Days I write and BUCKULAR DYSTROPHY (WOODS COP #10) is growing steadily, approaching Act 3 of 5. At night I’ve been piddling with wood and agates again. Pix follow. More pix from ramblings later.
Saturday morning, MSU vs Indiana later today, moving left to right on my radio dial with George Blaha and the “team.” This morning, I’m working on BUCKLAR DYSTROPHY, the tenth Woods Cop story, and the whole focus on Grady Service and one very strange deer season where he runs into a series of people who are crazed by shooting big deer, most illegally. Hornophiles, if you will. In the thirties here, rain predicted, gray overcast, leaves coming off trees, perfect fall day.
Will start the story off with a little deerggerel (think doggerel), and it organize it into five acts (rather than three parts) , a sop to my good pal Willy Boy Shakespeare, who is rumored (never proven) to have poached at least one deer in his spectacular life. I suspect he would have enjoyed these hinky-kinky extremist out-there outdoor folks.
Anthem of Secret Trophy Hunters
To tell a story such as this
Think how snakeys twist and hiss.
One must not shed a single deer
To shoot oneself a great big deer.
Do not be so namby pamby
And let yourself think of Bambi.
Count the point, inches and all
Your taxidermist can fix it for your wall.
Knocking own huge horned rack things
Need not be so very taxing.
Learn to hunt smarter with your brains
Not harder with your boots in snow and rain.
Get out there in the dark with a nice big light
Pretend you’re Army tough, and “own the night.”
Hope the game warden’s not around
When your trophy crashes to the ground.
Yes you’ve got a wall of mounts
They make animal lovers very and pout.
Tell them killing deer is in your blood,
Your dad’s, your uncle Frank’s and your best friend Bud.
He who kills the most big bucks
Can tell his pals that they all suck.
Hunting trophies is your LIFE,
It’s cost you a house, 3 kids, 2 dogs and a wife.
Best of all in the order of things
You do it alone, neither whisper nor sing.
You kill in the dark and all alone
And keep the work to yourself at home
The bottom line’s not bragging rights
Over that Let amateurs puff an fight.
For you bringing home those huge old deer
Is much, much better than a shot and a beer.
DAY 168, Friday, October 17, ALBERTA – Gas at $2.90/gal in Baraga yesterday at the Indian stations, about a quarter cheaper than stations in L’Anse. Be nice if it lasts, but it won’t, and so it goes. Two weeks left in our sojourn and then we’re back in Portage. Will be working with COs BTB this deer season and just this morning I heard federal meteorologists announcing that another polar vortex is unlikely this winter. Just last night we had a discussion around here. The “bad” winters of the past two years are the kinds of “normal” winters we had when I lived up here during high school, and again during my USAF hitch. It will be what it will be. Yoopers have the right attitude about this: keep to your plans no matter the forecast and most of the time you can do what you want to do. Common sense at its best.
I continue to be perplexed by political debates and the pure venom people are spewing – on all sides. We are becoming a country of sad sacks with no sense of us.
Yesterday we came home on the Baraga Plains Road and kicked four eagles off the ground. Shaksper, of course, volunteered to investigate, but we pooped on his sniff sortie and pressed on.
Making great progress on the first draft of BUCKULAR DYSTROPHY and felt great until I looked for the 30,000 or so typed words I had and could not find them on my computer or on any flash drives. The ms. may be in the laptop. I hope so. This seems to happen with almost every book.
More importantly the weekly mail came today and with it an announcement by our doctor that he is retiring the first of the year and we need to find another provider, — one who takes Medicare, which many don’t – and how does it work that you have to join Medicare, but nobody is required to service it. Oh well, will be what it will be. My doctor is Larry Don Troyer and he has been a blessing. He’s been in practice 39 years and we Heywoods have been on his patient rolls since the 1970. Will miss him beyond words, but we all get to retire if we’re lucky. (Heard somewhere yesterday that writers get to retire one day before they die. That works for me.
What follows is a portfolio of pix from the past couple of weeks.
