Fall Has Fallen–Maybe

So, yes, some leaves are turning, kids are back to school, the mornings are darker and the evenings come earlier, and the cabin people tell me they expect to be up here a few more times before they pack up everything for the Winter season. Docks will come in, boats will be pulled, and the mowers will be put to sleep until Spring.

Tonight’s WPCA-FM story reading was The Driveway, a tale about a young woman who tries to overcome the fear of isolation in the country that is enhanced by her icy, tricky to navigate, quarter mile long, and steep driveway that is a potential obstacle to reaching the County road and civilization. On top of it, she’s pregnant, a condition that worries her mother. The story reads well. There is tension as to the outcome and one finds himself/herself rooting for the young woman to succeed. Does she? And if she does, how does she? (Gotta read the story to find out!)  You can find The Driveway  in The First Gathering of the Breaktime Stories and in Four Break Time Stories (a Kindle ebook).

On other fronts, I’ve been asked to fill in for Pastor Adam Woods at Parkview United Methodist Church in Turtle Lake as he takes paternal leave for several Sundays in early 2023. I was privileged to be with that congregation for 4 1/2 months in 2020. We were able to meet in person for several Sundays but then reverted to Zoom services. Wolf Creek has seen an increase in in-person attendance and has received two new members, as well as 5 new “friends” this year so far. That may seem small to you, but considering that Wolf Creek has no town surrounding it–the high point of its population was back in logging days when there were 1,500 residents–we are holding our own and doing even a bit better. This is in a time when people who went to church out of habit got out of the habit during two years of COVID and didn’t return. Every congregation seems to be experiencing the same thing On top of it for Wolf Creek UMC, for several reasons, our 8:15 a.m. service time makes it difficult for some people to be able to come to church.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been insulating the exposed concrete blocks in The Mexican Room. On top of the insulation, I’ve been using tongue-in-groove oak flooring I’ve had in my shed for two years after I was able to “liberate” it from Luck Lumber before that business closed. The job looks great, if I don’t say so myself, and I’m a guy whose carpentry work always looks like I did it, so this is a notch above. Marina and I did get the pontoon out on the lake over the Labor Day weekend. We headed down the coast to visit some of our neighbors when we lived on the other side of the lake. Sadly, Kay, their family matriarch, died last month. She was an unusual person who knew nature: which birds were making that call, what that plant was, who that animal was and why it acted the way it did. She enjoyed chipmunks and called them her “chippies”. She moved into Senior living from the custom house she and her husband had built in Roseville and things went downhill from there. Out of all the people we knew, when Marina had surgery some years ago, Kay was the only person to visit her in the hospital. We miss Kay already.

Son Aaron comes from Portugal the end of this month and he has a ready list of projects he expects me to tackle. He has gotten proficient at flamenco guitar in the past couple of years, so I’d better develop some callouses again quickly because he’ll  want to “jam”. Ole!

One grandson is off to his freshman year at St.Olaf College while another is traveling in Germany and to Prague with his wife as I write this. Britta, Daughter #1 heads to Montana this week to visit a long-time friend. Alice, Kid #3, who is the subject of a Voice of America Beyond Borders interview the Osceola Seniors will view tomorrow, will hit town to visit while her brother is here. Son John and his family finally got tired of getting soaked while tent camping and bought a trailer. I’m assuming this will supplant the boat on the St.Croix River.