Saturday, December 7, 2013

Lights, bells, Christmas miscellany; Rev. Leroy and Doorman Brian; A train engine; A-hunting we will go; An elucidation; Rumspringa (Amish)

Behind-the-scenes man oils Congregational church bell, 100 E Broadway, Waukesha 
in the midst of fallen pigeon droppings. (Historic)

An historic (keyword) Christmas card insert.

A Christmas tree bedecks fallen Black Trumpet restaurant.  Erected 12-6-13 by here-unknown patron(s).

Bells, lights.... Christmas


Rev. Leroy of previous SRN mention and I had a chance encounter with Brian the Doorman, the former
resident at the Odd Fellows who has also been previously SRN mentioned. 

The Rev. and I had a 7 AM breakfast engagement on Tuesday the 3rd of Dec.  Brian was having his breakfast (Dave's) at the booth next to ours and after a brief update on his movements since vacating the OF for a condo, I took advantage of the opportunity when Brian was paying his check to introduce my two friends. I asked Brian the Doorman (see: to sit down while I took a picture with my lower crustacean cell cam.  The strangers seemed to like each other. Chances are they might not have met were it not for this common friend.

Thus, earthlings become acquainted with each other through the sometimes-thought nefarious conduits of even the sewer-lines.  At the end, rising from our restaurant seats I then spied Lynn Gaffey's husband having his breakfast in another booth. We too greeted each other, figuratively jingling the bells of Xmas. It all was a delightful mix within footsteps of the raccoon domicile across the Five Points street and down/up two flights.

Leroy in our conversation mentioned his old Carhartt jacket he has formed an attachment to. I later drove out to his home near Saylesville to get some pix.

He boasted finally sewing new pockets into the ragged but rugged mean work shield.

The Rev took an old pair of jeans, cut pockets out and fitted another layer of front heavily-used pockets
in his jacket friend.  His seamstress, Noy, an  'associate' credited him with good work, and she would know.

Thus Leroy is prepared for more miles in his Carhartt.
It was the traditional tan color when he got it years ago
but it turned gray through many successive launderings.

And that reminds me of Phil:

My son-in-law Phil Kari
of Wasilla AK had gone through more than one Carhartt
jacket.  He has one for good and at least one other for utility wear
such as for bloody work when sawing up slain moose with his chain saw
for carting back to his hunting camp in the wilds.

Phil was the presenter of the moose leg bone
he brought down with his family to WI in an airplane
to give to me, a non-hunter, at a wedding not long ago.
A nice and very thoughtful guy.

For more Carhartt and bone data, see:

Notice my brother-in-law's Carhartt jacket in the photo.
With some fellows it is a kind of uniform of ruggedness.


A Christmas card for US Army buddy Bob Heeschen,
a railroad museum docent in St. Paul
also previously mentioned on these pages
We served together 1958-62

For more info on this
scroll down to train engine


WEDNESDAY, NOV. 27, 2013

The Last Deer Hunt

By Joel McNally the Shepherd Express

Ed called up Charley and said the two of them owed it to themselves to go on one last Wisconsin deer hunt. They weren’t getting any younger and everybody else in their old deer hunting party was long gone.
Boy, those were some great memories, if only they could remember them. Young people today didn’t have what it took to drink and play cards all night and then get up at dawn to kill stuff.
Not that everything was perfect in the old days. Ed and Charley always used to say DNR stood for Damn Near Russia.
But Ed heard there was a whole new attitude now toward deer hunting in the Department of Natural Resources under Gov. Scott Walker. The leaders were no longer namby-pamby academics with highfalutin’ scientific theories about wildlife and conservation.
Garter snakes and butterflies were no longer calling the shots.
It was men with guns who had civilized this land in the first place. Wisconsin once again had leadership that admired how men with guns could improve upon nature once and for all.
Real estate developers had taken over the DNR. When men got tired of shooting stuff or snowmobiling in the middle of nowhere, they could clear out all that scruffy wild stuff, pave over it and build some buildings that would sell for a pretty penny.
So one last time, Ed and Charley found themselves driving up north for the hunt. You’d think a lot of memories would come flooding back, but Wisconsin looked strangely different.
The small towns they passed through didn’t look anything like what they remembered. The main streets looked like bad teeth with lots of dark diners and vacant video stores.
The countryside looked different, too. There weren’t any neat, whitewashed farmhouses or barns with “Mail Pouch” painted on the side. Across enormous expanses, sometimes you would see sprawling, anonymous buildings in the distance enclosing acres of God-knows-what.
For old time’s sake, Ed and Charley stopped in Hurley and tried to look up a lady they remembered. But the teenagers working the drive-thru of the Wendy’s, where one of the most famous houses in the state once stood, didn’t know anything about their own town’s colorful history.
When Ed and Charley got to what had once been their favorite hunting camp, their jaws fell open. The trees in which they had sat for hours in silence waiting for deer to wander down overgrown forest paths were all gone.
Gone too was the rustic lodge in the woods owned by a retired Chicago cop they’d always suspected had bought it with his illegal payoffs. Huffy loved to tend bar and tell war stories from the big city.
Oh, and the woods were gone, too. So were the wetlands. So was the little stream where deer would stop to drink.
Now it was all one immense parking lot surrounding a gigantic Cabela’s, a cavernous emporium selling every known variety of expensive outdoor gear to triumph over the vast outdoors that no longer existed.

