There are legends on the Upper Manitou

Whenever I meet outdoorsman Teddy Davis and family in the Dairy Queen here, we dust off this legend again and wonder how it ever ended.
The legend concerns a very lonely old fisherman, a doctor from Madison, Wis., who came among us for a great number of summers, almost 60 years!
Then he loaded up his tent and canoe and western books and hasn’t been heard from here since, far as I know!
Dr. Jim Jackson had started a medical clinic before our great fishing lured him away. We learned that his sons were doctors too, so they ran the clinic. But when we tried to contact him after he quit coming up, a receptionist at Madison said she couldn’t–or wouldn’t–tell us about him, and there it all ended.
The story as he told it starts with the arrival of the railroad in this district, around the time of the First World War, when he took the train through the bush east to around Flanders to camp and enjoy the blueberry picking as well as the fishing.
Later, after meeting Rusty Myers, our popular flier who could take you to where the big ones are, Dr. Jackson pitched his tent in the Upper Manitou region north of Rainy Lake and years later encountered young Ted Davis there.
Ted had nothing but respect for the oldtimer, especially after Dr. Jackson made it to Ted’s resort on foot once after breaking a leg and limping for miles. Campers who prefer to go it alone take such risks.
He must have been tough to withstand the bush flies and hardships for months, rarely venturing to town. He would shop on arrival at the East End grocery of the late Fred Kozik or with Louis Cousineau downtown.
Davis believes Louis may have heard from him after we did, but I haven’t seen Louis around much lately either, not since he went up the lakes, too. People make a habit of disappearing for months that way here right along.
Dr. Jackson, first I met him, talked of a popular western author, Louis L’Amour, and asked me to watch for his pocket books on sale. I learned two things: apparently the doctor and author were cousins, and also that L’Amour turned out his novels very rapidly and may have written scores of them.
When the doctor disclosed his age was 93 at that time, and also that his favourite stories included gunfighter relatives in the old southwest that L’Amour knew about, I began to figure the doctor out a little, too.
He must have had something of the old west in his own blood to find such intense satisfaction in the outdoors–but with a fishing rod in his hand instead of a pistol!
Conjecture concerning his years among us has taken some strange twists. Yet you’d still have to say first off that this was one truly devoted fisherman and what kept him at it for so long was his own business.
But if you ever get down to Madison and care to inquire further, let’s hear what you learn . . . .
And say, when you next meet Teddy Davis, you should congratulate him on being able to walk upright again since his recent knee surgery. Another mystery here is how Big Ted managed to carry on for so long in his rugged line of work before this.
But ah, that Upper Manitou country can keep you coming back for more! It reminds us of Shag Shegrud, Jerry Tricomi, and Leo Shapiro, other campowners and legends from the same neighbourhood!
• • •
Vivian O’Donnell led her grass-skirted volunteers into the old CN station for a Hawaiian dance for seniors last Saturday but her hula girls weren’t shaking at all!
And the men in the crowd were too seriously outnumbered to protest.
Co-ordinator Joan Pearson reported this was the last seniors’ dance until Hallowe’en.
Meanwhile they want to build a fence between the railroad and the building. Efforts by local volunteers like Ed Sletmoen and the late Stan Dolyny have been much admired there.
• • •
Freddy Grozelle made me this generous offer but said it’s open to anyone: “As your friend, I want to take away your pain and suffering. So send me all your money and I will suffer for you!”
Of course, the preamble to this suggestion explained all the things money can’t buy.
• • •
Bill Adair, the retired shop teacher, reports his bed and breakfast venture on Fingerboard Road at Bear’s Pass has been busy since it opened this summer. Faith agrees!
• • •
Paramedic Jim Maxey doesn’t discourage others from becoming ambulance drivers, the life he has left after 22 years with the much appreciated white van–and averaging 2,000 calls a year.
Among his memories: delivering two babies en route to hospital and receiving both blue and white emblems of storks for his cap as reminders.
He also says the 12-hour shifts were hardly long enough for all the paperwork he definitely won’t miss!
• • •
Our falling lake levels are welcomed but the tent caterpillars are still here and now forest fires are starting up. Go figure!
High as it got, old Rainy was nowhere near its 1950 level and Winnipeg was warned–at the height of its own flooding–that Fort Frances would not be accepting any of its refugees that year.
Our trees in Pither’s Point Park were standing in almost a foot of water while we sandbagged our old pumphouse on the beach.
• • •
The charitable efforts of Jimmy Galbraith are remembered in a stained glass window of an Anglican church at Thunder Bay, I’m told by Gordon McTaggart.
Jim went to Robert Moore with us and eventually became a social worker for the church. He also was a gold prospector.
Our leading success story in that line, Roy Barker from Devlin, was interested in one of Jim’s discoveries. By then, Roy already was a millionaire at Manitouwadge.
• • •
When a distraught mother was told by her very noisy little boy that he would behave himself for $5, she yelled back, “Why can’t you be more like your father and be good for nothing!”

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