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28 Mar

Event Horizon….

What’s ahead? I’ll be  speaking at the Iron Mountain Rotary Club in da Yoop, June 4. Time and location to be announced later in the events section.

Will be in Fremont Michigan, Thursday, April 25.

Next books: May 8 is pub date for HARD GROUND, WOODS COP STORIES.

Sept is pub time for next Grady Service, No. 9, KILLING A COLD ONE. (Will be getting pages from my editor tomorrow).

Next Lute Bapcat will be fall of 2014 title of MOUNTAINS OF THE MISBEGOTTEN.

And I am one chapter from finishing BROWN BALL, a story of baseball in San Antonio in 1956. Don’t know when  it will be out, but I’ll sit on it this summer, let it ferment, revise as needed next fall. There is no such thing as instant gratification in the writing business.

This fall will start  writing  Grady Service #10. No title yet, think in terms of fall 2015 publication.

I’ll also be submitting a couple of pieces of nonfiction to a major mag sometime in the fall.

The magazine,QUARTERDECK, will publish and inteview this spring.

Still have two  manuscripts looking for a publishing home, an historical novel set in Manchuria at the end of World War II, called MAN IN SKY JUDGING SIN. And a collection of poems entitled, FISHING WITH THE FAMOUS.

I do love this work.

19 Mar

Signs That May Suggest Journalism is in The Tank

  1. Reporters interview other reporters as news sources. This used to be called hearsay.
  2. Daily now means 3-4 days a week. (New math or just new economics?)
  3. Newspapers are disappearing fast.
  4. Media advertise qualities such as fairness, which used to be assumed. And by the way, fairness doesn’t mean an article agrees with one view or another. It means opposing views are put forward and someone cited to represent each.
  5. People today prefer the yellow journalism of the late 19th century when news was political and slanted to the money.
  6. Costs are too high for readers, viewers, and media are pricing themselves out.
  7. Sometimes impossible to separate “news” from “opinion.” Most people no longer know the difference.
  8. When scouts come by for paper drives, there’s nothing to give them.
  9. How many kids have paper routes, or had one? Or even heard of such a thing? They can’t read analog watches or use rulers to measure.
  10. Antiquated beats: business, sports, news, family living, etc.
  11. New with-it millennial beats: digital life, social networking, multimedia, media technology…yadayadacom.
  12. What used to be called journalism is now assumed to be activism.
  13. Data-driven has replaced content -or reader-driven.
  14. Talk radio is all tapes and either far right or far left and nothing in between and nutcases behind microphones getting rich off  platitude-seeking knuckleheads who listen to them.
  15. Papers have lost 50 percent of their advertising revenue in five years. Back then 75 percent of a paper’s revenue came from advertising.
  16. Who the hell wants to read on line?
  17. Blogs are now being advertised for $19.95 a year and called “experiments in free market journalism.” In the old days these words were synonymous with “bullshit” and “hustle.”
13 Mar

Yooper Winter, 2013

For those who miss winter, here are some shots from Negaunee, up da hill from Marquette, eh.  Always more snow up dere, den down below by da lake an’ da college.

negaunee 1negaunee 2negaunee 3negaunee 2negaunee-5negaunee-6

12 Mar

Sojourn at the “Wasteland” (Nee Northland)

Last Saturday night (March 9)  we drove over to Auburn (just east of Midland) for the 6th Annual Michigan Conservation Officers Association  get-together. 200+people in attendance and no snow! Good time at the dinner.  Lots of animal sightings both directions. The Northland Motel in Kawkawlin? Not so much. We re-named it The Kawkawlin Wasteland, $60/night. Sheesh.

