Mr Rivard wants to Cross Apple River

Dad didn’t know why Mr. Rivard wanted to look at the 80 acres of wooded land which abutted the south line of our pasture below the barn and across the river.  He could have accessed the parcel from the town road that ran along the other side of the 80.  Dad was an accommodating person and not one to question the wisdom of someone like our visitor from town, attired in his everyday wear of a 3-piece suit, tie, hat and dress shoes.  In our neighborhood, in the late 40’s, suit, hat, tie and dress shoes were reserved for Sunday morning church. Dad guided the Sunday attired Mr. Rivard through the manure rich barnyard, down the hill, around the swampy area that stood between the barnyard and the river to the tree trunk bridge which spanned Apple River.   Sometimes these bridges were trunks of large trees that the river undercut and fell on their own and sometimes they were smaller trunks which had been deliberately felled.  A bridge might serve its purpose for a few years but eventually decay and the spring floods carried it away. The smaller tree-trunk bridges tested the balance and nerve of the pedestrian.  The one currently in use was one of the smaller narrower versions.  Mr. Rivard took the challenge in his 3-piece suit, tie, hat and dress shoes.  Unfortunately, he had hardly begun his acrobatic walk when he lost his balance and fell into the moderately deep water.  It may be that dad retrieved his hat before it got too far downstream toward New Orleans via the St. Croix and Mississippi.   The now drenched Mr. Rivard hauled himself up the bank and without a further word retraced his steps around the swampy area up the hill and through the manure rich barnyard to his car and drove back to Turtle Lake.  We never saw Mr. Rivard again and I don’t think he bought the 80.  Several years later dad purchased the 80 and my brother now uses it as sylvan pasture land for his cattle.

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