Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

By his insistence, call him Butch

Wick's World

 


I met Yvette in the springtime at her annual crawfish broil. She was the technology director at the school where my wife was curriculum director. Yvette was the second real live Cajun I got to know in my life. The first was a male who was born in what is known as the Cajun Golden Triangle of Texas — the southeast corner of the state bordered by Beaumont, Orange and Port Arthur. His name was Breaux Manley Dubois, but everyone called him Butch, by his insistence.

Yvette was an attractive kinky-haired brunette who wore her Cajun blend of French, Native and African-American blood rather well. Butch was not as lucky. Built like a University of Texas running back, Butch would have only been called attractive by Wilma Flintstone. He was not only built like a caveman, he led you to believe he had the intelligence of one. Later I learned this was a complete ruse.

Butch was one of a breed of import/exporters who lived along the Texas-Mexican border. He was good at what he did and made exorbitant amounts of money, mainly because this cagey Cajun always had the upper hand.

I met Butch about 35 years ago at the Austin, Texas, Annual Christmas Bazaar. I was still traveling the Renaissance Festival circuit and picked up this show on the way back home from Houston. Besides selling our famous Beaver Tracks moccasins and other manly footwear, we also teamed up with Ken, an old friend from Saint Paul, and began selling his handmade luggage.

Butch, well known by many crafters, walked into the show and came over to my booth. It turned out an old high school friend of mine from South Dakota had sent Butch my way. He made a huge purchase of luggage and boots; large enough to call my show a complete success. There was only one stipulation — Butch wanted a brass plate with his initials and last name mounted on the largest suitcase. That was no problem, so I grabbed an order sheet and asked him how he wanted the brass plate to read.

Butch wanted it one way and one way only.

“I want B only, M only, Dubois. Make certain that reads, B. M. Dubois.”

My friend had previously informed me Butch was very touchy about his name. “Even if he tells you he is Breaux Manley Dubois, make sure you call him Butch.”

Keeping that in mind, I filled out an order sheet to Ken for the luggage. It read B (only) M (only) Dubois. I carefully repeated it to my new-found friend, Butch.

“Okay," I said. “That’s B only, M only, Dubois, right?”

He took out a wad of cash, peeled off a number of hundred dollar bills and said, “That’s right.”

We closed the deal with a handshake that broke several of my fingers and sprained my wrist. Later after hearing numerous “Butch” stories, I realized I had gotten off pretty lucky.

Christmas came and went. Ken sent Butch his custom luggage to the address I had supplied. Late January, I got the phone call.

“Wick! What the hell is this crap? Ya’ll tryin’ to be a funny guy or sumpin’?”

Where had I heard that voice before? Finally, I had the courage to ask, “Who is this?”

“Dis is Butch. Who put that brass plate on my luggage?” he exclaimed.

“Oh, hi Butch. Sorry, I didn’t recognize your voice. Is something wrong with the luggage?”

“Ya’ll tryin’ to be funny guys or what? Dis ain’t no funny stuff.”

I asked Butch what the problem was. He stated, “The brass plate! It says Bonly Monly Dubois.”

I burst out laughing while Butch said, “Dis ain’t no funny stuff.”

I said “Butch, I’ll make you a new plate and express it down to you right away.”

“Yah, you will,” he said and hung up.

Thirty years later, I was on a paddleboat cruise on a river near Austin, Texas. A broad-shouldered husky Texan walked up to me and said, “Wick.”

I replied, “Butch.”

Yes, there is another story. It makes this story sound pretty tame.

 

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