Long Live Hansel and Gertie!

Tonight’s WPCA-FM broadcast of my stories featured Hansel and Gertie, another “mangled” fairy tale. Per usual, this story is larded with terrible puns and a few hidden chuckles (hidden, until you think about what was just thrown at you). I never know which stories WPCA will broadcast so it’s fun to find out and then to bemoan my sloppy diction, which was better years ago.

My in-person reading at the St.Croix Falls Public Library on September 21st went well. One attendee, Diane Dedon, who had attended my last reading there in 2017, said the two stories I shared “Brought us full circle, from tears to belly laughs.” I appreciate the comment. The first story, Lost Wax, brought me to tears the first two times I read it aloud in my office, so Marina thought it was a risk to read it in public. I got through it without tears, at least on my part. The second story, Snow Job and The Four Dwarfs, brought plenty of laughs, as it does every time I read it in public. Both stories are included in Six Short Stories, the book recommended as good summer reading by Mary Ann Grossmann, book editor for the St.Paul Pioneer Press. I treasure that praise, especially because someone who publishes independently does not have a publishing house to push one’s book and place it before book editors and critics. I find, though, that praise and a good review like Ms. Grossmann’s doesn’t necessarily result in huge book sales, especially if one is not well known.

The St.Croix Falls reading did not turn out a large crowd. Amery’s first poet laureate, LaMoine MacLaughlin, told me years ago that writers never seem to draw a crowd for readings. I knew almost everyone attending and I am grateful that they took the time to come. A couple of other writers were in attendance, including Lois Joy Hofmann, whose three prize winning volumes about their circumnavigation are beautifully written and photographed, and Shaila Johnson, reporter for the Inter County Leader.

Meanwhile, life goes on. Our Wolf Creek congregation lost an important member, Rick Davidsavor, whose funeral I will preside over on Sunday, October 8th. I saw Rick as a patriarch. Much of his life was devoted to helping other people through his involvement in being a first responder, Cushing Fire Department’s second-in-command fire chief, Polk County law enforcement, firearm safety educator, EMT and a whole bunch of other things. Last Sunday’s Epistle text was from Paul’s Letter to the early church at Philippi in which he exhorted them to put the concerns of others ahead of their own. Rick’s life was a great example of that. Why, he probably could not have articulated but he made a positive difference in our larger community and was honored for it by the State of Wisconsin just last year.

Grandson Hans and son-in-law Mark helped me pull the dock from the lake yesterday. We had beautiful, if unusually warm, weather for early October and the guys made it an easy job that took us just 15 minutes. That called for treats afterwards, generously supplied by daughter Britta. We’d seen Britta and her husband Mark the week before when I was chasing around in Minnesota for a medical consultation and testing that also gave Marina and me a chance to lunch with our younger son, John, who is someone we don’t see often enough. We ate at a Tibetan restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis. The food was fine but, truth be known, I’d like to find a cozy little French restaurant. Surely, a metropolitan area like ours should have a couple of those. Maybe they are a bit out of fashion today, but I liked them when I was young and wouldn’t mind finding at least one good one today.

The leaves are falling now and many of our trees have Fall colors. We have many maples on our property and the surrounding woods are beautiful in the Fall. Today, I took the first mower run through the yard to chop up some of the leaves. There will be plenty left to rake and take to the back. The mini-garden Britta and Mark created for us is producing a prodigious crop of beans and cucumbers and there are still a couple of tomatoes ripening in the sun. Critters took plenty of liking to our squash and zucchini, although I may be able to salvage a few before the frost hits. We’ve had record setting heat but things are supposed to cool down tomorrow.