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On Thursday, Nov. 3, Genie and I headed north from Albert Lea on our annual sabbatical in the North Woods. Genie calls it “extended socializing,” I call it “deer hunting.”

We arrived at the Palace Hotel outside of Cass Lake and left Monday, Nov. 21 back to Albert Lea (325 miles each way). I hunted nine of the 16 mornings for two to three hours each morning. It was very warm—in the 70s and 60s the first 15 days we were there. On Nov. 17 it started to rain, turning into a blizzard with 10-20 inches of snow within a few miles. My hunting was over.

My excitement in the woods was two deer that snorted at me twice each, but I didn’t see them. My friend Fritz, the 31st, visited me on my stand and ate little seeds that I had put out for him. As I was feeding him a deer walked by, but it was a doe and I had a bucks-only license. Fritz visits every year and I’ve had the same stand every year beginning in 1958. Thus, based on a year-plus of life, I figure he must be at least the 31st on his mouse ancestor tree.

As I unloaded the deer rifle to go in for lunch on Saturday, Nov. 6, somehow a bullet got jammed under the magazine. To solve the problem I took it to Doug’s Gunsmith Shop in Backus. An interesting thing when he told me he was the coach of the Backus High School clay target team and was very aware of the great NRHEG clay target team.

The first three days of the deer season had temperatures in the 70s, causing a lineup of hunters to get their deer processed before it spoiled. I didn’t feel like standing in line to get a deer processed, so that was my reason for not shooting a deer. Then the temperature was in the high or low 60s—once again, too warm.

My last day of hunting was wet and windy, followed by a blizzard. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it as to why I didn’t get a deer. Once again, sorry LeRoy, but I didn’t get that deer I promised you.

We attended the Veterans Day complimentary brunch for the veteran and a guest at the Palace. The highlight was when I got to be the speaker, thanking the Palace and the employees for honoring the veterans and guests with a long round of applause by all.

We also attended the Nov. 11 Veterans Day dinner in the evening at the American Legion in Cass Lake. I am a Legion member.

We attended church services at Trinity Lutheran Church on Hwy. 2 just west of Cass Lake the three Sundays of hunting. Genie and I were even asked to read, which we did. As usual, the songs and singing were very upbeat.

I asked a number of the employees why Genie or I had never experienced a bad employee at the Palace. The answer was always the same: “Because we get rid of them before you come.”

Congratulations to Nakasha on her promotion to hotel manager.

We met a young feller from the Waldorf, MN area. He is going to try teepee living in the North Woods this winter. His head is on his shoulders, his mind is okay, he knows the winter will be tough. Yes, he knows how to pray his winter journey will be successful.

We even got to say table grace with Father George before a meal in the dining room. And now for the area closing deer story of the year:

An eight-point buck was following the scent of his beloved doe. It was a warm day and the scent led him through the open door of a deer processing plant. He lost his cool and head-butted the person working on her hide. At this point he wrecked everything in sight and then ran back out the door. Moral of the story: “Love is not all it seems to be.”


Bob is a retired AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans) agent, currently working on his master’s degree in Volunteering. His wife, Genie, is a retired RN, currently working on her doctor’s degree in Volunteering. They have two children, Deb in North Carolina, and Dan in Vermont. Bob says if you enjoy his column, let him know. If you don’t enjoy it, keep on reading, it can get worse. Words of wisdom: There is always room for God.

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