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A Rude Awakening By Neal Murphy

I thought that I had selected the best location for a cot in the rustic bunk house the night of May 14, 1954.  I was  proved wrong.

When I was a senior in San Augustine high school our class selected for our Senior Class trip a dude ranch in New Braunfels, Texas.   It was customary for both the Junior and Senior classes to have a class trip to help celebrate the end of the school year.  This location was just about the right distance for the forty graduates to travel by bus for a weekend outing.

The dude ranch was rustic, to say the least.  It was located on the banks of  a river, and was probably a forerunner of Schlitterbahn today.  The many years have erased most of the details of that event, except for one.  This event was unforgettable.

The boys were housed in a separate bunk house from the girls, no co-ed facilities such as we see today was allowed.  The bunk house had no air conditioning, so mother nature was used to keep cool, and that consisted of opening the windows as wide as possible.   Oddly the windows had no screens to keep out bugs and mosquitoes, so we were sitting ducks for all kinds of  vermin and varmints.

I selected a cot nearest an open window so as to enjoy the cool breeze wafting off the nearby river.  After retiring for the night I was soon asleep on my back with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head.  Life was good.

It is difficult to describe what happened next.  Some time during the night a flood of water struck me in the face, and for a split second I felt I had walked into the nearby river while asleep.  Gasping for air I jumped up off the cot to try and figure out what had happened.  I was dripping wet from the waist up and wondering just what occurred.  Then I heard laughter from females outside the window.  I looked outside and saw several girls with a bucket scurrying back to their bunkhouse.

Only then did it occur to me that I had been played the object of a prank.  

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The open window near my cot had offered them a temptation they could not resist, a bucket of water to the face.

No one until this day has ever confessed to this wanton deed.  It was too dark for me to identify specific individuals involved.  So, it has remained a mystery.

On Sunday afternoon while loading up the bus for our trip home, one of our members could not be found.  We searched all around for him with no success.  Finally, the sheriff’s office was called to assist in locating the “missing person”.  I recall that either a deputy sheriff or a constable came to our location.  After searching all the buildings without success, he went back to his car.  He said, “I have a way to get him back.”  Then he blew the siren on his car long and loud.  “Now, that should attract his attention”, the lawman asserted

He proved correct.  Soon our missing classmate came into view running at top speed toward the bus.  “Where ya’ been, young man?  They been looking all over for you”, the deputy scolded.  Panting for breath, he reported that he had wandered down the river just enjoying the view.

So, our weekend trip left us all with memories to relive for many years to come.  Perhaps I am the only one with a “wet memory” of the occasion.  It is still not too late for my guilty classmate to step forward and confess their evil deed.



107 Hemlock Street

PO Box 511

San Augustine, TX 75972


Cell: 936-275-6986


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