Gertis was the sort of man that will not reappear in our lifetime. Raised by Indians, devoid of formal schooling, and free of modern life, Gertis was a skilled blacksmith, logger, tinkerer, and story teller. At home in the woods, he knew the Indian names of virtually all the trees and flowers. With a hot fire in his forge, he could make most tools--and did. With a newspaper reporter, he could spin yarns faster in the colorful, descriptive manner of a real story teller with lots of practice. Pauses to roll a cigarette punctuated his story. He delighted in getting the best of a gullible believer.
Alida tended Gertis as a faithful wife in the tradition of the 19th century. Never having electricity in the house with only kerosene lamps to read by, she read the bible to Gertis each evening to no avail. He didn't believe in it. She earned a little spending money cleaning houses in the community.