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

By Paul Marvin
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Missing slippers found in backyard (obviously)

Paul Marvin's North Country Crock


September 20, 2018

Photo illustration by Paul Marvin

Not to beat a dead horse of a different color, but we've seen this story before.

An especially valuable, not to mention comfortable, piece of Up-North American history goes missing. Stolen. Pieces actually. A pair of slippers.

They vanish in a whirlwind.

During their absence, a unique yet familiar cast of characters emerges. A series of events ensues which leads to an important and thought provoking ending.

We discover home is where everything is found. When looking for our heart's desire, we should look to the backyard first. If not there, it was never lost in the first place.

Normally, it takes about two hours for the case to work itself out. At the end, we realize the answer was right there in front of us. In plain black and white. No rainbow necessary. It only takes 45 minutes if you do the Pink Floyd thing, get hungry and forget what you are looking for.

However, in this case, things play out longer. We should have anticipated the outcome. Remember, we've seen this story before. I alone have lost my slippers at least a dozen times. Among other things.

At first, the journey is full of intrigue and mystery. Eventually, things turn dark and frightening.

After a while, it's like an unexplainable dream. Which is what happens with this kind of story. Mostly media driven, it feels like we are in a land far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain. Occupied by folks without brains who do an awful lot of talking.

Reality television crews search the bottom of flooded mine pits.The missing slippers become the hottest thing in footwear since flaming Nikes. The story becomes sensationalized beyond belief and a legend of the North Country.

Federal law enforcement offices from Minneapolis, Atlanta and Miami become involved to interrogate multiple suspects and investigate different scenarios. An extortion attempt and an undercover sting operation make things even more interesting.

None of this is convenient timing for the FBI as they are subsequently dealing with the fury and unbearable noise cascading from a big headed, great and powerful figure. But pay no attention to the little man manipulating the levers behind the curtain of Twitter. He's actually weak, afraid and not wise in the least.

Things are played out and then paused. Rewound, played, and rewound some more. Played, stopped, and played again. Fast forwarded through commercials, then stopped. There may be a fuzzy old program recorded over the tale in a spot or two. But the tape's ending is always the same. It has been for generations. There's no place like home... especially if you still watch movies on a VCR.

Sooner or later, we wake up, turn off the technicolor commentary, and find something productive to do like take the dog outside.

Looking no further than our own backyard, we find what we are looking for.

Thanks, Toto.

Paul Marvin is a communications/marketing consultant and artist who lives in Iron, MN. View his work at or


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