RED ROOF




We spent many of our summer weekends down at the Lake of The Ozarks when I was a kid.


Dad had worked a booth at the Sports Show in Downtown Kansas City and Caught the Boat fever. The first time was when he was a manager at the Silver Spur Country Club.


Everyone says I have a lot of toys. But Dad went for the big-ticket items.


This is not about the Sports Show and it is not about the boats. You needed a little background.


On most weekends we drove down to Red Roof. Mom and Dads Freinds owned a little ( resort ) at the lake. Really it was about 8 cinder block shacks that were really old. It must have been around the year 1959.


Every weekend we would go down dragging the boat behind the old station wagon. Every weekend Steve would get car sick as we went up and down the crazy hills.


As soon as we arrived, Steve and I were allowed to go around the water by ourselves as long as we did not go in. What did you do as a kid at the Lake of the Ozarks in 1959? we had no TV, no air condition in the rooms, and not smartphones and we could not go in the water unless an adult was watching us. So we tossed rocks in the lake, played outside or we went Fishing.


Dad told us to get our minnows from the owner when we ran out of bait. Those little fish cost 25 cents for 12. The minnow tank was located at the top of the stairs going down to the fishing dock house.


The fishing dock was built of wood and sat on metal barrels keeping it floating on the lake. Inside the little shack were two big holes with wooden clap chairs mounted on the walls so you could sit down and fish.


Between the two square holes stood the wood-burning stove. The stove was important for those cold nights where you had nothing to do but fish. Above the fishing holes monster lamps and hung. At night you could still fish. This is when adults came to fish and drink beer.


Those lights attracted the baby fish, the baby fish attracted the middle size fish, and the middle size fish attracted the turtles. In the day mostly it was just us kids fishing around the fishing holes.


At night you could hardly get a spot to sit and drop in your line. Everyone was always getting tangled up fishing lines. We learned lots of new words.

Under the fishing dock, it was very deep. At the bottom of the lake old Christmas trees were sunk providing homes for many, many fish and mudpuppies too. Due to so many people fishing over the years, those tree branches were decorated with lures, hooks, weights, rubber worms, and a few fishing rods and reels too.


Do you remember those minnows? Minnows were not cheap way back then. Money did not grow on trees. The cottages cost about 8 dollars a night. In the year 1959, the United States minimum wage was $1.00 an hour. This is equivalent to $8.89 in 2020 dollars today.


It was time to pay up and go home. The owner said to dad, George, I hate to tell you this but your boys used $15.00 worth of minnows in two days. Dad said something under his breath and paid the bill for the cottage and the minnows.


Steve and I were busy that weekend feeding the fish. Those little fish just loved to steal our bait right off the hooks.


The next weekend we went to Red Roof. We were both given a rubber worm and told No Minnows.

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