After flying into Boise, Idaho, it is 85 miles north along the Payette River Scenic Byway to Lake Cascade and the little town of Donnelly, one of the most beautiful and unspoiled places left in the lower 48 states.
Glenna and I made that drive, along with two of our sons and their wives, about five years ago, to visit my brother Sam and his wife, Marlene, who had the enviable good luck to grow up in this marvelous place.
Donnelly is a tiny village, population about 138, a wide spot in the road on the way to McCall, a wider spot in the road. The busiest place in Donnelly is the modern day version of a general store, a one-story brick building, with gas pumps outside and, inside, everything from live bait to Wranglers to plug tobacco, cheap whiskey, saddles and salt blocks.
On our third day in Donnelly, my son Trevor, his wife Kim and I stopped at this store for supplies and non-resident licenses for a day of trout fishing, on one of the picturesque steams which abound there.
As we began the process of acquiring the $12.50 licenses, the store’s computer system started resisting. It would take the license information, but when the clerk tried to finalize the transaction and print a license, all it would do was instruct her to start over. She tried to the point of exasperation.
Giving up on technology, this unflappable woman began writing on a yellow legal pad, having already copied our drivers’ licenses and taken our money.
When she finished writing, she ripped the page from the pad, folded it in half and handed it to me. With a smile, she said, “If you see the game warden, show him that.”
With mounting surprise, I read what was carefully written on that sheet of yellow paper:
“Bobby,” it read, “the computer is not working and I couldn’t issue a fishing license to these folks. They paid their money. I’ll put in their information when the computer starts working again. I know you won’t mind if they go ahead and fish. It’s just for today.”
The note was signed, “Gloria at the store.”
Gloria was glorious that day, in a way all too often missing in our lives. Whenever I’m confronted with a “can’t do” official, I think of her and her enabling decision that saved our day of fishing in God’s country.
Tales, Comments and Observations
By Jim Sullins
Faline and McDuff eventually made friends. She kept him company as he made his daily rounds, providing "security" to our little farm.
The tiny fawn sprinted at breakneck speed from behind the barn and raced across the lower pasture, faster than you would imagine for a deer so young. Moments later, the reason for such haste was apparent, as McDuff, our wiry haired mixed breed Irish Wolfhound, shot around the barn corner in hot pursuit.
It would likely have been the end for the fawn, except I had a better angle. It took all the speed I could muster, along with help from a board fence that slowed the fawn barely long enough for me to arrive and scoop her up. McDuff slid to a halt at my feet, looking up in disappointment as the infant doe nestled into my arms, instinctively knowing the danger I represented was infinitely better than dealing with the dog.
We never saw the fawn’s mother. We wouldn’t release her baby because we had no idea how far McDuff had chased her and she would have been vulnerable to other dogs and foxes. So, we took her in the house and fed her a bottle of milk, because this infant was so young she still had remnants of umbilical cord on her stomach. Inside the house, the bonding began.
Glenna, my wife, had still another creature to nurture and rehabilitate, but this would be the most interesting in a long line of lost and injured animals. We called her Faline, after Bambi’s girlfriend.
Tiny Faline joined the family, living inside the house, lying on a pallet of old blankets in the family room, watching the activities, occasionally getting up to stretch and wobble around the room, hoofed feet unsteady on tile floor. Often she would approach a person sitting nearby and lick their hands and arms as much as she was allowed, while leaning against the person’s legs. She would tug on Glenna’s shirt tail, begging for apple slices. Even McDuff eventually accepted her, often lying alongside her on the blankets.
As she grew, Faline split her time between the house and a pen with a high fence and adjoining shelter. Soon, she was allowed to roam the yard on a leash and, after the hunting season at the end of her first year, Faline was released to make her choice about where to live. Initially, she chose our yard, hanging out with her canine friends during the day and appearing on the kitchen porch at dusk, ready to come inside for the night.
Gradually, through the winter, she wandered farther from the house and began short tours into the woods. Eventually, Faline didn’t come home, choosing the woods on a warm night in early spring. After that, she would often visit during the day, especially when Glenna would walk into the yard and call her name. Knowing the sound of her voice, Faline would usually appear after a few minutes, easing from the trees, walking directly to Glenna, whom she would slather with licks and subtle head caresses. Glenna provided treats.
