Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson

For January 29th, 2010 Edition.

It never fails to surprise me where and when someone might unexpectedly wind up in the middle of a conversation covering a subject that seems out of place for the time and the place the conversation takes place. A recent Friday noontime stop at our oldest daughter's place of business, Sister's Saloon in St. Germain, was the time and the place of just such a surprise.

My "spur of the moment" decision to stop occurred as I was on my way to Eagle River on business but I decided to stop for a few minutes to inform our daughter to save a table for four at 5:30, as our group was going to arrive at that time to partake in savoring the best Friday night fish fry east or west of the Mississippi.

Several neighbors and friends were present at the bar and seeing I was ahead of schedule I delayed my departure and ordered a glass of 7-up. (I'm not kidding - it was 7-up!)

Within minutes my son arrived because as he was returning from work he saw his dad's truck in the parking lot and stopped to chat with his old man and sister. More local folks kept piling in and someone brought up the subject of "pets" which prompted our two siblings to divulge the entire history of the Anderson family's pets.

When Chris and Cherie were still in diapers we bought our first black Lab. Duke was a huge male that gave our family ten wonderful years. One of Duke's specialties was acting as a lifeguard at our resort's beach. If a kid would yell and scream while in the water, pretending they were drowning, Duke would charge into the lake, gently grab the kid's arm in his mammoth jaws and tow the "victim" back to shore, much to the delight of the kids and the rest of our guests.

"Parkay", the yellow parakeet, spent more time out of its cage than it did inside. Our kids named the bird Parkay as it enjoyed butter as a snack, plus the name matched its color. The very friendly bird was involved in an accident that broke one of its legs. For several weeks we had a parakeet hobbling around our home with one leg in a cast!

Unfortunately, someone left the kitchen door open one summer day and Parkay discovered the out-of-doors was a big place. The bird landed in the very top of a huge jackpine tree and began to survey its new surroundings. I attempted a rescue by climbing the monster, but our yellow pal flew away before I could coax it back down with the dab of butter on my forefinger. My failed rescue attempt also resulted in a severely torn pair of pants.

Another unusual pair of pets was the two domestic rabbits our kids brought home one day. One bunny was pure black and the other was pure white. In this current age of political correctness I choose not to divulge the names that were given the two, but back in the 1970's folks had thicker skin and accepted the humor for what it was - humor.

We taught Duke to accept the two hoppers but one of our friends Lab considered the bunny's fair game. My memory fails to recall which one met its maker that fateful day. The lone remaining rabbit disappeared later that summer, and probably ended up as dinner for some local predator.

Cherie bought a horse when she was fourteen. Cochise was one of the family for several years and supplied much happiness to our daughter, as well as lots of extra work for dad. We fenced in an acre well behind the resort's lodge, built a small barn to store bales of hay to keep the beast warm and well fed during the winter.

Cochise helped out around the resort during the summer months by keeping the grass mowed and fertilized. Guests also enjoyed the free horseback rides. However, one day while our four-legged lawn mower was cropping grass in front of the lodge one of our kids carelessly left their fishing rod lying in the grass. Cochise ended up with a fishhook in his lip, which required a house call from our vet!

It was a sad day indeed when Cherie finally decided to sell her pet, but the memories of the good times and the bad continue.

Another unusual pair of "pets" that found their way into our happy home was two chameleons. I'm still not sure how the kids convinced their mother to accept a pair of mini reptiles to roam our home, but they did. Their presence kept us on our toes, as we never knew where one or both of the little green prehistoric pests might appear.

The kids fed them flies during the summer months and bought mealworms for chameleon chow after the supply of flies diminished.

Well, neither reptile lasted very long, as our cat assassinated one of them and the survivor made it until we tossed our Christmas tree outside in early January. The chameleon had used the tree as a sanctuary and probably didn't last too long in the frigid out-of-doors.

Chris and Cherie found the little frozen rascal clinging to a limb, but all attempts to revive Slizzer failed. Actually, I think Wifee Poo was relieved to learn both chameleons were history!

Over the years we've had ten different dogs as family members, six black Labs, three beagles and one" Labraeagle."

Freckles, our second beagle, was one of those roamers that spent much of her life exploring vast areas of Vilas and Oneida County. Her favorite time to sneak away was Friday evening. That dog knew when Friday rolled around and would frequently find a way to run over to Clear View Lodge on Big St. Germain Lake to enjoy the Friday night fish fry. The owners of the resort would let Freckles inside, put her in the office and feed her left over fish! About ten o'clock they'd call and tell me to come and get our dog! Don't tell me dogs ain't smart!

We've also had a number of cats, so many in fact I have trouble remembering them all. My favorite was "Callie", who among other things liked to follow the family when we all went cross-country skiing. She'd run along behind us on the packed tail for maybe a half-hour and then meow at me to put her in my backpack for the remainder of the trip.

Yes, we loved our pets and are proud to say they also all loved us. Well, maybe not the chameleons!

P.S. I was late for my appointment

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:  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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