The Swamp Monster

RIP Rich Van Abel! The Swamp MonsterThe last show of the season around May of 1985 I pull into a campground in Chicago knowing I didn’t have another show until September. I blew my motor right at the gate of the campground and one of the workers towed me to the swamp. I had enough money left to pay rent and about $400.00 to eat on for the rest of the summer. I survived on peanuts and Hot Dogs. A terrific group of weekend party animals used to come from the city to the campground and we had more fun on the weekends than a barrel full of monkeys! More photos and stories to come.Virgean and her beautiful daughter Autumn rescued me for a couple of weeks.Forgive any dupes that may be created, I just found some old negatives. Into the summer we had a group that had developed quite a bond together. I’ll give you the short version. My Van and swamp area became party central. I became a lifeguard for about one week. I killed my nikkormat camera thinking it wanted to go swimming with me.However, the coolest thing happened. I call this Stories of extreme co-incidence or divine intervention. Remember it is around 1985 and we are in Chicago. Move forward to @ 1996. I am behind a Food Lion Grocery store hitting Tennis balls against the back wall. A blonde headed kid and his friend @ 14-15 years old were eyeballing me pretty hard. I had made friends with one of them and given him a job. I said to Mike, Hey Mike do you want to throw a little. Mike says yes but had to go home. In the mean time I start throwing with this blonde headed kid. I asked him his name as we were really looking hard at each other. He says Ryan….before I could say my name he says YOU ARE SHANE FROM THE SWAMP IN CHICAGO! Ryan’s family had moved to Mooresville, NC where I was working at the time! The little blonde headed kid in the photos is Ryan. We both had gone separate ways for years with only a few contacts between the years.The cutest little girl in the world Jennifer used to bring me Hot Dogs and would practice Frisbee tricks for hours.During the summer among many of the cool friends I met was one Martial Artist. Robert would also spend the afternoon cleaning his carburetor in his Van for the Hell of it! We became friends. Robert promised me he would rebuild my blown motor if I would do a show for his Rotary group. He kept his promise and I kept mine! I left with a few days to spare and a new tour starting in Florida at the end of the Chicago Summer.

RIP Patsy!

Published by shanesflyingdiscshow did thousands of Frisbee shows all over the United States for over 30 years. Shane is also a photographer.

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