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Showing posts from June, 2015

On the Eve of Forty Eight

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Today marks forty eight years since my father's murder. I've never really been able to remember the exact date until the past year or two -- June 28, 1967. It's not a date I like to remember, so I always just kind of knew it was in June sometime.

Those of you who know me, know that I was only 5 years old when it happened, so remember little of my dad - a handful of memories, or cerebral snapshots of our times together. As the story goes, he was murdered in a seemingly random, racially motivated attack while minding his own business in Happy Harry's bar in a racially transitional part of town. I originally thought there were 4 men that beat him, but was corrected after my mother read a poem I'd written about that night. She said it was a band of 11 people. I guess the numbers don't matter, what matters is that he was outnumbered and singled out because of his skin color. They beat him, left the bar and returned and beat him again, fracturing his skull.

As much a…

Brothers, Sons, Daughters, Uncles and Cousins - Then and Now

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In a bit of a prologue to the story below, I was vetting my kids' clothing before they were packed for the BWCA trip. I had specific instructions that they were to wear long sleeves for the way into the portage, as the bugs were bad. Ben hadn't packed one and couldn't find a decent one in his closet, so he reached into his laundry pile and pulled out a flannel shirt. He smelled the armpits, and threw it into the bag I was packing. I thought, "Well, it's always good to start a trip with a dirty shirt."

I done raised him right.
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This past weekend saw the return of our group to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, (BWCA). There were seven of us, my brother Tom and I, his son Hunter (17), my kids Sarah and Benjamin (19 and 16) and my nieces Alison (18) and Amanda (14). The only difference from the 2012 trip was Amanda took my nephew Nick's place. It was her first trip to the BWCA and we were anxious to see how she'd fare. It also meant Hunter and Ben would…

Twenty Five Years

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In my previous post I mentioned that my wife and I are approaching our 25th wedding anniversary (Tuesday, June 16). I'm pretty sure being married that long puts me in the old guy category, but our love for each other is young. For being two very different people with regards to lifestyle, we're also very compatible. The theory that opposites attract is maybe true in our case.

It was a hot, ninety-plus degree muggy day, for our wedding. Our family rented rooms at the now-defunct Kellogg's Inn, a small hotel out behind the restaurant by the same name. It worked out really well, as we were all in one spot and were able to communicate details, etc. That morning we had breakfast at the restaurant and shortly after that started getting ready for the wedding.

Gorham, New York, where Donna was born and raised is a small town. A gas station, small grocery, diner, small library and a few other miscellaneous businesses. We were married in the Gorham United Methodist Church. It was sm…

Get Me To The Church On Time

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This June 16th my wife and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. It is hard to fathom that time has gone by this quickly. While I say that, I can't imagine that both of us will be around for our 50th, but hey, never say never.

Our wedding day was such a big event in our lives, that I think it deserves some reflection. So, I'm dedicating the next couple of posts to it.

At the time, I was living in a large victorian home that my roommate was in the middle of renovating. We lived upstairs while he gutted - and I mean, down to the lathe gutted - the downstairs. Donna was back in New York, so most of our planning was done by letter (snail mail) or long distance phone calls. She took on most of the planning, while I was in charge of getting the groomsmen tux sizes and securing a rental station wagon to haul her stuff back from NY to Milwaukee. I was also in charge of making a map from the church to the reception, but more about that later.

I managed to work it out so my fri…

It's All About The Bass

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Yesterday was the fishing opener. Well, it was MY fishing opener anyway. The real opener was a couple of weeks back, but I didn't get out for it and usually don't. With my fishing kayak, I take what the spring/summer/fall schedule gives me.

Because we had an event Friday night, I had little time to prepare for my first venture out on my favorite lake. (For those of you wondering, the name of the lake is Secret Lake. Google it. ;-)  Furthermore, we were out late the night before. As a result, the next morning, I woke early and hit the ground running. I needed to eat breakfast, make a thermos of coffee, load the car and load the kayak on top. Because I woke a little late, I was frantically packing to get on the water. Fish wait for no one.

After a 20 minute drive, I repeated the whole ritual in unload mode, working quickly and methodically. When I finally got in the boat, I thought, Man, that was a lot of work for a little fishing. Ten minutes later I had my first fish on and qui…

Welcome To The Club

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Clubs and memberships are a part of life. We've all been in one or another. Some of us are card-carrying members, others are members in name only - the ones who are on a roster but never show up. Some go through life jumping from one club or membership to the next in an attempt to make a name, build a resume, or just to keep busy. Clubs and memberships mean a lot to some people and less to others, maybe those that have been burned by a club. Facebook and LinkedIn always ask you to add groups/organizations and memberships to your profile. It uses these groups to find you friends whether you want them or not.

I can't really think of any groups I was part of in High School. No debate team or yearbook club for this guy. Played a few sports, which are clubs of their own, but no high school clubs.

In college I got into a couple of associations. The first was the University of Minnesota Association of Geographers, or UMAG for short. It was a fledgling group of students who got togeth…