Color scheme, battleship gray, pea green, purple: priceless.  Stained carpet, small threadbare carpet, no blanket on bed, partial roll of TP and no spares, no tissue paper in holder, one lamp in room that wobbled like a bobblehead and had a 10 watt bulb in it. $10 nightly dog fee, a microwave and tiny fridge, but no cups and no  instant coffee or any coffee or tea, and the wall insulation was onionskin thin. Questionable “stains” on bathroom walls.  “People” and vehicles  still coming and going at 0300 and the dog would NOT settle down, and every time we walked him he got more hyped, especially after he kicked a skunk and, on the next walk,  a rabbit and both times he went ballistic, wanting to give chase and me holding on for all I was worth! (Which isn’t much.)  So at 0330 we hurriedly packed the green streamer, drove west to Shepherd, and pulled behind Micky D’s to catch some winks. THAT was then Shaksper decided he’s a guard dog and went ballistic over some poor schmuck out chaning the gas price signs. I  crawled in back with him, Lon took front seat and we crashed for 90 minutes before  driving on home. Every trip an adventure. Yes, it WAS nice to get home. But a good memory and a laugher now that it’s over. Over. Next book up is HARD GROUND, WOODS COP STORIES , pub date is May, but should be avail electronically in April. Next Grady Service will be in September, title of  KILLING A COLD ONE.  Next book event is Fremont Library, April 25th.



Walk me, walk me, I’m ready to carry my load!


Jeff and Vicky Goss, who do so much for MCOA.


The Thorns


Those Heywoods.


The Biggers

02 Mar

Starred Review in Publisher’s Weekly

Great news this morning from my publisher. The trade mag PUBLISHERS WEEKLY has given HARD GROUND, Woods Cop Stories a starred review, which is its top of the line. Great start for the short story collection, officially out in May, but probably in stores in April.  The review follows. I know, it sounds like my Mom wrote it:


Heywood (Red Jacket) displays uncommon storytelling versatility in this brilliant collection of 27 tales about the game wardens who patrol Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. His two series heroes, Grady Service and Lute Bapcat, each make an appearance (in “Black Beyond Black” and “The Third Partner,” respectively), but neither outshines their colleagues as they handle a variety of challenges from scofflaws, fools, villains, and wildlife. In the deft “Double-jointed Trouble,” conservation officer Jill Flyvie learns from her rookie mistake in handling a prisoner, while in the tender “Symbiosis,” CO Steven Burdoni and an aging hunter come to understand one another. “Song in the Woods” touches on the supernatural; pilot Ralph “Buck Rogers” Haliday quits his job in spectacular fashion in “Airzilla”; and in “Henry VIII,” a bear causes trouble and heartache. This volume should be read for pleasure, but would do equally well as an instruction manual for aspiring writers. Lyons is simultaneously reissuing The Snowfly (2000), the novel that introduced Grady Service. PW’s starred review called it “a story about growing up and self-discovery, a fast-moving intercontinental romp and a good fish story.” Agent: Phyllis Westberg, Harold Ober Associates. (May)

27 Feb

“Thank you for your service.”

Late last night i god a reader note with the message, “Thanks you for your service to our country. Welcome home.” I sent a note back to the writer asking what prompted this.

Here’s how it is.  Every time I hear someone say (almost always rote and mechanically the wat I said prayers in fifth grade in Catholic School), and very much depending on their age,  “Thank you for your service,” I actually hear “Thank you for taking my place.” It often rings  of a  feeling of someone hoping his/her guilt will not be noticed, someone  who stood in the shadows  on the sidelines. It  immediately focuses on the fact that whatever war it might have been,  it was somebody else’s burden , and  not the speaker’s. Without the draft, Americans have no ownership of conflict events: they belong to the Pentagon, as if the Puzzle Palace on the Potomac was a separate country, only incideentally connected to the citizens of the United States.  and just as the wars belong to the Pentagon, they also belong to the people who chose military service and  careers, whether by vocation or  out of desperate need for a job.

