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A Lodge

This lodge had probably existed for twenty-five years before I ever stayed there. I would not have stopped there had not it been windy, rainy and sleeting. I was out for a few days of early trout fishing. I had a piece of canvas with bee’s wax rubbed in. I used it for a tent; or a raincoat, whichever was necessary. I was soaked to the skin as the raincoat didn’t keep the wind-driven rain and sleet out. Using it as a tent was out of the question. I would not have survived the night.

I am trying to remember if this was one of William West Durant’s cabins. I must admit that it was more of a lodge for the sports from New York than a cabin for a family. That night the place was full of men from Manhattan. There were bankers, lawyers, business men and a few professional gamblers who hoped to make a few dollars plying their trade.

There was not a room available but the lodge master saw my condition. Knowing that I would be valuable to his business he offered me a cot for the night. I was quite pleased to know he was willing to share his private quarters with me. He asked if I could share some stories of the North Woods with the sports. I agreed to do so as a sign of appreciation for his putting me up for the night.

The sports were in good form that night. They had a high-stakes poker game going at one end of the cabin and a few fellows sitting around a table, sipping whiskey, at the other end. The poker game was a bit loud with all the hooting and hollering. The other fellows were exchanging information about good fishing spots. I decided to join the fishermen.

The lodge master introduced me to them. Their eyes brightened because they had heard of me before. I was a good fisherman but the stories told by the sports to one-another had blown the facts out of proportion. “Come now Thomas, sit and tell us about some of your fishing experiences” one of them said.

They were not interested in my fishing experiences; they wanted to know my secret fishing spots. So I told them of a few mediocre fishing spots. I could see them writing all these down somewhere on their mental tablets.

I also casually mentioned that in the fall the trout would gather where these streams would flow into a lake. “At that time the trout are so thick you can walk across their backs” I would tell them. Those who were sipping whiskey would appear to become all excited about this. Those who were sober took it for what it was; a big fat lie. It was not long before someone told the poker players who I was.

The poker game shut down and they all came over to listen to the lies I was telling.

The lodge master thanked me later that evening. “You know Thomas” he said to me “even if they don’t catch their limit of trout this time, they will surely come back to see if they can find those trout that you tell stories about. Thanks for helping my business.”

It was the least I could do in exchange for a nice dry place to sleep that night.

Tahawas and Tomosky c