John Wetrosky, Columnist
It's the second week of deer hunting and I haven't seen a deer. The woods are bare of tracks and the cooler is bare of beer. Deer frolicked here just weeks ago, where the heck did they frolic to? Nary a white tail to be seen as through the swamp I go. I've sat in this tree, it seems now like years. With cold seeping through my coat and frost in my ears. I hear no shots coming from any direction. Last year from this very spot I saw more deer than I care to mention.
Well, the whooping and hollering are gone for another year. We've all be exposed to about every negative thought a human is capable of uttering during this midterm election. I've been watching past episodes of "Hogan's Heroes" and "Gomer Pyle" just to get away from current events. Those shows were really funny. I ran and was elected to a public office one time. My grandmother warned me against running for such an office many years ago. She told me that holding a public office exposed you to ridicule and loss of friends.
The migration has begun. Much like the giant herds of wildebeest traveling across the African plains, risking life and limb they cross rivers full of crocodiles, evading pursuing prides of lions intent on eating them as they march on to an unseen goal. In northern Minnesota, we call this happening the pre-deer season.
I admit I was a bit apprehensive. I'd heard of this event over the years, but being born into a family of Bohemians and Germans I had not experienced what I was about to experience. The leaves are leaving the trees around this part of the north country. We've had our first visible snowfall and a bit of ice covered our bird water basin one morning last week. There is no doubt that the heat and humidity of summer have left us not to return until next June. Truly, I won't miss those summer temps that make me perspire just carrying out the garbage.
My wife and I just returned from a short camping trip to Winnipeg. We've camped at Birds Hill many times and always find interesting things to do around the Manitoba city. This year we visited Fort Whyte, a historical depiction of life on the plains both for Indian people and white settlers alike. The facility also offers a great interpretive center, which is worth your time.
On a recent fishing trip our daughter bought a candy bar from a gas station along the way. It was her treat to us. The candy was one of those double-humped cherry bars with the chocolate on the outside with a cherry filling. Most of you know the candy bar of which I speak. I thanked her for her thoughtfulness and opened the wrapper. It was with some surprise that I kind of had to search for the treat inside. Somehow this candy product that I remembered from my youth had seemed to shrink.
The red-faced rooster pheasant took flight from the standing cornfield and headed out over the flooded cattails. It was a cold South Dakota morning on opening day of the state's pheasant hunting "opener." The big black Lab dog came thundering out of the cornfield as a shot rang out and the rooster disappeared out over the cattails with a puff of feathers drifting over the frozen swamp. I heard the crash of breaking ice as the dog, now unseen, headed for a bird she couldn't see.
I've somehow lost the piece of paper with my 2018 Minnesota Twins prediction scratched on it. The forecast must have slipped out of my computer somehow after a vicious thunderstorm sometime this summer. I couldn't dredge it up anywhere when I looked to reprint it. No matter. It doesn't matter at this point in the season. The team is packing their duffel bags as this is written. A merciful end to the season is in sight.
A broken guitar string in the middle of "Your Cheatin' Heart" stopped the music. We have a bluegrass festival coming to our community this week. It's a great assembly of some of the best bluegrass bands in the nation. Thousands of people from all walks of life will be filling those lawn chairs in front of the stage, tuning into the tight harmonies and great guitar, banjo, mandolin, dobro and bass music. Tickets have been sold to folks from all parts of the United States and southern Canada.
I've done a lot of things in my life. What I am about to write took 30 years, the bulk of the air I have breathed. It was a good span. None of us know when we graduate from high school what the future might bring. Although the speakers at our graduations advise us to be studious, gregarious and future thinking, we all make our own way no matter what.