Part Eight - A
When “Young Jack” Lambert reached the bottom of the lake… after paddling ‘down the lake’ from ‘up the lake’ in a canoe… alone… as fast as he could… he told Old Ben, in Old Ben’s lakeside store, what his mission was. Old Ben said nothing to Young Jack but walked over to the open back door of the store behind him and yelled for “PETE” to come in. Pete Smet did come right in and Old Ben told him to “take the truck” and “drive Young Jack in to town to Doc. Twaddle’s”. A minute later Pete and Young Jack were in the truck headed for ‘town’. That ‘town’ was “at least” an hour away. It was longer because Pete driving Old Ben’s old truck… put another hour on the ride. They did get there and Pete dropped Young Jack off at Doctor Twaddle’s. Young Jack had told Pete what his mission was but Pete didn’t care. “I don’t know ANY of THOSE PEOPLE, Jack” is all he said about the crisis. He then grilled Young Jack in obsessive detail about the little coves along the upper end of the lower lake… where he (Pete) knew that Young Jack “pretty much knows where every fish IS in those little pockets” for the rest of the trip.
Young Jack knocked on the front door of Doctor Twaddle’s and was let in by Doc. Twaddle’s oldest daughter …who just happened to be the same age as Young Jack. Usually Young Jack, if he ever had the rare occasion to go to Doctor Twaddle’s home and office, went to the side shed door leading to the kitchen… through the old summer kitchen. This time… as he was on an emergency medical visit, he knew that he properly must go in that front door. The oldest daughter must have seen him hesitating after getting out of Old Ben’s truck, a truck she would know well, for she opened the front door very quickly. Young Jack directly said he needed to speak with her father, the doctor, “right away”.
“Of course Jack” she said knowing full well the having Young Jack get out of Old Ben’s truck and come to the front door could only mean that there was “trouble” “up on the lakes”. She led jack into the living room from the front hall and parlor then right through that room into the dining room where Doctor Twaddle sat at the head with a just-started-to-serve dinner plate before him. Two other daughters sat on one side of the table, Mrs. Doctor Twaddle sat at the opposite head and… the oldest daughter’s place was waiting for her on the doctor’s left side of the table. Young Jack stood by the Mother’s right and spoke concisely to Doctor Twaddle:
“We gotta a SPORT whose lost his HEART Doc. Gotta COME UP right away WE NEED YOU.” He said.
“Heart?” said Doctor Twaddle.
“GERRY say IT IS, Doc.”
Young Jack stood there looking at the Doctor. The Doctor reached over and lifted a serving bowl of mashed potatoes. He looked up at Young Jack. “SIT yourself DOWN Jack WE WILL GET YOU FED FIRST and THEN GO.” The oldest daughter was already moving a chair in next to her chair and the mother said something to the daughter next to her and she vanished into the kitchen only to return quickly with a plate, a napkin and …some ‘silverware’ that …Young Jack knew was “real silver”. This daughter put these down by wedging between Jack and the oldest daughter. She did such in a way so as to over emphasize that the space she needed to ‘set table’ was being cramped due to the oldest daughter… “standing TOO CLOSE to JACK”.
“I am NOT.” the oldest daughter said.
Jack still had his attention on Doctor Twaddle. “SIT DOWN BOY.” Doctor Twaddle said and then paused while still looking at Jack. “YOU MUST EAT. You haven’t eaten anything ALL DAY I bet. SIT JACK. We’ll leave soon enough. Long trip BACK up there”.
Jack still hesitated although his place at the table was set and the oldest daughter had now sat down in her place between him and the doctor. The Mother took over:
“Now Jack EAT. You’ve FETCHED the Doctor. HE knows WHAT TO DO NOW. If he says EAT… you eat. The Doctor SAYS SO. You can’t go all the way UP that lake on an empty stomach.”
Jack sat down. The oldest daughter shifted in her chair a little. Jack looked at the Doctor who was now passing the mashed potatoes to the oldest daughter. Steam rose from the top of the dish. Jack “am pretty hungry” he heard himself say.
“JACK. You leave it to ME now.” said the Doctor to him. “We’ll be up there soon enough. When they loose their heart there isn’t much I can do. What am I gonna do with a half dead man in a canoe, Jack.”
The Doctor ate. The daughter’s ate. The mother ate but between questions to Young Jack. Young Jack ate but between answering the mother’s questions. Through this conversational process everyone at the table “FOUND OUT” that:
One man in a group of five men, all from New York City and who know each other… have gone up the lake and over to “lower Richardson” fishing with three guides in four canoes. Jack, at seventeen years old, is the youngest guide and party member. The other two guides the Doctor ‘knows WELL: If Gerry says the SPORT lost his HEART, he’s LOST HIS HEART.” This also told the Doctor that “there’s nothing I can do Gerry knows it that’s why they sent YOU down. NO NEED to HURRY”.
That sport had “gone out behind the cabin and was splitting WOOD”. Then it was quiet but nobody NOTICED. Then one of them sports FOUND HIM DOWN. He was alive when I LEFT.” Young Jack reported.
“Whiskey?” asked the Doctor.
“Yup” said Young Jack.
“WHISKEY?” said the Mother to Young Jack.
“NOT JACK!” said the Doctor right away. “The SPORTS DRINK IT.”
“Oh. I’m sorry Jack. Of course not YOU, Jack”.
The oldest daughter shifted in her chair again.
“They drink the whiskey and then try to SPLIT WOOD. Gets ‘em EVERYTIME. They should just SIT THERE and watch JACK split the wood. But they never do. Kills ‘em every time.” said the Doctor.
“Been catching much?” the Doctor asked Jack as he pushed his plate forward to the head of his place. The others hadn’t finished. Jack paced the daughters well and double forked his “have some MORE” mother admonitioned plate full to finish ‘plate clean fair and square’.
Before they left in the Doctor’s car… that he made Jack drive “not too fast Jack”… the mother put TWO boxes of “lunches” on the back seat. “TWO” she said to the Doctor because “JACK will eat everything in the BIG BOX but your gonna need something to EAT when you GET BACK down the LAKE”. It took a little over an hour to drive back up to Old Ben’s store. “Not too fast Jack” the Doctor kept saying. Jack saw that Doctor had his own little shiny silver whiskey flask too… just like all the sports did.