A Bit More Grandfatherly Wisdom and the American Flag

Measure twice, cut once!

We’ve all heard that saying, I guess. While it is clearly a carpenter’s saying, advising that you measure the board twice before you make the cut to eliminate mistakes and waste, it can apply to many situations in our lives.

My Grandfather Klippel had his own unique spin on many of these old bits of wisdom. His version was …

“I sawed it off twice, and it’s still to short!”

Raquette Lake, NY

When you visit Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Park, you drive along Route 28 and pass through Burke Town. Don’t blink, because you will miss it. It consists of Burke’s Marina, a few rental cabins, a restaurant across the road which is no longer open, and three dirt roads on your left if you are headed towards Montreal. Raquette Lake will be on your right.

If you turn up the first dirt road, you will find camps along both sides of the road. In the south, they call them cabins. In the Adirondacks, they are camps. Most of these were initially built by employees of Remington Arms as vacation homes and were quite small and rustic.

Some have been turned into homes now, and most have changed hands with the original owners dying off and families selling them off. There’s quite a waiting list to get these camps. Both of my Grandfathers were Remington Arms employees who bought lots and built camps. My parents bought a lot when I was just a year or two old. We tented on our lot for many years before starting our camp.

L to R, Grandpa Klippel, Grandpa Gilbert, Curt Gilbert (my father) pouring concrete footers for the camp piers.

Grandpa Klippel is the “grandfather” featured in the true story Adirondack Bear Tale #3: A Trip to the Dump.

Grandpa Gilbert plays a part in the tale Adirondack Bear Take #8: Campfire BBQ Chicken.

We still have our camp, and I try to get up to the Adirondacks every summer, but sometimes life does get in the way. One trip Sophie and I made a short time ago was the basis for Adirondack Bear Tale #11: Sophie and the Three Bears.

And these stories, along with other true tales, are featured in my little book, Adirondack Bear Tales, available on Amazon.com.

In fact, the picture below was taken the evening after our “bear interrupted” hike to the old ski slope!

Sophie resting after saving me from the mamma bear and her three cubs!

Back to the Grandfather thing …

All this is kind of a set up for one of my favorite memories of my Grandfather Klippel. When I was perhaps 8 or 10-years-old, I wanted to put a flagpole on our lot, so we could fly the American flag over it when we were there.

I was telling my Grandfather about this, and he figured that it should be no problem at all. He took me out, and we found a tall White Pine tree on the back of their lot. They had to be thinned out occasionally anyway, because they grew so high, and would blow over in the winter, sometimes causing a lot of damage.

My Grandfather had me cut it down, and trim off all the branches. Then he provided me with a draw knife with which to peel the bark off the trunk. If you have never seen a draw knife, I have included a picture here.

Draw Knife

Peeling that bark off was a lot of hard work, but with his encouragement, I stuck it out. Once the trunk was clean, he had me coat the butt end, which would be buried in the ground, heavily with some kind of wood preservative. Then it was off to the Raquette Lake General Supply Store for a pulley, a rope, and a dock cleat to use as a tie-down.

Boat Cleat

It was a proud day in my life when my Grandfather helped me set that flagpole. Of course, it has long since rotted away. That was many years ago. However, we flew the American flag from that flag pole for many years while camping on our lot at Raquette Lake.

Raquette Lake Supply Company – General Store

I hope you will check out some of my other posts by clicking here!

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