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Hook and Bullet Club

My favorite piece of clothing is an insulated shirt that has more holes than Fall Lake after the ice fishing contest. Slipping on that shirt I know I won’t win any fashion contests, but the feeling is just what I’m looking for.That feeling came over me last weekend when we finally got out to the shack. Like putting on an old shirt, each of us slipped into our routines like we had just been there for deer hunting season.Mike was busy cleaning out the wood stove, not because I asked or that we had talked about it beforehand. He just did it because it needed to be done. I popped open the windows to air the place out and swept the pine needles off the deck as Jake hauled in our stuff from the truck. Bill showed up a short time later and the younger boys busied themselves with the wheelers. We slipped out of town Saturday afternoon, not knowing if the snow in the woods had melted enough or not. We just knew we were going. The wheelers were loaded up, the cooler was full of food and we were heading out. For the most part, the dirt road leading in was in fairly good shape for the shape it’s usually in. The hills that are always washed out to the point where five miles per hour is too fast were just that way again. As we got closer, the snow that had been packed down was still holding on where the pines had shaded it from the sun. When we got to our driveway, we shifted into four wheel drive as the white snow stared back at us. Without slowing down, we plowed through the remaining eight to 10 inches of snow with Evan shouting out, “We made it!” as we crested the hill with the cabin just below. When we were all settled in we took stock of the wood piles that had been drawn down starting at the opener of grouse season and ending when the deer season wrapped up. Some of the piles closest to the door had been picked from repeately and were now looking pretty anemic. We talked about rotating in some wood that had been sitting for two years and was now dry enough to burn.There was also the matter of some wood that could be salvaged up the road apiece and would make dandy firewood in a year or two. In just a few minutes the trucks were loaded up and we spent the next couple of hours cutting and loading up the truck with birch and some pine. When the work was done we came back and sat on the deck for a spell, enjoying a cold beverage and a beautiful spring afternoon. No bugs to swat at and yet warm enough to sit outside in shirt sleeves. The barbecue fired right up and some Johnsonville brats and Camp Cholesterol Polish were heated over the coals. We threw a couple of cans of pork and beans on the stove, mixing “Bold and Spicy” with “Barbecue Flavor.” It was a simple meal with potato chips instead of our traditional fried potato slices, but it was a good meal shared camp-style. It tasted good and felt just right.After dinner the cards came out and a camp fire was burning to keep the boys busy. As the temps outside cooled off, I looked for that comfortable insulated shirt to ward off the night air. I didn’t find the shirt but I did find the surroundings as comfortable as they had been in deer season. Baseball and summer activities will eat up most weekends until fall arrives, but I know by then I’ll be ready to get back to the shack, with or without my favorite shirt.

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