Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson
For October 10th, 2008 Edition.
I'm sure many of us have experienced "loosing track" of a good friend or friends at some point in our lives. Personally, this has happened to me a number of times and those situations are puzzling, bothersome and sometimes mysterious. I'm also sure that many of us have experienced an "emotional high" when one of those "lost pals" suddenly materialized after a long absence. Such was the case a couple of weeks ago when one of my pals of yesteryear once again resurfaced.
I was floundering around in our garage, attempting to restore order rearranging items of necessity and discarding "junk" into my utility trailer for a trip to the landfill when wifee poo appeared with a phone in her hand, a smile on her face and said, "Someone wants to talk to you."
The voice on the other end of the line was vaguely familiar, but I was forced to ask the caller whom it was I was talking to. He fudged on the answer but sent me a couple of quick verbal clues, which I picked up on immediately!
Gene Olson and his wife, Barb, long time friends of ours, had dropped off the radar screen about ten years ago. It's events such as that which cause one to conger up various explanations for the sudden "disappearance" of a friend, none of which are good. All of my fears were instantly eliminated and Gene and I chatted for nearly an hour, filling each other in on what had transpired in our collective lives over the "missing decade."
Gene was born and raised in Conover, WI. I first met Gene when I entered Eagle River High School during the early fifties. Gene was originally introduced to me as "Mose" Olson, a nickname that all his pals used when referring to him. Gene told me he acquired his unusual moniker because often when he opened his mouth, "the bull rushed out." Gene was an avid outdoors person so I can readily identify with the connection.
Gene is a year older than I and graduated from high school a year sooner than I did. But when I enrolled as a freshman at Superior State College in September of 1955 I discovered Mose was likewise present beginning his advanced education. It was here our friendship really solidified.
During our four years together at SSC we played on the varsity hockey team, he as a right-winger and I as a left-winger. (Neither label has any connection to our present or past political leanings.) We were roommates for two years, played golf during sunny spring afternoons after our final class, trapped muskrats and mink to help finance our schooling, and were members of the same fraternity. We were both waiters during evening hours at the popular Hub Café on Superior's main street, Tower Avenue, and eventually graduated from SSC with teaching degrees.
Some of our favorite memories revolve around those "away games" to various colleges. Times were tough for small college athletic teams and the hockey team traveled to and from our away games via the coach's vehicle and old jalopies owned by various players. Winter trips to Carlton College, St. Olaf, and Ashland were genuine adventures!
During opening weekend of the 1957 and '58 deer seasons Mose joined the membership of my families "deer camp" and fit in perfectly with the rest of the bunkmates.
Mose was present during the monster snowstorm of '57 when the entire gang was snowed in for the better part of two days. The storm moved in during the late afternoon on a Monday, the third day of the season and dropped twenty-two inches of snow on the landscape by Tuesday morning! Four of the hunters, Mose, Tom and Doug Dean, plus myself all played "hookey" from college on Monday, planning to return to Superior Monday evening. The monster snowstorm altered our plans and we were forced to turn back to camp upon hearing US Highway 2 was closed between Ashland and Hurley! Little did we know what was in store for the men and boys stuck in the bunkhouse of the A-J Deer Camp!
I shall not go into detail as to what transpired that evening after the four of us returned to camp in Doug's 1950 Ford, but for those of you who have purchased and read "Deer Season 1957 and More" starting on page 103 of my latest book, 'Just Some Damn Good Stories and Tales" you can get "the rest of the story!"
Mose was also involved in a rather unusual happening during deer season in 1958. He fatally injured a deer with his old .25-35 Winchester Model 94, which attempted to escape by swimming across Lost Creek. The animal succumbed to it's wound in mid-stream, which required several of the hunting party to "get soaked" retrieving the venison from the river!
Our trapping adventures while we were in college also got us into a bit of trouble with the housemother we were renting an apartment from. The kind and generous lady of course knew nothing of trapping or college trappers, and allowed us to skin our critters in her basement and also hang the pelts from the floor joist to dry. It didn't take long for the "funny smell" in her house to lead her to the source of the odor. Mose and I were forced to dry our muskrat pelts out-of-doors or in the trunk of my '49 Buick, which quickly took on a smell quite different from your normal air fresheners!
After graduation and a married life for both of us we kept in touch even though we were sometimes nearly a continent apart. Peggy and I were guests at the Olson home near Iron River, MI when the four of us watched the Packers win their first Super Bowl!
Eventually Gene gained employment in the Northland Pines district and I practiced my profession locally at the Red Brick School in St. Germain and later at North Lakeland Elementary School. After our retirements from education in the mid-nineties for whatever reason we dropped off each other's radar.
But now we've re-established communications! Gene and Barb live near Austin, TX. Peggy and I will no doubt be heading in that direction sometime this coming winter to visit our youngest daughter, Wendy, our grandson, Chris and Tom, Wendy's new love of her life.
Gene, we'll let you know when we're coming so you can chill the suds!
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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