Tuesday, October 23, 2007


It was a busy and fun last week in Blackduck. I had my initiation into ATVing, had a video movie marathon during a couple of rainy days, made a trip to the casino and came home with extra money in the pocket, had a shopping trip to Bemidji and saw the new George Clooney movie, took in two auctions, and enjoyed having my two sisters visit the resort. Lori brought a ton of Ranger food, and Terri took all our money playing Gin 13. It was difficult leaving the beautiful resort where I enjoyed so many great times over the summer.

And now it is time to pack the trailer and truck for the trip back to Arizona. It will be sad to say goodbye again to my friends and family. I guess I am fortunate to have the best of both words living in "WickiDayDuck", but will miss everyone in the north country. Carol has been such a fun person to share a home with in Dayton, and Wylee will also miss her and Hershey. Mom will be glad to have me back close by, and it will be good to be near her to lend a hand when needed.

The winter is already filling with lots of fun plans. It has been a wonderful first year of retirement. I have moved to Arizona and set up a new home, met new friends, and had lots of visits from old friends. The summer was busy with golf, fishing, camping, trail rides, class reunion, wedding, and fun visits with family. As always, I have loved spending time with my grandson and watching him grow into a fun little boy. His parents have done a tremendous job of raising him.

So another chapter ends and another will begin. Who knows what joys and heartaches will lie ahead. I am so grateful to those who have blessed my life with their friendships, and pray that they will stay safe. Every day is a blessing, and I am so appreciative of all the joys of the past year. Thank you friends and family. I love you all!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


As someone who loves to ride a quiet natural trail on horseback, ATVs have not been my favorite machine. When riding on a trail while listening to the crunching of pine needles or dry leaves underfoot, it is often irritating to hear or see a noisy ATV ripping along while tearing up the paths. A horse will walk right up to a deer when on a ride, but a loud ATV can send a horse bolting in panic.

However, my last week up north this week was to include hunting for partridge. Growing up, this meant walking the colorful logging trails with a gun carried carefully in both hands, and with a little luck, a dog running ahead to spot the camouflaged bird. But times have changed, and so I ended up riding a big Artic Cat 500 machine. It was daunting at first, and continued to be challenging as I lumbered over ruts and fallen logs, and through mud holes as we covered over 20 miles of isolated trails. Twice we had to use the wench to pull a machine (mine, of course!) out of mud when bogged down, and also had to stop to use a chainsaw to cut through a tree that had fallen and blocked our path.

Although we were successful in bagging some birds, after 6 hours of bouncing over ruts and trees, nearly tipping over a few times, having a face splattered in mud, and arms strained from keeping that heavy machine going where it was supposed to, I was ready to load up when we reached the parked truck and trailer again. It was an interesting day of stretching my limits and being involved in a sport made for the younger set. I was proud of being able to do it, and we had a lot of laughs as we got covered in mud, but the muscles are feeling it today in my arms, shoulders and back.

So this sixty-year old lady is still trying new things, but I have to admit, as exciting as it was, I was thinking of how nice it would have been to be silently riding through those trails on a certain golden palomino I know......

Sunday, October 14, 2007


My son's family had to say good-bye to their 14-year old Labordor/Pointer dog Friday. Tabby was a silly name for this wonderful retriever, but fit her well in her role as my grandson's buddy. Chris already had Tabby when he met his future wife, Kelly, and Tabby was there when they brought home their newborn son 10 years later. Tabby was CJ's support when he made his first steps, and was his pillow for CJ to curl up to when he read or watched TV.

But age is cruel, and Tabby never fully recovered from hip surgery last years. The latest indignity was the inability to manage her bladder, and she would wake up in a wet pool. This forced them to have her stay in the garage, and as the cold weather approaches, this dog who has been used to sleeping on the floor next to CJ's , would be in the cold. So the decison was reached to have the vet put her down.

Kelly called and asked me to take CJ for a couple of hours while they took Tab to the vet and brought her home. They had tried to prepare him by telling him that Tabby was old and sick and would die soon. He protested, and said he didn't want her in Heaven....that he wanted her by him to give hugs. He worried about her dying when being sick, as he had been told he was sick with his cold. And when told she was dying because she was old, he was worried about Grampa and Gramma dying because they were old. How do you explain death to an almost-4 year old?

I took CJ to a friend's home. Kandy just had her second book about her greyhound, Minnesnowtoes, published, so we took her book to be autographed and for CJ to meet Minnesnowtoes. He had a fun time playing with her granchildren's toys, then went to meet his mother, who took him out to eat before taking him home, and telling him Tabby had passed away.

Chris had built a beautiful box with Tabbys name, dates of life, and silver cross in which to bury her. I was not with them when CJ saw the still form of Tabby or said his last good-bye, but I can imagine the sad day at their home, and the big hole in their lives without her.

They left the next day for their cabin in Siren as a distraction for him. Tabby is free of her limp and pain, but her memory will last for a long time in her little buddy. He has been told that he will be with her again when he is old and goes to Heaven. It is a comforting thought to think about reuniting again with those who have gone on before. Tabby....run free and happy, and maybe you will see Dad who would love to take you hunting, and Johleen and Mandy and Moochie and Lolly will be there to run with you, too. Watch for me...may we have golden paths to walk and many more loved ones to meet again once again. Sleep well, friend.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


I just returned from a weekend horseback riding and camping at Maplewood Park.Unfortunately, we were about a week too late for the peaking of the leaf colors, but the drought and recent wind and rain hastened their fall. But the weather was warm and sunny, and the trees still had color, and the golden aspen and red maples reflected off the many lakes we rode around. We had a group of 16 people with 8 living quarter rigs, and enjoyed poking fun, telling jokes, past riding memories and catching up around the campfires. Paul had his big pan out for our cowboy breakfasts that everyone brought varied ingredients to make it unique. We ate well, laughed much, and enjoyed the companionship of friends and horses that makes trail riding on horseback such a treat. After a summer of rides, the horses no longer spooked at strange logs or rocks as they did when fresh in the spring. We saw many deer flash their white flag tails, and the horses looked with interest, but no fear (well, except for Sue's Spinner when a large doe stood right in front of him on the trail to look over the approaching line of horses).

Today was 80 degrees and humid, but the cooler weather is predicted. And Mother Nature had a last chuckle with us, as she gave us a sunny 70 degree start for our long weekend, then threw in a thunderstorm overnight, a chilly morning that made the long underwear feel good, another nice day to ride, then a foggy morning, burning away to a sunny, hot afternoon, then another rain at night and drizzly rain on the last day. A little of everything with temps from 40 to 80 and sunny to rain. Ah, autumn!


I have the most awesome sisters. They are there when times are tough, when a caring ear is needed or when sharing great news. They know me better than anyone...all my strengths and weaknesses. And they are the ones I turn to when I need a shoulder to cry on or to have a laugh. I spent a whirlwind 24 hours with two of them last weekend. Number 3 daughter, Mary, was having a rough week with work, concerned about the slow sale of her farm, concerns about a money transfer not being completed, and frustrated with continuing mud and rain. Number 4 sister, Terri, met us at Mary's farm and antique business. By the end of the 24 hours, Mary was laughing at the casino with silly penny machines (Terri walked out well ahead, Mary somewhat, and I, of course, donated to the Native American economy). We shared some wine as I taught them Gin 13, and we fought, argued, and tried to cheat. And the one who taught them the game, of course, was the one who lost the money to them. So 24 hours later, I left cash poor, but rich with laughter and more memories. Everyone should be as lucky as me with angels in their lives called SEESTERS!