While “Thank you for your service” might a genuine and sincere gesture, it  nevertheless immediately distances the service person from the speaker, that is to say, “This is not OUR war.” You’re right dude, it’s not. The prosecution of wars legal (Afghanistan, First Iraq) and illegal (Vietnam , Seconed Iraq) sits on the shoulers of the men and women who must fight  them.  Even for those of us who had relatively easy goes of it in uniform, we con’t need your thanks. Your presence then would have said more than your words now. That you weren’t there says all we need to know. That members of your own generation is serving and you aren’t — likewise says heaps  more than any words you might choose.  In a month or so, I’ll be headed up to MSU for a celebrtion of the 50th year of lacrosse in Spartyland. Most of the guys I played with in the earl to mid sixties served in the military or some other form of military service. Birds of a feather, I guess. We all saw it as duty and one doesn’t find a way to evade or avoid duty. One does it. Period. After a half century, there will be no “thank you for your service baloney among the old players, just stories of the old days when we were young, and loved a game and gave our all. As it should be.

Elizabeth Samet teaches literature at West Point (Go figure: Soldiers read literature! Ironic statement…) and she posted a relevant piece with Bloomberg in 2011. It follows. Over.

On War, Guilt and ‘Thank You for Your Service’

By Elizabeth Samet

BLOOMBERG VIEW, AUG 1, 2011 — Watch a 1940s or 1950s movie set in New York City — noir, comedy or melodrama — and you are sure to spot him: straphanging on a crowded subway car, buying a newspaper at a kiosk or sitting in a coffee shop. The anonymous man in uniform is a stock extra in these films, as elemental to the urban landscape as the beat cop, the woman with the baby carriage or the couple in love.

But today, a woman or man in military uniform dining in a restaurant, sitting on a bench in Central Park or walking up Broadway constitutes a spectacle. I have witnessed this firsthand whenever one of my military colleagues and I have taken West Point cadets to the city to attend a performance or to visit a library or museum. My civilian clothes provide camouflage as I watch my uniformed friends bombarded by gratitude.

These meetings between soldier and civilian turn quickly into street theater. The soldier is recognized with a handshake. There’s often a request for a photograph or the tracing of a six-degrees-of-separation genealogy: “My wife’s second cousin is married to a guy in the 82nd Airborne.” Each encounter concludes with a ritual utterance: “Thank you for your service.”

Obligatory Thanks

One former captain I know proposed that “thank you for your service” has become “an obligatory salutation. ”Dutifully offered by strangers, “somewhere between an afterthought and heartfelt appreciation,” it is gratifying but also embarrassing to a soldier with a strong sense of modesty and professionalism. “People thank me for my service,” another officer noted, “but they don’t really know what I’ve done.”

Sometimes, the drama between soldier and civilian turns plain weird. One officer reported that while shopping in uniform at the grocery store one evening, she was startled by a man across the aisle who gave her an earnest, Hollywood-style, chest-thumping Roman salute. My friend is unfailingly gracious, but she was entirely at a loss for a proper response.

These transactions resemble celebrity sightings — with the same awkwardness, enthusiasm and suspension of normal expectations about privacy and personal space. Yet while the celebrity is an individual recognized for a unique, highly publicized performance, the soldier is anonymous, a symbol of an aggregate. His or her performance is unseen.

Spitting on Soldiers

The successful reincorporation of veterans into civil society entails a complex, evolving process. Today, the soldier’s homecoming has been further complicated by the absence of a draft, which removes soldiers from the cultural mainstream, and by the fact that the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have little perceptible impact on the rhythms of daily life at home.

Whether anyone ever spat on an American soldier returning from Vietnam is a matter of debate. The sociologist and veteran Jerry Lembcke disputed such tales in “The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam.” Apocryphal or not, this image has become emblematic of an era’s shame, and of the failure of civilians to respond appropriately to the people they had sent to fight a bankrupt war.