Faline’s visits continued for the next year, gradually becoming less frequent, but regular, nevertheless. As the hunting season approached our anxiety grew, because our locale allowed any adult deer to be taken during the muzzle loader and archery seasons. Faline trusted humans, but humans in the woods meant to kill her.
One black night during the muzzle loader season, we found Faline leaning against an apple tree in our yard, standing but weak. Closer inspection revealed she’d been shot, with a wound crater the size of a grapefruit where foreleg and shoulder join. She could stand, but her right foreleg was useless. In shock, she’d hobbled in on three legs.
With help from our son, we carried the adult Faline to the safety of her enclosure, where the wound was cleaned. Our veterinarian was still in his clinic, so a hasty trip there secured antibiotics that were faithfully injected for several days.
Slowly, the wound began to heal. It scabbed over nicely. Faline began to regain partial use of the injured leg. Then, one morning, we found the enclosure empty. Faline had jumped the six foot wire fence and disappeared into the woods.
It was a long time before we saw her again. When we did, we were amazed to see that the wound crater had disappeared entirely and the area was covered by sleek deer hair. She ran with a unique gait, but seemed otherwise in good condition.
The last time we saw Faline was in the early summer of her third year. She appeared in the yard for petting and licks, while about twenty yards away, along the tree line, her baby waited, naturally afraid to approach the house.
We’re confident Faline wanted us to see her fawn, to let us know her life’s cycle was fulfilled. After a few minutes, she and her fawn blended back into the woods and never returned.
Deer Lives In House, Loves Dogs, Survives Gunshot Wound
Not the subject of our story, but the Rosenberry General Store still operates in Donnelly, Idaho, after more than one hundred years.
'Can Do' Store Clerk Uses Old Fashioned Method to Save the Day in Donnelly, Idaho
At a time when twin engine airliners were the norm at Standiford Field, flying on an Eastern Airlines Constellation was a big deal.
THE SET UP
It was March, 1959, our junior year at Fern Creek. Being sports editor of the Tiger Gazette was a big deal in my life; so, when it came time for the annual trip to the high school journalism convention at Columbia University in New York, I was eager to go.
We took a night flight to Newark, with an intermediate stop in Washington, D.C. at Washington National Airport. The Washington stop included refueling of the piston-driven Eastern Airlines Constellation aircraft, which gave us time to go inside and wander around what was then, to a kid from Louisville, a spectacular edifice.
The terminal was so fascinating I lost track of time and suddenly realized I’d stayed too long. Anxiety began as I hustled down the stairs and out the door to the plane sitting there on the tarmac. There was no security in those days, nobody to stop me, nobody to direct me.
Across the pavement I trotted and hustled up the stairs and onto the plane, but there was a problem. I had picked the wrong gate and entered an empty plane, sitting unattended and dark, in the middle of the night.
Washington National Airport, located in Arlington, Virginia as it appeared in 1960. The soaring height of the main terminal's interior spaces, decorated with aviation, murals is what consumed a young boy's attention.
This was more than an ‘oops’ moment, because I envisioned the Newark-bound plane rolling down the runway sans one distraught kid.
Down the stairs I ran, at the bottom looking left and right for another Constellation with signs of life; and, with great relief, there it was, at the next gate, steps still in place, door open, with windows glowing from interior light. When I reached the top of the stairs and entered, a stewardess almost immediately closed the door and the stairs were taken away. I flopped down in my seat, adrenaline sloshing like stormy seas. I’ve told no one that part of the story, until now.
With this unplanned adventure safely concluded, I was free to concentrate on how to achieve my primary goal during the trip. Attending the convention was important, but it was secondary to what I really longed to do in New York.
In the preceding year or two, while rock ‘n roll was making its permanent place in our culture, I had become enamored of an older genre, jazz.
While I was a fan of Elvis, Fats, Little Richard and Jerry Lee, I also bought the LPs of Ahmad Jamal, Dave Brubeck and the Modern Jazz Quartet. I was determined to hear live jazz in New York, something I hadn’t managed to do in Louisville.
It was nearly dawn when we arrived at the hotel, the Grey Line bus ride from grimy Newark having dimmed the glamorous glow of Eastern Airlines. As the bus approached the Hotel Taft, I saw a small sign below a dimmed marquee. It read “Cozy Cole and Coleman Hawkins.” The marquee was “Café Metropole,” a well-know jazz club I’d never heard of, but later learned it was named after a famous club in Paris.
