Columnists

Mon
13
Sep

COLUMN: Slice of life - Getting a night out alone

The original plan was to spend two nights camping with family and friends. After making it through thunderstorms the first night and, upon waking, hearing forecasts of continuing storms for the next couple days, one by one tent stakes were pulled up, soggy tents and sleeping bags were rolled up, and people began to bail out. <BR><BR>By mid-afternoon, I was the sole camper in our party remaining. No matter, I thought. I wasn’t about to let a little rain dampen my plans. <BR><BR>Granted, I did have the advantage of being in a pop-up camper and was spared the experience of sleeping in a water bed on the ground. <BR><BR>Looking back, if I had to pinpoint the start of my prideful attitude, I’m ashamed to say it showed its ugly face as soon as the first load of people and gear pulled out of the campground. <BR><BR>The big babies, I thought, and I established a clear line between them and me. They were deserters; I was tough.

Mon
06
Sep

From the miscellaneous drawer - Cheers for the Blues Festival

Even the most unseemly people can have a fire burning within them.<BR><BR>It may be a passion for quilting or baseball, for snowmobiling or music. Whatever it is, if it is a passion to be shared a person steps out of the crowd or out of the rut to make it happen.<BR><BR>Ely is fortunate to have so many of those passionate people. They’ve drawn attention to their interests, started events or projects in motion, and with determination and follow-through have enriched our lives. <BR><BR>The Ely area now has multi-use trails, an active arts community, unique baseball facilities, festivals and performances.<BR><BR>Recently I attended a few hours of the Boundary Waters Blues Festival, held on the grounds of the Ely-Winton Rod and Gun Club’s Longbranch facility which commands a terrific view of Fall Lake.<BR><BR>When I arrived there I wondered to myself why I hadn’t gone to Blues Festivals in past years.

Sun
29
Aug

In the front row

Stop down at the Ely softball complex this weekend, and there’s a good chance you’ll see Jerome Debeltz.<BR><BR>Between games, he’ll be grooming any and all of the three fields in use during the annual Labor Day weekend slow-pitch softball tournament.<BR><BR>One might find him behind home plate calling balls and strikes, or he might be serving up hot dogs and pop from the concession stand.<BR><BR>He could even be in uniform as a player for one of the 16 teams taking part in the Worth Before the Fall Classic.<BR><BR>It’s safe to say that no one does more for local slow-pitch softball, certainly no one has done more to keep the Labor Day weekend tourney alive, than Debeltz.<BR><BR>For well over a decade, Debeltz has organized the local slow-pitch league and did much of the behind-the-scenes work that allowed softball to continue in Ely.<BR><BR>And each Labor Day weekend, it’s a virtual family reunion at the comple

Mon
23
Aug

Slice of life

“Know thyself.” The words of advice from our Greek ancestors played over and over again in my head. <BR><BR>“Know thyself.” Know that thou doth not like to shop. Know that thou hath never liked to shop. Know that shoppeth is what thou must do when the start of the school year approaches and school supplies and clothes are to be purchased. Indeed, KNOW. <BR><BR>Know that I try not to be the type of consumer that today’s mall designers and makers of market schemes hold in the palm of their hands, yet I am. Know that I try not to fall for all of the tricks designed to entice shoppers to impulsively buy, yet I do. <BR><BR>Know that time spent carefully writing out a shopping list is time lost, for a shopping list will disappear the minute I step inside a mall only to reappear hours later when I’m home and find it in my shirt pocket. Know that this is the true definition of Retail Magic.

Mon
23
Aug

From the miscellaneous drawer - Happiness

In early August on a warm evening when Burntside Lake invited admittance to its sparkling waters, some friends embarked on a cruise from the south side of the lake to visit a friend who lives on the far north of the lake. <BR><BR>We dallied first to the east to allow more friends to join us. Then we traveled into bays to see new building sites and marvel at the size of some homes which command views onto secluded bays and rocky islands.<BR><BR>It was a perfect evening where the laughter is comfortable and the conversation relaxes the mind to forget the inanities of working life.<BR><BR>When we arrived at our destination on the North Arm of Burntside we walked through our friends’ gardens and studio, were entertained by music from a neighboring dock, ate good food and talked of art interests we share.<BR><BR>As twilight fell we again departed for home.

