Columnists

Sat
18
Jun

Hook and Bullet Club - The good news

“We just need some good news for once,” I said to Mary on Saturday.
Another report of illness, this time from a cousin who is way too young to be in the shape she is in.
That news added to other bad news of friends with cancer made our discussion a somber one. We grieve for those suffering and for their families.
It had been another cold, rainy day in Ely and our spirits were as dark as the skies. We needed a boost, a shot of positive, some good news.
At around 11:15 p.m. Saturday night, our oldest son Jacob called and asked if we could gather around the phone.
We listened and wondered just what had happened that called for this near-midnight discussion.
Jacob calmly explained. We listened and to be honest, wondered. Was he pulling our leg? Was there something we had missed? Did we hear him correctly? Had his wife Kyah really just had a baby?

Tue
07
Jun

Hook and Bullet Club - Traveling

We must have entered travel season.
People in my life have packed their bags and headed out of town.
My buddy Rob went to watch his nephew graduate in Texas.
My co-worker Lisa went on vacation for a week to Florida.
My cousin Susan from California came to Ely for a visit last weekend.
My friends John and Rochelle went from Ely to California, strangely enough to Susan’s hometown of San Diego. They were also taking in a graduation.
My guiding buddy Roger will be heading into Quetico Park to start his summer of guiding clients on fishing trips.
A week ago I went on a trip, albeit a short one. I packed a bag with a change of clothes, made some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, threw some beverages in a cooler and climbed in my truck.
In the back of the truck I had my chainsaw, extra gas and oil, several pairs of gloves and safety equipment.

Mon
30
May

From the miscellaneous drawer - Transportation?

Growing up, bicycles and ice skates were preferred methods of easy travel in grade school years. For high school it became public bus, electric commuter train or car pooling. A bike and a river boat transported me to Quebec City in Canada. Diesel trains took me to college and across the US to catch an Atlantic passenger ship. Travel by Greyhound bus, subways and cable cars gave way to gondolas, vaporettos (water taxis), ferry rides, pontoon boats, canoes and sail boats.
Airplanes? Oh yeah. In those years you showed up within the hour of departure, sat in comfy seats and were quickly at your destination.
On Wednesday two nieces were to be traveling by plane. One from London to Chicago. One from San Diego to Ely.

Sun
22
May

Hook and Bullet Club - Snow, smear and moose

If you were in a tent the night before fishing opener in the Ely area, you can take home the diehard fisherman award.
Temps around 35 degrees, a strong wind and snow made for miserable weather for the 2016 fishing opener. That didn’t stop people from going. Well, it stopped some of us.
We were heading up the Echo Trail Friday night for a planned dinner at one of the restaurants in the Crane Lake area.
When we reached Ed Shave Lake, two things happened at just about the same time. First, it started to snow so hard you could barely see the road ahead. Second, a buzzer went off and a light popped up on the dash of John Sjoberg’s pickup truck.
I looked over and said, “Uh-oh.”
“That’s not good,” said John.
The light was the indicator for low tire pressure. He pulled over and we got out to take a look.

Wed
18
May

From the miscellaneous drawer - Foreign visitors

August 21-23 Ely will be the designation for 10 worldly journalists.
Over the years, one journalist reported on the clashes in Dublin by the Irish Republican Army and how the newspaper survived.
Another journalist later had to move her family out of Zimbabwe to avoid the vengeance of country’s tyrant.
One journalist was brash enough while in the U.S. that she talked her way into a party being held for a presidential candidate and the following year was one of the first journalists on the scene of Diana’s tragic car crash in Paris.
Two journalists from opposing and adjacent Mediterranean countries became friends and resources for each other after their stay in the U.S.
One journalist was the winner of the international 1993 Courage in Journalism Award for continuing to publish in Sarejevo after war broke out.
One journalist recited poems of Li Po in Mandarin Chinese to an appreciative listener into the night.

Fri
13
May

Hook and Bullet Club - Volunteers install signage

STOPPING along the Prospector Loop were a group of volunteers last Saturday. Photos by Nick Wognum.

Fri
06
May

From the miscellaneous drawer - Being a Mom

There was a knock on the door on Sunday, May 14, 1967 at our home in rural Illinois. Standing outside, smiling, were some ladies from my mother’s Hazel Crest church.
“It’s not often we get to do this so close to a birth date,” one said. For a moment I had to think about what was intended by that statement. Then it hit me.

The gifts they were carrying were meant to welcome the baby who had arrived just seven days prior.

In 1914, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. This year it is on May 8.

I’ve had the privilege of giving birth to two children: Nicholas and Sandra, and I’m proud of them both. Both have May birth dates.
Both are caring parents. Each has three children who are fortunate to have parents who cherish them.

And I’m a fortunate grandmother and mother because of them.

Sat
30
Apr

Trout Whisperer - Pert, near

Pert, near
I drive home on this road just about every day, and just about every day, he ain’t at his mailbox when I go past. But since his Mrs. passed this February I bet his daily routine has changed a bit, so I slow down to be neighborly and say hi.
Now I don’t want to mention his recent sad news, so I ask him if all his heifers have finished calving for this year.
He looks out at his pasture, says he has one first year heifer to go, then there’ll be pert near done. He looks back at me and says it’s been a big change this spring, that’s fer sure.
I said, I bet it has.
He says two of his kids will be coming home again this weekend. They will help him learn more about paying bills.
He says he never paid a bill in his life, the Mrs. took care of that. “She’d just give me some pocket money once in a while, ” he said. So he had some cash to go have coffee with the other fellers, if he felt like it.

Sat
23
Apr

Hook and Bullet Club - Minnesota-born star

Sitting in the back seat of a station wagon while we were cruising the streets of Ely in the summer of 1984, a new cassette was flipped in. The music that came out was different and every song was worth a listen.
“Do you know who this is?” asked Joe as he wheeled us down Sheridan Street.
“Nope, who is it?”
“It’s Prince, he’s from Minneapolis.”
“Doesn’t he sing that song about a pocket full of horses - ‘1999?’”
“Yup, same guy, he did “Little Red Corvette” too.”
“Cool.”
For at least one generation, Prince’s music helped define us and made us proud to be Minnesotans. Prince died on Thursday at 57, another music superstar gone far too early.
That cassette tape was played over and over again and we listened to every song. The days of artists putting out albums where every song is worth listening to is now a nearly forgotten art.

Mon
18
Apr

Trout Whisperer - Patience

Patience
Dangerously close, to my way of thinking, sits a fresh paddle, raw of blade, not a trace of wear to the shaft or grip, mind you not quite in the small orange flame. But because he is curing it with balsam resin, I think, or maybe I fear, it will just suddenly burst into flames. So I ask, Could it? Will it?
He says it has happened. “It’s not a serious matter,” he says, “I just douse it, and sometimes the charring, it adds a bit of color. Or if I’m away, it becomes heat to warm me. After all, it’s just wood and my time.”
After all his effort, the calmness he shows me, I think I would go nuts if the blade were to burn up wasting all that time - felling the cedar, waiting for its drying (or in his words), the time seems now, to carve it.

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