The specter of this guilt — this perdurable archetype of the hostile homecoming — animates today’s encounters, which seem to have swung to the other unthinking extreme. “Thank you for your service” has become a mantra of atonement. But, as is all too often the case with gestures of atonement, substance has been eclipsed by mechanical ritual. After the engagement, both parties retreat to separate camps, without a significant exchange of ideas or perspectives having passed between them.

Collective Responsibility

When I broached the subject with a major with whom I had experienced the phenomenon, he wrote a nuanced response. Although he’s convinced that “the sentiments most people express appear to be genuinely FELT,” he nonetheless distrusts such spectacles. “Does the act of thanking a soldier unconsciously hold some degree of absolution from the collective responsibility?” he asked.

No reasonable person would argue that thanking soldiers for their service isn’t preferable to spitting on them. Yet at least in the perfunctory, formulaic way many such meetings take place, it is an equally unnatural exchange. The ease with which “thank you for your service” has circumvented a more enduring human connection doesn’t bode well for mutual understanding between soldiers and civilians. The inner lives of soldiers remain opaque to most of us.

A Seductive Transaction

“Deep down,” the major, who served in Iraq, acknowledged,“my ego wants to embrace the ritualized adoration, the sense of purpose, and the attendant mythology.” The giving and receiving of thanks is a seductive transaction, and no one knows that better than this officer: “I eagerly shake hands, engage in small talk, and pose for pictures with total strangers.”Juxtaposed in his mind with scenes from Fallujah or Arlington National Cemetery, however, his sanitized encounters with civilians make him feel like Mickey Mouse, he confessed. “Welcome to Disneyland.”

Thanking soldiers on their way to or from a war isn’t the same as imaginatively following them there. Conscience-easing expressions of gratitude by politicians and citizens cloak with courtesy the often bloody, wounding nature of a soldier’s service. Today’s dominant narrative, one that favors sentimentality over scrutiny, embodies a fantasy that everything will be okay if only we display enough flag-waving enthusiasm. More than 100,000 homeless veterans, and more than 40,000 troops wounded in action in Iraq and Afghanistan, may have a different view.

Lincoln’s Consolation

If our theater of gratitude provoked introspection or led to a substantive dialogue between giver and recipient, I would celebrate it. But having witnessed these bizarre, fleeting scenes, I have come to believe that they are a poor substitute for something more difficult and painful — a conversation about what war does to the people who serve and to the people who don’t. There are contradictions inherent in being, as many Americans claim to be, for the troops but against the war. Most fail to consider the social responsibilities such a stance commits them to fulfilling in the coming decades.

Few Americans have understood more clearly the seductions and inadequacies of professing gratitude than Abraham Lincoln. Offering to a mother who had lost two sons in the Civil War, “the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic,” Lincoln nevertheless acknowledged “how weak and fruitless must be any words … which should attempt to beguile her” from her grief. Expressions of thanks constitute the beginning, not the end, of obligation.

Elizabeth Samet is a professor of English at the U.S. Military Academy and the author of Soldier’s Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point. Contact Elizabeth D. Samet at

26 Feb

True CO Tales

Fish biologist went on ride-along with CO in the early 80s, stopped at a  campground looking for manager. My pal asked CO —  just to make small talk – if he camped, to which the CO said, “XXX, I served 11 months in Korea. I slept on the cold ground every single night. I told myself that if I survived, I would never go camping again…and I haven’t.”

Or a CO who started his career in the UP and was on shining patrol in the late 50s in his sedan. Pair of shiners came through in their car and COs pulled in behind the shiners, running dark. As they followed, the CO driving saw a rifle come out the passenger window. He immediately accelerated to beside the shiners and got the vehicles about 4 feet apart , scaring the would-be shooter, who in jerking the long-gun back inside, discharged it. Paint and meteal exploded and rained on the driver,  cutting his face and head and he was deaf and had his sidearm out and point it at the other vehicle, but he didn’t shoot. Said later he was really close to letting go and because he was temporarily deaf couldn’t hear his partner and the two in the other vehicle yelling the shot was an accident, to not shoot.!” The driver had a nasty head wound which bled profusely but what might have turned lethal did not. The edge is sometimes right there, right there, so close you could break it open like tissue paper.

