October 11, 2018 By Walt McDaniel

A Long Hot Day

In the summer of 1938, my buddies Kent, Harold, Bob and I decided to change the boredom one day by going to Lake Yellow Creek, which was about 75 miles from Elwood.

Kent’s dad owned the local Buick agency and he had use of a 1926 four-door sedan, a relic from the past. The original color was a shade of green, which had faded over the years, but it was transportation. None of us had ever been exposed to water except in the city swimming pool. Swimming must come naturally, but who cared — we intended to have fun. A friend of Kent’s owned a cabin on the lake, which we could use.

The drive was long; we were in swimsuits quick and headed for the boat. We fooled around diving, trying to dunk each other or just relaxing for a few moments. Don’t remember eating, again, who cared, we were having fun. We then decided to see who could swim the farthest. Guess we were not in great shape and soon Bob was the last to try. He wanted to swim across the lake. No one knew the distance and the other shore seemed to disappear over the horizon. Bob jumped in and the rest rowed the boat near by in case he got tired. Bob kept going with much encouragement from the boat until he could stand up on the far shore. The day was a complete success until we had to row back across the lake while the sun was showing its heat.

Now sunscreen was unheard of in those days and all day on the water left all fairly well sunburned. In fact, we were all in a bit of pain, not looking forward to the trip home. We found a bottle of hair oil, Brilliantine would surely help us as we smeared the oil on our legs, back, everywhere not covered by the swim suit and climbed into the old Buick. The seats were covered in rough horsehair material, not friendly to sunburned skin. The only solution was to sit out on the edge of the seat for the long drive home. Felt like it was days as the old Buick never got over 35 mph. Since that day, I have often wondered if another car passing by and seeing four guys that looked naked sitting on the edge of the seat with hurt looks on their faces would think. I can’t think of a good answer.

As we drove home, our skin was so red and we knew what was coming next. Blisters, peeling skin plus other pain that changed our daily routines. Needless to say, it had been a long hot day, never forgotten.


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