December 22, 2017

The Sweet Spot

It is your go to place.

You once a couple years back had a behemoth brown peel a tiny brown off the end of your line.

You have never been skunked there.  Nothing less than 24 browns.

You have never caught less than 50 if you fish the whole stretch.

Your best outing you caught 97 browns.

You have never seen another footstep there that wasn't yours.

You have your wife drop you off and pick you up so your sweet spot is kept a secret.

You fight fishing it two outings in a row because it is so good.

You don't take untrustworthy friends there.

You drove by it yesterday and saw "For Sale" signs and you are sad.  You are terrified the new owner will be a NO Fishing guy or even worse the WDNR will buy the easement rights and ruin it and take out all the trees on the banks and logs in the water that makes it such a prolific stretch. Then a neon sign will be put at the entry points so the masses will beat a path on each side of it.


December 21, 2017

The Ghost of Christmas Past

The Ghost of Christmas Past is the first of the three spirits.  This angelic spirit shows the past that occurred on or around Christmas.  Some of the past are good memories....some leave you questioning mankind and forever haunt you.

It was December first in 1981.  Typically the military brought in fresh recruits before the holidays.  They wanted them to get acclimated before Christmas.  The company clerk knocked on my door.  He told me I had a new roommate.  In walked a snot nose fresh Military Policeman just out of the school in Fort McClellan Alabama.  He was a Private E-1 from southern Oklahoma.  His name was Mark Walters. I was often given new recruits to be roommates because I had lived in Germany for three years and knew the ropes.

Mark and I hit it off right away.  He was a big kid and obviously lifted lots of weights.  He loved playing cards and made friends with everyone in the barracks quickly.  He told everyone that would listen that he was using the military as a learning experience and for the G.I. Bill.  He was getting out after his three years and going to college for Law Enforcement.  He wanted to be an Oklahoma State Trooper.

Mark was getting along well and was even assigned to be my Desk Clerk.  I was a Desk Sergeant at the Military Police Station.  We hung out after work often. 

I accompanied him to the Post Office in Augsburg.  This was where there was a bank of phones that military men used to call home.  Mark called his family.  He was quite homesick.  This was the first time he had ever left his small hometown.  To make things even worse it was the first time he would not be home for Christmas.  We took the long way back to the barracks and went to the city middle to look at the local Christmas Market.  We only stayed a little while.  The stop made Mark even more sad and homesick.

A couple days later he was hanging in the room on his days off.  He was moping around and feeling sorry for himself because he was stuck in a foreign country and he missed his mom and dad.  I told him I was going to the Christmas Market to buy a bunch of handmade Christmas ornaments to send home to my mother.  I needed to get them in the mail quickly so she would receive them before Christmas.  Mark said he wanted to do the same.

We took the street car right outside the front gate and went downtown.  We wandered the shops and Christkindlesmarkt for hours.  We each picked out a dozen ornaments we were shipping home to our parents.  We hopped back on the street car and headed back to the barracks.

Our stop was coming up and we both noticed a big crowd at the street car stop.  We got out and quickly learned an old German gentleman had fallen to the ground and wasn't doing well.

Mark and I were both trained in first aid so we assessed the older German man.  He was out cold and started to turn blue before our eyes.  He had no pulse.  Mark and I started CPR on him.  The German police came shortly thereafter.  We had done CPR on the older guy and his pulse had began again and he was breathing again on his own.  The German Police already knew me from me working with them in the past.  I told them Mark's name.  The ambulance came and whisked away the man.

The German Police stayed there and talked to us for a while and thanked us for responding so quickly and for saving the man's life.  The crowd dispersed and we went to the bench at the streetcar stop to retrieve our ornaments we had sat down when we hurried off the streetcar.   Both of our bags were gone.

I called the German Police and they were livid that people would steal something at an emergency location.  They attempted to find the thief with no results.

The phone rang the next day at the Military Police Station.  It was one of the German Policeman from the streetcar stop.  He told me the old man woke up at the hospital and was told what happened.  He wanted to thank me in person. I told them I would visit him in the hospital after I got off work.

I took the same streetcar to the Krankenhaus "hospital" and visited the older gentleman.  Come to find out he was a doctor and still practiced at 82 years old.  He was widower that never had children.  His practice was his life.

I went to visit him daily for over 2 weeks.  I remember staying an extended time with him on Christmas Day.  I was his only visitor.  He was getting better every day and staff at the hospital told me he was going to be there a long time due to his heart not being in good condition.

It was nearly the end of my shift at the MP Station and my two German Police friends entered the station.  They knew I had been visiting Doc daily.  They had taken up a collection at the German Police Station and sent one of their wives to the Christmas Market and she bought a dozen new ornaments each for Mark and me.

I hurried to change clothing and visit Doc at the Krankenhaus.  My faith in humanity had been lifted.  I was happy and wanted to visit my friend.  I walked right in the hospital and walked to his floor.  No one was at the front desk so I went to Doc's room.  The room was empty.  I searched and searched for someone that would tell me where Doc was.  I thought he might have been moved to another floor because his conditions had improved so much.

Because I was not family no one would tell me anything.  I called the German Police station in my area and my friends were still at work.  I had the commander of German Police Station Six talk to the on duty doctor.  The doctor called me into his office and had me sit down.  I had many people sit down for me through the years before I told them bad news and I knew what was coming.  I told the on duty doctor it was not necessary to tell me because I could tell from his demeanor and long face what had happened.  A week later I went to Doc's funeral.

December 20, 2017

Wander Lust

Fifteen years ago you could NOT get her into the outdoors for any amount of money.  These days it is one of her favorite pastimes to bicycle or hike in Wisconsin.