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Opinions

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.

Wanting it all

Food For Thought

Every week, the last half-hour of Friday kindergarten class was devoted to the rather scary but heady activity of standing in front of the class and telling about an experience we considered memorable, or showing off a prized toy or curiosity. Quite often I had neglected to bring something to talk about, but that didn’t stop me from taking my turn.
One Friday, I marched to the blackboard and boldly announced that I could write my name in cursive.

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.

The Sisyphus principle

Food For Thought

A cruel king of Corinth, Sisyphus, was condemned to push a boulder uphill for eternity. Just before he reached the top, the boulder would slip and roll back down so that he had to start all over. Sound familiar? It should if you’re the one in charge of the housework at your house. You never get it all done. Even with a dishwasher, you can’t keep up with the dirty dishes. Long before the last rinse cycle has finished, a nice supply of drinking glasses, snack plates, and various utensils has accumulated by the kitchen sink, awaiting their turn.

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.