Scrapbook One Hundred Thirty Six…

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APRIL 2015

 

I want to thank Justin Watts for sending me this article about my father. It appeared in the 1954 edition of The Waco News Tribune in Earl Golding’s Field & Stream column. Was he a fisherman or what. f

http://lummifilm.com/images/mfbc54.pdf

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Thirty Four…

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APRIL 2015

 

There once was a man named Fenn,
Who much to our chagrin,
Went on a quest
To hide his chest.
Now he taunts us all with his pen.

 

Dear Forrest,

I am writing this to you in letter form, instead of email, as I believe that letter writing has become an endangered species and I’m doing my part to keep it alive…I also think it is more personal.

First, let me preface the rest of this letter with this statement:  I am not “fishing” for clues or leads to the chest…I just wanted to share a few stories with you, if you have the time.

My husband, Jake, and I learned of your treasure story late last spring.  We read your poem and both of your books until the ink was embedded into our finger prints. Both Jake and I already read the Journal of a Trapper several times.  We conducted more research and settled in on an area near the Madison River and Hebgen Lake to begin our expedition.  Neither of us had been there before, so we decided to approach the first trip as a “scouting” effort.   We packed up our dogs, Jasper – Border Collie/Red Heeler mix; Hope – Australian Shepard who was a pound rescue and Rowdy – Toy Fox Terrier who was a puppy mill rescue, and headed out.  That trip we camped in our wall tent. (Won’t do it in that country again…As we live in a mountainous region of Western Wyoming we should have known better…More on that later.)

The first day we hiked around the Madison River where it makes its deposit into Hebgen Lake.  Jake collected a couple of treasures – a Bison skull and some wild Bison hair – he had to be sneaky and move real fast to get the hair. ☺)  I have enclosed a sample to share with you.

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003The next morning we awoke to find very large grizzly tracks on top of our truck tire tracks.  Ursaphobe that I am, this was a little unsettling.

We spent most of that day fly fishing the Madison, both prior to Hebgen Lake and below the dam.  We managed to land a few fish, but the flies lost outnumbered the fish caught.  I have heard about a small creature, which lives in trees and bushes, and snatches fly fishermen’s lures just to wrap them around branches out of our reach.  It’s called it a Pharnox.  (Pronounced Far-Nocks)  No one has ever actually seen one, but I have plenty of evidence and experience to prove their existence.  I must confess to not being a “good” fly fisherperson, but I sure have a good time doing it.

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On our second trip we took our old horse trailer and camped in that.  I felt much safer in a tin can than surrounded only by a piece of canvas.  We did not go home empty handed.  Jake stumbled upon a set of elk ivory from a winter-killed cow elk.  Lucky for him.  Not so lucky for the cow.

Our third trip was in June.  On one particular outing we had several encounters of interest:

We hiked up the Cabin Creek trail and ran across a tree with the initials FF carved into it.  Below is a picture.  It looks like someone tried to hack it up.  We wondered if this might be a tree you marked in your youth, or if someone was just “Fenning” with us.  (Sincerely, I’m still not looking for clues.  – I just thought you’d like to see these pics and it gave me a chance to utilize my new, made up verb, “Fenning”.)

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It’s a little tough to make out on the left pic, but in person you can see the “FF”.

The one on the right just had an “F”.

After a few miles we ran out of trail at the confluence of Cub Creek and Cabin Creek.  It appeared that, at some time in the not too distant past, Cub Creek washed out the trail.  The water still was running fast and deep and I knew my little terrier, Rowdy, would have difficulty crossing.  Jake was determined to see what was on the other side.  He left his pack with me.  Which by the way contained his bear spray and .45 cal pistol.  (You probably see where this is going.)  Our Aussie, Hope, crossed over with him while Rowdy and I sat on the bank on the other side of the creek.

Pretty soon Hope came splashing back to me.  I glanced up and saw that Jake was upright and mobile in the willows, so I knew she wasn’t channeling her inner Lassie to tell me that “Jake had fallen in a well.”  She waited until her arrival at my side to shake off the muddy river water.  I stood up and turned around to face the sun, and the trail we had hike to get to this spot, and began brushing off the water.  About that time Hope and Rowdy took off barking like their tails were afire.  They got about twenty feet ahead of me towards the trail when I called them back.  I knew something was amiss when they each flanked me.  Hope was three feet ahead of me and five feet to my left.  Rowdy stationed himself similarly to my right.  They quit barking, hairs on their backs standing straight as soldiers, and eyes fixed toward the trail.  I looked up and saw a brown patch of hair.  Immediately, my subconscious tried to defuse my panic and told me it was probably just a moose, as we had encountered moose tracks on the way in.  Then, I saw a shoulder roll.  It was a bear.  Since the river was to my back, there would be no fleeing that direction, so my mind tried to convince my eyes that it was just a brown-phased black bear.  Nope.  It peered around the side of a tree.  There was a classic grizzly bear face staring back at me.  It then stepped out from behind the trees.  Yep.  Full grown boar grizzly.  Close enough to see its eyelashes and determine his gender.

