The Work of Greg Clark and Jimmie Frise

Tag: 1947 Page 1 of 3

Laying Down the Law

At 50, we spun, escorted, a short distance out the highway and then up a gravel side road.

By Gregory Clark, Illustrated by Jim Frise, May 31, 1947.

“Are you nervous?” accused Jimmie Frise.

“You’re hitting 60!” I gritted.

“I’m barely doing 50!” said Jim, slackening speed to look at the speedometer. “Look: 52.”

“In the first place,” I announced, “the speed limit is 50…”

“We don’t average 50,” countered Jim, “what with slowing down through towns, and for traffic on the road.”

“The law,” I stated, “does not concern itself with your average speed. It says you can’t exceed 50…on your speedometer.”

“Personally,” said Jim, airily, “I think the law is a little more intelligent than most people give it credit for. Common law is nothing more or less than common sense. I think the speed limit of 50 naturally refers to your average speed.”

“Well, then,” I shifted, “I think you are showing very little common sense in driving this old rattle-trap at anything more than 40.”

“Rattle-trap!” snorted Jim. “Why, she’s just nicely broken in.”

“She’s 10 years old, Jim,” I reminded him.

“Just,” he said, accelerating slightly, “nicely broken in.”

At 30 miles an hour, Jim’s car is a lot noisier than at 40. At 50, the various clanks, clucks, hisses and hums all blend into a kind of high whine which is not entirely unpleasant. In fact, it lulls you.

He got it back to 50, and as I sat taut and tense watching the speedometer needle slowly rise to 53, 55, I heard a new and rather alarming sound rising above the normal whine.

It sounded like explosions: I gripped the seat in expectation of the whole engine flying apart.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw what the new sound was.

It was a speed cop on a motorcycle, slowly forging alongside us, with one hand upraised.

“Cop, Jim!” I shouted above the din. “Pull over!”

“Of all the luck!” grated Jim, as he slacked speed and the cop shot past us and led towards the shoulder of the highway. “We’ll never get there now …”

We came to a steaming stop. The cop unlegged himself over the motorcycle and walked slowly back to us, feeling for his book.

“Let me see your driver’s permit,” he proceeded with the ritual.

He noted down Jim’s name: Took the car license number.

“What’s the trouble, officer,” inquired Jim humbly, with that innocent old Sunday school superintendent air we all assume in these situations.

“I paced you,” said the cop. “Doing 60. In this old crate. And on this piece of highway. Didn’t you notice this was a specially curvy stretch of pavement?”

“Officer,” protested Jim, very shocked, “I never go much over 40 …”

“You were going 60,” said the cop, “and we’ve had a lot of accidents along this stretch. We’re clamping down.”

He slapped his book and put it back in his pocket.

“Look, officer,” said Jim, can you give me any idea when this summons will be for? I’m going to be a long way off in the next couple of weeks…”

“Okay, I’ll take you before the magistrate right now, if you prefer,” said the cop agreeably. “It’s just in the next town, here.”

I nudged Jim sharply. We were going fishing right now. We were late as it was. This would delay us maybe half the afternoon …

“Fine,” exclaimed Jim. “How do I find the court house…?”

“Just follow me,” said the cop, walking to his cycle.

“Jim, you dope!” I hissed. “Here it is two o’clock. We’ve got a good two hours’ drive before we get to the trout pond. This ruins everything!”

“Do I want to come back,” snorted Jim angrily, “the middle of next week sometime, just to answer this summons…?”

“Maybe we could turn it into another fishing trip,” I suggested.

“We’ll get it over with,” muttered Jim, starting up the car, “and be done with it. It won’t take more than 20 minutes.”

“You’ll see!” I prophesied gloomily. “The fishing trip is ruined.”

“A fine fishing trip!” shouted Jimmie above the din, since the cop was leading us away at about 40, which is Jim’s car’s noisiest. “Bellyaching and back-seat driving all the way, and then … pinched!”

“All I say is,” I stated stoutly, “part of a fishing trip is the journey, the drive. A fishing trip should be leisurely, recreative, without stress or strain. If we drive like maniacs to get to the fishing spot, the trip is half ruined to begin with.”

“The evening rise will be over, at this rate,” ignored Jim.

“We present-day sportsmen,” I enlarged, in an attempt to take some of the sting out of the situation, “are destroying the very thing we seek. Fishing is called the contemplative man’s recreation. It is peace personified. Centuries ago, men wrote imperishable books about the healing power of angling. But never in human history more than now do we need the peace, the solitude and the escape of fishing.”

“If cops,” put in Jim, “would let us get any.”

“No, I declared, “we ourselves are destroying the virtue of fishing by pulling it into the hectic riot of the modern way of life. We GO fishing at 60 miles an hour, Izaac Walton WALKED to his fishing. Miles! And enjoyed the walk as much as the fishing. What do we do? After we get there, we insist on outboard motors, fast boats, expert guides to cut down the time wasted … WASTED we say! – in locating the fish. Hang it, locating the fish is more than half the mystery of fishing. Do you know what we have done, in recent years? We have, in the best tradition of efficient business, converted fishing into catching fish !!!”

“Hmmff!” said Jim bitterly.

“Business enterprise,” I philosophized loudly above the car’s row, “has taken the emphasis off fishing and put it on FISH.”

“Look at that cop,” cried Jim, “slowing down, so he can lead us in triumph through the town …!”

Glancing over his shoulder from time to time, as we entered the town limits, the cop slowed until he had us directly in tow. And thus we drove in to the court house.

He directed us where to park, then came and joined us.

“The magistrate,” he stated, “usually sits at two. It’s 2.20 now. If we haven’t missed him, okay. If we have, I’ll just forward the summons in the usual way.”

We walked into the court house, and in one of its dingy rooms we found the magistrate sitting at a desk with half a dozen prior customers.

We took the chairs indicated by the cop. And the magistrate glanced up and favored us with a nasty look.

He also gave the cop a nasty look.

The magistrate, in fact, was a pretty tough old customer. He was irritated, flushed and peevish. of maybe 60, with a weather-beaten face and wearing, to my way of thinking, pretty shabby old tweeds for a man of his rank and station in the community.