CO Dave Painter and PCO Mike Mansell, less than 10 miles from here, one week ago, middle of the day. The bull came within four feet of the driver’s window and circled the truck. First the animal came out of the bush in front of the truck. Eventually it went past and started for US 141 and the officers could hear vehicles coming, so Dave made his female moose-in-heat grunt (he’s never told me how he learned it) and the moose stopped and turned. When it started for the highway again, Mike blew the horn and stopped it. Then the traffic was past and the bull went on his way. This is how professionals handle moose contacts. Mansell is a rookie and this was his first moose, so he had a different view of the encounter than Dave. So it goes. You gotta love the Upper Peculiar! Over.
DAY 159, October 8, 2014, ALBERTA — 114 days between snows up here. Last one was May 16. Had under-the-weather mutt last couple of weeks, with multiple trips back and forth to vet in Ishpeming, 48 miles each way. Thanks to my woodworking coach Dave Stimac for wood supplies, workshop tools, and directions. neither of us lost a digit — a major accomplishment. Working hard on 10the Woods Cop Mystery, BUCKULAR DYSTROPHY, and some new essays for a second edition of COVERED WATERS: TEMPESTS OF A NOMADIC TROUTER. First edition was in 2003 and the new edition will add some stuff in the history before that and come forward to now. Fun to work on. Lonne say CO Doug Hermanson earlier this week. He was hot on an investigation and no time for chitsychatsy. One of our great COs with impressive incisive interviewing skills. Enjoy da pictures, eh. Over.
DAY 154, Friday, October 3, 2014, ALBERTA — All the following news bits are from the Saturday, September 30, 1899 L’Anse Sentinel.
The Comings and Goings of People:
Willie St. Ange left for Flint last week to resume his course in the school for the deaf and dumb. Willie is a bright little fellow and is progressing rapidly.
Simon Beauchamp, of Ishpeming, married, aged 28, accidentally shot himself while hunting Monday at Humboldt. He died in twenty minutes.
Clarence, 8-yar old son of Otto Lindquist, Calumet, lies at the Tamarack Hospital with both legs severed from his body. He, with older boys, let a flat car run down a crossing at an open switch. The care was derailed and young Lindquist fell under the wheels.
James Moak, an employee of the Boom Company, of Menominee, was killed in Florence Wisconsin, Monday. He was driving a supply wagon and was thrown off. The wheels passed over him, death resulting instantly.
Weather in Our Thoughts:
According to prediction we are booked for another long and severe winter. But then, people are becoming used to it.
The ground was covered with snow Friday morning.
The partridge season opens tomorrow, Oct. 1.
Over three inches of snow fell at the Summit yesterday.
Dogs chased and killed a deer near the head of the bay early Wednesday morning.
The States of Education and Marriage
Teachers last year in Michigan were paid, an average of $43 and women an average of $35. The total number of pupils enrolled in the state was 496,000.There was 403 private schools with 1,140 teachers and 45,000 pupils.
There were 20,138 marriages returned by the county clerks of Michigan to Secretary of State Stearns for the year 1898. This is the largest number ever recorded for a single-year and represents a marriage rate of 16.9 per 1,000 population. The largest number of marriages took place in November, the smallest number in February. Favorite months were November, June and October.
And we Think Advertising is Better Now?
The woman who is lovely in face, form and temper will always have friends, but one who would be attractive must keep her health. If she is weak, sickly, and all run down, she will be nervous and irritable. If she has constipation or kidney trouble, her impure blood will cause pimples, blotches, skin eruptions and a wretched complexion. Electric Bitters is the best medication in the world to regulate stomach, liver, and kidneys to purify the blood. It gives strong nerves, bright eyes, smooth, velvety skin, rich complexion. It will make a good-looking, charming woman of a rundown invalid. Only 50 cents at (stores named in L’Anse and Baraga).
According the Chicago News, as reported in this edition of the L’Anse Sentinel, Nine of ten people think that when a man asks your opinion he is only looking for an opportunity to express his own.