Another tale:  It is a week or so before the trout opener in 1972 or 1973. CO asks  fish biologist and forester to meet him for coffee at 9 a.m. in a restaurant .  CO tells the pair that the night before he and a fish division guy were taking a load of mature rainbow trout to Lake Michigan to dump them in. The Oden hatchery was clearing mature fish to make space for smaller ones. But  en route to the big lake, taking a short cut, the fish truck’s aeration system malfunctioned and the CO and fish guy decided that it would be better to dump the fish in a small pond near the road, rather than have them die in the truck and have to bury them. So they transferred the fish four at a time in 5-gallon buckets until all the fish were in the pond, called O’Brien’s.  Coffee over, the men went their own ways, but the next morning he CO showed up at the fish biologist’s office to tell him that none of what he had told them about fish hatchery fish was real, but he knew a local poacher had coffee every morning at that café, so he called them there,  and told them the story as the poacher listened. Sure enough he went out to O’Brien’s pond last night and caugh the poacher trying to take trout out of season. A set-up all the way.

And a final tale: a new, probationary CO reports to his area and is issued his new state car andnot long thereafter is in a traffic accident and totals the state vehicle. Bos says stuff happens, and arranges for another vehicle. Less than a week later the CO is firing along and comes around a curve and there is a bull  elk in the middle of the road, so the CO jukes, but so too did the elk: Bang, a head-on and a second totaled patrol car.  The fellow in the officer across from the law supervisor as there the morning the CO came in to tell his boss about the second loss. The door got closed but everyone could hear the supervisor screaming that if he so much as put a scratch on Vehicle #3 he would personally see that the new CO would not pass probation period.

That same CO later in his career stopped a crew “dusking” for woodcock and got into a nasty fight, lost his gun and had to hide in woods for hours before escaping. The bad guys were later arrested and convicted.

All funny now, but COs live a dangerous life and that edge I described earlier is always right there at hand an invisible door to fate.


26 Feb

Thomas Jefferson, Guns and Such….


Right after the Newtown massacre, I predicted nothing significant would change regarding gun control in this country. In my own view, background checks for any sale in any venue and no clips/magazines 10 rounds or more seem self-evident. Banning a certain model weapon? Not sure that means anything. For example, ban all semi-automatic weapons: Does that include semi-automatic shotguns used for waterfowl hunting?   The NRA has shown again that its primary mission is to sell guns, period. Why can’t people figure this out?  NRA is a lobbying organization for gun-makers. Gun owners ride along on  the organizations profit-sucking coattails.

Some years back the NRA fought increasing various hunting license fees in this state, solely because the governor was a democrat. That sort of bald political crap is unacceptable to Michigan sportsmen. Or should  be. So now a Republican has proposed same thing. Good for him. I hope our worthless legislature will get enough juice in their orbs to do something and get license structure modernized and more COs on duty.

I have a lot of friends, some rapidly anti-gun and just as many pro-gun.  I consider myself solidly pro gun. It’s a tool, not a toy. I own hammers and saws and axes and knives as well. All tools all with particular uses. The anti-gun folk can be talked to and reasoned with and calmed down, but so far, my pro-gun friends show no such interest in opening their minds to other possibilities, or the  ability to think on their own. And none of them can explain to me exactly how the Second Amendment is threatened by what amounts to minor gun controls so far proposed. I just don’t get it. Really.

I’ve gone back in history to look at the issue of guns, even read some stuff promoted by the NRA jack-wagons.

Everyone talks about what our “forefathers” intended, wanted, thought, said.

