This one is long and boring, so if you’re having trouble sleeping, save reading for just before bedtime.
Bill, Larry and I had a good bike ride on Saturday. We all took turns holding each other back so we didn’t turn it into a race. After all, it was a 2-3 hour heart rate 1 ride (easy)Â for me. The strangest thing happened. We rode out M-179 like we often do on our way to do the Wayland loop. After we passed the Shell station, there is a small stream that runs under the road between Gun Lake and Payne Lake. An animal had been hit and was lying about six feet off the road. I could have sworn it was a beaver (O.K. Junior High boys, knock it off! Not that kind of beaver). It was large and I thought I saw a flat tail. Shortly after that Larry rode up beside meÂ and commented that he had never seen a beaver that had been hit by a car, so he thinks it was one too. I went back there later in the car to take a picture and it was gone! Eerie!!
It reminded me of two things. My bunk mate in Air Force basic training was from Norfolk, Virginia. He thought everyone from Michigan either worked in an automobile plant or trapped beavers for a living. The other story has to do with a hunting cabin in the Upper Peninsula near Mass City. It was as far from the Mackinac Bridge as we are (250 miles), so it was way west.
Steve Youngs and I had taken our sons for freshman orientation at Michigan Tech in Houghton. It lasted three days, and the boys were busy all the time,Â so one of the days I took Steve 30 milesÂ down to the cabin to show him where we hunted. The cabin was an oldÂ log cabin with the logs squared off. The outside had been covered with “Inselbrick”. It’s that tacky fake brick that’s really tarpaperÂ that you see on half the places in the U.P. It was one large room with a loft and, being a man’s hunting cabin, had Playboy centerfolds all over the walls. There was one poster with a large man with a scowl on his face with his hands out holding a pile of feces. The caption read “Tired of the same old shit? Try Bouncers Bar”.
If you know Steve, you know he is not a hunter and doesn’t believe anyone should own a gun. When we got to the two-track leading back to the cabin, we talked to a guy named DeanÂ who lived there and kept an eye on who was going back on what he called a road. Yes, his house was covered with Inselbrick, and he had the requisite old car with no tires up on blocksÂ in the front yard. He was mowing the lawn (the grass had to be a foot high) and, when we parked the car, stopped mowing, walked over to the junk car and pretended to fix another mower that just happened to be sitting on the hood (that mower had no handle).Â
We walked over and he recognized me right away. I introduced him to Steve and we talked about the hunting trips and the guys that came upÂ year after year. Earlier, a beaver had built a dam over the road and floodedÂ a pretty large area.Â I had arranged to have the dam taken out by one of the localsÂ but the beaver was still around trying to rebuild. Dean had beenÂ nicknamedÂ “The Runt” by the guys I hunted with, not because he was small, but because he always talked about the bucks “runting”. He meant the bucks were in the rut, or breeding season, but always mispronounced it and it drove us crazy. He would always show up at the cabin during the day while we were out hunting, eat all ofÂ our food, and drink all ofÂ our beer. He would stay around at nightÂ until we told him it was time to go home.
DeanÂ had tried to trapÂ the beaverÂ out so he wouldn’t build another dam. He hadÂ trapped three of his feet offÂ beforeÂ he finally got, in his own words, “That one-legged bastard”. I thought Steve would have a stroke. Not only did he not believe in trapping at all, but trapping the legs off any animal was cruel and disgusting. I didn’t disagree, but steered him away from makingÂ Dean mad. After all,Â “the Runt”Â was sort of the caretaker.
All the way back to the cabin (it was half a mile and we walked)Â Steve went on and on about trapping in general, then on to anti-hunting, then on to anti-gun laws, then on to the Michigan Militia. I argued with him onÂ allÂ points except the Michigan Militia, but there was no convincing him otherwise, and I was having fun needling him.
On the way backÂ to Hastings we stopped with the boys for dinnerÂ at a great Italian restaurant in Indian River named Vivio’s. As we walked in Steve was telling me how he couldn’t wait to have their Veal Parmagian. It was the best he had everÂ eaten anywhere.Â I said that, after our conversations about hunting and trapping and animal cruelty,Â I couldn’t believe he would eat the flesh of a calf that was put in a pen so small it couldn’t move so the meat would stay tender and then wasÂ killed weeks after it was born.Â Sheepishly, he ordered the fish and chips.Â
I went to the doctor Thursday for a post bike wreckÂ check-up. It was one of those “good-news/bad-news”Â things. He said, for the good news,Â I’m below the therapeutic threshold on Dilantin, so I’m “weaning off” well. He said it wouldn’t be any problem to have a beer or two or a glass of wine if I wanted. I take that as doctor’s orders, and patients always obey their doctor, right Diane?Â For the bad news, in six weeks it’s time for my annual (no pun intended) prostate exam. Just when I thought things were looking up, they head the other direction.
Dr. Weatherhead and IÂ talked a bit about lingering memory problems, forgetting people’s names, and losing common wordsÂ from the bike dive headÂ injuries. I know that they are things that happen to everyone, and I really don’t let it bother me except last Friday, but let’s not go there. As I left the exam room, and was out at the counter scheduling my prostate exam “date” (again, no pun intended, but it is my turn to bring the wine and candles), he poked his head around the corner and said “Drambui” which was his lost word of the day when we were talking about what a mutual friend, another doctor, liked to drink. So that raisedÂ a question in my mind. Did he do that on purpose to show me that it does happen to everyone and to make me feel better? Or, since Jim is my age, did he really forget the word and all of us 57 year old geezers are in the same boat? (No voting on this question, please).
MyÂ running partner, Bill Bradley, stopped by Tuesday thinking that he would see a blimp by the sound of theÂ last e-mail. Not really so. I’m 2.5 pounds heavier than the lightest I’ve weighed since this whole “healthy eating”Â thing started. I showed him the temptations I have to overcome and have attached pictures of what I’m up against. I’ve often said that if I was a recovering alcoholic, Jean would have shots of whiskey scattered around the house.Â I’m guessing that these items in the picturesÂ aren’t on the weight watchers list (1 sweet roll = 3 days worth of all food exchanges).
Since I have no self control, I sent a check for $80 for my 40th St. Joe High School class reunion. You all know I’m “thrifty” (my deceased friend, Dave Kruko, used to say, “IfÂ you found a cough drop, you’d go sit in a draft just so it wouldn’t go to waste”), and I wouldn’t want to skip my reunion justÂ because I didn’t weigh what I weighed in high school and lose the $80, so that should push temptation aside. We’ll see.
Just (on the way to svelte) Jack
P.S. Bill wanted to check my breath to see if I was the one who ate the roll and left the package open on the counter. I hadÂ just finished a glass of InterphaseÂ Whey Protein andÂ milk after my bike trainer workout, so he was reallyÂ sorry!