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From Husky to House Dog

 
 
She was born with gifted intelligence not so much in a bookworm way, but more of a Hannibal Lecter way: she can peer into my soul and know she’s got me cornered. It’s helping shape me as her dad.
 
Her name is Mustang Sally and by definition she’s an Alaskan husky, a working dog. Through centuries of DNA, she was designed by nature to pull. It’s an attribute not always conducive to transforming a husky into a house dog. But her work includes a side gig.

Trail of Intentions

 
 
My dad was director of outdoor recreation during a family camping trip when I was too young to understand what “laugh about it later” meant. At the time, I’m not sure Dad understood it either, but he was determined to show us the outdoor life. The guy took a beating in my behalf.
 
It began with marshmallow practice after our first breakfast. We’d be having s’mores throughout the week and he coached my sister and me on how to cook a perfectly toasted marshmallow.

21st Century Pictographs

 
 
Eight people stood on a wilderness overlook with their backs to the pristine lake below. Not one of them held a camera. They were seemingly oblivious to the glorious backdrop behind them. Instead, they gazed at renderings on a sheer cliff directly against the gravel road opposite the lake.

Navigational Purposes

 
 
By the time I left high school, I had the remainder of my life pretty much mapped out. Consequently, I should have been inducted to the NHL Hall of Fame twenty years ago. Oddly enough, that career plan began to siderail the summer after high school graduation.
 
Throughout childhood, I dreamed of playing goalie. But these years later, I can see how my mom and dad were in cahoots to nudge me elsewhere.

Silence of the Lawns

 
 
 
My wife and I sat down in the backyard clutching two cans of perfectly frosted Hamm’s beer. For early June, the day was scorching hot. I had finished cutting our grass earlier and reached a good stopping point. All other yard chores would wait. We settled in for an evening of quiet inactivity and baseball on the radio.
 
No sooner had the cold sizzle of beer hit my throat, than our neighbor’s hired grasscutter fired up his supercharged ride’m lawnmower next door.

What's in a Name?

 
 
The town is the kind of place where people in the witness protection program go to live. It was exactly what my wife and I needed at the time. Not to vanish from thugs and mobsters, but more to shelter ourselves where no one would follow.
 
Its name is Buyck, an unincorporated hamlet in Northern Minnesota just a few miles southwest of Canada. Actually, if I trailed a deer there during hunting season, I could have unwittingly crossed the international border…with a loaded gun.

Fish & Visitors

 
 
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Fish and visitors stink after three days.” But I’m guessing he’s never been to Ely, Minnesota. Ely’s economy thrives on inviting visitors to fish here for days on end.
 
In many tourist towns, the early season percolates with excitement. But depending on the town, Franklin’s quote becomes gospel as days wear on and the atmosphere turns ripe.

Resurgent Perspective

 
 
I knew I was in trouble when my own dad called me by my last name. Along with being my father, he doubled as my baseball coach. I had just made a disastrous baserunning decision and was thrown out at third, ending not just the game, but the season. I had squelched my team’s chance at our Little League championship. Tail between my legs, I sat down in the dugout beside my teammates as Dad expounded on my oversight for all of us to unmistakably hear.

North of Minnesota Nice

 
 
A carload of conniving faces made several slow passes up and down our block a few summers ago. They appeared transfixed on something in our neighbor’s yard across the street when our neighbor wasn’t home. Eventually, they crept to a stop, car doors opened and the pack stepped into broad daylight. The Georgia plates on the bumper belied the lone female passenger who spoke with the British accent. To watch them was to surmise furtive intent.

Voices of the Process

 
When asked about how he writes songs, Tom Petty said he didn’t really know. He described it as a very real magic that he has to wait for if he’s lucky enough for it to happen. True to his humor and semantic dexterity, he explained it by comparison.
 
“It’s kind of like an orgasm,” he said. “You don’t know how you did that.”
 
Not knowing how or why something happened is the core of magic. It tickles the inexplicable, but it’s no less real.
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