Cozy Cole was no secret though. He was a spectacular jazz drummer who’d played with Cab Calloway and Louis Armstrong. Hawkins played tenor sax and was a famed jazzman on the downside of his career.
Imagine my luck! It would be easy to hear great jazz in New York, a short walk from our hotel. At least that’s what I thought, until I learned the rules.
In 1959, New York liquor laws allowed drinking at age 18. No problem for me, except the law also prohibited those below 18 from entering any establishment that served alcoholic beverages. This was strictly enforced we learned, when a group of us tried to go bowling, only to have those below 18 denied admission, because beer was sold there.
Being sixteen, this development cast a serious shadow on my plans to patronize the Metropole Café, but it wouldn’t stop me from trying.
The next night, when the others went elsewhere, I stayed behind in the hotel, preparing for my eagerly anticipated foray into a live jazz performance. My objective was to look as old as possible, a Quixotic exercise.
Before showering, I carefully laid out my “businessman’s” outfit: a dark olive 3-button Haspel suit, accompanied by a powder blue, button-down collar, oxford cloth dress shirt, a narrow, dark green knit tie, brown leather belt and Weejuns with dark socks. Pretty convincing, I was sure, notwithstanding that I barely had whiskers and my voice still cracked.
With high hopes and smelling of Canoe, I walked to the Metropole Café. Approaching, I could hear the blast of upbeat jazz. Closer, I saw the man at the door become distracted. I eased inside the door and edged along the wall, trying to be invisible.
For about ten minutes, I stood there, still as stone, encased in the music, ignoring all around me, as Cole worked his magic and Hawkins made lovely sounds; but, it didn’t last.
The first event of impending failure happened when a weaving man passed too close and bumped the man next to me, who spilled most of his scotch and water down the front of my suit coat. This caused the door man to notice me. He sauntered over.
“How did you get in here,” he inquired, shorter than me, but menacing, nevertheless.
Cozy Cole appeared at the Metropole Cafe for years, after making a name for himself with jazz greats like Cab Calloway and Louis Armstrong.
Wearing the same clothes as during his NYC adventure, our protagonist posed for his senior picture, below which appears the error that sealed his fate forever.
“I came in the front door,” said I, in my most mature voice, almost shouting to be heard over the music.
“I need to see your ID.”
“I’m sorry, but I left it at the hotel,” I squeaked.
“Then you’re going to have to leave.”
To be certain I obeyed, he took me by the arm and walked me to the entrance, where the doors were standing open, no doubt to allow the billowing cigarette smoke to escape.
As we reached the door, my attendant’s attention was already shifting, so he casually gave me a firm shove and turned away. The shove caused me to stumble over a crack in the concrete stoop. I fell to my knees, just outside the door.
Almost immediately, somebody grabbed my upper arm and helped me rise. Thinking it would be the door man, I was surprised to be eye-to-eye with a policeman.
This made me nervous. I was underage and reeking of scotch, but all he did was inquire if I was ok. He even wished me a safe evening. From my youthful perspective, this was a very close call.
As I sulked my way back to the hotel, I couldn’t help but reflect that, successful or not, I’d had an adventure. The only remaining challenge would be to explain to my mother the odor of whiskey in my suit.
It was midway through our senior year. I hadn’t thought much about the Metropole Café, other than to brag a little; but, it came to mind when The Tiger staff circulated forms on which we were to list our activities and our fondest memory, to be printed below our photos in the yearbook.
Thinking it would look cool for all time, my memory became, “Getting thrown out of the Metropole on the journalism trip to New York.”
Months later, the annuals arrived and, like most of us, I eagerly opened the book to see how my photo and entry turned out.
Looking at it, I deflated, because a well-meaning member of The Tiger staff, while editing the student submissions, had decided that I couldn’t mean “Metropole,” and had changed it to “Metropolitan.” There it was. Wrong. Forever.
I wanted to be the cool guy from Fern Creek who went to New York and was thrown out of a world famous jazz club. Instead, I’m forever remembered as the kid in the Class of ’60 who went to New York and was thrown out of the opera.
Appropriately, at the moment of reading that mistake, I heard the fat lady sing.
For Tiger Gazette Sports Editor, There Was No Jazz In New York City
The Metropole Cafe, famous New York Jazz Club near Times Square, featured big names in jazz, including Lionel Hampton, DIzzy Gillespie and, above, Cozy Cole and Coleman Hawkins, better known to jazz aficionados.