Memory of a Great Humorist
was (almost) cool!
Mr. George G. Motz, 66 of Balsam Lake passed
away on Friday, January 8, 2010 in Balsam Lake,
Wisconsin of natural causes. George was born on
October 20, 1943 in Modale, Iowa the son of
Albert Guy and Wilma (Wulf) Motz.
George graduated in 1961 from Unity High School
in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin. From there he
attended Northland College in Ashland, WI where
he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in
1966. George went on to be a Teacher, and
continued to teach outside the classroom the
rest of his life. He farmed until he could no
longer do so, but was able to continue his
respect of the land and of nature by selling
fruit trees off the family farm.
He was an avid outdoorsman. He loved hunting,
cutting wood and just being in the woods.
Auctioneering was a big part of George's life,
as well as attending many auctions to sell his
items. He loved helping others whenever they
needed help. He was a huge supporter of the Polk
County Sportsmen's club, helping to making it
possible for all people to enjoy the outdoors.
Being an author, he loved writing many books,
and has published 15 of them. He is loved by his
family as much as he loved them.
George Motz was a frequent contributor to the
Southern Humorists' discussion list and was an
online friend to many members both on the list
and off. He had a tremendous sense of humor and
a never ending supply of stories to write about
his life experiences. He was a prolific writer
and we can think of no better way to honor his
memory than with one of his own stories.
By George Motz
Elvis was young, Kookie wouldn’t lend you his
comb, and I was (almost) cool!
I was never cool. Luke-warm at best. But I was 16,
and going to college in the fall. Only a few
months previously, I had been a gawky awkward kid,
weighing 135 pounds, and suddenly, I grew. In a
few months, I was now a gawky awkward kid weighing
175 pounds, and coming off the farm, it was mostly
muscle. And I was soon to have a secret I
couldn’t tell anyone. Now, almost 50 years
later, I can tell you. I stole two cases of
dynamite. I will have to tell you about that
sometime. Good story, and how I kept alive, in
looking back, is a pure miracle.
Now this part starts one noon, at the local
‘Drug Store’, soda fountain, as all they had
was over-the-counter meds on hand. Tommy comes in,
(a WWII vet who never talked about his
experiences, and we never asked.) He asks Barney,
his half-brother, one of the owners of the Drug
Store, for a Bromo-seltzer, but to make it in the
back room as the sound may kill him. (Tommy
Tommy asked me if I had the work all done, and
I said I had. He found jobs for me, for my spare
time, as I was putting every penny I could away
for college. A soda Coke was a nickel and I
allowed myself only a few a week, as a nickel was
a lot of money for a boy off a poor dirt farm.
Tommy tended bar across the street, and he found
me jobs on the lake, and I was eternally grateful.
Two blondes come in, about my age, and they had
their father with. I look at them, they ignore me,
and Tommy hits me with an elbow. “Stay away from
them. Their old man is a mean drunk!” Tommy
Thus was my introduction to the girls on Prospect
Point, a new development on Balsam Lake. We later
changed its name to Peroxide Point, or some called
it Prostitute Point. Small, cheaply built cabins,
or summer homes. None remain! Million-dollar
mansions now occupy that land today.
It was shortly after that time when I
appropriated the dynamite. Two summer friends,
both slightly older than I was, but a year behind
me in school, kids who spent the summer at the
lake, while I labored on the farm, had started
paying attention to the two blondes. I had talked
to them too, but, how do we put it delicately? The
lights were on, but there was nobody home! Maybe
the Peroxide had killed off a lot of brain cells?
The Drug Store was our place. Nobody did
anything wrong there. It was the day I returned
the stolen dynamite to Jim, our sheriff. I had
hidden it out in an old horse barn connected to a
logging shack outside of town. The stuff had
crystallized, and was very unstable, but then
maybe so was I? (Okay, I stole it from the thieves
who had stolen it from the railroad.) But I
didn’t dare bring it to town, as it was turning
white, and the weather was hot, and while we may
have need for a new jail, I sort of would miss Jim
if it went up with him in it!
I was maybe nine in the evening, and I swung by
the Drug Store. My two friends had the two girls
inside, enjoying a real soda, (Ice cream, syrup,
charged water!) And with them was prettiest gal I
ever did see. She was prettier than a spotted pup!
In contrast, she had light brown hair, was tall,
and had legs that wouldn’t quit. She was a
cousin, from back east, and was there for a family
function, and would be at the cabin for a week or
My two friends were not making any points with
the blondes, as they couldn’t keep their eyes
off the cousin. Me neither! But I did find out
that she was 19, going to be a sophomore in
college, and we soon were
talking schools, as I was going to go to a state
college, and she went to a prestigious school.
And then she dropped the bomb! She had just
finished up as first-runner-up in her state’s
Miss America pageant!
