Story of Christmas 1982
Christmas at Calvin Stone's Calusa Camp

Since my cousin Scott and I were out of school for a couple weeks in Dec. 1982 for Christmas, our families planned a trip to Miami to see "Granny and Granddad", and take a trip out in the Glades.  We met at Calvin and Mary's house and had a traditional gift exchange before we left for the club.  Granddad had gotten Scott and I .410's with engraved placards on the butt.  I have it to this day.

Scott Stanley (left) Ray Lewis (right)
with the dogs
Salem and

We all then went to the club and loaded up the buggies for a week long trip to Calusa.  On the way we stopped on one of the praries and had lunch.  Granny (Mary) went to pee behind a group of bushes and started screaming.  We ran over there and there was a 5 ft. water moccasin right near her.  Scott and I jumped into action with our new shotguns and commenced firing.  After going through a box of shells each, the snake lay lifeless in the road and we took some pictures.  After arriving in camp we walked out in the woods and found a small Christmas tree.  We dug it up and put it in a cooler to take back with us.
Ray Lewis (on "Bird Buggy") Scott Stanley (on "Pink Panther")
Us boys could not figure out how on earth we would decorate the tree, so one of our mothers suggested that everyone come up with their own decoration for the tree.  Furthermore, we would draw names for presents and we would make our presents from scratch.  Talk about blowing the mind of two young boys, the concept of making and not buying a present!  We each went about trying to decide what we wanted to put on the tree.  Later that afternoon, Scott and his dad Richard were out in the swamp behind Calusa and came up on a timber rattler.  Scott shot it with his new .410 and guess what, instant garland for the tree.  Yes, the snake hung on the Christmas tree for about three days before he was forced to remove it.  Seems you have to skin it or it starts stinking!  I drew my uncle Richard's name for a gift.  I took a pine cone, a roasted peanut shell, quail feathers, and quail feet, and started my project.  I painted the peanut shell red and glued it to the front of the pinecone.  I spread the feathers out and glued them to the back of the cone.  I then glued the feet to the bottom of the cone, and guess what, my uncle received a homemade turkey for Christmas. My grandfather gave me a stool with a "V" cut in the top of it so I could put the heel of my boot in it and pull my boots off.
left to right standing    Richard Stanley,  Sandy Lewis,  Harriet Stanley,  Mary Stone
Bottom right    Ray Lewis green shirt    Scott Stanley grey shirt
Sandy Lewis and Harriet Stanley are Calvin & Mary Stone's Daughters

I don't remember a lot of the other decorations or gifts, but I can promise you one thing, I will never ever forget that Christmas.  It goes down in the books as one of the best ever in my life.

We all know the Indian origin of the word "Calusa", but Granddad always thought it was funny to refer to it as  CAL-U.S.A.

Story by: Ray Lewis, Grandson of Calvin Stone - June 2009