Moose Country Minute – November 04 2017


I was attempting to drive non-stop from Sault Ste. Marie to Ottawa last week, but had to call it quits and bunk up at a motel in Mattawa.

I had already seen one moose too many along the road, and I was afraid the next one I saw would be between my headlights, leaving me just enough time to kiss it all goodbye.

Besides, it was already well past dusk, which is when the moose and deer come out to play, and I had just about had enough of driving.

It’s close to a 10-hour drive from the Soo to Ottawa, so who knows what I was thinking when I thought I could do it non-stop like I did back in my twenties.

Those who have heard of Mattawa most likely heard it the first time in a Stompin’ Tom Connors’ song about Big Joe Mufferaw, all the way from Mattawa, where the toughest of them all was Mufferaw Joe.

He actually existed back in the mid-1800s, and was known as a lumberjack and a strongman who would take on all comers, especially Yankee lumber kings who thought they could make fun of French Canadians.

About a decade ago, I got a telephone call from a man who swore Stompin’ Tom had written the song about him, and that he was the real Mufferaw Joe.

To humour him, I dropped into his rent house in Toronto on my way to somewhere else, and there was a big banner of his porch that read, “Home of Mufferaw Joe.”

It didn’t take my long to realize the man’s last address was the psych ward, but he was definitely an interesting character who knew the entire history of Mufferaw Joe.

And why wouldn’t I, he said? I’m him.