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Brian Fleck

Up north with Elle King

Walkin'

This week’s column is written in the Dancing Bear Community room of The Lodge of the Whispering Pines on the edge of the Boundary Waters near Ely, Minn.
I have heard some murmurs in the trees, but mostly it’s been the rain that has managed to work its way into camp conversation four of the five days here.

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Corrections

Walkin'

I didn’t tell the story exactly right in recent columns.
Sabra joined the bell choir at our church, like I said, and she’s been a rising star, being promoted to two bells in a matter of weeks. She wasn’t demoted, however, because of trouble walking and ringing at the same time. No, the demotion came about because she missed a practice. As a result, she got dropped from third to fourth chair in the four-person ensemble. In turn, that meant she had only one note and one bell to play in the closing number.

Priceless fishing trip

Walkin'

A bonus chance to going fishing with Dad popped up last week, and I grabbed it.
Both brother Bob and I were pleasantly surprised to hear the old man was thinking of picking up his rod and reel again. A couple years ago, a bad case of gout flared up in his hands, making it almost too painful to put on his own clothes much less reel in a Bluegill.
But the gout eventually subsided and Dad let it be known he’d like nothing better than to get out on Bob’s new Lund fishing boat on Father’s Day.
Have I mentioned the boat?

Off the sauce for Lent

walkin'

In the past six months, I can count the number of beers I’ve drank on one hand. Shocking, but true. I had to quit because it comes up number one on the list of things that cause gout, a painful malady I hope you never experience.
Number two is shellfish and three is animal body organs.

Things we all agree on

Walkin'

Now that our trip to Florida is over and my marijuana growing venture dormant, I don’t have any lies to relate to you this week, so I’m going to delve into something I try to stay out of, politics. Things are so derisive nowadays, it’s important to remember things upon which we agree. I think there are three big ones for sure.

Florida recap

Walkin'

Ten days in Florida and we returned without a tan because the weather was cold the entire time.
I did bring back some little critter, however, as evidenced by the bite marks that start on the top of my head, run down my back in a straight line, and finishing off with one on my... I think you get the picture.

Watching the temperature rise

Walkin'

The first stop on my drive to Florida was Indianapolis. My daughter and grandson moved there a couple years ago and it was only a little off the fastest route, so it was a compelling place to rest.
The next morning, I headed out at 5:30 a.m. and began heading south. I have an outside temperature gauge in the car so I took comfort in watching the Mercury rise from 5 degrees. My goal was to make Macon, Ga., or 45 degrees, whichever came first.

Swerving to the right

My first car was a very used Ford Falcon.
The year was 1968. Vietnam was in full swing; Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy had both been shot and killed; bras and college buildings were burning; and Apollo 8 orbited the moon. Rising in my near future was the dream of so many: my first set of wheels.

Christmas program memories

Walkin'

The children’s Christmas program at our church was an unexpected and delightful surprise this holiday season, bringing back a flood of memories.
Reluctantly compliant describes my attitude as a child when it came to religious duties. Given my druthers, I’d stay home and watch re-runs of “Flash Gordon” through to the end. But, Mom never asked for my input. Flash would be on the verge of fighting the giant Octosak, in a chamber filling with water, and the call came: time to go. And believe me, when Mom said it was time to go, it was time to go. Flash would have to make it without me.

Good things

Walkin'

It was a good thing the stairs leading up to my Main Street apartment in Solon were extra wide, because during the decade I lived there many large objects including a piano, a heavy hide-a-bed sofa, an oversized couch and a series of 12-foot tall Christmas trees got moved up the steps.

Surviving the zombie apocalypse

Walkin'

If I kept all the cash selling marijuana to the jet set, I’d have filled several closets with hundred dollar bills.
But, I was smarter than your average bear and I invested it wisely.

Confession of a pot seller*

Walkin'

I sold the newspapers in 2000 but kept my shoulder to the grindstone for another dozen years. First, I went to college at the age of 48. After graduating, I tried part-time and substitute teaching for five years. Then Orange Hat Mowing was formed and I cut grass part-time as my own boss for a few summers. In between, I also did a little ESL teaching. By 2014, I was completely retired from everything except for my pot growing business. Instead of cutting grass I decided to grow it.