By Alkali Springs Correspondent
If there was one thing Bee Lucke and C.L. Stuart did best out on Clear Creek, it was to have a good time. That was what summer was for at one fishing camp after another that they revived through the years. Summer and winter too for that matter, although winter travel severely hampered their fun.
Fishing was the operative word for their weekends for, after all, that was what they were supposed to be doing. But during the hot days of August, fishing was a sport that did not consume much of their time for, as any fool knew, it was best done very early in the morning or in the cool of the evening. That left a huge expanse of day to cook and drink Budweiser out of those new-fangled tin cans.
In some ways, for both Bee and C.L., who were hopeless romantics, those weekends were a return to the days of the cowboys. Maybe they both sort of featured themselves as cowboys. Anyway they insisted on cooking over a wood-burning range no matter how hot it was outside and when all else failed and there was nothing else to do but read, C.L. always had a large supply of "Ranch Romances" to while away the midday hours.
They did go visiting some of the other half dozen or so Havre folks who had fishing camps of their own along Clear Creek at times but mostly they stayed home, cooked and drank.
Their meals even in the heat of summer were something else. Large, simple, but grand in taste and do you know that all during those hot August days, their cabins never did heat up, even with a stew simmering on a back burner all day long.
Stew was a house specialty. So was pot roast with vegetables. Boiled dinner was a favorite any time of the year as was thick and hot chile. Sometimes Bee would make homemade tamales to go with the chile and that was something! Folks who ate them dream about that food yet.
It was a two-meal-a-day menu. Breakfast and dinner in the evening. Breakfast might include fresh trout but always it included pancakes (the first couple were always for the dog), bacon and eggs. Big meals cooked through the early morning smells of cigarettes and coffee. To this day cigarette smoke reminds us of breakfast on Clear Creek.
But best of all were those dinners and no matter how many Budweisers had been consumed during the day, there was never a bad meal where Bee Lucke and C.L. Stuart were camped. In fact it seemed sort of like the more they had to drink, the better their concoctions tasted.
For a little boy witnessing all this, being on Clear Creek for a weekend with them was a miracle happening. Even though they fished solitary, they told that little boy that Long George Francis had a log cabin hideout on Wind Mountain far across the valley so he spent every waking moment for two summers exploring old log cabins that could have belonged to Long George. Some still filled with furniture and dishes. Just left. Abandoned far up tiny mountain canyons.
It was a good time for little boys and Bee and C.L. Long years have stretched now across the canvas of time. Some of those old fishing camps are not even standing anymore. But this time of year, those memories of cooking on Clear Creek, how grand! And oh, what it would be to be able to cook meals like those two did, a cigarette hanging out the mouth and one of those new cans of Bud in hand.