He was not holding court. He was simply in his office, settling certain matters out of court. The case in hand, when we entered, was a citizen charged with keeping chickens within the town limits in contravention of a by-law.

He was fined a dollar.

Next case: A man charged with keeping a vicious dog.

“Bring this up,” snapped the magistrate, “at the regular session of the court.”

“But Bill,” protested the accused, “you know as well as I do I can’t come in the morning!”

Bill was the magistrate.

“I want evidence,” chopped the magistrate. “Bring this up in the morning!”

“Well, doggone…” said the accused, flushed and angry. “At this season of the year, there’s no justice in this town …”

He jammed his hat on his head and stamped out, the magistrate following him with a malevolent look.

Two more cases presented their summonses, and with an air of fury, the little old magistrate jerked and rattled at the papers and burst into invective as to the type of people who can’t be content to appear in court in the normal course.

Jimmie and I exchanged glances. The cop sitting beside us leaned over and whispered:

“I guess we made a mistake, eh?”

I showed my wrist watch to Jim. 10 to three!

“Why didn’t you let the thing ride?” I whispered to Jim. “You’ll get the limit.”

“Silence!” roared the magistrate. “How do you expect me to attend to these things with everybody jabbering…!”

Jim gave me a reproving look.

At exactly three o’clock, by the town clock bell, the magistrate finished the business in hand, waved the defendants on their way and turned to us with indignation:

“Now, what do you want?” he demanded acidly.

“These gentlemen,” explained the cop standing up, “are charged by me with travelling at a rate in excess of 50 miles an hour, to wit 60. And as they will be out of the country in the next few weeks, they requested I bring them before you immediately. As not to have to come back later in response to the usual summons.”

“Indeed!” said the magistrate bitterly. “INDEED? For your convenience, I am to spend the whole day here fiddling… Constable, have you got a charge made out”

“Yes, your worship,” said the cop, sliding forward form he had filled out.

Jim stood up.

“Sixty miles an hour, eh?” grated the magistrate. “Do you plead guilty?”

“I would like to say,” began Jimmie …

“Unless you admit the charge,” roped the old gent, “you can’t settle it here. You’ll have to appear in court. Later.”

He tossed the charge sheet on the table and half rose, reaching for his hat.

“I admit it,” hastened Jim.

“H’m! 60 miles an hour?” said the magistrate. “You were in a hurry, eh? Well, so am I! 10 dollars and costs.”

“14 dollars,” said the constable promptly.

And he led us along the corridor to the clerk’s office.

“3.20, Jim,” I said gloomily, as we waited for the receipt. “And 60 more miles to go. There’ll be little fishing for us this trip.”

“Come on,” growled Jim.

We hustled down the hall and collided in the doorway with another hustling figure.

It was the magistrate.

“Hang it!” he howled, as we stood aside to let him pass out first. “You people still in a rush?”

He paused outside to adjust his hat and gave us an appraising stare.

He fixed his eyes on my hat.

“Hello?” he said, stepping up and lifting my hat off.

He examined the half dozen battered old trout flies I stuck in the band.

“Too big,” he said. “And too gaudy. I never use anything larger than size 12 at this time of year. And all drab, like the Greenwell’s Glory or a March Brown. Spider preferred.”

He put my hat back on my head, and reached up and took Jim’s hat off.

“You fellows are wasting your time,” he snapped, “using big loud flies like these. Hey! You two going fishing? Is that why you were in such a rush?”

“Yes, sir,” said Jim hollowly.

“Yes, sir,” I echoed.

“Well,” he said, “what do you suppose I’m in a hurry for? How far are you going?”

We named our destination, 60 miles off.

“You’ll never make it,” he cried, glancing up at the town clock. “The farmer who owns my pond phoned me an hour ago that the trout were rising like mad. You’ll never make it. It’ll be over by the time you go 60 miles.”

He opened the court house door again.

“Sam!” he bellowed.

The cop appeared.

“Jump on your bike,” he commanded, “and clear the road for us, out to the farm!”

“Yessir!” said the cop.

“Now,” yelped the old gent, “where’s your car? Make it snappy …”

And we ran for the car.

“My tackle’s out at the pond,” puffed the old boy, throwing himself in the back seat.

At 50, we spun, escorted, a short distance out the highway and then up a gravel side road.

At 4 pm, we lurched to a stop in a farm yard.

At 4.10, we were back of the barn, clambering into a punt.

At 4.12, the old boy had a half pound trout on.

At 4.12½, we all three had a half pound trout on.

At 4.12, we all three had a half-pound trout on.

It lasted until dark. And at dinner, in the farm house … (speckled trout and hashed brown potatoes) … the old magistrate laid down the law to us.

“In fishing,” he pronounced, “never, never be in a hurry!”


Editor’s Notes: Izaak Walton wrote one of Greg’s favourite books, The Compleat Angler.

$14 in 1947 would be $212 in 2022.

Juniper Junction – 02/19/47

February 19, 1947

This is the first Juniper Junction comic published.

Southward Ho!

February 1, 1947

This was the last Birdseye Center published, before Jim moved to the Montreal Standard and renamed it Juniper Junction.

Juniper Junction – 12/24/47

December 24, 1947

Mad Dog Loose

There was an instant’s hush and then a riot. “Mad dog! Mad dog loose!” came the yells…

By Gregory Clark, Illustrated by Jim Frise, November 22, 1947.

“Never,” counselled Jimmie Frise, “go to a dog show at night.”

“Well, it’s the only convenient time,” I submitted.

“We’ll be trampled to death,” declared Jim. “Let’s go in the morning, or even in the afternoon. The judging goes on from 10 am to 10 pm. We can find out what time the retrievers are being judged.”

“Or the hounds,” I checked. “Especially the beagles, the dear little beagles.”

“The last time we went to the Winter Fair dog show,” recollected Jim, “we had sore feet for weeks. We got trampled, stamped on, butted, biffed, shoved, dug in the ribs…”

“Jim,” I announced, “I regard that tremendous crowd at the dog show as only fitting. I think it is the proper and just tribute of human beings to the oldest and noblest companion of humanity across thousands and thousands of years.”

