Columnists

Sat
02
Feb

Trout Whisperer- The wake

The cabin sits on a hilltop with a benched elevation of 1665 ft. Lake Superior, depending on what map I look at, shows an ordinary high between 550 and 610 ft above sea level. We have assembled on high. <BR><BR>From this amazing vantage point we can gaze on a clear day and see the Wisconsin shoreline, and if were lucky the ore boats in season headed up or down lake depending. <BR><BR>It's from this cabin of highest heights we have gathered to throw a wake for one of our own. He lived a long life. He died and we're going to miss him. His funeral left five of us with more to say. When you have a shirt and tie on at your buddy's funeral and all you really remember him wearing was black and red plaid vests, we needed to put him to rest and us at ease with his parting. <BR><BR>He would flick his cigar ashes off this deck. We all lit one in his honor.

Sat
26
Jan

Letters from Ely - Crossroads

The coach asked, "Hey O.C., did you shower this morning?" <BR><BR>"Not yet," replied O.C. "How'd you know?"<BR><BR>"Well, the grass is dying around your feet there." <BR><BR>Hitting practice was over, the pitching and infield practice was complete, and O.C.'s weekly coaching session with Mark Mainini was nearly finished. <BR><BR>A former professional baseball player, Mainini had perhaps found his true passion after his playing days were over. He's a private coach now, and a good one - able to claim some dozens of kids who have gone on to high school, college and professional ball under his guidance . . . a man who may have helped Manny Ramirez out of a recent October batting slump. <BR><BR>Today and in between lessons, Mark had devoted much of his time to some good-natured teasing.

Sat
19
Jan

Words from a burning heart - Sledding

There's a feeling you get when you look down the steep white slope of a sledding hill on a golf course. A hill that as a kid it seemed like would take you all day to climb up. A mountain that reminded you how not in shape you are as an adult. It is a different feeling for all, but similar in most. There's something that turns over deep in your stomach. Like a switch. Like your lunch.<BR><BR>When it happens some just sit down on their sleds and watch the action. Some look for a "bunny hill" or a bump in the terrain. Some reach for a friend or sledding partner, someone to experience the thrill with at exactly the same time. Some sprint for the top, throw themselves headfirst on their sled and hurtle through time and space like a rocket. These most often are back for more before you can blink.<BR><BR>I don't remember having snow pants when I was a kid. We played for hours outside, sledding, snowball fighting, building forts.

Sat
12
Jan

From the miscellaneous drawer - Wanting to veg

Funny how an old friend cheers you up... <BR><BR>Let's say that you came home from work and you were tired from the everydayness of the week. You came home and the house felt chilly but you were tired and looking forward to flat-lining your brain. <BR><BR>After you started to relax from a full 10 hours of being on your toes or rather being into your brain for 10 hours you just wanted to veg, to float a few hours until bedtime. <BR><BR>Let's just say that's the plan or non-plan. Just veg. But you're tired and because you're tired you feel chilly. <BR><BR>Not unusual. Put in a long day and you feel tired and chilly. Probably nothing but that. But maybe not. Maybe it truly IS chillier and you have a glass of wine or warm beverage and you still feel chily. <BR><BR>Chillier. Damn. It's getting cold. But it's getting late. Maybe you should have phoned a repairman earlier. Wait.

Sat
05
Jan

Letters from Ely - An essay on gravity

An Essay on Gravity<BR><BR>"Dad, look out for the . . . !! "<BR><BR>We'd offered to take O.C. and a friend sledding. But it seemed unfair for the two of them to be having all the fun. So Jane and I decided to give it a go, even though neither of us had ever sat in a plastic sled before. <BR><BR>On her first attempt, Jane slid halfway down the hill, flipped over and wrenched her shoulder. Game over. Her face pale, she trudged back to the top, looked at me and said, "That's not how I remember it . . ." <BR><BR>My turn next. I took a short test run from halfway down the hill. Whoa. Compared to the metal-runner, Radio Flyer sleds I'd used as a child, these new plastic sleds were evil, wicked fast. Ah, stop worrying, I scolded myself. Embrace the speed - you're still a young man!

