Snow, Snow, Snow–Finally!

After a near-snowless Winter, we’ve had snow the past couple of weeks. It has been warm, wet stuff that has fallen to enough depth that the trash truck got stuck in our driveway. Freeing the truck caused some nice pavement and driveway damage. Last year the LP gas truck got stuck with the same result. Winter weather prompts steady use of the wood stove ┬áthat takes off the chill in the lower level of the house where I have my office. I find I need the exercise involved in cutting, hauling and splitting wood for the stove. It beats a gym.

About two weeks ago a loud crash from outside at 3:15 a.m. got me out of bed. The outside lights were on, the chest holding our outdoor chair cushions was tipped over, a heavy large cement planter urn had been skidded across the patio pavers so the chest could be dumped down onto the pavers, and the garbage bin was on its side close to the car, instead of its usual place. Only a bear could be strong enough to move the cement urn, I thought, and sure enough, there he was! I grabbed a frying pan from the kitchen rack and fumbled in a drawer for a spoon, coming up with the ice cream scoop instead. However, the loud clanging I was able to make as I chased out the door in my underwear and slippers was enough to send the bear to the street. He paused to look back and more loud clanging sent him up the road. As I put the chest back in place I saw the reason for the bear’s visit: a bird feeder had been put inside to keep it safe from any bear that might want to dine on birdseeds. I’m astonished at how sensitive a bear’s nose must be to be able to smell something like birdseed inside a closed chest that’s also inside an enclosed feeder.

The next night: the same scenario, but this time our bear was fussing with the steel trash can outside our bedroom window. Marina keeps bags of birdseed in the can. I grabbed the same frying pan and ended up with the same ice cream scoop and as I headed out the front door the bear rumbled down the ramp. The thing was huge! He was almost as wide as the ramp. This time he took off toward the back of the property and I could hear brush and leaves crunching as he crossed near a small pond at the back of the property.

We’ve not seen our bear since. Marina was rattled by this since she cannot see a bear if she were to encounter one while walking Andy, her Seeing Eye Dog. For several days she played her harmonica as she walked. My imagination: music might prompt a dancing bear.

The other excitement this month was a “fun” wedding. The bride, Katie, had grown up in the St.Croix Falls United Methodist Church but lives with the groom, Marius, in Mexico City. Marius is Austrian so the two decided to reside on”neutral” turf so neither one would have a geographical or language advantage. What intelligence and consideration! Both Katie and Marius travel extensively as part of their careers and the wedding party here featured people who, for example, are involved in defusing land mines in Africa and helping women in India get an education and start businesses. It was an impressive group of young people. People who are not used to public speaking spoke at the reception held at the Dalles House and I had the suspicion that speech writers just had to be hiding in the next room, the talks were that good. I was honored to be asked to perform the ceremony.

Easter service at Wolf Creek was low-key compared to churches with large choirs and fancy approaches. A succession of readers took us through the Palm Sunday service and the Passion narrative. We do the Holy Week gospel account on Palm Sunday because we do not have observances during the week like Good Friday or marking the Last Supper Passover meal. I am gratified that Wolf Creek has a bevy of good readers to help bring the scriptures alive.

I have revised the innards of The First Gathering Of The Break Time Stories so the odd spacings are gone and book now looks professional. That book was my first and there is a learning curve. Also, this was an opportunity to catch things like a quote missing a close-quote or finding the need for a paragraph to clean up how one thought leads to the next. The price for the book is the same ($15) and for now it’s available through Amazon.com. I am working on getting wider distribution. I’ve also gone through The Second Gathering Of The Break Time Stories to clean it up. It is available through Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble Booksellers. You can find all four of my paperbacks at Bowman Collective in Amery, Wisconsin.

I should have a date set soon for a coming reading at the Chisago Lakes Public Library the end of May or early June.

On a final note, Wolf Creek had a nice miracle today. I received the call at 5:15 a.m that one of our people was at Regions Hospital in St.Paul, Minnesota. He’d gone to our local hospital because he’d been coughing up blood. That turned out to be from pneumonia. He had called me yesterday to tell me he had been diagnosed with very advanced leukemia. The caller this morning was his wife, who was at the hospital with members of his very large family that had been called in after he suffered a couple of very severe heart attacks. ┬áThe end seemed near. He was intubated and barely conscious. I activated the church prayer chain and Marina and I did some praying ourselves. I checked with the wife later in the morning and she said he was breathing on his own so they had removed the breathing tube. While on the road at around 2:30 p.m. his son called me to tell me that now he was sitting in a chair talking a mile a minute. They had been told he was too weak to undergo chemotherapy for leukemia, even though a port had been put in. Now, he was calling for chemo to begin and to begin immediately. The son said it was a miracle. I’ll take miracles like that any day!