“But my feet …” complained Jimmie.

“Personally,” I pursued, “I prefer to get caught in the jam at a dog show. I prefer to go at night, when all the crowds are there, so as to be a part of this annual celebration in the honor of the dog. Do you realize that it is just possible that there would be NO human race if it hadn’t been for the dog?”

“How do you make that out?” demanded Jim in surprise.

“Before the introduction of agriculture,” I informed him, “what little wandering bands of human beings there were, scattered sparsely over the earth, had to live on what they could find in the perilous and monster-filled wilderness. They had to be warned of the approach of tigers and other savage creatures. They had to hunt game, their only meat. In both those profoundly important factors in the survival of these poor, trembling human beings, the dog played an immense – in fact, an absolutely essential – part.”

“Big dogs?” inquired Jim.

“Big dogs and little dogs,” I assured him. “The astonishing thing about dogs is that, either big or small, they are to be found, in the most ancient times, all over the world – Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America – everywhere but in a few Pacific islands. And wherever they were, big or small, they were the companions, the helpers, the guardians and warners of men!”

“Well, by golly….!” exclaimed Jim.

“Yes, SIR!” I warmed up. “The first actual historical record of dogs goes back to carvings and paintings of ancient Egypt, on the tomb of King Amten, in the year 4000 BC. Hunting dogs, hounds.”

“You mean,” calculated Jim, “6,000 years ago?”

“And that,” I assured him, “is only yesterday in the history of the dog. Because in the most ancient diggings in the cave men era, in all parts of the world, we find the bones of dogs mixed with the bones of men.”

“You mean,” said Jim, “that back in the days before there was any possible communication between the human tribes, say, in Europe and China, or Africa and North America, men and dogs had already got together?”

“Exactly,” I insisted, “There has been a mutual affinity between men and dogs all over the earth and from the very beginning of time. In South America, they were little dogs. In Asia they were mastiffs, giants. But they all helped man hunt, they all warned man of his monstrous wild enemies, they all shared man’s bed and board.”

“Well, this explains,” suggested Jim, “all the various and wholly different breeds of dog; yet all dogs?”

“A little Mexican chihuahua,” I recollected, “can weigh one pound. A mastiff can weigh 175 pounds. But they are both dogs, and definitely related.”

“We don’t see many mastiffs nowadays,” reflected Jimmie,

“That’s a funny thing,” I admitted. “Because we owe the very word ‘dog’ to the mastiff. When the Norman conquerors invaded Britain, they found the country full of giant mastiffs. These were the popular dogs in Britain. Every little baron, every knight, had a house full of them. Every farmer owned a couple. They were called tie-dogs. That is, tied up by day; loose by night.”

“Brrrr,” shivered Jim.

“The Norman French word for ‘mastiff’,” I explained, “was ‘dogue,’ It still is the French word for mastiff. And we poor dopey British, as so often happened to us whenever we were conquered by the Romans or the Vikings or the Saxons and so forth, had a foreign word shoved down our throats. The word ‘dogue,’ which meant ‘mastiff’ to our new bosses, came at last to mean ‘dog,’ meaning any little peewee.”

“Man, I hate to think of those early days,” murmured Jim, “when they had all those mastiffs turned loose every night.”

“Oh, the mastiff was a good many thousand years here before the Normans landed in England,” I advised. “The Romans found him in Britain, also the giant Irish wolfhound. They took ’em home and fed Christians to them in the Colosseum. The ancient kings of Persia had mastiffs. It’s only in quite recent times that men have gone in for the smaller dogs.”

“Thank heavens,” said Jim.

So, with our heaviest boots on, we went to the dog show, in the evening after all. In honor of the dog.

And just as Jimmie had predicted, it was a jam. You see, at the dog show, they have long aisles of small benches on which the show dogs recline. And the public wanders up and down these aisles, viewing the various and beautiful creatures. It could not be any other way. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. But a dog show is capable of traffic jams beyond the wildest dreams of Piccadilly or St. James street and McGill. Certain of the aisles are occupied, say, by one particularly popular breed, like the cocker spaniels. And naturally, everybody pushing along is looking for the cockers. And everybody who is already in the cocker aisle is holding firm. It takes quite a little time to look at a cocker spaniel.

Then, of course, there are the social gatherings. Mrs. Gotrox, who raises Pekingese, is sitting right on the bench, in sporty outdoorswoman costume, among her darlings. And what more natural than that all Mrs. Gotrox’s social friends, with numbers of others who merely like to bask in the obviously social atmosphere surrounding Mrs. Gotrox, should form a traffic jam in front of the Pekingese which is impossible from either direction?

But it is all very fine-tempered and smiling. People who come to look at dogs are a special breed of people. They are probably the old-fashioned kind, the ones not entirely dehumanized by civilization. They have inherited from the long past some memory of the dog that was not a friend merely, but an ally against the encircling darkness. At a dog show, you find yourself looking into the eyes of crowds of people who might easily be your brothers or sisters.

Jimmie wanted to turn left and start with the terriers. I wanted to turn right and start with the Great Danes. Either way, we would be going against the traffic. At dog shows, traffic moves in all possible directions.

“Gosh, what stallions!” gasped Jimmie, as we came in front of the Great Dane exhibit. There were 20 or 30 of them, fawn, black, brindled and harlequin – incredibly striped and blotched in black and white. Their giant jaws agape, their tiny ears pricked up, their stern gaze staring into the multitude looking for one, ONE friend.

So we edged along, passing the chows, the toys, funny balls of knitting called Pekes and Italian greyhounds so tiny and so slender that you might think the Italians got the idea of spaghetti from looking at their diminutive little greyhounds.

We came at length to the dogs Jim was looking for: the retrievers, especially the golden retrievers; although Jimmie isn’t finicky. He will look at any dog so long as it is a retriever – a Labrador, a curly-coated, flat-coated, a Chesapeake Bay. So long as it is half the size of a moose, with a coat like a duck, and with dark wise eyes that suggest it would know exactly what to do both before and after a gun barks.

Now, my fancy is hounds; and the smaller the better. Thirteen-inch beagles, for instance.

But before we got to the hounds and after Jimmie had created a half-hour traffic jam around the retrievers, with his duck-talk to them and his measuring of

But before we got to the hounds and after Jimmie had created a half-hour traffic jam around the retrievers, with his duck-talk to them and his measuring of them at the shoulder and the loin, and his picking the bored creatures up to guess their weight, and stroking their otter-like ears that lie so snug and waterproof against their heads, we had to fight our way into and through a traffic jam in front of the English bulldogs.

And the cause of this particular jam was one particular bulldog. He had the most sinister face I have ever seen, including the great Lon Chaney AND Boris Karloff. He was white, with brindle markings. He weighed well over 40 pounds. His massive brow was not only wrinkled, it twitched into new wrinkles every time he blinked his eyes, which were terrible. And under his mushed snout there protruded two white fangs, upward, bared and ready.

The traffic jam stood respectfully well back from his bench. Because, on the back of the partition of the bench was tacked this sign:

DANGEROUS

DO NOT HANDLE!

“WHAT a brute!” breathed Jimmie.

“He’s beautiful,” I stated.

And the brute looked up at me, from his squat stance, with a sudden, alert expression.

“Bee-yeautiful!’ I repeated rather cautiously,

And the brute chopped his terrible toad jaws at me in a fiendish grin, waggled his broken twisted tail ecstatically and wriggled his massive, bowlegged body into a regular fandango of friendliness.

“By golly,” gasped Jim, “he likes you!”

And a little murmur of applause rose from the silent traffic jam all around.

“Hi, Beautiful!” I said carefully.

The brute leaned out of his bench and strained on the heavy chain that held him.

“Don’t get fresh with that baby,” warned a voice behind me. “He’s a bad actor!”

I glanced to see a tall, raw-boned character in the crowd who had a know-it-all air about him.

“I know something about bulldogs,” he said wisely. “That one is a killer, A BAD dog!”

But the brute was now shimmying in a monstrous and grotesque fashion, straining on his chain in my direction, his eyes wide with friendliness and his terrific pie plate of a mouth in a wide gape of chumminess.

“Careful!” muttered Jim.

But I took a chance. I put my hand out on his head. I slid it firmly down his neck and scratched.

The bulldog snuggled right up to my thigh. And he sat down with a sort of a dump and emitted a great sigh of joy.

“He’s a fool!” said the character in the crowd.

But the traffic jam was entirely charmed by the spectacle and their murmurs rose to little cheers of delight. I sat down beside the brute on the bench and put my arm heartily around him. He fairly pushed me over, he was so happy. He licked my face and panted with brotherly love.

He fairly pushed me over, he was so happy.

The crowd closed in nearer.

I noted that the chain which held the brute was I caught under his hind leg. I tried to hoist him free of it, but he just snuggled tighter to me. I took the snap off the chain and undid it from his collar to pass the chain under him —

With bound, the massive bulldog leaped free and down into the crowd among their fast-moving legs …

The character, who had been so loud in warning me, let go in a stentorian voice:

“Look out! Bad dog loose!”

There was an instant’s hush and then a riot.

“Mad dog! Mad dog loose!” came the yells and squeals from every direction.

And you never saw a traffic jam melt so fast in your life. Not only in our particular vicinity, but in all the adjoining aisles. Out on the main exit, &a veritable stampede.

But above the tumult, I could hear one voice scolding.

And down our aisle came a man in a white sweater, lugging the brute by the collar. He hoisted him summarily into his place on the bench.

“How’d he get loose?” he demanded, seeing I was sitting on the bench.

“I’m sorry,” I confessed. “His chain was caught under him. I unsnapped it for an instant …”

“Didn’t you see that sign?” demanded the handler grimly. “Dangerous! Do not handle!”

By now the crowds were coming sheepishly back.

“That dog isn’t dangerous,” I scoffed, “The friendliest…”

“The friendliest dog in this here whole show, bar none!” said the handler to me in a low voice. “I just put that sign up to make people keep their dirty hands off him. They carry infection from one dog to another.”

“He’s a beauty,” I agreed.

“That’s his name: Beautiful,” revealed the handler. “That’s what we call him – Beautiful.”

“Ah, that explains it,” I said.

And I went ahead through the much-thinned crowd, and joined Jimmie at the beagles.


Editor’s Notes: McGill and St. James would be a busy intersection at the time in Montreal (and would be used as a reference since this was published in the Montreal Standard). Though English speakers would call it St. James, it is officially Rue Saint Jacques.

Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff were well known horror actors, playing the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Frankenstein’s monster respectfully.

Brindle markings is a coat pattern that is described as tiger-striped, though the variations of color are more subtle and blended than distinct stripes.

A stentorian voice is very loud and strong.

Juniper Junction – 10/29/47

October 29, 1947

Goodbye To Summer

“Whoa!” yelled Joe Badeau. But inexorably, the old boat bored straight ahead.

By Gregory Clark, Illustrated by Jim Frise, August 30, 1947.

“It’s hard to believe!” muttered Jimmie Frise.

“That summer’s over?” I sympathized.

“No,” said Jim, heatedly. “That here we are, all packed and waiting for Joe Badeau to come with the launch and take us away. And not one – NOT ONE – thing have we done that we planned to do this summer!”

“We fished,” I pointed out.

“Yah, but the roof!” cried Jim. “We planned to stain the shingles on the roof. We’ve got the shingle stain down there in the boathouse, and it’s been there since early July!”

“And the verandah and steps,” I recollected.

“Yes, and the paint for them,” declared Jim angrily, “has been right there in the boathouse, too.”

“And the wharf!” I remembered.

“Yes,” said Jim bitterly, “the wharf! Remember the plans we drew last April and May, of the new wharf? Those sketches must be around here somewhere.”

“Aw, Jim,” I consoled, “it’s always like that at a summer cottage. Nobody ever gets the jobs done that they plan in spring.”

“But, Greg,” protested Jim sharply, “this isn’t the first year we’ve fiddled away on that wharf. Last summer, don’t you remember, we came up here with every intention of repairing the wharf and putting some new logs under the far end?”

“Well, last year,” I pointed out kindly, “don’t forget, there was a nail shortage. You couldn’t get spikes …”

“Spikes!” cried Jim. “Why, the year before that, we got a whole pailful of six-inch spikes! Don’t you recall? They’re down in the boathouse, too!”

“Ah, yes,” I admitted. “Then, this is the third summer…”

“And the blankets!” went on Jim, enumerating our sins. “My wife brought up all those blankets from the city for us to wash in this lovely soft water”

“We never got around to it,” I excused.

“Never got around to it?” expostulated Jim. “We never got around to anything!”

The baggage was all stacked on the cottage verandah. Inside, all was clean and tidy and ready to be abandoned to the long silence of fall, winter and spring. The shutters were up. Screen doors removed and stacked in the spare room. Pails turned upside down. Kettles emptied. All left-over food of every description packed in a carton to take home. And in a little while, around the islands, would come Joe Badeau with his launch to carry us off.

“Blankets,” I pondered. “I can’t understand why we didn’t do the blankets. There’s nothing I like better than tramping blankets in a tub.”

“You can’t wash blankets in a city,” agreed Jim, “the way you can up here. A tubful of warm water. A good mild suds. And us in our bare feet, tramping, tramping, tramping…”

“And then, two separate tubfuls of clear water to rinse them,” I reminded. “Tramping and tramping again.”

“And don’t forget the shaking,” gloated Jim. “The two of us with a blanket between us, shaking and whipping the water out, until it is white and fluffy.”

“And then,” I concluded, “hanging them on the line, in a fresh west wind, on a fine sunny day. Man, no new fangled washing machine can wash blankets like that!”

“How sweet and soft they are,” sighed Jim, “for the winter!”

“But,” I sighed too, “we didn’t do them! We didn’t get around to it.”

Jim got up off the trunk he was sitting on and stood staring out over the bay.

“What DID we do this summer?” he demanded. “Let’s just pause and take stock of ourselves. I tell you, it’s nothing to feel smug and easy about. When you think of all the things we had set down in black and white…”

“Listen, Jim,” I soothed, “summer is like that. Summer cottages are like that. You aren’t supposed to do anything, really, at the summer cottage. At home, in the spring, when you’re dreaming of summer, you are in the grip of the city and its purposeful spirit. You make a lot of plans. That’s part of being in the city. But the real joy of summer is to let everything go hang ….”

“But you’d think,” cut in Jim, “that we would at least have enough sense, enough energy, to attend to the upkeep of the place. Most of the things we intended to do were necessary repairs and upkeep. I can’t think why we didn’t stain those shingles on the roof, for one thing.”

“Or the wharf,” I admitted. “We were in swimming every day, down there at the wharf. There’s all those logs there, on the beach. All we had to do, any day, was go and get an axe, a hammer, and that pail of spikes out of the boathouse …”

“Exactly!” cried Jim. “Every time we were in swimming, that dilapidated old wharf was right there before our eyes. What happens to people like us when they seem to go blind to their duty, to their plans, to their intentions …”

“Aw,” I soothed, “when you’re in swimming, it’s so cool and pleasant and dreamy.”

“But that wharf!” protested Jim. “GLARING at us.”

We both turned our embarrassed gaze down at the old wharf. I don’t know how many years old it really is. It is a composite of many years and many wharves. Some of the logs and a few of the planks must date back 30 years. The stone-filled crib that is the foundation of the outer end has been skewgee as long as anybody can remember. The inner end leans upon the rock, inches under water when the water is high: cockeyed and aslant and high and dry when the water is low. It has been unsafe to walk on for five seasons. Guests and strangers alike have sprained ankles on it; picked up splinters; skidded off into the water from it. It is an eyesore and a public reproach.

Yet, with a few pieces of log pried under it for legs with a couple of fresh chunks spiked on to the trembling crib, a dock fit for another 10 years could be made by two gentlemen in their bathing suits in about, say, 40 minutes.

“Conscience, Jim,” I propounded, “must be at its lowest ebb in summer. It may be that conscience is like a barometer and has its high periods and its low periods. Maybe the seasons have a lot to do with human conduct. For instance, I would think conscience is at its highest fury about the middle of February and at its lowest about the end of July.”

“All these jobs stared at us,” gloomed Jim, “day after day. And we utterly ignored them.”

“Human nature remains,” I uttered, “a profound mystery. For centuries, great minds – philosophers, teachers, preachers, kings, politicians – have been studying human nature with tireless zeal. Billions of words have been written by men of every race and clime, trying to solve the mystery of human nature. But guys like you and me go right on being mysterious, even to ourselves.”

“What time is it?” demanded Jimmie, with sudden intent.

“Ten-twenty,” I informed him. “Every once in a while across the centuries, some great leader rises up who thinks he has got the mystery of human nature solved. And he sets forth to master the world with his knowledge. Hitler was the latest of them …”

“Joe Badeau will be here at 11,” stated Jim, taking off his city coat and starting to unbutton his city shirt collar. “We’ve got exactly 40 minutes ….!”

“No, no, no, Jim!” I protested, leaping up.

“We’ll put on our bathing suits,” he declared. “In a jiffy. We can hoick a couple of logs under this end of the wharf. I’ll get the spikes and the axe …”

“Aw, Jim, Jim!” I begged. “You can’t make good in 40 minutes the errors and omissions of a whole summer. Look, sit down, take it easy. It’s our last few minutes here in this lovely place …”

But Jim had popped indoors and seized our bathing trunks off the hook in the store room. He came forth and tossed me mine.

“Jim, be reasonable, “I pleaded. “Joe Badeau always arrives ahead of time. He’ll be rounding the point in five or 10 minutes.”

“Come on,” commanded Jim, filled with an extraordinary zeal.

And he popped out of his trousers and shorts and into his trunks.

