From the miscellaneous drawer

One of my friends panicked when I noted I might get my desk cleaned in retirement. No fear. It’s as messy as ever.
Ely’s summer residents are already departing for warmer climes.
Despite the variances in daily temperatures of late - I have a pesky visitor who is checking out potential winter quarters.
Some years back I had the front of my house dug up and window wells installed where needed.
One of them is lined with a metal which has horizontal ridges from undergound to the surface. The topside is covered with a fiberglass ridged top.
My four-footed visitor - a squirrel - is small enough to slip between the grooves and drop the four feet below.
From there he recognizes he is in trouble and scrambles to climb the ridged walls to get out. So far he has made the mistake twice, the last time at 3:30 in the morning. Both times he managed to get out after a bit of racket.
Trust me, I do not open the window to invite him inside.


Trout Whisperer - Reflections…

Just after the ice would go out in the spring, he became a boreal forest beach comber and he wasn’t one to pick up just anything, no, he wanted very specific pieces of driftwood, and some of his favorite finds were wind blown beaver chews from last fall.
They had all the bark off, most of them were easy to tuck in his over the shoulder Duluth pack and when he would get home from his morning’s forays, he would stack what he found in the crook of a garden shed. It was kinda amazing how many red and white bobbers he piled up as well.
September eventually came round and then on a quiet evening he would construct a raft, sometimes it would be six foot square, once it was over eight feet long and four feet wide but later in life he built them smaller, and the summers driftwood collection would be piled at least four feet tall.
The raft was stuffed with pine cones, birch bark shreds, and even some dried grasses. They were always fun to see.


Hook and Bullet Club

Mary and I accepted an offer to go along on a pontoon boat ride on Lake Vermilion. We would join up with the Ronn family for an afternoon of boating and fishing along with a nice picnic lunch.
We met at Pike Bay Lodge, a very well kept and nicely run resort. The owner met us at the dock and talked shop while everyone came aboard.
He said he pays his help $15 an hour and struggles to get young people who want to work. For his cabin cleaners he raises the rate to $20 an hour. Same problem, can’t get workers.
“I have one kid who called and said he didn’t want to come to work that day because it might rain. So here I am driving the riding lawnmower and getting a sunburn,” he said.
Tourism is a funny business. It brings in people to the area but the area can’t always support the added business. When we had class sizes of over 100 kids, there were plenty to choose from. Today our class sizes are down to 40 or lower.


Canoeman Joe Seliga stars in a new picture book biography for young readers

Ely’s own Joe Seliga is the celebrated subject of Canoeman Joe, a new picture book biography published by Green Writers Press of North Brattleboro, Vermont. Written by Robin Radcliffe and illustrated by Consie Powell, Canoeman Joe follows Joe from boyhood into elder years and chronicles the fascinating journey by which Joe taught himself to make wood and canvas canoes.
Born in Ely, Joe Seliga was one of 12 children in a close-knit family that owned two wood and canvas canoes made by the Morris Canoe Company of Veazie, Maine. It was the use, care, and repair of these Morris canoes that helped the young Joe ultimately figure out how to make canoes of his own design.
This biographical picture book celebrates Joe’s life with canoes as well as his independent spirit that instilled a tradition of self-reliance in a whole generation of campers across the lake country of northern Minnesota. The opening page offers just a hint of Joe’s independent spirit:


From the miscellaneous drawer - Changes

You meet a whole set of new people when you are immobilized. It’s interesting to find how much every one shares in the way of human experience.
One thing many of us have in common is the alienation of family members. Whose judgement is that which creates it? We must all be guilty in some way.
Do each of us become so self absorbed in our own life, our own world that our priorities become skewed?
When children of any age divorce their families, does it make sense? Not if you’re a person(s) being isolated.
But that isolation is not rare. In the process of becoming an adult, establishing one’s values and beliefs is usually a process of evolution, of learning and observing, and making conclusions based on those.



Whiteside Park – Ely MN – July 26, 27, 28 – 2019


Pelican briefs

Our three-month summers and two-month winters pass quickly when you call Ely your Fortress of Solitude…that is what my husband, John, has always called our Ely cabin since 2005, when we knew this was such a pure and perfect treasure. Ely, where we are at home in the woods.
AT HOME IN THE WOODS, is the title of a book that “Boy Scout John” read in his camping and canoeing days in Virginia…before we met. Now, after 40 some years, Florida is where our story began, and continues…and Ely, shows us its’ summers that slide gradually into colorful, golden, earth-colored falls, that nature brings to a rest, to spread out before us, the quiet, frozen, white and green landscapes under beautiful blue skies of sunny days and black night skies, star-filled.
Is it possible to love both places equally?? Yes, is the answer. The friendships and families are what makes life perfect in both places. What’s not to love?


From the miscellaneous drawer

Wednesday night as the northland dealt with the potential for a severe storm and possible tornado, my thoughts turned to the kind folks who have sent emails and cards while I’m home bound. I have a new goal for Monday - to be well enough to come to the office at least for a while.
I’ve missed seeing Echo subscribers and the folks who stop by for photos and copies. I think I will especially regret not cleaning off my desk before summer arrived!
Stuck at home these days, I’ve watched more television in a week than I have in many years combined.
* * *
The 50th year celebration of the first moon landing made me think back to where I was on that occasion; in Duluth, attending UMD. On a bus heading to class I heard the disbelief spoken by bus riders and understood the skepticism of my northern neighbors. Such an event was far outside of their daily life.


The Postscript: “Singing Lessons”

I’m having fun singing.
I started singing lessons a few weeks ago. My teacher lives out of town, but every other week she teaches in her parents’ house—the house she grew up in—just a few minutes away. So, I drive to a little house in the suburbs, meet her parents’ two friendly little dogs, (“More people! So exciting!”) and take an hour-long voice lesson in my teacher’s childhood bedroom.
I stand next to an auxiliary refrigerator, put my purse on a storage cabinet, and face my teacher, who brings a portable keyboard for the occasion. There’s not a lot of space.
“I can’t believe I used to sneak out of that tiny window at night!” my teacher marvels, pointing to the one small window in the room.
But even if the surroundings are not exactly glamorous, the singing has turned out to be a lot of fun.


Native son: Fentanyl

The pain was all over my body. I walked doubled over. The doctor said I would have to go to the hospital for an MRI. They would have to sedate me before they put me in the tube. I was told the procedure would take 40 minutes and I could go home the same day.
I woke up two days later in intensive care. I thought I was having a bad dream. When the doctor walked into the room he told me there were complications but he didn’t say what they were.
The source of the pain was a disc in my back which they were able to fix. I was in intensive care for six days which I couldn’t understand. No one was talking and telling me what went wrong. Mentally I didn’t feel like myself.
A nurse came into the room and said I was being discharged. I was thoroughly confused. When I got home my doctor reluctantly told me I may have been given an overdose of a drug called Fentanyl.


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