By this time I had my bear spray in my left hand (safety off) and Jake’s 45 in my right (cock and locked.)  Knowing he had no protection on the other side of the river, I began to holler, “Bear!  Bear! Grizzly Bear!”  Unbeknownst to me, he was yelling, “Where?”  (For some reason he could hear my voice over the roar of the river, but I could not hear his.  I know there’s a joke in there somewhere about the acoustics of women’s voices over men’s…But I won’t go there.)  During this time, the bear continued to stare, unblinking, at the dogs and me.  He kept rocking forward on his massive front legs as though he was trying to decide whether or not to come through us.  About that time I saw Jake, in the river, out of the corner of my left eye.  I yelled, “There’s a grizzly bear over here!”  He hollered back, “I know!  I see it!”   My husband is not a man small in stature.  When the bear heard him, he took one look and I guess decided that Jake, added to the equation, was just too much to tackle and left the scene.  I maintained my cool until Jake was back at my side…At which time my gun hand began to tremble and I turned into Barney Fife.

We headed back down the trail toward the truck finding tracks where that bear had trailed us the entire way.  From one of the trees along the trail we did collect some of his hair.  I’ve included a bit for you with this letter.

About half way out, Hope commenced barking again.  We said, “Oh no!”   (Okay, those are not the exact words we said…)  But this time she was barking towards a mountain goat crossing the river.  Awesome!  I managed to obtain some of the goat’s hair from a bush where it snagged.  (Perhaps a Pharnox grabbed that too?)  There is a little baggie of his hair for you too.

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We live in Wyoming and have long, cold winters with little else to do but shovel snow and conduct more “Fennian” Research.  This is Jasper at the task.  He is 16 yrs old with bad hips and canine lupus so he does not get to go on our hikes anymore.  For Jasper, it’s just “too far to walk.”

Sincerely,
La Lee

P.S. – For fun, I tied a fly with some of the grizzly bear hair.  Spoiler alert – trout don’t bite on grizz hair.  I’d send you a picture of the fly, but a Pharnox got it.

Scrapbook One Hundred Thirty Two…

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FEBRUARY 2015

 

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This letter came from Allison with no return address so I don’t know where she is, or who she is. Since I can’t respond by mail I’ll post a message on Dal’s blog and hope she reads it:

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Dear Allison,

Thank you for the $100,000,000 check. It cleared, and is now in my Santa Fe account. The banker said funds will be taken from your father’s future pay checks. Please thank him for me. I think you are made of sugar. Send me your address so I can give you some bubble gum.

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I will give an easy clue that will take you to a special place in the forest north of Santa Fe. But I know several girls named Allison so to be sure you are the right one, please tell me by email what is on the back of the envelope you sent me.

Good luck, and thanks again for the money.

Your secret flame,

Forrest Fire

Scrapbook One Hundred Thirty…

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FEBRUARY 2015

Not Tired Yet

 

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The Cuddles Twins

Okay, so we look a little wear weary, who cares? And the tarnish we’ve taken on is from walking around for the last forty years. It just proves that we’re low maintenance.

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Illustration by the author

But to say we’re on our last leg shows you don’t know doodly. Who asked you anyway?

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Keeping an eye on wannabes

Nobody wants you so your future will have to wait a while, because it just will. Our seasoned guard dog is watching you. Besides, your label says “Fabrique en Vietnam,” Ha, big deal! Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

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Cuddles off duty

Bubba doesn’t call us “Cuddles” for no reason. It’s an endearing term. We have dependability on our side so you can go cool your heels in the closet and gather dust with the other standby wannabe house shoes. Our place is near his recliner in the den. Got that?

Sure, we’ve suffered some usage wounds on us, or “battle damage”, to quote the boss, but what’s wrong with having experience?

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Doesn’t Bubba wear us when he needs warmth and comfort around the house and in the yard? Yes, it’s us he wants, not you. His toes have indented little compartments in our sheepskin, and they’ve grown to like the fit.

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Wannabes

Not Cuddles

Wannabes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your labels say ‘Made in China,” and “Fabrique en Chine,” respectfully, so we’ll count you guys out also.

“This life, which had been the tomb of his virtue and of his honour, is but a walking shadow; a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more …”

Thank you Mister Shakespeare, but we didn’t ask for your opinion, and we’re not ready yet to retire. We’ll let you know when. Hope you’re taking notes.

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Cuddles on duty

No comfort shoes can compete with us when it comes to staying power and customer satisfaction. If you don’t agree, then prove your point and Bubba will send you one of his experienced socks.

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Scrapbook One Hundred Twenty Nine Point One…

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JANUARY 2015

Glenna Goodacre

Since there seems to be an interest in Glenna’s work I took some photos of a few things in our collection. All were gifts to us from the artist.

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The little bronze is one of a small edition. It is the first little ballerina of her daughter Jill, who grew up to be a Victoria’s Secret model and married to Harry Connick Jr.