Sat
29
Dec

From the miscellaneous drawer - Prejudice

There's an odd thing about prejudice that's consistent in history. Prejudice has to be taught. It's passed down in families, in schools and in societies. Adults vow to children that what they speak is truth and must be accepted without questioning. <BR><BR>Prejudice generates fear and closes the minds of individuals against communication, against compromise.<BR><BR>Simply put, prejudice is hatred. And not all hatred has to do with the color of skin or what religion someone believes.<BR><BR>For some it is the inability to hear a viewpoint which is different from their own. The end result of maintaining a mind which has slammed shut is boiling prejudice in a pot with hatred and fear. <BR><BR>That hot, lethal mixture is dished up to children as the one and only truth and it's just as destructive as identifying someone using racial or ethnic slurs.<BR><BR>We all have opinions. We all have leanings.

Sat
22
Dec

From the miscellaneous drawer - Altering the environment

There's a lot I don't understand about home financing. Yes, I have a mortgage and will have the home paid off when I am in my 90s. <BR><BR>Over the past 10 years I have made many improvements: a deep drilled well, new septic, new windows in the barn, soffits and new roofing, new carpets, exterior repainted, bathroom remodeled, updated light fixtures. <BR><BR>Oh, yes. I added a large screen porch. It reminds me of the prow of a ship. It makes being outside in the summer liveable.<BR><BR>Except last summer.<BR><BR>The summer edged into existence with a horrid smell at the front door. It was rank and the memory alone still makes my nose wrinkle and my throat close. <BR><BR>I sprayed sweet smelling stuff. I emptied every gardening pot and pan, looked (what I thought was) everywhere. By mid-summer the odor had mostly disappeared but something had appeared. A woodchuck.

Sat
08
Dec

Letters from Ely - The child in us

The Child Won't Leave<BR><BR>In a very grown up way, I told my wife I needed a 4WD Jeep Wrangler for my next car. I needed it for reasons of safety. She didn't want me getting stuck on a mountain pass on one of my frequent trips to California, did she? C'mon, honey - let's be ADULT about this . . . <BR><BR>And now that it's ordered I want bigger tires and rims with those really-bad chrome inserts and, and a big bass woofer for the radio . . . and local trails with some wicked gnarly scary jumps. <BR><BR>We went out to eat last night. I promised myself I'd only have roast turkey and currant salad, and would pass on the dessert. Instead, I ordered the Moo Shoo pork, Kung Pao chicken and a side of chow mien. And when they brought the dessert tray, WELL . . . .

Sat
01
Dec

Marking 30 years

What a roller coaster! What a year 1977 was to purchase the Ely Echo! <BR><BR> By the time 1977 ended the four month steel strike was over. <BR><BR>A year later the Ely Echo was being boycotted for being too soft on the changes that were being considered for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. <BR><BR>Environmentalism was sweeping the country and editorially we suggested that local expectations of the impending legislation should include the reality that more restrictions were sure to come. And although we were threatened physically we were not hung in effigy in parades which was a sort of mark in our favor.<BR><BR>There were two weekly newspapers in town at the time - the Ely Miner and the Ely Echo. At our five year mark to the Miner's plus 75, we were up against some tough competition.

Sat
24
Nov

From the miscellaneous drawer - 30 years

Thirty years ago in the Ely Echo of November 23, 1977, it was reported that there had been a total of 10 inches of snow which fell during the week. <BR><BR>The Echo's Horseradish Recipe Champ was declared - Marcia Kauppi of Virginia was the winner.<BR><BR>Helen Bachar filed for a recount in the votes which placed her at 819 to Bob Columbo's 820 for Ely City Council.<BR><BR>The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board planned to raze two old buildings on Finn Hill.<BR><BR>The Lake County Search and Rescue Squad of mostly volunteers located two hunters who had been lost in the area. Two weeks before that they had recovered the body of a canoeist from Basswood Lake.<BR><BR>Groundbreaking was held for the 40 new apartments next to Sibley Manor to be known as the Dr. J.P. Grahek Apartments.<BR><BR>Reporter Doug Smith was leaving the Echo and starting a job at the International-Fall Daily Journal.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Columnists