Columnists

Fri
19
Jul

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.

Fri
12
Jul

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.

Fri
05
Jul

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.

Sun
30
Jun

From the miscellaneous drawer

When an elderly parent becomes ill, there is nothing as wonderful as an attentive son and caring daughter-in-law, as I witnessed last week.
Especially if it’s not a simple medical issue threatening the life of your mother, who has worked and lived independently into her eighties. One day she is maneuvering through her life, and the next day she’s in dire medical straits. It’s a turning point, with the realization that the family’s life has now entered a new and unfamiliar phase. The matriarch will no longer be fully on her own at home, or fully capable of advocating for her health care. So, it’s left to adult children, the ones with compassion and empathy for aged parents, to fill this void and fight.

Fri
21
Jun

Fun With Fungi Wednesday at Nature Nights

Nature Nights
FUN WITH FUNGI
brought to you by the
ELY FIELD NATURALISTS

Date: Wednesday, June 26
Time: 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Location: Vermilion Community College
1900 E. Camp Street, Room CL104

So many people have asked about mushrooms and other fungi and expressed their desire to learn more about them. This will be the year that Ely Field Naturalists connects those people with mycologist, Anna Gerenday, who will bring her knowledge of fungi to feed your interests. Studying fungi in 2019 starts next week at Nature Nights and also through some field explorations leading up to more in-depth studies during August and this fall.

Fri
14
Jun

From the miscellaneous drawer

Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you toss and turn, going over the things which need to be done the following day?
If so, you’re not alone. One trick I’ve used is to tell my body parts to shut down, telling my toes to sleep, my ankles, legs and so forth, one at a time up to my head.
When I got bored with that, I chose a different path.
Much as I resented grade school teachers forcing students to memorize poetry -“The Raven” unfortunately remains etched in my brain. That requirement to memorize seemed a sure fire way of getting children to hate poetry.
However, Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night” has meaning at my age. I do believe I am still raging “at the dying of the light.”

Sun
09
Jun

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum

With graduation going on this past weekend and getting to take photos at both the Ely and Babbitt ceremonies, it didn’t seem like there would be time to get out to the shack.
My nephew Mitch was up and wanted to show his girlfriend where we hang out during hunting season.
“Would you mind if we went out there,” he asked.
“No problem. The key is in the same place,” I said.
Then came the phone call. No key. That’s when I remembered Evan and I brought the key in to have copies made.
We only have the one key and it had gotten bent, probably from someone leaving it in the door and a hip giving it a new look.
So Mitch and Jackie made a second trip to the shack on Sunday. Mary and I decided to join them and loaded up the wheeler.
The four of us were able to do some riding and Jackie learned how to drive a wheeler when you have to shift gears by the buttons on the handlebars.

Sun
02
Jun

From the miscellaneous drawer - Children matter

Children have always been important to me. Growing up, I was a babysitter for children in my small town.
Cousins were like younger siblings when they stayed with us and became part of the family at least for a while.
My first marriage ended because the man didn’t want children.
In California, where my sister was raising two daughters and attending university, I lived with her for a while to help care for Susan and Nicoli. It was a good experience.
Moving back to the Midwest I became close to my brother’s two daughters - Lise and Ingrid.
Later, I had two children of my own and now have six grandchildren and one great grandchild. Each one is precious and loved no matter what happens in the path of life.

Fri
24
May

From the miscellaneous drawer - Make your voice known

People often tell me that they can’t write, yet these are people who often had the same educational background that I did. We learned to print and we learned cursive. We did required school reports even if we didn’t like doing them.

Perhaps writing letters to the editor is somewhat akin to that. We don’t necessarily like the time and thought to write them, but we can’t forget that it’s a great way to let your voice, your thoughts be heard.

And if the way the world, the state, or the city is being run is not to your liking, how will anyone know you disagree.

Yes, times have changed, but many folks may think that acceptance of change is the norm because no one disagrees where it counts, on editorial pages or by writing letters to legislators.

Don’t rely on someone else portraying your ideas. Speak out yourself. Write a letter and send it to me. I can fix the grammar and spelling if need be.

Mon
20
May

Hook and bullet club - Lucky guy

Luckiest guy on Mother’s Day? Had to be me. When I asked my wife what she wanted to do, she said, “How about a wheeler ride?”
Evan and Megan joined us and we loaded up the truck with two wheelers and a dirt bike. There will come a day when we can ride trails from Ely and that day is coming soon. We’re hoping to complete construction of the Prospector Loop from Ely to Mattila’s Shelter and beyond by this fall.
For now, however, unless you want to ride blacktop, trailering is your best bet.
We pulled into an old gravel pit and unloaded the machines. The weather was on the iffy side but a few raindrops weren’t going to stop us.
Evan and Megan took the lead and off we went down the trail. The leaves hadn’t filled in the forest yet so the views were just great. Seeing into the woods and out on to lakes, rivers and bogs is a fun part of spring riding.

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