Eddystone - A Survivor's Tale A passage in the Eddystone local history book, Patience, Pride and Progress (1983) includes the harrowing story of Jim

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Jim Olafson

Eddystone - A Survivor's Tale

A passage in the Eddystone local history book, Patience, Pride and Progress (1983) includes the harrowing story of Jim Olafson, with the title, “The Empty Stretcher.”

Margaret Cantelon interviewed a veteran of the First World War, and told his story in the first person. This veteran was her brother, Jim Olafson, a pioneer of the Reykjavik area:

I came out of darkness into a world of devastation. The memory of my last moment of consciousness was so vivid I was sure I was dead – looking back. The darkness was complete and there was stillness around me, although I could hear noises far off, harmless noises to me. I was dead. A blinding flash and it was all over, no pain.

Then I realized that I could see, the darkness was not all the same. I could move my eyes. Mounds and bumps, and I remembered we were in mud. I knew I was somewhere in France, and I knew I wasn’t dead. I could feel the cold air on my face. Something was on top of me and I couldn’t move. Nothing would move, only my eyes.

I wondered how long I had been there. My last memory, clearly my mind brought back the words of the sergeant as he had handed me the rum can: “Here, Jim, and take a snort yourself before you start off. You need it if anyone does. How you find your way about it in the mud I’m sure I don’t know.” But this was the very reason I had been chosen for this task – to take the rum ration to the boys out there somewhere in the swamp.

I was known as something of an expert on swamp travel, by night or day, for I had spent my boyhood in the marshlands of Lake Manitoba but here I was, at age 17, flat on my back, my swamp lore at an end. But I thought about it lying there in the mud, I even felt some pride in my craft. I was a scout, often sent out into No-Man's-Land to creep within listening distance of the enemy trenches. I always came back. My comrades said I had charmed life.

The words came back to me. I remembered somebody saying: “Jim, neither a bullet nor a German will ever get you, for a bullet will just slip off you, and you will always slip away from any German.” Maybe he was right but there are more than bullets and Germans in the front line. It must have been an artillery shell that got me, maybe the first one to come over the night. It had been quiet and then suddenly nothing more to remember.

I could hear voices. I couldn’t hear the words. Were they Germans? They were coming closer. Would it be the bayonet? Then I heard English words, men talking in subdued voices, stretcher‐bearers; I could see their flashlights. I tried to shout and couldn’t speak. But I could hear them – “I don’t think there is anyone alive here...They’re piled up on top of each other – poor fellows, they’re out of their misery.”

A tall man pulled the body from on top of me, and then another took a close look at me. I could see him but there was no recognition in his eyes. “Let’s move on.” somebody said, and suddenly I was afraid. They were going to leave me.

I could never tell you the agony and fear I felt – to be left in the mud alone. I had no way to express my frustration and desperation. I lay there in disbelief that it was all to end this way. Then another voice said: “Look, this chap moved his eyes!”

They gathered around and put a flashlight on my face. Now I was paralysed – I couldn’t move my eyes, and I just stared straight ahead into the light. Then hope within me died. They could see no movement. But I heard the same voice again, “I saw him move his eyes.”

And then another voice added, “Let’s take him anyway – we’ve got an empty stretcher.”

nov 11 2016
Hours for NOV 1
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Fantastic Fall Fishing Continues!

As the warm weather continues, so does the amazing fishing here at the Narrows! Day after day for the last two weeks, local fishermen and guests out for the day have not only been catching their limit but also some beautiful master angler walleyes. We know that this warm weather won't last forever, so grab your rod and join us on this long weekend and be a part of the excitement that this fall fishing has to offer.

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Chirstmas party

Let Us Take the Stress Out Of Your Holiday Parties!

Last year and again this year the Lodge has been asked if we can host holiday staff parties and family dinners in November to beat the holiday rush. Leave all the stress to us to prepare delicious buffet dinners for your party while you relax with friends and family in our festively decorated restaurant in front of the fire and overlooking the lake shore.
November and December are filling fast with holiday bookings, so if you are interested in hosting your event at the lodge, please contact Revy at 204-768-2749 or email at revy@narrowswest.com.

2016 Turkey Buffet
Ukrainian Buffet
Lake Manitoba Narrows Chrsitmas Bazaar 2016

Narrows West Lodge 2nd Annual Christmas Bazaar!

We were very happy with the turn out to our first Christmas Bazaar and the donations made to our local cheer board on behalf of the vendors and guests made us all proud.

The Lake Manitoba Narrows 2nd Annual Christmas Bazaar will be held on December 10, 2016 from 10am - 2pm. We have already booked local vendors such as Tiber River, Avon, Tupperware, Sunset Gourmet, Lakewood Studio and Gallery, Stocking Stuffers and Scentsy, as well as local experts in the kitchen with Christmas baking and specialties.

Entry is free but we are asking for nonperishable food or gently used winter clothing as donations to support our local Christmas Cheer Board.

If you or anyone you know is interested in setting up a table during this bazaar, please contact Revy at 204-768-2749 or email at revy@narrowswest.com.
Tables are free but we are asking vendors to also help by providing donations for the local food banks.