Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson
For August 10th, 2007 Edition.
Several weeks ago the members of “Red Brick School Restoration, Inc.” sponsored an “all school reunion” get-together at the St. Germain Community Center. Refreshments were served and scheduled tours of the old historic school were conducted on an hourly basis. For me, it was an afternoon well spent, chatting with old classmates as we mentally re-visited the good old days at the Red Brick School.
The building was built in 1941 by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) as part of FDR’s depression ending program. My dad and many other men who lived in the community helped build the then new school, pocketing wages of $1.81 per day, and the workday back then was a 10-hour shift!
The original building contained two classrooms, with indoor plumbing, a coal burning furnace, and a kitchen/lunchroom in the basement.
In 1965 an addition was added to the building, 2 additional classrooms, an office for the teacher/principal, and an “all purpose room” in the basement.
The facility continued to serve the students and citizens of St. Germain until a new school was opened in 1998.
One unexpected visitor at the reunion was a long time pal of mine that I first met in 1960 when the two of us obtained teaching positions at Cherokee Jr. High School in Orlando, FL. At the time both of us were recent Dixie transplants, Dave Miller being the son of a West Virginia coal miner and myself the son of a Northwood’s fishing guide. We car pooled to work for several years and found time to do a ton of fishing on weekends.
Realizing some of the best fishing takes place during reminiscing sessions, we did just that for an hour while his wife, Mary Lee (Gensler), a former student at the Red Brick Schoolhouse, took the tour.
Of the many, many outings Dave and I shared during my seven school terms in the Deep South, two stick out in our memories like they happened only yesterday. And of course we had to replay the major events of those particular outings in deepest detail.
One of our favorite bass ponds was a tiny 10-acre lake situated in the middle of a typical central Florida swamp. Naturally, the swamp was complete with cypress trees, Spanish moss, snakes and alligators. We had dubbed the un-named pond “Lake-21”, as we boated that number of nice sized bass on our first excursion there.
On this memorable day we dragged my ancient Old Town canoe through the muck and mire and began working the floating water hyacinth plant patches with Texas-rigged purple plastic worms.
The day was warm and our cooler of Canadian Ace 16 ounce suds helped quench our thirst, which the broiling mid-day sun had quickly produced. I was seated in the rear, Dave occupied the bow. A couple of hours slipped by and our stringer of bass continued to grow. So did the need to release some of the Canadian Ace.
My pal stood up and announced he was about to do just that. No big deal, macho men like we were often did such things from boats. But for whatever reason Dave decided this time he needed to put one foot on the gunwale while completing his task.
My first inkling that something was wrong occurred as I was in mid-cast. The sky above suddenly began to rotate and in a split second I was treading water, but still holding on to my rod and reel.
As the realization set in as to what had happened my swimming partner decided the situation was comical and began to laugh. I quickly quizzed him at to what he thought was so humorous about two guys thrashing around in a small pond, which was home to snakes and ‘gators. I also added that had we been on solid terra firma I would love to have given a certain portion of his anatomy a swift kick.
Well, we somehow dragged the canoe to shore, dumped out the water and with the rod I had salvaged returned to the location of the dunking and miraculously recovered all our sunken and floating equipment, which included my wallet. Most fortunate was the fact my .22- revolver, referred to as our snake repellant, was still snug, but wet, in my holster. Had my gun been lost I may not have forgiven him!
The second memorable outing took place at our favorite fishing spot, the fabled St. John’s River. We were fishing an area known as Johnson’s Bend, leisurely drifting with the current and pounding the water ahead of my Grumman Sport Boat. Dave occupied the rear seat; I was up front occasionally changing our drift pattern with the oars.
The rear of the boat gently bumped against a steep embankment, causing our downstream drift to be interrupted. I turned towards Dave with intentions of telling him to give a little push against the clay bank to allow us to continue our drift. But just over his right shoulder I spotted big trouble! A very large and obviously agitated water moccasin was coiled on a ledge less than two feet from Dave’s head and neck and quite possibly was preparing to strike!
Very slowly I removed my revolver from its holster, pointed it in Dave’s direction and whispered, “Dave, don’t move! Don’t move a muscle!”
A multitude of unpleasant thoughts rushed through Dave’s mind as his eyes widened while looking down the muzzle of my pistol. Upper most in this thoughts was; “Why in Hades is my fishing buddy going to shoot me?”
I slowly raised my revolver while continuing to urge Dave not to move. My shot was true on the mark and the five-foot snake tumbled down the embankment into the river.
Somehow Dave found it in his heart to forgive me.
What are friends for anyway?
Mr. Leon "Buckshot" Anderson is one of the few old time hunting and fishing guides left in Northern Wisconsin. Buckshot is a personal friend of the family and has known and worked with my grandfather, Howard "Pop" Dean, both of whom are members of the fresh water fishing hall of fame, Legendary Guide. Buckshot has authored 7 books on the great outdoors. All of his books can be purchased directly from him, at a discount, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to: 2220 Deadman's Gulch Road, St. Germain, WI 54558.
Books by Leon "Buckshot" Anderson Click Here
Yes; Deadman's Gulch is the correct name, I have been on that road many times. Sincerely David D. Cruger
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