From the miscellaneous drawer - Baskets ready?

Over the past weekend, there were visits from family and friends. It’s the end of the summer season, leaves have turned to bright colors and the snowbirds, both avian and human are on their way to winter grounds.
Some will be back for Thanksgiving or Christmas visits and here’s a suggestion to make those and all visits even more memorable at your house: Keep a small basket by the front door.
As visitors arrive, explain the necessity to deposit therein all electronic devices, especially ubiquitous flat screen phones. Homeowners’ phones should go in too.
Here’s something to think about: You’re with family or friends that you don’t see often and the conversation is interesting. You’re conversing, exchanging information. Then one supposed listener takes out a phone and starts tapping it, fiddling with it, stops paying attention, perhaps even walking away from the group.
How does the person speaking or part of the group sense the situation?


Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum -ATV rides

Next week is October and fall is fast upon us. We’ve spent the past few weekends on ATV rides in the great outdoors.
This past weekend Mary and I took part in the ATV Minnesota annual Ride and Rally in Willow River, MN. This is just down the road from Moose Lake, not far from Sturgeon Lake.
The event was held in a renovated barn, giving it a country-type feel. We took part in the VIP Ride on Friday and even brought an elected official with us, Ely school board member Rochelle Sjoberg.
She and her husband John toughed it out, riding two up on a regular ATV while Mary and I were in our side by side on a chilly morning.
The day warmed up, we had a cookout type lunch in the woods and we put another 48 miles on by the end of the day.
Saturday was the main day of the rally so we put some miles on. We were joined by Ron and Kristin Potter along with Neil and Terri Olson from Ely, plus Crane Lakers Bruce Beste, Traci Bak and Tom Baumchen.


From the miscellaneous drawer - R-e-s-p-e-c-t

The Emmys for 2018 winners list was announced and I had not seen even one of these programs. Guess I don’t watch as much TV as I thought, even before the DISH fracas in Duluth.
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Now here’s food for thought:
“Within just a couple decades, older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history,” said Jonathan Vespa, a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau. “By 2035, there will be 78.0 million people 65 years and older compared to 76.7 million under the age of 18.”
I think the elderly have generally earned this thought, but I noted in Aretha Franklin’s passing, her song Respect has the words: “I’m about to give you all of my money, And all I’m askin’ in return, honey, Is to give me my propers...”


Native son: Let’s talk

Aretha Franklin is dead at the age of 76. I saw her perform in San Francisco when I lived there. Her show was scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. but she didn’t come on stage until well after midnight. No excuses were given for the delay.
She sang her heart out until three in the morning. There wasn’t a sleepy eye in the theater. It was one of the most memorable performances I have ever seen. Her voice had a range for all kinds of music including opera. May she rest in peace.
I had three more churches to review in my series of visiting all the churches in Ely. Unfortunately Laurie who drove me to all these religious services and I both had medical issues which prevented us from completing this mission. I would like to say the ten we attended were absolutely wonderful and uplifting experiences.


From the miscellaneous drawer - Dish fails

Did anything happen in the world since 7:10 Sunday morning?
Did the political scene explode? Did friends try to get in touch with me?
I don’t know. The Internet has failed me and oh so many other rural residents.
After un-pluggimg and re-plugging and re-starting the computer seven times or more - abracadabra = at 11:17 a.m., Internet returned. And that’s typical. It will be out two or more times during the day and each time the un-s and re-s will be re-done.
If only Dish television provided hope such as that.
I phoned Dish at 888-742-0239 after talking to Frontier where the bundle (Internet plus television programming)cost is $158.68 of which $100.29 goes to Dish.
Why do I use Dish? Because it used to be more reliable than older methods.
What channels do I normally use? ABC, PBS, CBS and NBC out of Duluth.


Medicare, Dish news and Hemingway

Interesting short week.
The US Government sent a letter to 38,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Minnesota stating that their Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans were canceled for 2019.
Due to a communications mix-up, residents of 21 Minnesota counties, including St. Louis, Cook and Lake were told their plans would not be honored for 2019.
Blue Cross belatedly send out a letter which stated: “Rest assured, your Blue Cross plan will continue to cover you in 2019.”
So, one less thing to worry about.
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Then there’s the DISH problem with Duluth area stations.
In a rural area, after rooftop antennas then came massive dish receivers weighing down the garage. DISH seemed like a good answer with its mini-dish on the house, despite the wavering reception during winds and storms due to trees.
But last week, a contract disagreement between KBJR (6) for NBC and KBJR (3) for CBS, and DISH, made them disappear from view.


Native son: The New Ely

I am now into my third year since moving back to Ely. I returned to my hometown on May 11, 2015. By this time my mother was in Memory Care suffering from Dementia and I wanted to be there for her. She passed away on August 3, 2017 the day after my 76th birthday.
A few people asked if I planned to stay in Ely or was I going to move back to Minneapolis. I was already comfortable being back in my hometown and had no intentions of going anywhere else. My life began here in 1941 and will end here. I’m already walking distance from my cemetery plot and I would never think of giving up the fresh air of Ely and delicious drinking water!
I never came back thinking Ely would be the same as when I left in 1962. Everything changes.
Thanks to the Ott Family downtown Ely looks great with all the remodeled stores. All they need now are new businesses and buying customers but can this happen when there is no major industry in the city?


From the miscellaneous drawer - Make a difference

Sitting at the front desk in the Echo office, answering the phone and taking care of subscriptions is the biggest part of my job. What is enjoyable are the people who slip into the chair beside my desk at times and chat.
This summer a number of subscribers have stopped by to talk about the changing newspaper operations in their hometowns around the U.S. There has been a trend of large corporations taking over newspapers and the local touches have too often disappeared. And people miss the local news.
Occasionally I get a phone call wherein people ask me or the Echo to intercede in a local issue or event, to do something about what they deem to be unfair or plain wrong. That’s not an easy thing to do.


Home on the Range - TRADITION

It was tradition, every summer a trip into the “B-Dub” with Dad. Just me, my two younger brothers and our Dad.
These trips were a highlight of our summer, but one year, Dad wasn’t thinking the trip would happen. His back was bad, but we insisted we were capable. At 12, I knew I could carry a fairly heavy pack, and if we had to make a few trips each portage, so be it. Barett, being 8 that summer could carry a small pack and help with a cooler. Ben was 9, but he wanted to carry the canoe. A 19 foot Alumacraft, none of this lightweight fiberglass. He knew he could, and showed Dad one weekend, picked it up, carried it, bobbing along the alley behind dad’s “compartment” as he called his small apartment. Dad was convinced, and the planning commenced.
We had a great trip, the fishing was lousy, but we didn’t care. We got our trip, that’s what mattered.


East of Ely – Legends of the Loon

One of the native tales of the Northern Diver, aka the Common Loon, is a story about a blind elder, who is abandoned by his wife during a caribou hunt. Seeing the old man thrashing about, a loon swims up and takes pity, offering the man a way to regain his sight. The loon tells him to hold onto its back, and after two deep dives into the restorative waters the elder regains his ability to see. In reward, he bestows his shell necklace to the loon, and this is how loons got rings around their necks.
Since native allegories often fall outside the realm of western norms of story telling, there are a few things I’d like to point out about the poignancy of this tale. But rather than interpret the particulars of the tale, I’ll try to show how they fit into the lives of the people in the lake country.


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