August 8, 2013


This series is a little bit biographical and a little bit imaginary about my dad and a road trip he took in the summer of 1946, when he turned fifteen. He and a friend hitchhiked from Loring Park to Duluth, into Canada and back again. He was gone from home for a month. I was astonished and fascinated by the tale. So, I added some speculation about things I've always wondered about and this series is the result. To read earlier SHORT LONG JOURNEY NORTH, click on the label to the right. The FIRST entry is on the bottom.

Edwina Olds, Lieutenant, WACS (ret.) slid out of the truck and down to the ground, shutting the door as quiet as possible, but the boys could hear the voices clear as a bell in the cold, very, very early morning Canadian air.

A man’s voice said, “You know we got a radio call about someone making trouble all the way up the western shore of Lake Superior, ma’am.”

Edwina said, “Really? Round about where?”

“Starting in Duluth and making their way from there to Two Harbors...”

“What’d they do in Two Harbors? My brother’s a pastor there!”

There was a long pause, then the man said, “I heard from the radio that they ran through the church buck naked and scared all the...”

“Who was buck naked?” Edwina interrupted him. Tommy Hastings had to leaning against Freddie Merrill on the floor of the logging truck cab when the younger boy tried to squirm free and give the man speaking a piece of his fist.

“Well, I don’t rightly know, ma’am...”

Another voice interrupted. It was a woman’s voice. The Witch of Anoka. She said, “It’s not for us to ask, ma’am. That’s just what the…”

“Certainly it is for me to ask, whoever you are! I see you’re not wearing a uniform, so you’re a civilian so you’re no more authorized to conduct this ridiculous interview than I am!”

“I’ll have you know, ma’am, that I am...”

“And I’ll have YOU know missy, that I’m a retired lieutenant of the United States Women’s Army Corp and have served in New Guinea! So, if you value your good looks, you’ll back off and let me speak with this Custom’s Officer.”

The Witch of Anoka sputtered then said, “I have half a mind to curse you, woman!”

Edwina laughed out loud for some time before catching her breath and saying, “First of all lady, I don’t believe in witches, I don’t believe you are one and I don’t believe you cursing me will do anything but make you short of breath.”

“How dare you! My curses...”

“Aren’t worth the air it takes to breathe ‘em. I’m a good Christian woman with a good, solid relationship with Jesus Christ and I will thank you to cast your curses in a direction where they might actually do some bad work. Now, since I figure you’re the one making this youngster so uncomfortable and you’re the one pushing him to hassle me, I’m going to say good night and get back into my truck.”

“You have two boys in your cab!” she cried out. “They’re the real reason for all this trouble! Just give them to me and I’ll leave you alone.”

“Why would I give them to you, missy? You their momma?”

“No, of course not, I’m too...”

“I can see you ain’t their daddy.” The customs officer let loose with a guffaw. The Anoka Witch scowled at him, but he was now standing closer to Edwina than her and he had one hand on his gun. She saw a narrowing of his eyes and stepped a bit away. Edwina continued, “Are you their aunty?”


Edwina lifted her chin, “Don’t think I’ll be giving you enough time to make up some sort of slightly believable lie. I don’t think this customs agent is going to believe you anymore. Besides,” she jerked open the door of the cab. “I said I was traveling alone. I am and if the main cause of your trouble is two boys, you’d best be getting back on the road again and looking for them.

The floor was unoccupied, the door was close and even after she shrieked and ran around to the passenger’s door, she found it closed and locked and no tracks left by mischievous boys teenaged boys. She ran around the back of the trailer for good measure then stopped in front of Edwina and exclaimed, “What did you do with them?” She spun to the customs officer and pointing at Edwina, exclaimed, “She killed them! Dumped their bodies in the Lake! Arrest her! She’s a murderess!”

Edwina looked down at the woman, scowled then turned an climbed back into the cab.

The Witch of Anoka screamed and threw herself after Edwina, but the officer caught her by the arm and yanked her back. The witch screamed, “Unhand me young man!”

He dragged her away from the cab, saying, “I think you’ve had enough to drink tonight, lady.”

“Drink? How dare you…” her rant was drowned out by the revving of the logging truck as it pulled away from the customs stop. Edwina stuck her arm out and waved as she crossed from the United State of America and into the Canadian wilderness.

No comments: