Now that Adirondack rivers are starting to flow again and trout season is about to open, it may be an appropriate time to relay one Paul told me at his fireside.
Folks living where Paul had his Adirondack camp were, and still are, very resourceful people and equally ready to help someone in need, so this story has the ring of truth. (Paul was not always comfortable being recorded, so I tried to capture his stories in a small tape recorder in my car on the way home).
Paul split his time between the Adirondacks and his family’s home and his home construction business in Schenectady County. He was known as an able Adirondack guide for “sports,” men from the city who wanted to fish or hunt. One day in the 1940s a Schenectady neighbor said “Paul, I have a real hankering to go fishing. Boy, I’d love to get a creel full of fish. I hear the East Branch of the Sacandaga has beautiful brookies, and boy it would be great if you would bring me there to fish.”
“Well, how about now?” answered Paul, and off they went to Bakers Mills. From there they hiked through the woods to the East Branch of the Sacandaga River where they caught creels of brook trout, one of the most successful days Paul ever had.
Loaded with fish, they hiked out, got in Paul’s car and headed toward Bakers Mills. They only made a few hundred yards when they heard a grinding sound at the back axle. Paul’s friend determined they had broken a critical gear on the rear axle, a small gear seemingly made just for that car.
Just then George Morehouse came over with a “what’s the trouble boys?”
“This critical gear is broken and these fish are going to spoil if we don’t get them home. We’ve got to get home tonight,” Paul’s friend said.
“Well, hold on boys,” answered George, going to a fence along the road where all sorts of radiators, hoses, fan belts, gears and such which he had picked off the road for decades were hanging. In a trice he was back with the particular gear. “This what you’re looking for?” Paul’s friend’s jaw dropped. The gear fit perfectly and they drove on back to Schenectady.
Ever since, Paul’s friend would remark about George Morehouse and this event as two of the great wonders of the world. Even Paul’s father, Peter Schaefer, would remember it and ask Paul about it. It’s true, Paul would tell him.
Paul Schaefer ca. 1960s.