Party Guy

“Hey Hiatt, you want to bring your ukulele? We’re taking my boat out on the lake Saturday then hanging out at Millie’s,” said the handsome young camp boss. Or as it translated into my ears, “You want to ascend to teen age heaven for a day and night, while making points with the boss and meeting who knows how many beautiful girls?”
I replied, “Let me check my social appointment calendar. I was going to climb a pine tree, and maybe do some serious pocket knife whittling that night, but I’ll see if I can work you in.”
Working in Idaho’s Kaniksu national forest was an adventurous summer job; especially compared to thinning beets on my uncle’s farm. But the after work social program in the forest was feeble, mostly playing a game we invented, (a combination of basketball and karate), and plunking my ukulele. This was before I graduated up two strings to a guitar.
But if one had a car, which I hadn’t, one could drive a few miles to Priest lake, which I didn’t; maybe even meet members of the opposite sex, and hang out at “Millie’s” the local watering hole. If one had a motor boat, or a friend who did, Priest Lake could make paradise look like boot camp by comparison.
Let this be a motivation to you. Practice your instrument, and/or your voice. The only reason these college guys invited me, the high school kid was because I could make music.
Priest Lake in the Idaho panhandle was a visitors’ bureau’s dream. Pristine blue water, smooth beaches, cuddled inside pine wrapped peaks. The only things prettier than the lake were the beautiful women who frolicked there. That was the opinion of us tent fevered young men from the mountains who had seen enough pine trees for now, but not enough women.
The boat and the college man camp boss were a babe magnet. The ukulele and the skinny high school kid playing it were not. But I was still a valuable addition to the festivities.
Late afternoon the party moved to Millie’s tavern where everybody ordered their favorite lubricant. Mine drew comments.
“Come on kid, get a man’s drink.”
“Are you the designated driver?”
“No he’s the designated party pooper.”
“The camp boss surprised me with, “Come on Hiatt, you’re not on your mission yet.”
“Where did this Oklahoma Baptist (I assumed) hear that word?” I thought. Turned out he knew more than a bit about Mormons. He had even attended Brigham Young University for a quarter or two.
I smiled and kept strumming and singing. When they saw me standing my ground, the jokes petered out. They told me how much they admired me for holding to my standards. They realized they didn’t have to drink to have fun. They began to ask about the Church. We had a great time singing and laughing together. I was invited to parties all the rest of the summer. Several of them have since joined the Church. The camp boss enrolled at BYU again, and the last I heard was a stake president in Tulsa.
Sorry to spoil a good story. Actually, they included me out for the rest of the night and the rest of the summer. But it was still the right thing to do.