Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum

Father Brandon Moravitz gives a blessing to Ida Rukavina, daughter of the late Tom Rukavina during funeral services Saturday morning at Holy Spirit Church in Virginia. Former State Representative Tom Rukavina passed away Jan. 7. Photo by Mark Sauer, Mesabi Daily News.


Home on the Range - Memories may vary

Disclaimer: Memories may vary…
“Oh yeah, they’ve been in a trailer, had a rope around their necks, and they’re weaned.” None of the preceding statements were true, and dad was there that day to load them up, take them away from their mamas, and castrate them while they had them caught.
Two yearling bulls, now steers, loaded in a borrowed trailer to be brought to the pasture at my grandparent’s house, the summer I was 12. In my few short years of walking this earth, I had never felt closer to being a cowgirl, or at least a farmer.
The one steer managed to throw himself around so much in the trailer that he was on his back for most of the ride. Dad pulled into the pasture, threw the trailer door open and got out of the way. They were soon grazing.
Not long afterwards, maybe a day or two, after they healed up a bit, the steers decided they didn’t care to be fenced in. They went for a stroll. Down grandma and grandpa’s driveway. Then down Highway 21.


Hook and bullet club - Sports fan

It’s not easy being a Minnesota sports fan. Pick a sport and there’s plenty of heartbreak to go around. The Wild, the Vikings, the Twins and even some of our college teams have left us wondering when the championship days will return.
Mary and I took a trip to the Twin c\Cities and managed to squeeze in four games. My buddy Jim Ronn’s daughter plays varsity for the Blaine girls hockey team. Two of our four games were watching her play.
We haven’t watched much girls hockey and I have to say I was impressed. The girls know the game and play it well. They pass the puck and hustle back on defense. They attack on offense and play the game right.
There were very few penalties so the game moved right along. The only difference for me was the blaring ’80s rock music every time the whistle blew. Hey, I love music but there is such a thing as volume control.


From the miscellaneous drawer - Visitors

Andrew Wilson and Ingrid Swenson from London


Ya won’t hear it from me

Ya won’t hear it from me.
A half hour of thoughts, just occurred to me, in no less then three minutes of his appalled conversation.
He looks at our truck and he is aghast. He is stunned. The words fly out of his mouth. “What did you do to that truck, where have you been, what in heaven’s name is wrong with you? You can hardly see the windshield.
Now me, I’m smiling inside.
So, I try to explain that we just got off the road. We were in the boreal forest. We went Christmas camping. We drove on roads that four-wheel drive was invented for.
Why you buy truck tires with heavy deep-digging tread. Why you carry a tow strap and a scoop snow shovel and why, when we found the dad with his kid stuck - scared, pick-up truck-stuck, because the dad knew someone else might not go down that road for a few days - and we got them out.
Well, that’s why our truck looks like it just came back from some arctic exploration and we love it.


From the miscellaneous drawer - Holiday time

Having the photo booth and equipment at the Echo, operator Cam Weisert has found his techie skills put to test often, especially with the elderly.
Not me. I still haven’t joined the skill level to deal with smart phones. I still have a flip phone, upgraded from the washing machine mishap, but still a flip phone.
What’s your favorite story from the Christmas holiday? One of mine this year are the men who had a heartbeat printout encased in a snowflake ornament for their wives, sisters, who were mourning their mother this season.
Another was the man who mentioned that an anonymous cash gift had prompted an unexpected gift for his son to enjoy. This is a truly kind community so I’m sure there were many other acts of thoughtfulness shown. Joe Bianco’s revolving carousel on Burntside among them. Wow, what a lot of work!


Hook and bullet club - Father-Son time

Two paths to the outdoors last Saturday. Megan took to the ice and a walk across the BWCA line for some crappie fishing. Evan and I took a wheeler ride out to the shack for some deer stand clean-up work.
Megan had a head start and had a crappie on the ice by the time we got out to the stand. The weather was decent, with a slight breeze.
Working inside a covered stand, Evan released the straps and then called for help to lift the canvas over the top of the metal frame.
The two of us slowly worked the material over the edge of the framework, trying not to add any more rips.
“This might have been the last year for this one,” said Evan.
“I’ll have to see if they still make this material,” I replied.
“Or we’re going to have to go to old school with wood walls,” said Evan.
We were able to take down what we needed to and load it into the back of the side by side along with a heater that had only been used a couple times this past deer season.


From the miscellaneous drawer - We are blessed

The Echo family...
From the beginning, the Echo family has evolved, grown and changed.
I told Nick of my memory of meeting Pam Roberts while young Nick was still a student at Lincoln School in Ely.
Pam and her nephew were on the hillside of 169, picking up summer trash as part of the area clean-up after tourists have departed. Getting their photo for the paper to inspire others was my introduction. “I studied photography,” she told me as she watched me work.
Young son Nick wanted to try his hand at writing and reporting and volunteered to cover a Winton Council meeting, surprising us all.
Tom Coombe loved baseball so much he also wanted to write about it in high school.
We were finding that with computers, less staff was needed and our big newspaper presses demanded too much of us. The large building at 2 East Sheridan was sold and we found our new space at 15 East Chapman.


Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum

A father-daughter weekend was filled with sports during a trip to the Twin Cities. That wasn’t the original plan, however.
Megan and I were going to spend a good part of the day Saturday (her birthday) out at the shack.
There’s a stand or two that needs to come down before winter actually arrives. Plus there’s some trail cameras that need to be retrieved.
The shack is basically in second season mode. You could go out there and be able to stay, it hasn’t been totally shut down for winter.
Those plans got put on hold Friday.
We already had tickets to the Vikings game on Sunday thanks to Rob selling me his seats. A call from Chuck offering two tickets to the Minnesota Wild game on Saturday for a song was too good of a deal to pass up.
Our one day, down and back trip became an overnight just like that. The shack would have to wait.


From the miscellaneous drawer - coping and caring

It hasn’t been the best start to winter. In just over one month, I’ve had to replace my cell phone, my car’s side view mirror, my home furnace and my well pump. The latter two were a better choice than having no heat and no water.
Thanks to Dave Mobilia’s crew at Starkman Oil/Superior Fuel and BJ at Rusco Plumbling for fixing those problems in a timely manner.
Then on a recent Thursday night I headed home from work a bit early, stopping to grocery shop before going home, and planning to toss clothes into the dryer from a load I started before I left in the morning. Or that is what I planned to do.
When the garage door opened at home there were two inches of water to meet me and a still-overflowing washing machine.
Thanks to Nick, Mary and Megan Wognum for scooping, hauling, pushing out the water and restoring order.
And thanks to Lisa Vidal for sopping up the water from the carpet near the wet bathroom a day or so later...


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