Columnists

Fri
25
Jun

Hook and Bullet Club

We spent a good part of last weekend in Babbitt for Peter Mitchell days and there’s one thing that kept coming back to me: How can we do this in Ely?
It’s amazing what Babbitt is able to pull off each year. Even without a carnival, this was one of their best years.
The list of events is impressive, starting with the Walleye Whamma fishing contest and continuing the next weekend with the main events.
They had kids races, a 5K run, a classic car show, live bands both nights, a rover radar run, free watermelon feed, sawdust pile giveaways and a whole bunch of tournaments (kickball, volleyball, bocce ball, holey boards, etc.).
The holey board thing cracks me up. It’s similar to the popular cornhole or bags game but you toss large washers instead. Must be the impact of the taconite mine not too far away.

Thu
17
Jun

Miscellaneous Musings by FunGirlDi

In recent years, home decorating has adopted a new habit that I personally don’t much care for. Paintings and photo art seem to have taken a back seat to wall signs with ornate, whimsical, calligraphed words like, “Family,” “Gather,” “Welcome,” etc.
Personally, I think the adage of a picture saying a thousand words stands true. When I have gone into model homes or boutiques, I chuckle when a plaque on the wall tells me to “Have a nice day,” or “Kiss the Cook.” I immediately think, “Stop telling me what to do.” Also, my secretarial training goes into overdrive as I automatically spellcheck the signs hanging on the walls.
Last year when the pandemic hit and everyone was on lockdown, there was a meme that popped up on Facebook made courtesy of a wall art sign. I thought it was one of the funniest posts I saw during a most stressful time in our world. I included a copy of it with this column.

Fri
04
Jun

From the miscellaneous drawer

As a house is being dissected and disemboweled, one finds many unmarked treasures. Where did they come from? Why was I keeping them?
If they were important enough to keep, why weren’t the photos identified with real names? If I was the one taking the picture, why did I scribble such lousy names on them?
“Sixth grade bums” doesn’t identify my best friends of the time.
Perhaps what stirred the pot of memory was being invited to my Thornton High School reunion. I’ve been to one previous reunion. Since there were over 5,000 kids in the school and over 1,000 in my class,
A lot of distancing was the norm. Aside from a few friends in my circle, the ones I enjoyed seeing the most at the reunion were the remnants of the grade school class. It had less that 30 kids and was integrated.
High school consisted of maybe 10 communities and breaches weren’t sought.
So I replied to the reunion booster that I would not be coming.

Fri
28
May

June may try to be warm but dry

The best paying job I ever had was janitor at the Voyageurs Visitor Center from May to September 1984. That gig paid $13.65 an hour. My current job didn’t match that until just a few years ago.
The Visitor Center (now the Wolf Center) also paid in fun. It was fun to keep an eye on the wood duck house they had on display out the observation window where people now watch wolves. The front of the house had been replaced by plexiglass so people could see the duck nest inside. But, some enterprising red squirrel took over the place and turned it into an apartment with a picture window.
One night, squirrely spent a good chunk of time sitting on top of the house while excitedly preening. Then it hopped down and bounced tail up into the forest as if it was heading to a hot date. It never came back. I hope it was off that night to move in with another squirrel rather than ending up dinner for a predator.

Fri
21
May

From the miscellaneous drawer

If you are over 60 years of age you may be faced with what to do with mementos from your past. You’re learning to make adjustments to your life.
My Mom took on the role of family historian. She corresponded with dad’s four to five sisters, as well as her own.
That which occupied your spare time and life, your hobbies or passions, has disappeared into the future.
John and Kathleen Noid of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and sometime summer residents, agreed in a note about changing values. I thank them for writing.
A DQ lunch at the house with friends Sue and Lowell Syverson, also from Iowa, was also a treat. Sue and Muffin Nelson handle the children’s Art Camp at Pioneer Mine and encourage the creative spirit with various art projects and teachers.
I’m glad my Mom became the family historian, keeping in touch with her own family and Dad’s sisters. Some stayed with us for a while. One sister, a teacher lived in the Tower area after the gold rush.

Fri
14
May

Hook and Bullet Club

We’ve lived in our house on Boundary Street for nearly 30 years. It was Pat and Chickie Harristhal’s before and originally the home of the Muscatelli family.
There is a backyard but you can’t get to the alley. I was trying to explain why to my granddaughter Kinlee but I agreed it doesn’t make sense.
It’s my understanding CCC crews built the rock wall that extends 10 feet up from the alley. There is a gate (with a lock on it) but if you opened the gate you’d be jumping from the top of a basketball hoop.
Kinlee accepted the gate doesn’t open and set off playing. With the dogs running around her, Kinlee fought off imaginary bad guys with her baseball bat and climbed into her room, which in an alternate reality is a red plastic Radio Flyer wagon.
Later that day we set up boards in the backyard and played bags, all in celebration of Evan graduating from Bemidji State University in four years.

Fri
07
May

Trout Whisperer - One lump, or two

Where is he? He is in the garage, he’s working on the boat. Something wrong with it. I doubt it, but that’s what he said, working on the boat.
I finish my coffee; she offers me another steaming cup. I sip at it, thinking, it’s kinda cold to be in the shop this early, I’ll nurse this cup, then head out there to see what he’s up to.
She tells me about the grandkids, some gardening she has been able to do and then I’m offered yet another cup, and so with it, out to the garage I go to find him, legs sticking out of the bow like two thick oars flailing, and he is howling.
I ask if he is okay, he shouts, “No, I’m not okay, get in here and get me right side up. “

Fri
30
Apr

Dry spell took a detour in April but might come back in May

Somewhere, legendary shop teachers Bud Adamic and Steve Smrekar Senior must be shedding a tear. It’s too bad such a historic structure as the Industrial Arts Building has to come down later this month. When I was an ISD 696 custodian 40 years ago, I got to know every secret place on campus from the heating tunnels under Kennedy Elementary to the crawl spaces above Memorial High School. The basement of the Industrial Building had plenty as well.

Thu
22
Apr

Hook and Bullet Club

Saturday we joined a group of ATVers on a ride up the Echo Trail. It was a beautiful day and the ride turned out to be a great way to get outside this spring.
We started with nine machines and picked up four more along the Echo Trail at the Keen residence. All told we had 23 people and two puppies on the ride. The pups were a big hit.
Our first stop was just past North Arm Road where a puppy needed to be transferred to a warmer rig. With that accomplished, the group loaded back up and headed north. Next stop was at Ed Shave Lake.
We didn’t have a meeting place for Bruce and Tracy, who had left Crane Lake about the same time we left Ely. Ed Shave turned out to the meeting point and our group grew to 14 machines with 11 side by sides and three traditional ATVs.

Fri
16
Apr

From the miscellaneous drawer

To a pre-teen girl, there were challenges everywhere. Across the street an old macadam two lane highway led to what had become the outer limits to my environment.
In the 1950s, the lure to walk there was three fold. On the north side of the highway was the area airport and many small planes. Further south was the Oriental waterpark - a forgotten dream of some past homeowner.
Alongside the road on the left was a small unnamed creek. One could wade through mud to the cool, sandy bottom and catch tadpoles in the moving water. My best friend Bobby was usually along for the outing too.
My mother, a nurse, did not approve. Polio was taking children by death and sorrow and one of my cousins was in an iron lung at the time. Doctors Salk and Sabine created an immunization to stop mother’s fears.
We were inoculated.

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