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Nordlie to hold book signing at Farm & City Days car show

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UP NORTH AUTHOR – Former NRHEG High English teacher Gary Nordlie will be at the Farm and City Days Car Show on Saturday, July 7 to sign his new book “The Boy Who Talked to Loons.”

By JODY WYNNEMER

Staff Writer

After a person’s working career is over comes another stage in life: retirement. Many so-called retired people take up a new hobby, spend more time traveling or tending their flower gardens. Others are just content to have more time to spend with their grandchildren.

Former NRHEG High School English instructor Gary Nordlie decided to spend his retired years doing something he has always loved, fishing. Nordlie started teaching here in the 1967-68 school year and retired in 1998.

“I’ve been fishing for over 60 years,” said Nordlie. “I grew up fishing with my grandfather on the Mississippi.”

Nordlie participated in tournament fishing and also did quite a bit of writing about the outdoors. For the last 27 years, he has spent his summers on beautiful Lake Vermillion serving as a fishing guide. The lake is the fifth-largest within Minnesota borders and boasts 313 miles of shoreline. His love for the outdoors and his many experiences led him to write a book called “The Boy Who Talked to Loons.”

“Actually, my youngest grandson Konner was the inspiration for the book,” said Nordlie. “When he was six or seven, we were out in front of the cabin burning some brush. A loon called out from the back of the bay and Konner answered the call. He made another loon call and the loon answered back. He has entered and won several loon calling contests up north and has learned seven or eight different loon calls.”

The book centers on a lad who has always talked to the animals. The boy rescues a loon from a frozen lake. To reward the youth, the loon makes it possible for the youth to talk to all animals. As has been the case with much of the shoreline of Minnesota northern lakes, a developer has threatened to buy a huge tract of land, which includes the cabin of the boy’s grandfather. In order to save the cabin from the grips of the developer, the boy enlists the help of several animals who band together to accomplish their goal. It makes for an interesting and heart warming story.

It took Nordlie about a summer to write the book.

“I had already gathered most of the ideas and had it about half done in two weeks,” said Nordlie. “I finished it up during the rest of the summer.”

The book’s front cover artwork was done by Lake Vermillion artist Nancy Luloff. Luloff’s artwork can be seen at www.lakevermillion.com/localartists.

“Nancy actually lives across the bay from me,” said Nordlie. “With the view she has, she had to be the one to do the cover. I was thrilled to have an artist of her ability help work on this project.” 

Besides fishing, Nordlie enjoys riding motorcycle, playing guitar and hot rods. Because of his love of old cars, Nordlie will be at the Farm and City Days Car Show on Saturday, July 7. He will be available for book signings and just wants former students and friends to stop by and say hello.

“I’m so thankful at my age, I still have enough 'kid' in me to write this book,” said Nordlie. “It started out as a kid’s book about adults fishing, but now I’m not sure if it isn’t an adult’s book about kids fishing.”

The retired teacher, known for his quick wit, summed things up: “Now is the time for everyone to correct my paper.”

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