Stories from the Tamaracks:
Part 3

"I remember when...'

August 24, 2000
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana

Quiet Times for The Tamaracks Owners, Managers and Offspring at Freshour's Bar in Seeley Lake in the Latter Part of the 1930's. Left to right: Bud Turner, Valle Demmns, Henry Turner, Infant Sandy Demmons, Maud Turner, Ken Demmons, and Pel Turner. Henry and Maud were the owners of The Tamaracks. Bud, Valle, and Pel were their children. Photo Courtesy of Tom Demmons.

Valle Turner Demmons and her two oldest children at The Tamaracks around 1940. Left to right: Ann and Ken "Sandy." Photo courtesy of Tom Demmons.

(Stories From Long Ago About The Tamaracks of Seeley Lake Compiled by Jack Demmons.)


(This is part 3 of a series of articles about The Tamaracks Lodge which was prepared by Tom Demmons, son of Ken and Valle Turner Demmons, who were long time residents of the Lodge and helped manage it through the years. Parts 1-3 are stories as told to Tom by his uncle Frank Anderson - Ken's brother-in-law. They have been edited by Jack Demmons.)


I remember when Maud Turner's cabin caught on fire about 1943. She lost her jewelry, all of her clothes - everything. They didn't get nothin' out. There was no one around to put the fire out 'cause all the men were on a pack trip.

The women at the lodge worked too, you bet they did. Valle was a lovely woman and worked really hard up there. She took care of all the books, made out lists for supplies and kept track of the cabin girls.

Valle had this gasoline-powered washing machine. Sometimes the devil would start and sometimes it wouldn't. One day Ken was shoeing horses at the saddle shed and I was helpin' him. We could hear this noise - clear down there we could hear it - "chug-chug-chug!" We didn't pay any attention, just went on with the shoein'. Pretty soon here came Valle. "One 'a you guys come up and start that damn thing for me because I have a mountain of diapers and I'm in a hurry." "Ya, one of us will be right up," Ken said. We didn't pay any more attention.

Pretty soon, "chug-chug-chug, chug-chug-chug." Valle came down the second time and said, "Ken would...Ken, would you PLEASE come up and start that thing. Or would you Frank?" And I said, "Well, I think Ken should go up. He knows more about washing machines than I do." Ken said, "Ya, I'll come up, I'll come up."

_____! We heard the door slam and for the third time she started down. And this is the truth, there were about a half a dozen ducks sittin' out on the lake and they took off. I saw a squirrel go up clear to the top of a tree. She was screaming like a Comanche Indian. "Come down that trail you rotten _____!" "You're two _____, what you are!" I took off immediately and went in around the saddle shed, and this is the funny part, Ken went up to that machine - I could hear it. He hit the pedal once - prrprrrrrrrr. He said, "For _____ sake Valle!" It was just made to order. He hit it once and it took right off.

I remember one summer when I helped 'em up there - Allie and I did. The roof had started to leak over the old dining room and kitchen. Anyhow there were, I believe, three girls sleeping in the attic, and Ken asked me to fix the roof. So I went up in there to see if I could find exactly where the leak was. I have never seen such a mess in my life. You talk about dirty socks, dirty underpants, dirty sheets, dirty everything. Everything was dirty and everything was thrown all over the place. It looked like a damn morning after an orgy, that's what it looked like.

And they had a cook up there at one time by the name of Barret. He was a good cook, but he was takin' dope. And he ate canned heat. He drank all of the vanilla and lemon extract, anything he could get his hands on. Anyhow, he went on a rampage and screwed up a whole meal right at dinnertime when all the guests were seated ready to eat. I think he'd thrown half of the dinner in the sink and some of it in the garbage. He made a mess out of the kitchen, and then went down to the dock, got a boat and rowed out on the lake. And of course Valle - well, she went wild. It was a helluva scene.

So Ken jumped in a boat and went out after him. He pushed - drove - the cook and his boat into the shore. When they got out of the boats Ken just knocked the hell out of him. He grabbed the buy, threw him into the car and took him down to Freshour's store at Seeley Lake, where he dumped him out. Ken said, "When the bus leaves, see that this guy's on it. We'll pay his fare." So that was the last we ever saw of Barret.

(Stories about The Tamaracks will be continued in future editions of the Pathfinder.)

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