“I’ll go get the axe, and the pail of spikes,” he announced, striding off the verandah, “and we can haul a few short logs.”

Now, I like a dip about as well as anybody. But this I was one of those coolish August days with a brisk west wind ablowing, and the cool water of the deeper lake being churned by lively waves.

“Jim,” I called, “we don’t both have to be in our trunks, do we?”

“Don’t hedge!” shouted Jim over his shoulder “Here’s our chance to make some amends to our character. Come on, get into your trunks!”

Character! Is surrendering to the soft and Idle charm of summer a weakness of character? Is it wrong to enjoy the bounty of the seasons? Why should summer end in a hasty scramble, as though we were slaves, and conscious the driver with a whip? Why should not summer end like a song, lingering in the heart?

I got into my trunks.

I listened for the far mutter of Joe Badeau’s engine. But the August wind and waves denied me.

Jim unlocked the boathouse and came out with the axe and a large bucket containing the six-inch spikes purchased three, maybe four, years ago, for this very purpose. I picked up the hammer and the swede saw from its nail. The swede saw is that lumberjack weapon like a modernized bucksaw. It melts its way through old dry logs.

“Snappy, now,” ordered Jimmie. “Let’s select three or four good stout logs.”

Boldly, he jumped into the water up to his armpits at the deeper end of the dock and scrutinized the underpinnings.

“We need a six-foot log on this side,” he announced very engineeringly, “and the mate to it on the opposite side. Here on the crib, I should think three pieces, let’s see, four feet long, will tighten her up.”

“The ice, this winter,” I prophesied coldly, “will swipe the logs from under…”

“Then, we need a nice light log, about 20 feet long, as a crowbar, to hoist her up a little while I spike the…”

I walked off the dock and into the rushes along the beach where sundry logs, drifted in over the years, were either lying half-buried in the sand, or were dry as old bones up among the shrubbery of the shore:

Jim came behind me with the swede saw.

“Here’s one,” he announced. “Cedar, at that!”

And out of the harsh grass, he hoisted one end of an eight-inch cedar log, dried and bare from maybe half a century of weathering. Out of its middle, we cut two fine posts six feet long. The swede saw released the imperishable aroma of cedar with the sawdust.

A little farther along, we pulled out two old pine sawlogs that probably escaped from the lumberjacks’ booms years ago when they were cutting through this part of the country.

“Enough here,” announced Jim. “to build an entire new crib.”

With the saw, we cut four good billets for the crib.

“I think I hear Joe Badeau!” I exclaimed.

We both paused to listen.

“I don’t hear him,” said Jim.

Neither did I.

So we went and hunted up a long, light log for me to use as a pry or lever, while Jim was setting the new legs under the dock.

All these selected pieces of wood we dragged over to the wharf. Using a boulder for a base, I thrust one end of the 20-foot pole under the edge of the wharf, and then leaned all my weight on the other end. This raised the more dilapidated end of the wharf slightly, so that Jim, in the water, could jag one of his six-foot logs underneath, upright, for a leg or support. With his six-inch spikes, driven in obliquely, he secured the legs to the battered old stingers.

Working fast, Jim set both legs in place and then moved around to the crib. This was where I entered the water too, to tow the crib pieces into place and hold them while Jim, with the axe, drove spikes wherever he could find a spot they would bite between the fresh logs and the old cribbing,

“I hear him!” I announced.

Jim harked a moment.

“Okay,” he said, “we’ve just got time to get half a dozen rocks to put in the crib.”

Many of the original rocks had fallen out of the crib during the years of disintegration. Three or four we found with our feet on the lake bottom, and these we lifted easily, in the water, and set back in the crib.

“That’ll hold her,” I suggested, hopefully.

“The crib is the foundation of the whole thing,” asserted Jim. “Come on.”

In the neighboring sand, we found and uprooted half a dozen more boulders, which tear the arms out of you to carry. We were exhausted by the time the crib was declared full by Jim.

“There!” he heaved. “Now I can face the winter with a decent conscience!”

Joe Badeau was rounding the point, a mile away.

We dashed up to the house, dried, and dived into our clothes. Together, we carried down the trunk. Individually, we toted down the dunnage bags, grips and cartons.

“There,” cried Jim. “Feel how solid she is!”

The old wharf DID feel solid.

Joe Badeau was 100 hundred yards out.

“Hi-ya, Joe!”

Jim dashed up to the cottage to lock the door.

I stood on the wharf while Joe steamed in.

The wind was with him.

His boat is old, his engine older.

Often before this, it had failed to respond to his rusty gear shifts and throttles.

On it came.

“Hey!” I warned.

Jim was half-way down the rocks.

“Whoa!” yelled Joe Badeau.

But inexorably, the old boat bored straight ahead.

There was a splintering crash. Everything gave way. The old wharf just tilted up and surrendered.

In went all the baggage, the trunks, the cartons, the dunnage bags, the grips.

And me.

“How’s your conscience?” I gritted, as Jim lent me a helping hand back onto the rock.

“Whoa!” yelled Joe Badeau. But inexorably, the old boat bored straight ahead.

Editor’s Notes: This is another example where you can see the difference between the original colour image, and the microfiched version, especially in the case of later Montreal Standard stories where the image is split over 2 pages. This is the only example of a Montreal Standard story where I have the original, and you can see that the picture is not printed in full colour. I’m not sure what this printing process is called, but it can be seen in some older magazines, which I assume was cheaper.

Skewgee means slanted or crooked.

A Swede saw was a name for a modern bow saw. It was invented in the 1920s by a Swedish company.

Lion Brand Hay Fork Rope Ad

July 9, 1947

This advertisement was unusual, as Jim rarely did any work outside of his comic and the Greg-Jim story after 1937, and is the latest example I know of.

Locke Can Have Them!

Some small children, playing in the street, called to one another and formed a procession behind us.

By Gregory Clark, Illustrated by Jim Frise, June 28, 1947

“Incidentally,” inquired Jimmie Frise, “are you color blind?”

“Certainly not,” I informed him.

“The reason I ask,” went on Jim, “is the way you dress.”