Now I drove a beat-up Ford, I paid $25 for, and
she was Cadillac all the way! But like a dog
chasing a fire truck, and not knowing what to do
if he caught it, I sort of tried. And got totally
I had swung past the county jail earlier, but
Jim was gone, and so now I returned, to tell him
about the explosives. Now I went the one block
north to the jail once more, and there were all
sorts of cars there. It was still not quite dark,
and I had an errand, and the dynamite would wait,
as nobody would go to the logging site that late
When I got back, there were even more cars
there. Jim ran the county with one full time and
one part time deputy, and of course, Jim’s wife!
Now I had to get home, and the night was
growing late. So I slipped into the outer office,
grabbed pen and paper and wrote a note for Jim.
But I could hear the conversation going on inside
the inner office. They were going to raid a
Now I may be a little slow, but is started to
sink in. There had been slightly more kids in town
earlier than normal, for a week day night. So
maybe, just maybe, they were throwing a party, and
I wasn’t invited. (I never did drink much, not
at all then, as it cost money, and I needed money
to escape the farm.)
Now where would be the worst place to throw an
under-age drinking party? How about 3 blocks from
the jail, in the town park? Yup! I take off, ahead
of the squad cars, and make a run through the big
pines, ignoring the road, and come up to my
friends, and the three girls.
“The cops!” I shout and the gal from back
east jumps into my car. I take off, going down
through the rest of the pine park, out across the
ball field, with a squad car now after me. South
of the worlds worst bleachers, (a WPA project-gone
wrong!), and on the south side is a washboard road
leading up through the woods there, and catching
the road leading into town. The squad car is after
me, but this is my territory.
He hits a deep washout, and I had swerved to
miss it. In my dust, he didn’t see it. I hit the
road, and go across, right through the county
highway department property, between the
buildings, and out the other
side, take a right, cross the dam which makes
Balsam Lake, and now I have a squad coming behind
me once more. My little Ford is no match, but I
have a two block lead and two blocks to freedom.
My kind of freedom. At the village limits, I go
down into the ditch, over a slight bank, and off
through the field there. It is in soil-bank then,
(I bought it in 1963!)
We cut diagonally across the fields, me with my
lights off, and the squad with his flashing,
trying to find me on the road. In a slight dip, I
shut off my car and wait. He can’t see me, or
hear me now. When he leaves, I take off south and
east. I go across the old fence line, down then,
and now. Hit a gate into the next farm’s cow
pasture, go through it, follow an old logging
road, and come to our line fence, and let it down,
drive in and go to the lake! There is the full
moon, me, a beautiful girl, and my own private
After midnight, I drive the trail back to the
road past our farm, and take her back home. She
was grateful, as to be arrested, then her chances
of ever getting into the Miss America Contest were
gone! (But not that grateful!) She asked me to
come over the next night, her last one in town,
and I said I would be there, but probably late.
I get to her uncle’s cabin at nine or so,
starting to get dark, the next night. She is
waiting and asks me to go swimming with her. She
fills a swim suit nicely so I agree! I grab my
suit from the back seat, and slip behind the car
and put it on. My two buddies are in the cabin
with the two cousins, and her uncle never knew
anything about the events of the previous night.
Now I was not a good swimmer, but a fair one. The
neighbors had all gone together and made a raft
for the kids, so we swam out there and talked for
a while. Then she decided she wanted a picture of
the two of us, so we swam back and she got out her
camera, and we had our picture taken.
Then her uncle and aunt came home. All three
girls were in Bikini’s, and there were three
boys there, and he was drunk, and he roared like
an enraged bull.
“I’m going to kill you!” he screamed, and
as he was between me and my car, I did the only
sensible thing, I took off south, on the run. I
hit the last dock on the point and was I mid-air,
when I felt a stinging, and then the noise.
He shot me! With a shotgun!
But there was no time to consider things. I
swam across the narrow channel, and came up on the
shore below where the bank is now. One of the two
buddy’s parent’s were renting a summer home
not far away, and as I had left my keys in my old
Ford, I was hoping one of them would save it, and
my clothing. So I headed there. My friend’s
sister, a year or two younger than he was, was
babysitting their younger sisters when I got
there. She took a bobby pin and removed the bird
shot from my back. The distance had saved me some.
And Rita had a blast laughing at me as she
extracted all those lead pellets. A few weeks
later, I get a color picture from the girl, and
she had written on the back of it, “I’ll never
forget our nights together!”
Now fast forward almost two years. Clem, an
affectionato of fine feminine flesh, (He hunted
rattle snakes downstate for the bounty money!),
had certain pictures taped on the walls of his
room. I went in one day, and he had just taped up
Miss (month-forge which), from Playboy, and I did
a double take when I looked at her. (Or maybe a
quadruple take?) It was my girl, the one who never
even kissed me! In the nude!
When I made mention of this, everyone laughed
at me. The next week, when I got back to college
from the farm, showed them all the photo. I became
a living legend, at least in my own mind.
I taped our photo on my mirror, but someone
And that is part of the story of how I got shot
the first time.
Copyright 2009 George G. Motz