Friday, October 20, 2006

Northwoods Arrival

The drive up to Baudette this morning was great. Nothing like four hours in a car to catch up with the parents. The tamaracks are golden and absolutely beautiful. Under a grey sky, they were practically glowing amid the black and white birch and spruce trees. Should have taken a photo. Even Grandma remarked that they look more brilliant this year than usual. And we saw six bald eagles. They hang out along the highway waiting for roadkill, which we unintentionally provided for them in the form of a rabbit.

We arrived just before noon, unloaded the Volvo, and ate lunch around the big pine table. We drank some coffee, and caught up on the local news:

The big news is that a hunter and his buddy’s golden retriever went missing on Monday, and the extensive search efforts haven’t turned up any trace of him. They’ve done ground sweeps and infrared fly-overs. Even the canine units haven’t come across anything. There’s not much chance that he’s still alive, since the nights this week have been cold any rainy and he wasn’t wearing adequate clothing. Sad.

The other story is of a school principal over in Indus. He lived next to the school where he worked, set a trap for a skunk, but caught his cat in it instead. Faced with the problem of having two motherless kittens at home, he decided NOT to keep them himself, NOT to ask if any of the students wanted to adopt them, NOT to bring them to the humane society. He decided to shoot them. With a 12 gauge shotgun. During school hours. Understandably, students were upset. Gunshots on school grounds, plus their principal blasting away kittens?? The nutcase has since resigned.

We headed out to the family hunting cabin that my grandfather and his two brothers built. It’s a big old log cabin with a generator and an outhouse. Genuinely rustic. Everyone in my family calls it the Yukon Palace, but no one knows why. I haven’t been out there for years, but it’s one of those places that doesn’t change. We rolled in around 4, brought our potluck donations to the kitchen table, and were immediately instructed to take a plastic cup out to the fire outside. That’s where the wine was. Several hours of good old-fashioned socializing ensued. Dinner was squash, calico beans, macaroni hotdish, potatoes and gravy, with apple crisp for dessert. No Jell-O salad, just good food for cold weather. After a brisk after dinner walk with Mom, some aunts and some cousins, we headed back to Grandma’s house, counting a dozen or so deer along the way.

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