Veteran Greenhorns

veterangreenhorns02The Veteran Greenhorns lost another one today. In the photo, the top row (left-to-right) is Jim Sherman, Jim Boult, Jack Finlayson (aka my old coot), and Tegner (the only one of the greenhorns that I don’t know). Bottom row: Pete Sherman, Otto McNaughton, Lewie Read. Now that Otto is gone, only the Sherman boys remain. (I hope I haven’t mixed them up. Their families visited us often enough that I *should* know. And they are *not* twins. Still…)

I’m not going to go on and on about Otto. He was my dad’s friend, a member of our beach community, a man of many youthful adventures who went on to father nine of the beach urchins that I grew up with. When I was a kid, I remember Otto having three jobs: high school biology teacher, customs agent, and news reader on the local AM radio station. He was quite a character (aren’t we all?) but I’ll only report a couple memories here.

A childhood memory: The McNaughtons had a cabin down the beach from us but also lived on the river in town. When the weather was calm enough, they would load up their boat with the whole family and whatever else they needed. They would drive it seven miles (or whatever it is) upriver and Otto would drive full speed right up *onto* the beach and all of the kiddos would jump out onto the sand.

hickoryhills1An adult memory: Otto’s son brought him to the long term care facility in Sault Ste. Siberia to visit The Commander when she was in rehab there. The Comm had recently turned 91 and Otto was about to become that age too. He asked her if she had been able to renew her driver’s license without any trouble. “Oh yes,” was the answer. They were both a bit hard of hearing so, while they were talking, I snaked my head behind Otto’s back and winked at his son and said, “She may have a driver’s license but I have her car keys.” Actually, that’s not totally accurate. I did have a set of keys to her car but so did she. I had just parked her car where she couldn’t get to it. I am much more cagey (Commander word!) than most people give me credit for [wink].

The Veteran Greenhorns began as high school buddies who went “adventuring” together, mostly out in the woods, as near as I can figger. The photo doesn’t embiggen much but a couple of them seem to have compasses on their shirts. They were lifelong friends even though some of them moved away from the yooperland.

We didn’t plan our hike today to honor Otto or the Veteran Greenhorns. It was on the agenda before I looked at facebook this morning. Hiking the gorgeous Hickory Hills trail out at the Eddy Discovery Geology Center (a state park) seems like a fitting activity though. Beautiful glacial terrain. We didn’t wear compasses on our red plaid shirts. I did use my iPhone’s compass app once. I wasn’t lost. The trails are well marked and beaten in. I just wasn’t sure what direction we were heading and was curious. Of course, the GG reminded me “the sun is in the *south*”. Jeebus. We also tuned our Satty-lite radio to channel 004 aka 1940s music. We’ve been doing that a lot lately but it seemed especially fitting for today.

Love you all,
Kayak Woman

3 Responses to “Veteran Greenhorns”

  1. Margaret Says:

    The music would be very fitting! It’s so difficult to lose the “older” generation, especially when we have realized how incredible, interesting, quirky and wise they are.

  2. jane Says:

    I also remember the boat cruising up onto the beach. And it meant more friends had arrived so more fun was going to be had!!

  3. Paulette Attie Says:

    Where do you suppose the photo was taken? Seems the doric columns are a wee bit incongruous with flannel shirts and leather boots. 🙂