Gerry the Dear

Julie Austin for Bert Topliffe, the oldest man in Coombs and last remining member of the Coombs Salvation Army Colony

In the mid 1920’s a fawn lived at the West’s place across the creek, where the market is today. When the fawn heard the children at the school out for recess or lunch hour he would bound across the bridge to be with the kids in the school yard. They all loved him, and named him “Gerry”. The fawn grew into a beautiful big buck and the children so enjoyed watching Gerry’s antlers grow from little buds to big velvety prongs. The school kids got a wonderful science lesson first hand. In the late fall, Mr John West, put a red scarf around Gerry’s neck so everyone would know that Gerry wasn’t to be shot for the winter’s meat supply. It was believed that Gerry went up into the hills to be with his own kind.

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