From The Scrap Book
February 23, 1990
By Dr. Bill Randall
Dr. George Fletcher
I have one athletic trophy. It’s a curling trophy. Doc Fletcher invited me to be on his team on Boxing Day 1969. Characteristically Doc’s Team was named ” The Greater”. It was a charitable act for Doc to have me as his lead rock, for I never was a good curler. Omar Jellison had tried-but to no avail. Doc is remembered by many for his professional skill as a Medical Doctor, and rightly so, for he was one of the best. But some of us remember him for the spicy flavor he added to the more social events of our community, like curling or any other sports.
Dr. George E. Fletcher, M.D., was born with a highly competitive nature and his service in the Canadian Air Force as a Test Pilot sharpened his skills and his constant desire to excel. For ex ample, when many of us were car racing on Harvey Lake ice, Doc and Dudley Wilson were willing to explore a short cut across the lake by Green Point. Dudley must have been willing because it was his car, a black 1957 Ford. Doc was the driver, navigator, but there must have been spring holes near the two big rocks because the car went through the ice. George jumped clear, swam through the freezing water and scrambled his way back onto solid ice. Dudley decided he’d be better off staying on top of the car, the top of which was barely above water. Being a retired R.C.M.P. officer, Dudley knew enough about survival to know that if he kept partially sub merged he wouldn’t freeze to death.
Doc took off for the shore, called his wife Jennie to enlist the help of Lloyd Embleton. Lloyd hitched up his boat trailer and loaded on Dudley’s boat and he with the help of Edison Embleton, launched it into the hole and res cued Dudley, now severely shocked with cold.
The next problem; how do you retrieve a four year old car from the bottom of the lake in the middle of the winter? Answer-simple- you get Corey’s big crawler tractor with a winch on it and go around the head of the lake in back of Edison Embleton’s and then walk it along the edge of the shore till you get to Green Point. Of course you also have to figure out how you are going to get a line on the car from the tractor. Answer again! Get scuba divers! A quick call to Saint John, apprised Doc that the diver would charge $350. Alternative! Why not use the diving and swimming skills of young Georgie? He’d need a wet suit, but then Georgie had been hoping to buy one anyway. So his father agreed to buy him one and they took off for Fredericton and got the suit for $100.
All this used up 24 hours and by this time most of the Village knew of the event. I remember it clearly. The big bonfire on the edge of the lake, the curious spectators and Jackie Coburn on the tractor. Georgie heroically dove under the car to attach a chain and the tractor began to winch. Happily the weight of the cable on the ice pulled it down enough so that it formed a natural ramp and the car was retrieved much to the delight of the excited spectators.
There were some refreshments shared and Doc performed his magic by going to his little black bag and getting a bottle of ether which he poured into the car’s carburetor and lo, it started! However, it took several days in Corey’s Garage to strip it down and clean it up but Arthur Thomas, Emil Doucette, Cecil MacLean, Eugene McFadgen and others per formed their tasks with skill.
I made a promise to Doc that I wouldn’t tell this story but, I think I can break it now. I had a saddle horse named Pete and Donna and I sometimes chased Murray Kelly’s cattle as a form of Western entertainment, and like the Western Ballad “The Saddle Pony Stumbled” – my horse did but he didn’t fall on me, he fell on a sharp rock and opened a severe gash in his abdominal wall. I knew I had to get the veterinarian, Dr. George Dashner to come over from St. Stephen but I was afraid that the horse’s insides would squeeze out if I couldn’t somehow control the gaping hole. I called Doc to see if I could borrow a large suturing needle, thinking I could use some fishing line and tie up the wound. Doc volunteered to come and do the entire operation him self, provided I wouldn’t tell any one. So, behind closed doors with a massive dose of anesthetic the operation was performed.
Bert Swan I’m sure could write a book about the adventure in flying and the fishing trips to Duck Lake they shared. If someone told Doc it couldn’t be done, he’d say “Let’s try it.” He surely added zest to everyday experiences and turned many of them into adventure. He was a many faceted person, and we remember him respectfully and fondly.
Source: Rev. Bill Randall’s “From The Scrapbook Vol. One.”