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Brian Fleck

Trademarks

Walkin'

The old gray tractor caught my eye because it was just what I needed for mowing the thistles on our land a couple miles north of town. It was in the parking lot of Solon Truck and Tractor and had a for sale sign, so I went into the shop.
Owner Mike Aicher and I go back to 1981 when we both showed up on the Solon business scene.
I’d just scraped together every penny I owned and borrowed the rest to buy the Solon Economist. Mike had traded in his experience as a farm boy, sailor and mechanic to open his shop on the south edge of town.

The medical adventure continues

Walkin'

The good news in my ongoing battle to lose weight (and alleviate gout) came courtesy of a website telling you how many calories various activities burn.
Walking, for a guy my weight and age, uses about 200 calories per hour (CPH), the digital assistant assures me. Running comes in at about 500 followed by vigorous cycling at 600. I thought swimming, at 700, was the top fat burner until I plugged in playing golf with a motorized cart. According to the program hitting the links eats up a full 750 CPH!

The Foxosphere John

Walkin'

As I write this I’m watching a YouTube video of a “breaking news” report by Fox Business that propelled a Clive businessman into the national news.
It was Sept. 29, 2010, Obama was stumping for the mid-term elections, just five weeks away.
Long time Democratic Senator Tom Harkin retired, and there was a close race to determine whether his replacement should be Bruce Braley or Joni Ernst.
Obama was drumming up support for a tax increase on the wealthy. The audience was supposed to be friendly and the scene couldn’t have been any more bucolic.

No more beer

Walkin'

As you read this it has been one full month since I’ve consumed a cocktail or beer. It hasn’t been easy, but the choice was a no-brainer: gout has been ravaging one foot or another these past four months and it was time to decide whether to give up being able to walk or quaff.
It’s been a good run, however.

Falling apart

Walkin'

As I approach 63, I find more and more things simply can’t be done any more.
Like driving a golf ball. In my prime, during the rare event when I actually hit it where aimed, my ball might actually be in a position to reach the green in regulation. And if my aim was off, at least the shot would go two, sometimes, three fairways over.

Golfing again

Walkin'

With Sabra’s retirement from the veterinary clinic, we have more time to do things together like golf, at least in theory.
When I first started dating her, she played several times a week. Naturally athletic, she was playing a fairly competitive game, which I found unnerving. Not that I can’t stand being beat by a woman; it was the way I was getting hammered.

Fish fry surprise

Walkin'

Benders Fishing Camp, epilogue:
What’s left to do after a week of near-perfect fishing?
Fry, baby, fry!
The key to good cooking, I long ago decided, is to start with really wholesome ingredients and then don’t mess it up.
At no time is this philosophy more important. There simply is nothing better than fillets from plate-sized blue gill caught in the still cool waters of North Minnesota in late spring. The meat is just so fresh, firm and sweet.

Two-ton hamburgers

Walkin'

Benders Fishing Camp, last day.
Limited out in blue gill and walleye, the only thing left for today is to try for northern and they aren’t biting.
I’d lament about the trip being all too short, but Bob doesn’t like lamenting in his boat, he’s afraid that it will ruin the carpeting. He does allow reflecting, however, so I spent the day pretty much doing just that.
In particular, I mused on how much fishing has changed just in my lifetime.

Benders fishing camp day 4

To mix things up a little, I asked to go out with Chuck instead of Bob for the morning, 5-7 a.m., fishing session.
In his mid-50s, Chuck designs and builds flow meters for a company in Chicago. He’s an all-around nice guy, someone who is very comfortable in his own skin. His spouse, Rosemary, comes to camp but she mostly stays shoreside reading or doing puzzles while her hubby fishes. You might say she’s a good-hearted woman in love with a good fishing man, who loves him despite of ways she doesn’t understand.

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.

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.

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.