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Opinions

Perch jerking

Walkin'

Notes from Benders Fishing Camp, Day three:
Notably missing from our fishing trip this year is Terry, a cousin of the Bender family, and a sometime helper at the camp. He’s also an artist and all-around bohemian. His studio/home is just a few hundred yards down the road from the camp. He works in wood, mostly with a chainsaw, but also builds fine furniture.

Too much of a good thing

Food For Thought

About a month ago, my friend Barb Kalm and I conducted a poetry workshop for some of our writer friends who wanted to learn more about writing poetry. Now, Barb has been writing poetry all her life and has long been considered a serious poet. I, on the other hand, have written poetry since childhood, too, but it has not been my main writing interest. I have always preferred prose, particularly fiction.

Making number 2 at Benders

Walkin'

Before continuing this diary, I’d like to remind readers that 99 percent of the time this column does not center around boogers and/or other bodily functions normally not talked about in polite company. Occasionally however, these subjects cannot be avoided, hence the one percent that may make some readers think, “Oh, gross!” This is one of those columns, so stop here if you’re uncomfortable when it comes to graphic discussions of various bodily functions.
Notes from Benders Fishing Camp, Day 2:
Bowel movements are the talk of the camp this morning.

On a bender

Walkin'

Notes from Bender’s Fishing Camp, Northern Minn.:
Day one:
What a difference a year makes! Last year we were a greeted by swarms of mosquitoes in the warm air; this year, cold put ice on the boat seats and nary a bug could be found. Old man Bender, who has been living here all 90 years of his life, said that he has yet to see two springs the same.

Songs of the South

Food For Thought

I turned on the television just in time to catch the Big Race at the Kentucky Derby. The horses were being saddled, the jockeys, in their bright jerseys were posed for an official photo, and the band was tuning up to play “My Old Kentucky Home,” the official state song. The camera panned across faces in the crowd, showing more than one race-goer shedding a sentimental tear as they sang those much-loved words written by Stephen Foster.
Even though I’ve never been near Kentucky, I found myself feeling sentimental, too, though for a quite different reason.

The poetry of spring

Food For Thought

“In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” I don’t think there’s ever been a spring that somebody didn’t recite that line from Tennyson. I’d heard it for a good many years before I became curious about where it came from. That line from “Locksley Hall” is followed by further description of romance and warns maidens that after the passion has waned “he will hold thee ... something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse.” which is not all that flattering for any lady to learn.

The adventures of Pearl

Walkin'

We almost put Pearl down recently.
Born into a cage at a puppy mill, the first time in her life she set foot on grass didn’t come until she was six months old. We let her off leash in our backyard hoping she’d bound about. Instead, she found a leafy cave under a bush by a wall, crawled in, curled up and shivered.
With a little TLC from Sabra, our friends Curt and Sue and me, she took a few tentative steps that afternoon. We played cards on the patio not far from her and eventually she dared a peek. From then until now her progress has been an eight-year slog.

What I learned about leftovers

Food For Thought

My paternal grandmother was a child in Germany before emigrating to the United States as a young teenager. She was from a large family. I’m not sure just how many siblings she had, but the one family photo of them that I remember looked like enough children to populate a country schoolhouse. Possibly close to a dozen all told.

Pole stories

Walkin'

I’ve been getting ready for my second annual fishing trip to northern Minnesota and the Bender’s fishing camp.
Been there a half-dozen times, but last year was so much fun I decided to go every year.

Ah! Those spring hikes

Food For Thought

It was usually quite unexpected. We’d come home from school and Mother would be armed with a couple empty coffee cans, a quart jar full of water and some empty bread sacks. We were going wildflower hunting– while Mother was after mushrooms. Why she didn’t enlist us to look for mushrooms, I never understood. When taking similar springtime walks in the woods with my own children, I found that they were better at finding those elusive fungi than I was.

Ride with me

Walkin'

Sometimes I think this column should be called Bik’n instead of Walk’n as I do much more of the former and less of the latter each year. The change is brought on by physical problems, gout and sciatica to be specific. As I age, my attention span becomes shorter and biking more accurately reflects how my thoughts flit about to different topics.
Besides, I’ve started a new company, Orange Hat Bicycle Touring. I could kill two birds with one stone by telling you about upcoming rides like the one to see the Cedar Rapids Kernels the weekend of June 27 and 28.

Closing the window

Last November I told the Solon Public Library Board of Trustees I would no longer decorate the display windows. I sought no controversy or attention, and appeared alone before the Board– out of respect for the library and the legacy of the windows.
I now wish to explain my decision and correct the library’s explanations for my departure