“What’s the matter,” I demanded, “with the way I dress? I’d rather dress with a little individuality than the way most men dress. In drab grays, blues, browns. Like inmates of an institution.”

“I’d rather look,” replied Jim, “like an inmate of an institution than like an escaped inmate of an institution.”

“What do you mean by that?” I asked hotly.

“Weeeeelll, after all,” soothed Jimmie, “it pays to conform. After all, there are certain standards in this world. It’s a lot more comfortable to conform.”

“I’m comfortable enough,” I assured him.

“Just look at you!” scoffed Jim. “A rowdy tweed coat. A green shirt. Navy blue pants. And brown shoes.”

“Look:” I interrupted. “What difference does it make to anybody in the world how I dress? Actually, does it matter in the very slightest degree to a single living soul in this whole earth whether I dress this way or some other way?”

“There’s me,” suggested Jim. “The sight of you makes me uneasy.”

“How could it?” I protested.

“It’s this way,” explained Jim. “Society is an institution. An artificial institution. Society doesn’t come natural to man. Cattle and sheep live in herds. That’s society. But men are more like wolves or other predators. They live best in small packs. In the beginning, men did live in small packs. And the packs were continually fighting one another for trespassing on each other’s hunting preserves. So, after a long struggle, a system was worked out, called human society, in which an effort was made to persuade men to abandon their natural wolf pack way of life and adopt the social system of the herds of cattle and sheep.”

“Now, just a minute…!” I tried.

“What I’m getting at,” persisted Jimmie, “is that it is the duty of everybody in human society to try and conform to the herd. All sheep look alike. All cattle in a herd look alike. You can’t really tell one from another; unless, of course, you’re the owner of a small herd, and you know them Individually as Bessie, and Brownie and Bunty. I’m referring to great herds, like the human herd.”

“Now, hold on there!” I argued.

“To make human society work,” went on Jim, calmly, it is the duty of every one of us to fight back those individualistic impulses that throw back to the wolf in us. That is why clothes and fashions are so important. The highest type of social man is the man who looks most like all other men.”

“Some of the greatest men we’ve ever had,” I challenged, “like Winston Churchill, were famous for their funny-looking hats and conspicuous clothes!”

“Ah, the leaders, yes,” agreed Jim easily. “The herd bull is often a mighty and individualistic-looking creature. The ram that leads the flock is distinguished by huge and spectacular horns. I imagine the leaders of human society are entitled to the same distinctions. But I’m talking about the vast mass, the rank and file of human society. Its function – its DUTY – is to conform, to be uniform, to be standardized.”

“Are you talking socialism,” I demanded, “or Nazism?”

“The army,” concluded Jim, “is the highest expression of human society. There, the rank and file are dressed as like as pins, and trained, as far as possible, to act and think exactly alike. The generals, of course, are gaudy.”

“Jim,” I pleaded, “you don’t really believe all this, do you?”

“If it weren’t true,” retorted Jim, “then why do you see, in a big city like this, all the men breaking their necks to look all alike, to wear the same suits, coats, hats? Why do the great majority look askance at any man who dresses against the fashion? Like you?”

“Do people look askance at me?” I snorted.

“I’m looking at you askance,” confessed Jim, gently. “Ow! That shirt! Those pants! Those yellow boots!”

I looked down at myself and saw little to complain of. The coat is a favorite. It has great big bellows side pockets in which you can carry pipe, tobacco, all the letters you’ve got in the last few days, a notebook, a couple of small books like a bird guide or a fishing book, a small camera, a bottle of vitamin pills and any of the other things a man likes to have handy.

The navy blue pants, I admit, were not what I had intended to put on. But I picked them off the hook in the dark closet and had them on before I noticed they weren’t the gray flannels. But is a man to go around looking at his own pants all the time?

The green shirt? Well, it was the top shirt in the drawer.

And the yellow boots? Ah, now we’re on fighting ground. Boots are a man’s foundation. Comfortable, sturdy boots are the basis of a man. Rich or poor, look at a man’s boots, and you can tell his character at glance. I had my yellow boots on because they are the most comfortable.

Jim slowly surveyed me from head to foot, and shuddered.

“Ordinary consideration,” he said, “for your fellow-citizen should prevent you from a get-up like that.

Jim, never since the days of George IV.” I informed him, “has there been such color and freedom in men’s clothes as there is today. Sport coats, sport shirts, hand-painted neckties, pastel hats…”

“But they don’t clash!” cried Jim. “They blend, they co-ordinate.”

“Did you notice,” I asked bitterly, “in the papers a few weeks back all the excitement about Bobby Locke’s plus fours?”

“The golf champion?” said Jim.

“Yes, the South African,” I declared, “who came over here and grabbed off a lot of the big cash prizes in the golf tournaments. Now, what do you suppose was the biggest news about Locke? What do you imagine all the newspapers and the wire services featured about Bobby Locke? It was his plus fours. His big baggy pants. Why, even Time had a feature on them.”

Now, what do you suppose was the biggest news about Locke?… It was his plus fours.

“Well, they’re a little old fashioned,” pointed out Jim. “Back 20 years ago, plus fours were the standard golf costume. No gentleman felt himself properly dressed for a golf game unless he had on plus fours.”

“Plus fours,” I stated, “have nothing to do with golf, then or now. Plus fours were sanctified by the grouse shooters, deer stalkers and salmon fishers of Scotland ages before the golfers took them up. Plus fours are the finest sporting garments ever designed. There is more freedom in them than anything save the kilt. They’re roomy where room is needed, and leave your lower legs and ankles free of the flapping nuisance of trouser cuffs. And I have a pair.”

“Of plus fours?” exclaimed Jim. “I never saw you in them.”

“I wear them on special occasions,” I explained, cautiously.

“Such as going to the opera, I suppose,” scoffed Jim, “or to weddings!”

“They’re heavy Harris tweed,” I explained stiffly. “I got them in Scotland about 20 years ago.”

“Funny I never saw you in them,” muttered Jim.

