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...


Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum

Nick and hunting buddy Dave “Otto” Merhar


From the miscellaneous drawer - Kindness

I know this is not the same world that it was in the past. And I know that the future will be unrecognizable, yet I hope some of the spirit of the past, the kindness and concern for others will survive into the future.
There is a spirit here in Ely of empathy, caring, open friendliness which is being lost, denigrated in too many areas of the United States.
And I’m glad to learn that there are yet those Elyites - Erin Heep and Deb Hultman among others, who by way of their jobs and their compassion are helping in California’s dramatic fires. I know there must be others elsewhere who are reaching out, offering their help and compassion too.
One never knows when adverse events may change lives. Where best laid plans may be waylaid by unforeseen circumstances.
That has happened to me more than once, where the future hung in a tenuous balance of chance, and unexpected kindness emerged.


Holiday Greetings to you and yours!

Dear friends, I hope you’ve had a wonderful 2018. We’ve had much to be thankful for this year: no cavities, no car troubles, no overdraft notices. Plus we only had five trick-or-treaters on Halloween, so we still have plenty of goodies left for Christmas.
Not really.
It’s been a year of milestones for me. For one thing, my husband and I celebrated our 30th anniversary in October. I’m not sure what he would say the secret to our long marriage is, but one of my tricks is hiding the newspaper when I write about him in a column.
We celebrated the big event with an Alaskan cruise. We had a glorious time and I hope we don’t have to be married for another 30 years before we get to go on another vacation like that one. I will say, a cruise ship is more luxury than we’re used to. It’s a rare thing for me to eat in a place where you have to “dress for dinner,” though I do always have something on.


Native son: Grandparents

Grandpa and Grandma Gorshe and Dewey Novak

Grandma Novak and baby Dewey (Charlie)


Visitor at Camp Cholesterol

Every deer season we hear Gordon Lightfoot’s haunting song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Our old FM radio played it on Saturday, a reminder of the sinking of the ore carrier SS Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior on November 10, 1975.
We didn’t have a sinking feeling when my relative Greg and I hit the gravel road on the way to the shack Friday morning. Seeing a doe and a fawn run off into the woods could be a good sign. Or the only sign.
Greg had traveled 1,700 miles from San Diego for his first deer hunting experience at age 31. He was eager to get in the woods when we got to the shack.
But first we had to unload the truck, carrying in groceries, water and guns, followed by driving the wheeler off the trailer.
With a fire started in the wood stove, I outfitted the California boy with some wool pants and a nice blaze orange jacket I picked up from Tom Today.


Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Shack time

Two deer have been harvested at Camp Cholesterol, both out of the same stand.
Our deer slayer from last year, Megan, returned to take a basket rack eight on the second day of the season. She had been waging war with a squirrel who kept trying to join her in the stand.
Luckily the battle was at a lull when the buck walked in behind her. With no snow on the ground we had to do some searching.
If you’ve been in that situation, doubt can creep in really fast. Did I hit it? Which way did it go? Could I have missed? This is the time where prayer returns to the deer stand.
When I spotted the deer lying near the edge of a swamp, I called for Megan. I think she ran through the woods.
“I was praying up in the stand,” she said with an excited look on her face.
“You’re prayers have been answered,” I responded.


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