Well, this book is about a lot of things but mostly it’s about living up here in the U.P.
It’s about living and working and playing in the woods around Alger County and out on the Big Lake. It’s about the changing seasons, especially Winter and how we survive and amuse ourselves up here in God’s country. It’s about pick-up trucks and camps and pontoon boats and islands. It’s about fishing and hiking and just wandering around in the woods. It’s about old friends, new friends and absent friends. It’s about old dogs and young pups.
It’s about growing up and growing old and it springs from roots sunk deep in the bedrock of this peninsula. It’s about uncles and nephews and great uncles and great nephews. It’s about growing up in a tar paper shack and coming of age in the 70s. It’s about fire and rain and a lumberjack’s troubles. It’s about being called “your honor” and marryin’ people.
It’s about music from space and landing on aircraft carriers. It’s about underwear, or the lack thereof, and it’s about Sauna. It’s about history and the marks we have made on the land in this place we call home. It’s about critters and COVID and change. It’s about living up here above the land that’s down below the Bridge.
It’s about the sun and the moon and the stars and planets too. It’s about old submarines and old submarine sailors. It’s about having your heart broken when you’re young and re-plumbed when you’re old. It’s about buckets and guardrails and the difference between a shitload and a gazillion.
Some things might make you laugh, but that depends on how warped and twisted your sense of humor is. Mostly I’ve tried to just make people smile or sigh, or hark back and remember, or maybe just say “yeah.” If my words are rough around the edges it’s because I was trained as a reporter and I’m too old to care very much about polishing them any further. You can ruin a thing by fixing it too many times.
These “stories,” if you can call them that, got started in my convalescence after heart surgery in 2018 and I’ve compiled them over the last couple years on my web page. I hope you like them enough to read them and recommend them to your friends. Make them buy their own copy though. If I can sell enough of books it may keep me out of the poor house in my retirement. I’d like that. So would my wife. My alternate retirement plan is to be a colorful character at my nephew’s pub.
I’d like to thank my wife Shawna for putting up with my wandering on a daily basis, and special thanks to the world’s best High School English teacher, Helen Peters, for teaching me that we learn the rules of grammar so that when we break them we do so deliberately, intelligently and effectively.
And remember, life’s short. Drink the good Scotch first.