DAY 153, Thursday, October 2, ALBERTA — Night before last we gave Shaksper a run in the “compound” and along the way he ingested “something,” which later set him into a spatea of grass-eating, drooling and hiccuping and working to breathe, pacing like a thing possessed, unable to settle, wanting to lean on us to tell us to “do somthing,” and yesterday morning we made an emergency run to the vet in Ishpeming (48 miles each way). They put him into temporary Night2 and $180 later found where his throat had been badly irritated and was raw and we came home with some soft food for three days, and some meds. The boy remained in neverneverloopyland until this morning. Early this morning he was pacing again, and ,uncomfortable and we let him out and brought him back in, both of us up at 0245 when we spied some moderately pulsing orangish lights into the woods about 75 yards away across open grassland from us, and then which two deer bounded into the open, a doe and a fawn, and they commenced to run around the grassy area in magnum high hinkydom, looking back in the direction they’d come from. Naturally my large binocs were in the truck so we had only small binocs to put on the light source and they were not strong enough. We both saw this and it lasted almost 30 minutes. We could see no light source that might have been bouncing off it and both of us had the same first impression, which is orange with black upper rim — fire. But it’s drenched around here and no way that kind of flame could sustain in the woods. One deer eventually charged back into the woods, leaving a ghost tail hanging in our eyes, and the other one ran west toward the dorms and classrooms. This morning we went over and took a look. Nothing except woods. Very, very weird.
The more time one spends in the woods at night, the more odd phenomena one is likely accumulate. CO (now Sgt) Dan Bigger and I were on a shining patrol one night in Shiawassee County, running dark and suddenly several hundred yards ahead of us a gout of flame jumped up what appeared to be six or eight feet. Neither of us said a word on the first time. But it went twice more and on the third, we both said fire at the same time and went to investigate. We got out of the truck and pounded around but could find nothing, and next day went back in daylight, and still nothing. No idea what it was.
Life is strangely interesting. I’m certain there is a perfectly rational and accurate explanation for both light phenoms, and it irritates to neither know, or have the power to anaylze it properly. The more time I spend outdoors, the more ignorant I feel. The point is to be alive and paying attention as best we can. As Edwin Way Teale tells us in AUTUMN ACROSS AMERICA (1956) while he looks down on a rock, “How much of human life…had passed away while its insensate existence had gone on and on. yet, surely, better a single moment of awareness to enjoy the glory of the senses, a moment of knowing, of feeling, of living intensely, a moment to appreciate the sunshine and the dry smell of autrumn and the dust-born clouds above — better a thousand times even a swiftly fading, ephemeral moment of life than the epoch-long unconsciousness of the stone.”
We all face, as some of my ancestors might have put it, “A long look at the lid.”
Life is sweet and life is sweetly mysterious.” Over.
All color pencil on grocery bag.
Just sitting down to lunch today when a CO pal called me. He and his PCO were in a restaurant having lunch. My pal went to pay bills and a table of women summoed the P
CO partner over. The conversation, I am told, went something like this:
Q: Do you know a guy named Joe Heywood
A: Nope, never heard of him?”
Q: Really, he writes about you guys and he has this character who has the greatest sex life. And we were watching you two guys and we decided you were probably most like Grady Service.
A. Actually, I’m going through kind of a dry spell right now, but my partner seems to be doing great.
It is said that everyone came close to collapse in laughter.
Last week they went in on a bear hunter and arrived to find a sow and three cubs on the bait. One or two of the cubs went up a tree, Mom and the other one stayed on the ground and mama began clacking her teeth in anger. My pal got the hunters out of their blind and his partner monitored mom and family.
COs and cops are trained to handle the most imminent danger first. So, afterwards, in the calm of the truck, my pal asks, “What did you see as the biggest threat?”
His partner, a recent combat vet, says, “Well I’ve been shot, so I know what that feels like. But I’ve never been chewed on by a mad mama bear.”
Huh, not a perspective you hear every day. These men and women in green do a helluva job for all of us.
I love these calls.
And now I share some pix from the life of COs when I’m not around. Over.