THE PRIEST LAKE YACHT CLUB
By Jim Luby
Sometime during the week prior to Labor Day Weekend in 1963 or 1964, I went into the lodge at Hills Resort and there was a sign on one of the walls. It was really more of a poster than a sign - an oval was drawn on it and inside the oval was a drawing of a sailboat. Around the oval the sign read:
First Annual Priest Lake Yacht Club
Gin Fizz Breakfast.
(Bring your own gin)
It was a nicely done poster and as I recall it was the handiwork of Lois Hill. There was a group of college kids who hung around Hills in those days and they wanted to have a party on Labor Day weekend but like all college kids, nobody had any money. So they cooked up this little “Priest Lake Yacht Club” scheme.
The party was held on the beach at the northernmost dock of the resort, which was little more than a “T” dock. The resort had some recently retired wooden rowboats in the warehouse and they were carted down to the beach for “boat races.” Each boat had one set of oarlocks and a two man crew. The boats were raced from the beach on one side of the dock, around the end of the dock and back to the beach on the other side of the dock. All of the boats leaked so one crew member rowed while the other crew member bailed out the boat. Two boats raced at a time and the idea was not only to reach the beach on the other side of the dock first, but to make it before the boat sank. Boats did sink before making it around the dock (we were hoping they would) and hilarity ensued.
As far as I’m concerned those leaky rowboats are the yachts referred to in the name Priest Lake Yacht Club.
About 20 years later, 1983 or 84, Missy Hill was named Commodore and that’s when the PLYC became something more than a Labor Day Weekend party.
Missy started the Commodore’s Ball, held at Hills in March with big band music. She also changed the PLYC into something of a charitable organization. Some of the proceeds of the Gin Fizz Breakfast go to Priest Lake Elementary. They don’t play any games anymore – no boat races, no bald man contest, no tug-of war, but the camaraderie is still the highlight of the day. At the first Gin Fizz Breakfast, I don’t know if anyone thought there would be a second one. Now, for the first time in nearly 60 years, there’s no PLYC Gin Fizz Breakfast this year and I will miss seeing old pals at the “family reunion.”
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