Friday's Weekend Column
A Sure Sign Of Spring

by James Glaser
February 28, 2003

No, the weather has not abated, but the first real sign of spring will be here this Saturday. On March 1st every ice fishing house on lakes south of highway #2 must be removed. We live north of that highway in God's Country. I don't really know whose country it is south of that line, but we get an extra two weeks of fishing up here. You can still ice fish down south, you just have to use portable houses.

Right now the ice is about 54 inches thick so every auger needs an extension, but as the ice thins out it does not mean people quit fishing. Even when there is a ring of open water all the way around the lake, there are still people so desperate to kill fish they will jump out to the ice so they can get a few more days of fishing in.

This past Sunday I went down to Duluth for the VFW 8th District meeting. I gave my hospital report and after that I presented our Posts two motions for approval. As I have written before we are trying to get the National VFW to buy American products, which everyone thought would be a shoe in last year and wasn't. This year we also want to see an audit of the National and State VFW offices. We want this audit, not because we think any thing is wrong, we just are curious as to where our dues money goes. All the Posts in America send in about 15 million dollars and it would be nice to see, just how they use that money.

Hey! I saw another sign of spring today. There was a Red Crossbill at our feeder. They kind of look like a Purple Finch, but their bill is pretty unique with the top way out from the bottom one and yes it does cross the lower bill. Of course I could be reaching a little on this sign as some winters they will stay here and other winters they leave, but this is the first one I've seen all winter, so I am taking that as a good sign.

I will admit that I have had enough of the white stuff and the cold. Also this is the time of year that the Gas company always raises the rates. Our LP Gas comes from our own co-op so you would think they would try to hold the price down, but as soon as they see some one else raise theirs, the co-op follows suit.

This last week I went down to Grand Rapids to visit with Jimmy and Denise Martin. Jimmy fixes and restores motorcycles in a shop near his house. He has been doing this for over twenty years and is good at what he does. When I got there he started to tell me how his furnace in the shop had quit and right away I knew it was way too cold for me to even think about working on that, so I suggested we go out to breakfast.

We went to one of those national chain restaurants and the special was ham, eggs, hash browns, and toast. Well I have to tell you after having ham from Farmer Ron's pigs, that are fed no chemicals and get to roam free in his forest enclosure, I can't eat restaurant ham ever again. It tasted, well, like store bought ham. Ron's hams, no I should say, Ron's pig's hams are each smoked according to size. The meat has the right amount of fat and even the color is appetizing. It smells so good cooking. I can honestly blame Ron on the fact that I haven't lost much weight this winter. It is so good to have someone to blame.

Well Jimmy and I had a good time and we plan to go to the peace march in Bemidji this coming weekend. Man I hope it isn't too cold. People up here are pretty divided on the war but it is almost unanimous that George Bush must have cheated to get a Masters Degree in Business from Yale. Every one thinks America's economy is just the pits and as more and more people get laid off around the state, more and more people are putting off projects until they see what is going to happen. Boy are we lucky that we only got hit with one terrorist attack. If we had about five more, America would cease to function.

I have a pretty nice electric guitar up stairs with a big amp. When I crank it up all the way and start playing, I think I sound great, like a totally new type of sound. I can't play it when Charmaine is here and I have noticed that all the forest animals leave when I start to play, but I am getting better. Not ready for prime time yet. That is just one of the beauties of the North. You can make lots of noise and it is OK. I still remember my Mom saying "what will the neighbors think." Up here, who cares? The neighbors are too far away to care. When I do get good enough so that people can say that I am playing music, I will have reached my goal. Until then, I have a good time.

Maybe that is what all those elected people in Washington need, a job. Well I guess they think what they are doing is a job, but I meant something productive or maybe they need a hobby like my guitar. When Jesse Ventura was our Governor of Minnesota, all the Republicans and Democrats said they couldn't get anything done. Like that was bad? Very few new laws were passed and I kind of liked that. We need more Jessies in government. Those guys in Washington need hobbies to keep them away from our lives. Maybe a wood working shop or a metal shop off of their Congressional office building. Every day that they and the President were making something for their wives or grandchildren would save this country billions. Plus they would find out what working people have to do to make a living. As they are fond of saying, it would be a Win Win, for both of us. They would learn something and we wouldn't have to worry about what they were screwing up now.

As I talk to people up here they tell me more and more that they are not watching the news any more. Day after day we are bombarded with reasons to have a war and reasons not to have a war and it is taking its toll up here. Maybe that is the plan. Make people so sick of the bickering, they will lose interest and let the President do what ever he likes. If it wasn't for the fact we are about to kill tens of thousands of people I would throw in the towel too. I just keep thinking about all the kids that are going to die in this war. Even living in Northern Minnesota can't insulate you from that.

BACK to the Essays.