Emmaville Store, circa 1969

Saturday, October 20, 2012

It's That Time of Year...

It's that time of year - the sun has disappeared behind steel-wool clouds, only a smattering of forlorn leaves remain on the trees and the jack-o-lanterns are popping up: ALMOST DEER SEASON.  The shorter days are getting the bucks and does in the mood, and sending the hunters to their basements to dig out their blaze orange apparel, pocket warmers and that well-worn box of shells they bought at Gambles back in 1981.

They've been showing up around here for a week or two now, coming up to check their stands, clean their shacks, clear trails, etc.  You can tell what they're up to when the pull up with a trailer full of four-wheelers, lumber and ladders and step out of their rigs wearing camo baseball caps, almost giddy.  A few of them come disguised as grouse hunters - any excuse to go out into the woods.  It's the favorite time of year for alot of us Minnesotans.

Of course, the bow hunters have already been out for a couple of weeks.  These folks are really dedicated, spending hours in their stands, moving nothing but their eyeballs.  A lucky few get their deer, but most will trade in their camo for blaze orange and head back into the woods with their rifles come November 3rd.

Bob Hoffman is one of the lucky ones, registering this nice 10-pointer this morning:

That should get the blood flowing. Got your gun sighted in?  See you in a couple of weeks!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Happy Trails...Until We Meet Again

Sunday mornings have grown awfully quiet here of late.  It not just that we've ended the Sunday breakfast buffet for the season. Those crowds get this place buzzing, but not til later in the morning.  Early Sunday mornings are when "the boys" gather for coffee here in the bar.   From May through September, they show up here around 7:30 and spend about an hour alternately ribbing, regaling, congratulating and consoling each other.  They carry on a tradition that goes back to Cal Jensen's day,  when the Greatest Generation guys would gather and assemble the Sunday papers for sale.  Our guys just buy them, already assembled, but I'm guessing the conversations haven't changed that much.

But now they're gone, our summer people. As soon as the leaves started turning, they stowed their boats, buttoned up their cabins, and fled south.  A few stuck around til October, taking in the colors, but eventually they too gave into the urge to follow the sun. These "snowbirds" left behind two or three guys who like to tough it out through the winter. Occasionally, one of them will stop in on an off-season Sunday morning, hoping another will show up, but they don't stay long. It's just not the same.