Stories From the Tamaracks:

'I Remember When...'

A Tamarack Pack Train, passing the lodge dining room, is returning from the South Fork Primitive Area, now known as the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. It is believed that Bud Turner, oldest son of Tamarack owners Maude and Henry Turner, is leading the pack train. The picture was taken in the last 1930's. Photo courtesy of Tom Demmons.

October 26, 2000
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana

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

This is Part 8 of a series of articles about The Tamaracks Lodge, which were prepared by Tom Demmons, son of Ken and Valle Demmons, who were long-time residents of the Lodge and helped manage it through the years. Part 8 contains stories told to Tom by his uncle Frank Anderson, who had taken over the Seeley Lake Post Office and was managing Kenny Freshour's store while he was in the U. S. Navy during World War II.

Hyram Hackerman owned a little old poison-acre-ranch up there, and he had chickens and he had goats, and he had a pig and a cow. He raised a little garden in the summertime when it didn't freeze up on him before it matured.

Anyway, this was when I was at the store at Seeley Lake, and the post office. Next door to me was Freshour's bar and restaurant - right next door (The Log Cabin Bar). Maggie Sudath was the cook.

Soo one day Hyram came down and he asked, "Frank do you think you could sell a lamb for me?" I said, "Sure Hyram, I can sell anything here," - and I could too. I could have sold anything in that store. I said, "Bring it down. I want it nice and clean though." "Oh you bet," he said. And Hyram brought down that goddam piece of meat, and it looked beautiful, and so I said, "Split it for me." Well that was no problem for Hyram. He took an old ax and went right down the middle of it. I sold some of it to The Tamaracks later that day.

Anyhow, Maggie came over to the store - she was always runnin' out of somethin' in the restaurant. She was the best customer I had, and I asked, "Maggie you suppose you could sell a leg a lamb over there? And she replied, "Oh hell yes." I said, "Well, okay, I got one here." Maggie said, "Weigh it up for me and tell me how much it is." And away she went a beamin' with that meat.

God! Next day she comes in with that chunk of meat and she slams it down on the counter, right by the end of the leg she did, KA-WHAM! I asked myself, as I stepped out of her way - you bet I got out of her way - what in the name of heaven is she up to? "Goddamn you! You sold me goat!" I said, "No Maggie, I didn't. Hyram said this is a sheep." With eyes blazin' and steppin' my way, she shouted, "IT'S NOT A SHEEP, IT'S A GOAT! AND I WANT MY MONEY BACK!" So I gave Maggie her money back, you bet I gave her the money, and quick. Whew, was I glad to see her leave.

I threw that chunk of meat in my car - I was a little ticked off at Hyram by then - and I went runnin' up to his place, about four miles from the store, and I went in, and I slammed the leg down on his table, and I said, "You sold me a goddam goat!" And he said, "Ah, no I didn't Frank," I said, Show me a sheep around your place!" Well, he had nothin' but goats, goats everywhere. I should've known, but I got my money back. Old Hyram.

Anyway, when I got back to the store Valle Demmons from The Tamaracks was waitin' for me. What she said about the meat I sold her is best left unsaid. Valle got her money back too. I closed the store early that day, you bet I did.


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