John Wetrosky, Columnist
Does a live oak log weigh more at my age of 71 than it did at my age of 30? Yes, it does. My dear wife attended a sustainable living vendor show a couple of weeks ago and brought home a package of shiitake mushroom cores. I had no idea these things existed, but they were lying in their package next to the coffee maker one morning a couple of weeks ago making me wonder what she was up to. They were a subtle hint of things to come.
The old rifle sits in the corner of our house. It's a Remington Score Master model and was purchased by my dad sometime after World War II. The rifle has history written all over it. It's probably not considered appropriate by some to write about firearms these days. There have been abuses and tragedies caused by firearms in the hands of those who should not have them in their hands and that is very sad.
There are secret places we have all gone. Places that are not on a Google map. I'm thinking of the secret places that I have gone to at different spaces in my life. Places where a person could think about things. Do some self introspection. Plan out a possible future. Feel good about where they were at the time. Such places were not mentioned to those I knew at the time, but I knew those places were there and I stopped by whenever I could.
My granddad rolled the dice in 1928. He bought $1,000 worth of stock in a tire company. He lost it all when the market crashed in 1929. He never forgot it. In 1928, 1,000 bucks was a bit of money I'd think. Through that experience he always tried to impress on me the risk involved in the stock market. "The only stock I have in the market now are those four-legged critters strolling around the barnyard," he would tell me. At the age of 10, I wasn't sure what he was talking about.
You can get scalded by a cold wave. The recent bone-chilling temps have brought back memories of cold winters past. I haven't seen many of my northern Minnesota neighbors wearing cut-off T-shirts and flip flops lately. It's tough to even recognize your neighbors on the street when the temps descend to 30 below or more. About the only sign of life inside those parka hoods is the steam that is rising from inside, creating frost on the fur lining.
"Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end ..." That's how the words of the song by Mary Hopkin go, and as we turn the page to the year 2018 those words came back to me. I remember the New Year's Eves of the past and how they've changed my attitude over this span of time we call "aging." That song was popular in 1969, this boy's heyday.
Beware my friends out there at Todd's Tavern in Amherst, South Dakota. They can break your hearts. I've hunted pheasants out near that burg and found it to be a Vikings stronghold. Every game is shown on the TV set above the bar and purple is the color of game days. This year the Minnesota Vikings are showing some promise of achieving the ultimate goal of any pro football team, winning the Super Bowl. Even more exciting is the fact that if they get that far, the event will be held at the new stadium in downtown Minneapolis. It's a long way from Amherst, South Dakota.
Everybody knows about the Grinch who stole Christmas. But, does anybody, other than my brothers and sisters, know about Clausey Sands? The distant and ill behaving relative of Santa Claus? The being that wore orange at Christmas time instead of red? The spirit who had mules pull his sleigh instead of reindeer? Well, my father knew of him and he told his story every year around this time of December.
Things have changed in Minnesota's deer hunting world since I came on the North Star State scene in 1970. Minnesota's deer season was once a nine-day season that carried it through Thanksgiving week. Two weekends of intense activity in the woods. Those who participated in those hunts speak of large family deer drives through the woods, taking any sex deer, blistering cold weather and wading through snowdrifts at times. There were many hunts that happened after a Thanksgiving Day dinner where the calories washed off like rainwater. That doesn't happen anymore.
I'm hoping that Amazon doesn't pick our community to build their multi-million dollar facility with 50,000 employees coming to town. Don't get me wrong, I've nothing against Amazon. I've actually purchased a couple pair of denim jeans from the company that has one of the richest men in the world heading it up. The jeans came in the mail just a few days later and were exactly what I ordered. Some say it's the new way of doing business. But, I was thinking of what it would be like to live in my small, rural community if Amazon decided to make this its home.