Fair enough. Let’s look back: Thomas Jefferson was a gun owner-collector, according to Jon Meacham’s 2012 biography. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power. Meacham tells readers that “Jefferson’s gun collection included a two shot-double barrel,” and “a set of Turkish pistols with ‘120-inch barrels so well made that I never missed a squirrel at 30 yards with them.’” Meacham says  Jefferson was a man of his time on the question of guns, Jefferson writing in 1822 that “every American who wishes to protect his farm from the ravages of quadrupeds and his country from those of biped invaders should be a ‘gun-man,’” adding “I am a great friend to the manly and healthy exercises of the gun.”

Okay, all fine and dandy, never mind the “manly” crack,  Or that his remarks seem intended only fro farm owners, not other citizens, ergo those with property, he was a person of his time and era, and presumably such values were common.  And ignore that he specifically points to farms and implies owners of farms, not the unwashed masses of the country.

Upon further reading, I found reference to  a 1789 letter to James Madison in which Jefferson argued that it was a violation of “natural rights” for one generation to bequeath a legacy of public debt to the next one. He wrote, “I set out on this ground which I suppose to be self-evident,” he declared. “That the earth belongs in usufruct to the living, that the Dead have neither powers nor rights over it.” According to Meacham, Jefferson’s aversion to one generation binding the next went beyond accruing public debt. Neither the laws, customs, nor governing constitutions composed by one generation were binding upon subsequent ones. Said Jefferson: “By the law of nature, one generation is to another as one independent nation is to another.”

This seems to suggest that the very constitution he played a role in, would not apply over time, but be revised or could be revised in every generation. Not Being a constitutional scholar I find this a troubling notion, but Jefferson seems to be saying quite clearly, what held as law or custom in my time has no place in subsequent generations. June 5, 1824 in a letter to Major John Cartright, Jefferson said again that the earth belongs to the living and that one generation should not be bound by the decisions or values of preceding ones. But in this letter he added a phrase that suggested contempt for the past and disdain for tradition, rather than simply the right to be free of them. “The dead,” Jefferson wrote, “are not even things.”

Jefferson’s message to us seems to be, “Do what fits your time, not what we did, just because it fit our time.”  This makes sense to me.

Yet here we are  nearly 200 years later with people wanting  all sorts of exotic weapons in private ownership.  This time isn’t the time of our founders. Not even close. We have to do what’s right for our time.

People want to own guns? Fine. They should have them. But there are limits to that ownership just as there are limits to other rights. The issue is where to draw the line. Should citize4ns have working bazookas or grenade launchers, mortars? Chain-guns? Howitzers? Of course not. There is some common sense to be applied here. I just wish we would see some of our politiconoids demonstrate same, on either side of the so-called aisle-of-philosophical hatred, the me versus them line….

So, if someone would kindly explain the “threat” to the Second Amendment, I would be happy to listen and consider rationally. However, don’t try to ply me with the giving a little here leading inexorably to losing a lot more or everything downstream. That’s the domino theory and that got us Vietnam and a whole heap of other life-wasting crap in our country’s history.


25 Feb

A Look Back at Mental Illness and How It Was Treated.

Reasons for Admission

to The West Virginia Asylum

for the Insane, 1864-1889

There is sadness in lists plucked from history’s drawers,

like reasons people were adjudged insane, I give you:

Amenorrhea, kicked in head by a horse, gathering in the head,

Immoral life, masturbation, masturbation, masturbation, masturbation for 30 years,

(I don’t see no  explanation cited as practice  till perfect), dissolute habits, cerebral softening,

Decoyed into the Army, Greed and Grief and Gastritis,

Loss of arm, or son, or leg, or favorite dog,

Novel-Reading and Nymphomania (the N-Word practices that  render one whackadoodle)

Parents were Close cousins (more than kissing one surmises from the diagnosis),

Salvation Army, Politics (a form of masturbation?),

Over-study of Religion (it don’t cite which one), Worms, Religious Excitement and / or Enthusiasm,

Self-Abuse, Self-Abuse, Self-Abuse (euphemism for all-y’all-know-what, you-know-what),

Shooting your daughter, smallpox, Snuff and did we mention self-abuse? Ain’t that enuff?