 

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The 7 ½ inch coin is ceramic and was cast from Glenna’s original that the dollar coin was made from

Sometimes Glenna makes ceramic copies of her bronzes to give to friends.

Sometimes Glenna makes ceramic copies of her bronzes to give to friends.

 

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Twenty Nine…

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JANUARY 2015

My Eric

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Here’s my seventeen-inch bronze portrait of Eric Sloane created by Glenna Goodacre. She made it just for me, and that’s the way she is. You may not know that she made the Sacagawea dollar coin for the U.S. Mint,

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and of course she also sculpted the Vietnam Women’s Memorial that’s on the National Mall in Washington.

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Even Glenna’s flaws have artistry. That’s if she has any, flaws I mean.

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Eric’s depiction of an airplane flying above the clouds on the front of my bronze is a take-off of his 59 x 75 foot mural that’s on the wall of the National Air and Space Museum in the Smithsonian. Lindbergh’s famous airplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, hangs in front of the mural.

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Eric said that I was flying the airplane in my little painting. His smiling words fell softly on my willing ears. Such was his friendship.

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Glenna captured that mischievous smile on Eric’s face. I know it well. It meant he was about to say something entertaining, probably at my expense.

He was the most productive man I ever knew. He could paint a major painting a day, lunch with me, and dine out with his wife that night. And he wrote fifty books in fifty years, or close to it. I talked about that in his biography, Seventeen Dollars a Square Inch.

Glenna also gave me a $1,000 bill. It was to commemorate ten years of being in the art business together.

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If I’d put it in an interest bearing note when I received it, thirty-three years ago, at 6% interest compounded annually, it’d now be worth … oh, never mind. Maybe someone can tell me. I flunked math class in high school. I don’t intend to spend the bill, but if someone steals it, please keep your eyes peeled for me. Its serial number is J00003274A, and it has President Cleveland’s picture on the front. If it had been my choice, I’d have probably put Eric’s photo on it.

Scrapbook One Hundred Twenty Eight…

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JANUARY 2015

 

In a Tuck

In 1952, my buddy Sammy Myers and I were Buck Sergeants in the Air Force, stationed in Greenville, South Carolina. Our job was repairing airborne radars and flying radio operator on C-82s and C-119s.

noguardSammy and I enjoyed a friendly competition with each other on a personal level. Compared to him, I was shorter, less obvious, and more talently disadvantaged. But I had the instincts of an adventurer, and he didn’t. Maybe that gave me a slight edge in areas where results could easily be measured.

One such place was The Tower. (I hated that thing with a dedicated cynical fervor.) I don’t even want to remember how high off the water it was, but it was enough high for me. I had jumped off the Leon River Bridge at home a few times so I knew how long the fall time was – it was forever, or at least that thought came to me.

IMG_1354d1sSammy and I dove off the intermediate level a few times, and jumped off the top a couple. Then he made a nice swan dive from high up that barely broke the surface of the water. I figured he was warming up to do a dive that I didn’t even want to think about. He appeared too nonchalant for my taste.

“Do a ‘show off,’ and I’ll take your picture,” Sam dared from ground. I just stared. The pressure began to build, and it was so terrible my mind went into spacial overload for a few seconds.

While standing on the top, in the #1 position, my entire life flashed before my eyes. Did I dare? I’d done a few 1 ½ forward somersaults from a ten foot springboard, but I didn’t do them very well. Now it was put-up or shut-up time. My smile was a misnomer and I knew the desire in my heart was at odds with reality, but I was drawn to the seductive glamour of Sam’s camera.

IMG_1354a1sWith a deep breath and a giant spring, I left the platform in a tuck, which opened too late, and my dive quickly unraveled into an over-rotation that landed me flat on my back. Whatever confidence I had was knocked out of me with a sudden traumatic jolt. The blistering pain was almost visible and my embarrassment rang out in exaggerated decibels.

“Got it,” Sam yelled, “They heard the splash in Memphis! You almost made it, Buddy, try it again. I have one more shot on the roll.”

With all I could muster, there I stood again in the rarefied #1 position. But this time I was mad … mad that he’d ask me to do it again after I’d just maimed myself, and mad because with his street level imagination, he thought I wouldn’t try.

If I’d over-rotated trying to do a 1 ½, what if I stayed in the tuck a little longer and went for a 2 ½. Ha, I’d never even thought of that before, but what a great idea. To forget my previous mistake would be done at my own peril. That was for sure.

IMG_1354b1sWith the thought that talent has no loyalty, I left the platform in a tighter tuck than before, thinking that I wanted to see the sky twice as I rotated, then quickly open and enter the water.

And to my great surprise and satisfaction, that’s exactly what happened. The dive was not very pretty, but it was there, and both my body and tattered ego were intact. Sam got the picture, and congratulated me with a pleasant sincerity that felt really good. I never climbed the ladder on that tower again, and I still haven’t.