Sun
15
Aug

Column: Slice of life

It’s been about a year now since I began writing this column. During that time, I’ve often been asked two questions by people I meet out and about. <BR><BR>The first: Do you like to cook? I usually avoid a direct answer by stuttering and stammering a reply that would make most politicians proud. Or I answer back with a question. “What do you mean by LIKE?” <BR><BR>The way I look at it, I HAVE to cook. It occurred to me a few years ago that unless I learned how to prepare a decent meal for my family and me, we’d either go broke from eating out or suffer from poor nutrition. So I started looking for and trying recipes that were nutritious, delicious, and most importantly, hard to mess up. <BR><BR>But I’m like most of you who juggle the demands of family, home, work and activities. Preparing three meals a day seven times a week is challenging. I’d love to have a personal chef.

Sun
01
Aug

Baby boomer echoes - Barbecue

For many Boomers summer wouldn’t be complete without many meals cooked on the grill, whether food’s done on an electric, gas or charcoal setup. Barbecuing became popular in the ’50s and the trend slowly found its way up North. People in California were first, supposedly because no one wanted to cook inside when the temps run into the 100 degree mark. From what we gathered, those folks ate supper around 8 p.m. while lounging around the patio or pool.<BR><BR>It’s not that Boomer kids here didn’t have a clue as to what cooking and eating outdoors were all about, it was associated with a camp fire out in the woods. The menu consisted of a cast iron skillet full of fish, bacon and eggs, heated pork and beans right in the can, roasted hot dogs on a stick and baked potatoes thrown in the coals. Marshmallows on a stick provided dessert.<BR><BR> Boomer moms liked the idea of moving the stove outside on a hot summer day.

Mon
19
Jul

Baby boomer echoes - The twirlers

Ely’s been host to many fine parades and Boomer kids remember quite a few of them. <BR><BR>Who could ever forget the much-celebrated Roaring Stony Days with all the marching bands from around the region dressed in their finest uniforms complete with plumed hats. <BR><BR>Ely’s high school band and the Dillonaires drill team usually led the way - and those were the years of precision marching and formations.<BR><BR>Many Boomer kids aspired to one day don the uniform, play an instrument, beat a drum or do the fancy routines with flags and fake rifles that the drill teams entertained us with.<BR><BR>The majority of the townspeople along with visitors to the area once again lined the streets of the parade route on Sunday - the 4th of July. A downpour of rain didn’t dampen the spirit either because Elyites take their parades very seriously.<BR><BR>Any Boomer kid appreciated the display of decade cars and trucks rolling by.

Mon
19
Jul

From the miscellaneous drawer - The love affair

I’ve been involved in a love affair for some time. While I claim to want some free time alone and away, truly I delight in the companionship.<BR><BR>When I fall asleep I’m thinking about this love and my dreams reflect that. I awake eager to start a new day sharing my love.<BR><BR>For I’m not selfish. I share this love and see the pleasure spread. There’s interest and some mutual devotion there.<BR><BR>I did flirt. I tried out what wiles I had and hoped for the best. Amazingly, there was some response, some encouragement, some kind smiles. Occasionally there were kind words and I began to feel, if not loved, at least cherished in some small way. <BR><BR>With a personality like mine - both shy and abrasive - I was afraid to trust my emotions, to let my affection show through.<BR><BR>Still, it’s a rare day when my committment is doubted. The steady joy is too great for any but the most fleeting doubt.

Mon
19
Jul

IN THE FAIRWAY......with a happy hacker

It’s contagious! Norman Hill is the latest to be infected - lucky man! He celebrated Independence Day weekend in his own way, scoring a hole in one on #7 with a seven iron. Way to go, Norman! Not to be out done, Robert Stepec used an 8 iron on number 4 for his ace on July 2. Billy Zup was the envious witness playing with Bob, who now works and resides in St. Cloud - when not on the Ely nine making a hole in one, that is! <BR><BR>And we add #3 to the list after reading about Steve Piragis in last week’s Echo - ’though his was made at Wilderness at Fortune Bay in June! We and many others wouldn’t mind that kind of contagious ‘disease.’ <BR><BR>EWGA Veep, Cheryl Martinetto gave us the word at the Exec Board meeting that for sure, the traveling trophy has rested on Ely’s shelf in the past but Babbitt announced at Tuesday’s Exchange that it has found a home on their shelf since 1994! <BR><BR>Cheryl also played reporter for us for the Babbitt Exchange.

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