A La Pine man came across an unexpected find at the Wickiup Reservoir on Saturday. Not just a message in a bottle, which is unusual enough in itself. But a small vial of ashes, and a final request he could help fulfill.
Gregory Dewitt and his girlfriend were picking up trash near the reservoir on the day before her birthday, trying to help keep the area clean for recreational use Dewitt said in just that one afternoon, they collected about five gallons of trash, mostly old fishing lines and fish hooks.
However, one unexpected find made the day more special than others.
Dewitt said he felt an indescribable feeling that urged him to look under a half-uprooted tree stump near the water’s edge.
“I decided to take a look around this log for any hooks or any fishing line,” Dewitt said, gesturing to the stump. “That’s how I discovered ‘old Jim.'”
Lodged between the roots of the stump was a small glass bottle with a typed, all-caps message and the container of ashes. The message in the bottle began, “Hi, my name’s Jim. My favorite place to fish is Crane Prairie (Reservoir).”
Based on the message, Dewitt said the ashes apparently belonged to a man called Jim, and the bottle must have made its way down to Wickiup Reservoir from Crane Prairie.
“(The message) said to take him fishing for the day — and when you’re done fishing with him, to throw him back in the water, so somebody else can take him fishing as well,” Dewitt said.
Dewitt and his girlfriend were not planning on going fishing that day, but they still wanted to help fulfill Jim’s request. After taking a few selfies, Dewitt and his girlfriend decided to toss the bottle back into the water, with the hopes that someone else would find it, helping “Jim” continue his potentially never-ending fishing trip.
“I thought it was just another piece of garbage I was picking up, and it happened to be the coolest thing I’ve discovered around here,” Dewitt said.
At the end of the message in the bottle was an email address for someone named “Dave,” with no additional explanation about his connection to Jim.
Dewitt said he’s sent “Dave” an email, but has not yet heard back. In the meantime, he wanted to share this message to the man who left the message, through NewsChannel 21.
“Hi, Dave,” Dewitt said. “I found Jim. We had fun. We got him unstuck from this stump here, so that other people can take him fishing, as the note requested.”
Dewitt said he still thinks about the bottle. He hopes someone else finds it and is able to take Jim along on a fishing trip. Then, back in the water he’ll go, for another surprise discovery — and a chance to keep on fishing.