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Supreme Court justice saves two cell phones; his honor

"I've got a friend coming up for the day, are you available to take us out fishing?" The voice on the other end of the phone was Cass County District Judge and Park Rapids resident John Smith. "Sure, let's meet at 3:30 at the Potato Lake access", I replied.

I've always enjoyed interacting with John Smith, since he's had so many unique experiences and accomplishments in his lifetime, so spending some time with him on the water would be a treat.

As I pulled into the access that late August afternoon, John was standing there with his guest, who turned out to be none other than Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice, Eric Magnuson.

After catching a few fish in the sweltering August heat, John set the hook on a nice one. I quickly started reeling in to grab the net, but had hooked a rock bass and was taking longer than expected to lend assistance to John.

Eric kindheartedly grabbed the landing net and prepared to scoop out John's fish. The tug on the other end of the line resulted in a northern, about two and a half pounds, and just as it went into the landing net, the hook came out of its mouth. Yet Eric had deftly reached out just in time to capture the writhing northern pike.

Then Chief Justice Magnuson fell in the lake.

John and I immediately started laughing, but my laughter instantly turned into panic. I didn't know if Eric could swim and had to make a split-second decision whether I should throw him a float or simply back the boat up to him with the electric trolling motor. Eric was treading water and I decided to navigate the vessel in reverse the ten feet or so to pick him up.

It was difficult getting Eric back aboard the deep Crestliner boat, partially because he was pretty shocked about falling in and partially because John and I were laughing so hard between apologies to Eric that we both nearly wet our pants.

However, once Eric was on deck he proudly hoisted the landing net still in hand, with the northern flopping inside; a victory!

After a few more good chuckles, Eric realized that both his cell phone and wallet were in his pants. The business cards and money inside his wallet would surely dry out, but his cell phone was likely ruined.

Yet Eric shared some advice he had heard about, placing a wet cell phone in a Ziploc bag of Minute Rice, with the phone battery removed, for 24-hours to regain operation.

We parted ways after the trip, with a few walleye, northern and smallmouth as memories. And a dandy fish tale too.

A few weeks later, my wife unknowingly jumped into the lake from our jet ski with her cell phone in her back pocket. We tried the Minute Rice trick and surprisingly, the phone worked.

A few days later John Smith called and said the Minute Rice-Ziploc trick saved Eric Magnuson's phone too.

So thanks to a Supreme Court Chief Justice falling out of the boat, the only person ever to go overboard after 17 years of guiding, we saved a couple hundred dollars on a cell phone.

Thanks your honor!