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Wallace real title page

Old Wallace, you really have to hand it to him. This was the fourteenth time he tried to get it done correctly. As you study his book you can understand why. Wallace put in every detail that a human being could think of. Lakes, ponds, roads, railroads, carrys, hotels, lodges, clubs and so on and so forth. He even put in distances and times to get from one place to another. Not just times for RR trips and stagecoach trips but trips made by canoe.

On that basis I can find nothing wrong with him making fourteen emendations to his own work.

And well done renderings of nature were sprinkled throughout. I like a lot of them but this one has particular meaning to me. I am mentally able to remove the guide boat, the “sport” and the usual requisite lady with the parasol. I hope you can do the same.

Catlin lake

This is Catlin Lake as it once was. I like Catlin Lake because it is almost central to the territory I live in. Within the boundaries of my territory are the Boreas River, Aiden Lair, Long Lake, Tahawus of course, and a bunch of ponds; Pickwacket, Corner, Deer, Wolf, Moose, and many others who lack names.

Each of these places holds memories for me and I would be thoughtless if I didn’t share them with you. Give me a minute to load and light my pipe and we can then get on with the business at hand.

Let me start out with Aiden Lair. There is a fine lodge there that holds a special memory for me. It was a cold wet day, September 14, 1901 if I remember correctly. A little stream I know of held its best promise in September. The brook trout were starting to gorge themselves in preparation for a long feast-less winter. My chances of landing a nice fat brookie were good.

I don’t know if I liked eating them better or just looking at them. Brookies are a pretty fish. They are almost black up here in the tannic waters of the North Woods. They have a pure white line along the bottom of all their fins and red spots here and there.

Excuse me for getting carried away again. This is not a fishing tale, it is a tale that is one of my favorites.

I was walking down the dirt road towards the lodge at Aiden Lair. It was dusk. I was pleased with the progress of my trek and knew I would arrive at the lodge shortly. In fact I could see the curve in the road where the lodge was but the lodge was hidden in the trees.

I was suddenly aware of a carriage coming down the road behind me. It was apparent that the carriage was traveling at a speed not safe for me. I stepped off to the side. It flew past me and slowed down at the lodge. It then disappeared into the trees beside the lodge.

I reached my destination in a minute or so, admired the beautiful work on the carriage and then entered the lodge. A hubub was going on so I just stood there to fathom what it may be all about.

There was a burly man that everyone was speaking to at once. He had a command presence about him. It appeared to be natural for him to be at the center of things. His voice boomed as if everything were important. He stated that he needed a fresh set of horses to keep his trip on schedule. He offered top dollar for them.

As I listened intently to the conversation it became apparent that this bombastic man was no less than Theodore Roosevelt. In pieces of conversation I heard that he was in a hurry to get to Buffalo. That was a long trip so I could understand why he needed a new set of horses. Of course I wanted to meet our vice-president and was trying to figure out a way to inject myself into the conversation.

Finally the lodge owner assisted me with my dilemma. The owner noticed me standing near the door and said “Tahauwas, come over here I want you to meet somebody.” Well I already knew who it was but the invitation solved my problem.

“Tahauwas, this is soon-to-be President Roosevelt.” Then quickly added “President Roosevelt, this is one of our finest Adirondack guides, Tahauwas.”

I almost burst out of my clothes I was so proud of the fine introduction afforded to me.

“So you are Tahauwas!” stated the president. “I have heard many stories about you, and all good may I add.”

I was embarrassed from all the attention and also at how important everyone was trying to make me. I had to find a way to deflect all the complements. I am not comfortable with them.

“Well I am sure there are a few bad stories going around also” I blurted. “But I hope they don’t mar me too badly – – – – – – Mr. President.” I made an embarrassing mistake by calling him the President. It was a disaster for several reasons.

“I am not yet the President” he responded. “You must have heard that McKinley has been shot and I am on my way to be sworn in.”

I had heard nothing about the assassination but decided it would be better to remain silent lest I make another backwoods error.

Roosevelt broke the silence.

“Well Tahauwas, your reputation as a guide are legend here in the North Woods. Would you consider guiding for me when I return for a hunt and fish?” the president asked.

“Of course Sir” I responded.

The soon-to-be president closed out the conversation with “I will be looking forward to that” and turned to his carriage driver to see when the horses would be ready.

Roosevelt made it to Buffalo and was properly sworn in.

I caught one of the biggest brookies of my life.

Eventually I did guide him. He was a bit of a sport.

Roosevelt in hunting cloths

 

Tahawas and Tomosky c

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