“Well, there are too many burrs in this part of Canada,” I mentioned. “First time I wore them out rabbit hunting in the fall, I got into a burr patch and it kind of gummed me up. Took my entire family and me the whole evening to pick them free.”

“Still, there have been several funerals,” persisted Jim,” where I would have expected to see you in them…”

“Okay, Jim,” I submitted sadly. “You dress like a chartered accountant if you like. You go socialist if you like, and dress like a numb little robot. An I can say is, Bobby Locke wore plus fours and almost swept the golf world. I’m willing to bet he owed a lot to the plus fours on two accounts: first, because they gave his legs the fullest freedom possible; and second, the psychological effect of them on his opponents. They were a mental hazard. You see a man waddling around in plus fours, and you get an entirely erroneous idea of what he’s got underneath them.”

“Let’s see you in your plus fours, some time,” laughed Jimmie.

When I went home for supper, I went to the attic and opened up all the pillow cases full of old hunting clothes until I came to the plus fours, forgotten all these years. There were still some burrs in them.

I took them down and changed into them, and selected a windbreaker and a nice quiet sport shirt of one of the gloomier Scottish clans. I found the coarse woolen knee hose that go with the plus fours balled up in the pockets of the garment. My yellow shoes completed the ensemble.

And after dinner, I walked around the corner to Jim’s, finding him weeding the petunias. He sat back on his haunches and surveyed me.

“By George,” he breathed, “you look like something dug up out of the twenties! You look like a Scotch countryman out on the misty hills looking for a shilling a friend said he had lost. Did you come round the front way, or through the back lanes?”

“Does anything clash?” I inquired sharply. “Isn’t this shirt and windbreaker in conformity with the plus fours? The hose are a proper blend with the tweed…?”

“It’s not the blend I refer to this time,” said Jim, rising. “Let’s go indoors, eh?”

“Are you afraid of the neighbors?” I sneered.

“Well, after all,” said Jimmie, “it’s not the season for masquerade parties.”

I stood my ground.

“Jim,” I enunciated, “I’m going around to the corners to get some tobacco. Want to come?”

“Think of your wife and children,” suggested Jim.

“They don’t mind me,” I said.

“Wait till after dark,” urged Jim. “Come on in.”

“You’ve got a psychosis,” I charged. “You’ve gone socialist without knowing it. You may be a Tory in your surface mind but underneath, you’re licked, Jim. You are frightened. You conform. You want to hide in the herd – that herd of sheep you were talking about this afternoon.”

“You’ve got a good point there,” agreed Jim, “come on in and sit down and we’ll talk it over.”

“I’m going to walk around and get some tobacco,” I stated, starting for the front walk.

“If you were taller,” suggested Jim, “if you weren’t so wide … sort of … or if the plus fours weren’t QUITE so bloomy …”

“Even personal insults, eh?” I gritted.

“Oh, well…” sighed Jim, throwing down the trowel and dusting off his hands.

So we walked out to the pavement and turned south to go the three blocks to the shops.

It is easy to be nonchalant in plus fours. They afford great freedom to the nether limbs and also to the mind. They are airy, roomy, and from them arises a spirit of liberty that affects the whole being.

On the verandahs of the neighbors, as we passed, there were outbreaks of sudden short coughs; and also sudden silences. Whenever we met people walking, Jim stepped smartly ahead of me, as if to shield me from view. Normally, Jim is very respectful to the sensitiveness of a short man, who always hates to be stood in front of. But tonight, he was obviously in distress. A car full of young people honked their horn loudly as they passed, and cheers wafted from them. Another car, farther on, slammed on its brakes with a screech of tires, as it passed us.

Some small children, playing in the street, called to one another and formed a procession behind us, chanting some unintelligible nonsense, until Jimmie drove them away.

At the corners, where there were groups of people waiting for the bus and lingering in the store fronts, there were again those sudden silences as we passed along into the cigar store,

“See, Jim?” I explained. “Those abrupt silences are marks of respect. Everybody respects a person of obvious individuality.”

We got our tobacco and emerged into the evening.

“Let’s go round the other way,” suggested Jim. “Right around the block.”

“Okay.” I said.

Again, the silences on the verandahs. Again a couple of salutes from car horns and several cars slowed down for the view.

“What’s the hurry, Jim?” I remarked, for he was walking far faster than his usual gait.

A bunch of kids were playing soft ball on the pavement ahead. One of them got his eye on me at a little distance and yelled. They were all ganged up on the sidewalk for our passage. Their cries and exclamations grew louder,

“Hey, mister,” yelled one, “what have you got in there? Samples? Hey, give us some samples!”

Another made a snatch at my plus fours, as I passed. I thrust him firmly aside. They formed into a parade and followed, yelling variously.

“He’s got SOMETHING in there!” one screamed. “Biggest pockets I ever saw ….”

“Go away! Go away!” Jimmie and I both commanded.

But they followed; the procession grew; and a small wirehaired terrier, seeing the excitement, joined in, yapping perilously at my heels. People came forward on their verandahs, and out their side drives. A cocker spaniel, of gloomy mien, joined in and, with the terrier, started yapping very close to the lower extremities of the plus fours. I walked faster.

On a lawn ahead stood a large sheepdog. From behind the screen of hair over its eyes, it viewed the gathering procession with lifted head and the tension of alertness.

I walked faster.

“Not too fast!” hissed Jim, beside me. “It makes them waggle.”

The sheepdog bounded forward. It took up the head of the parade behind me. The smaller dogs went frantic. The sheep dog took a small, speculative nip at the Harris tweed.

I lengthened stride.

I started to run.

The sheepdog took a good wide grab.

And in a great confusion of small boys, dogs, parents and the owner of the sheepdog, I was wrested free by Jimmie, who escorted me rapidly the rest of the block to my own house.

In the long hall mirror, I examined myself over my shoulder.

“I’m TERRIBLY sorry it was a sheepdog,” consoled Jimmie.


Editor’s Note: As they mentioned, Bobby Locke was a South African golf champion, whose early career was interrupted by World War Two. He was invited to the USA by the golfer Sam Sneed in 1947.

Juniper Junction – 03/26/47

March 26, 1947

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