Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

An autumn week in Wick's World

Wick's World


What a wonderful weather week in Wick’s World. Wherever one was, whether watching the weather or washing the windows, we were warmed with Lake Wobegon’s waters. I spent half of my week at our home in Eagan raking leaves and the other half on Sand Lake preparing for winter. Last Thursday produced a high of 73 degrees in Eagan and next Thursday looks almost as good even though the colorful leaves on the trees are quickly dropping foretelling an end to my favorite season, Indian summer.

My least favorite season runs concurrent with autumn and winter and for most Minnesotans, it can be dreadfully long. It’s called The National League Football season. For Vikings fans, it all too often is the season of bitter disappointment, dissatisfaction, disillusion and discontent. By game two, the Vikings lost their star running back, Adrian Peterson. By the end of game seven, the Vikings blew any chance of playoff hopes when they lost yet another predictable heartbreaker in the last second of the game.

Tonight, my wife and I are joining several friends from the Moose Lake/McGregor area. I will dazzle my house guests with a stunning dinner featuring baked chicken (from Kowalski’s Market, but who’s telling?), basmati rice, acorn squash, fresh garden mixed greens and vegetables. We will consume as much wine as appropriate, excluding of course, my wife, the designated driver.

Later tonight, we will travel over to the Concordia University campus in St. Paul for a lecture called “A Wild Life” by a former McGregor High School homecoming queen named Cheryl Strayed. Cheryl was a young teenager living in rural Aitkin County when we first met her back in the late 1970s. We both lived about halfway between the small villages of Arthyde and Lawler and Cheryl’s family was our nearest neighbors.

One of my first memories about Cheryl was one of her favorite quotes, “I am a writer.” It was not, "I want to be a writer," but, “I am a writer.” Indeed she is a writer and quite a famous one following the huge success of her best-selling memoir titled "Wild." Soon after "Wild" hit No. 1 on the New York Times best selling list, actress Reese Witherspoon called Cheryl and immediately bought up the movie rights to the book, ostensibly so she could star as Cheryl. The movie "Wild" will be playing at a film festival in Minneapolis next week and will open to the general public in theaters around the country on December 5 of this year. There is a lot of talk around Hollywood that both Reese and the movie have Oscar potential. Cheryl now counts Reese and Oprah among her best friends —quite a triumph for the country girl from the northern woods of Minnesota.

The craziest thing I did all week followed what I have begun calling “I Went to the Swamp to Feed a Dead Man.” I would love to tell you the story behind the quote, but that may be several years down the road, if ever. What I can tell you is that it was already dark after my friend and I returned from the swamp. We were pretty hungry by this time as we had yet to eat any dinner. I called my wife on the cell phone and we agreed that I would pick up some Chinese take-out. We soon finished off the cartons of Pad Thai, shrimp with lobster sauce and egg drop soup. Predictably, the final item of dessert came in the form of a plastic-encased fortune cookie. As we sat around the dinner table sipping sake, I realized I had yet to read my fortune. I also realized I couldn’t find it. After sifting through the garbage, I eventually gave up.

As is often the case after eating Chinese food, I went to the cupboard to get a toothpick to remove stringy celery. I returned from the bathroom and told my dinner partners, “I have a piece of paper stuck in my teeth!” I wonder what that fortune foretold.


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