Monday, August 10, 2009
The Elks Lodge #188 in Portland has a final resting spot for members at Evergreen Cemetery. Growing up nearby, the cemetery provided lots of outlets for things to do and other 'adventures'. Each time I ride by this elk, I remember a special connection to this statue. The Skeleton Club was a 'secret' club all the guys were a part of in our neighborhood. We held weekly meetings in our house's back cellar, collected dues, had elaborate passwords, planned activities(sleep outs, games of army in the woods, bike rides, baseball games against other teams etc.). We even had, what we considered, challenging initiations to enter this members-only club. I can't recall what they all were, but mine I remember almost minute.by minute. It was to go into the cemetery at 9 PM, travel the darkened roadways, somehow make my way to the elk, climb up on its cold back and retrieve what was stuffed behind its right ear. It had been put there hours ago by our President, Skipper. Round trip, from my backyard, through the woods, across Gulliver's Field, into and across the burial ground, to the base of the elk was about 2 miles, and when I returned, about a 1/2 hour later, I was out of breath, and every inch of clothing was drenched in sweat. But in my hand, I clutched a rolled up, soggy matchbook from the SUNOCO station at the corner. I was proud of myself. I was in! It was, indeed, a fun time and place to grow up!