive, but perhaps the first time it was just Bob and I with his parents. I know his parents bought a little plot and had a trailer--maybe not that first time but after that--where you could walk down to the lake. There was more than one lake. There was Lake Okoboji itself, then there was East lake Okoboji, or maybe East and West lakes, and then there was a smaller lake. There may be more, as the area was known as Iowa's Great Lakes. I think. Anyway, Bob's parents--nice people--also bought a small boat to keep on the lake. I believe Bob and I slept on the boat one time. But it was after all of that that we--Bob, Kevin and I--came up to the lake for a long summer weekend. I know I'd driven at least once in my Ford falcon Wagon (1966) that had been the family car for years and years and still ran (and whose stereo wiring--which I had installed--had actually caught fire once and whose brakes gave out on me while coming down a hill in Urbandale while coming back from a trip to Okoboji) but I know we also drove up once in Kevin's old black Volkswagon Beetle. But his parents--Bob's--had let us stay there and we, Kevin and I anyway, drank beer and motored about the lake in Bob's parents' little motor boat and there were a couple of girls staying in a trailer nearby--druggy-ish girls from Colorado or some such, one a little too young and the other a little too hip to have much to do with us--and we just generally did our inane things that we did at that age. But I do recall I was taking a dump in the bathroom of the trailer when all of a sudden Bob comes rushing in (I didn't lock the door) because his parents had pulled up outside. His mother and father had driven up and shown up without announcement, without ever telling us that they would. That was not nice--I mean, we were good guys, not into much trouble except some beer, which we were old enough to legally drink--and here they were showing up out of the blue as if to check on us, as if to catch us in some transgression. Really. And if we had been doing anything more than just taking a dump and having a few beer cans around? (And Bob did not even drink.) What if we'd had the girls over, what if we were smoking cigarettes and--god forbid at that time--marijuana? What if we had trashed the place and sunk the boat and who knows what? Would they have been happy to find that out? Didn't they think that at our age at that time that there were some things they best not know about? I mean, we were still pretty innocent and caused no true or even rowdy trouble, so why show up unannounced?
Oh well.
It wasn't long after that that Bob and I parted ways, fell out of friendship with each other. Kevin and I stayed good pals for a long time but I have not seen or barely heard from him in maybe two decades. And Okoboji? I don't know. I can't quite recall its charms. To me, it's now just an Iowa-centric place.

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