Add to the foregoing the ongoing:  Sun-stroke, Baccy smoke, Suppressed Masturbation (sort of damned if youse do and damned if youse doesn’t?), Morals, the  War, Vicious Vices Early in Life, Venereal Excesses, Snuff-eating for Two Years, Polytics (yes politics), Moral Sanity (sic), Rumor of Husband’s Murder or Desertion, Bad Whiskey, Bad Company, Damn Bad Luck, Bloody flux, Carbuncles big as your mother’s uncle) “Business Nerves,” Death of Sons in War, Excessive Sexual Abuse (no definition of what’s not excessive), Falling from a Horse with Female Disease (not clear if this refers to the horse or rider), “Gathering in the Head,” from Gunshot Wounds or Hard Study, Liver, Loss of an Arm or Leg (no other parts get a mention) but one might speculate at this advanced date, Social Disease, and more, all and each of which would earn you a stint of “moral treatment.” That is to say, you wunt  be chained in  no dank dark jail cell, but chained in a building atop a hill and if you could behave for just a spell, they’d air you out  in wings built to capture therapeutic sunlight, did I mention Rattlesnake Bite, Doubt About Your Mother’s Ancestors, or Explosion of a Shell Nearby splattering brains like rain) or Imagining Female Trouble (especially if one was a man;  in  the Greatest Generation’s day, this was called draft dodging), or tobacco, yes tobacco, of course, softening of the brain, superstition (one suspects links) and all this and more would put you in the state-run loony bin, anything from virulent smallpox to venal sin got you sent offt by the local court and you was ‘pected to git yore shit together, son, and behave as you ort. Given all the oddities here, not one mention of  insanity  visiting from good whiskey, or plain old beer.  



21 Feb

Big Rapids “Tour.”

Just posted my remarks from Big Rapids in the Document section of the blog memory bank. Lonnie and I visited Great Lakes Book & Supply where I was able to meet John Bronco Horvath, who played hockey for me in the 1970s (son of John “Gypsy” Horvath). Bronco now has a son who is a senior hockey player at Big Rapids High School. Boy, does time fly. Bronco was a smallish guy, but did he ever compete! Now quarter asked or given!

Last night we we talked at the Big Rapids Community Libary. Nice folks, not far from the Bullshidos’ fishing camp. Shaksper’s first road trip: he did great, efgen with the midnnight long walk on ice so he could work up a you-know-what! He loved the elevators and riding on the baggage cart. Today he met two English sheepdogs at the Rockford rest area and was overwhelmed by their unbridled enthusiasm. He backed between my legs. Funny!

Also today, Lonnie coined a word. You know those plasstic bags that get thrown out of vehciles and wind dreies them up into roadside trees? Plurds. Plastic = Turds. Hilarious, especailly since many city folk use the white bagews to pick up dog droppings during walks. Plurds. Pass it on!

Photos from  yesterday’s festivities follow:


Left is Lynn, honcho of Great lakes Books, and right is Carrie Weis, Co Chair of the Sixth Annual Big Rapids Festival of the Arts. Great hosts, fun people. Lynn is aunt to Chuck Bibart who worked with me at Upjohn in the old days.


Trading stories with retired DNR fish biologist Jeff Green.


Informal talk at Great Lakes Book & Supply.


Bookstore chitchat


Big Rapids is home to Ferris State University. Woody Ferris, who founded the school was governor of Michigan during Red Jacket and is in fact a character. Irony?


Our favorite store sign: Means Treasure and Pleasure Inside.


Great Lakes Book & Supply, Big Rapids


Lifeforms of the Third Floor


Hey, I like riding on the baggage cart. Let’s do the elevators again!


Big Rapids Community Library



Green Streamer in the Snow. Third Floor Room is NOT convenient for dog’s nature calls…

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