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

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

A typical 'next door' weekend

Wick's World


The weekend that opens the month of June was customarily typical for us. We did the same thing as many Minnesotans, and for that matter, neighbors and families from all over America. We spent the weekend next door at a high school graduation party.

For us, next door referred to our northerly neighbor of Canada. You know where I’m talking about. It’s the country that still honors the Paris Climate Accord Agreement. It’s the country that is doing their best to save the reindeer they so desperately need when December rolls around. What would Christmas be like without Donner and Blitzen? What would be the impact on the winos and alkies of the world if they lost their patron saint, Rudolph, the reindeer with the red, shiny nose? Who would be left to continue the annual flight south with the star of fake news known as Santa Claus?

Scientists barely have enough money budgeted to continue their 30-year study on why mosquitoes bite. How will they afford to fund the science necessary to clone bison with buzzards to keep the Santa tradition airborne? Once you lose folklore as powerful and ancient as Santa Claus and his sled full of toys, the tradition of graduation parties will also be headed for extinction.

Is that what America wanted when our leader decided to put America first and leave Santa and graduation parties behind? I’m beginning to understand we really do have a “War on Christmas” and now graduation parties are destined to also be affected. From this day forth, we need high school graduates to espouse a theme that will make their lives meaningful, such as “Adopt a Reindeer” or “Graduate so you can Party.”

The repercussions of the president putting Pittsburgh ahead of Paris will have consequences deeper than grounding Santa Claus. I hope this gives my readers a clear view of why this life-long environmentalist loves the world enough to want to save it.

Before graduation parties join the dinosaurs and woolly mammoths as long-lost memories, we drove all the way to an Iron Range village called Babbitt. Named after Judge Babbitt from New York City, one wonders why they just didn’t go ahead and name the town Rabbit.

Back in the 1800s when the Midwest was being rapidly populated with engineers building railroads and loggers clear-cutting white pines in Minnesota, being an executive, or using the working class’ preferred name “big shot,” gave one the privilege of naming a town.

I enjoy telling people the little town where I grew up, Chamberlain, South Dakota, was named after Wilt Chamberlain, the giant who claimed to hold records in more than just basketball. Our founding father was in fact Selah Chamberlain, a big shot railroad man, but who wants to tell that dull story?

We were well on our way to the graduation party when we were struck with a quick shot of weather well known to Minnesotans as “lake effect.” When the car thermometer had crept up to 82 degrees, we felt comfortable with the summer shorts and shirts we had chosen for the informal occasion. When the wind hits the water of Lake Superior and the air reaches the land, the temperature can plunge with the force equivalent to an Acapulco cliff diver. We noticed the wind shift by the shudder from our lightweight Toyota Prius. I glanced at the thermometer.

“Sixty-eight,” I yelled. “Karen, it was just 82,” I said. We watched as it finally bottomed out at 62 degrees. The lake effect took 20 minutes to drop the temperature 20 degrees. We were worried about the lack of jackets, sweaters and long pants. The worry was over as we eventually drove out of it and back into pleasant 70-degree high school graduation type weather.

Why did we go so far for a graduation party? It was because this was a very special grand-daughter to one of our lifelong friends. The young graduate had honored us several times in the past year by staying at our home in Eagan while searching out a college to attend. While she stayed with us, this young 17-year-old girl wouldn’t escape to her room. She wouldn’t be on her cell phone and chat with friends. Her laptop was never opened in our presence. Rather, this intelligent, personable young woman sat with us at our table or joined us in the living room for adult conversation. She felt completely comfortable with elders three times her age. She never failed to be herself. There was no pretentiousness when Ina was in the room. We wish the best of luck to this young lady at her new home of higher learning, Gustavus Adolphus.

“Adopt a Reindeer!”


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