Ticker Tape and Calvin Coolidge

The 30th President of the United States would stay there on occasions of relaxation. There was a ticker tape machine in the lodge that would announce the local train arrival time at the nearby town. Back in the days before the tracks got torn up. The roadbed is still there, traffic on it is a bit lighter. It’s a bicycle/snowmobile trail now.

A very small, ‘jerkwater’ town is still there too. The pronoun was used in the old steam days when a town did not have a water tower to feed the steam locomotives. The water had to be passed up to the engine with buckets and thus the term Jerkwater was used to describe a small town. This one is really small, but back in the days of the steam locomotives, it was a special place. It’s still small but has the prerequisite of a Wisconsin town. Two bars.

Jack’s band used to play there and it was a pretty lively place. Country western music. Jack played fiddle and the band did quite a few Bob Wills tunes. Friendly small town folks, out on Saturday night. Still is that way,

Jack and Julie used to work at the lodge as hosts. A classy place. The evening meal was fried fresh caught trout, braised carrots and a side of hot baked bread. It was cooked by the resident manager/fly fisherman, Ed. He caught the trout in the stream that was close by. (It was the only meal he knew how to cook.) It was cheating a bit as a big trout hatchery was Just down stream. Escapees headed up stream.

Filled with precious antiques, the lodge was an expensive destination. The Gators got married there 30 years ago and it was quite the deal. Big name fiddlers joined Jack to play a waltz as they surrounded Julie. The fiddler from the Powder Milk Biscuit band was one of them. Four fiddlers playing an old Swedish waltz. The wedding registry was a Santana tandem bicycle and all the food was pot luck. There was a wedding dance about seven miles away and Jack played with his square dance band. He should have danced but you know musicians, loyalty to the band and their ego.

The wedding night was in the old ‘stream house’ that straddled the trout stream. Jack remembers the gurgling water all night enticing him to make several trips downstairs. Alas, that special cabin burned down later, never to be replaced. Most likely an issue of antique building techniques or zoning. It was a beauty of a house.

It all was one of a kind and the Gator’s strongly remember it. It has now been ‘developed’ as was the Methodist camp that Julie worked at when Jack and her met. Another glorious landmark succumbs to classy homes. Nice homes and nice people, but still felt as a loss. History bought and sold as it is done to this day. It was an incredible treasure and an honor to work and marry there. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator

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