Where’s the Wilderness?
Ed and Charley had no choice but to drive on further north where they knew they could hike into pristine wilderness, hoping once again to be surrounded by that exquisite solitude that sometimes made hunting seem almost spiritual.
They knew the Wisconsin they remembered was gone forever when they were surrounded by a small army of men wearing paramilitary uniforms, prodding them with semi-automatic military rifles.
The men began interrogating Ed and Charley, asking what they were doing in Penokee Hills and what eco-terrorist organization they represented.
Ed and Charley said they’d always remembered this land as public property. The men said the rules had changed in Wisconsin. They were private security flown in to protect an out-of-state mining company while it conducted environmental tests.
As soon as the DNR approved the test results, which was a mere formality, the mining company would start blowing these hills to smithereens and hauling them away.
Where Ed and Charley were standing was going to be a mammoth pit extending for miles in every direction, including down.
Then one of the men going through Charley’s wallet found his Sierra Club membership and things really started getting ugly.
Waterboarding was suggested. One guy said Ed and Charley looked like some of those wild Indians who lived nearby. Maybe if they fired their rifles at their feet, the two of them would do an environmental rain dance.
The men settled for just shooting over their heads to run Ed and Charley off.
Driving home, Ed and Charley didn’t say anything for a long time. Their state was supposed to protect them from people like that.
They used to worry about the DNR being overzealous in protecting Wisconsin’s wildlife and land. Now, Ed and Charley were worried who would protect all those things and everyone else from the DNR.

We pick up our free copy
of the Shepherd Express tabloid
at The Steaming Cup
at Clinton and Main Streets in downtown Waukesha.

The fact that the Express is distributed in a rack there by the door
 is some proof that the owner, Kerry Mackay, is not an all-bad guy.


and another thing
is an elucidation on the name NEDRA
(see last week:
from our daughter Erin in Appleton WI
the archivist at Lawrence University.

After reading her last week raccoon 
she provided a researched link on the NEDRA matter:

Thank you Erin!


'Bring a torch'
on harp guitar


SRN photo, Waukesha 2012



You see them in their black carriages along the highway as if they
got separated from some funeral cortege and now must deliver
the dead on their own. The men wear beards but shave their
mustaches. The women wear long dresses and tight bonnets.
The children play with wooden toys and point when they pass
televisions glowing along the roads as if each house had a soul
all its own. They keep bees. Raise crops. Train teams of horses so
large they look like they've been exaggerated. If an Amish man
promises to meet you at noon by the courthouse with a dozen
cages of chickens, he'll be there. When the children are about to
turn into adults, they go on a rumspringa to see which world suits
them best. Girls dangle jewelry from their ears and necks. Smear
makeup on. Boys get behind the wheel of a car. Barrel down gravel
roads. Stop in a field. And baptize themselves with a bottle of gin.
A few go out for football. The girls join the cheerleading squad.
Then return home smelling of perfume or cologne. Giggling as
they stumble up the stairs, long after the candles have been blown

"Amish" by David Shumate from Kimonos in the Closet. © University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013