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Friday, July 22, 2005

Duff -- On the Way

original posting - 03/03/2005 : 17:17:28

“Well that should be the last of it.” I say to myself as I close the hatch of my over stuffed mini-van. Dad always says I bring to much stuff to camp, but you never know what you might need. I tell him I believe in the Boy Scout Motto “Be Prepared”, thou I may take it to extremes sometimes. I always pack to much food. All the other guys also bring too much, but that’s “camp”. I always remember as do the other guys the one year were we got hit by the big snowstorm and things got kind of tight. Or the year everyone forgot to bring toilet paper. We had to go down to the Drop Tine Inn and ask Tuffy if we could borrow a couple of rolls. Hi reply was, “I’ll give them to ya. I don’t want them back after ya used them!” So now everyone brings a role just in case. We now have enough toilet paper to supply a couple of armies. I was kind of delegated the camp cook which is fine by me. I enjoy cooking for the guys and they have yet to complain about the grub. You could say that camp cooking is in my blood. Grandpa Dufty worked as a cook for a camp that was building the AL-Can Highway and also for one of the C.C. Camps in northern Wisconsin. Grandma’s brother George was a cook in a logging camp too. Grandma was dang good cook also. She made the best homemade caramel rolls. Too bad she never wrote that recipe down. I can remember as a little kid helping her roll out the dough. We would add a pinch of that, handful of this and a couple scoops the good stuff.

I double check my list to make sure I have checked everything off. I got venison steaks, and chops, a couple sticks of venison and venison bacon. The cooler packed with the partridge Dad and I shot in late September, along with some of the pheasants the guys and I shot down on the soon to be father-in –law’s farm in southern Minnesota. I’ll use all the birds to make Great-Grandpa Wright’s white wine and cream recipe. Add that all together in a big Dutch oven and let it simmer in the barbeque pit we made a few years ago and whip up some garlic smashed potatoes….Oh I can hardly wait! Of course we can’t forget Jackie’s favorite and mine, the smoked sting cheese and curds from the Burnett County Dairy in Alpha. I’ve got to remember to grab a couple blocks of cheddar and colby. I’ll have to see what kind of mood I’m in as to weather I’ll pick up Frosty’s smelly Limburger cheese. Make him eat it outside maybe? Should have enough boots, socks and gloves, sleeping bag, pillow and pad, check that off the list. I grabbed the gun and box of bullets right? Oh that’s right, I left them at dad’s for whatever reason, but knowing dad, the guns where the first thing that went into the cab of the truck.

O.K, I think that it. I better go in and kiss my bride-to-be good-bye. I walk into our small rental unit. She’s in the other bedroom sitting at the desk surfing the net, looking for things for our planned Hawaiian themed wedding in April. As I walk into the room, Katie looks up from the screen and with that goofy look she loves to give me and asks “How about Hula dancers?” My facial expression makes her laugh. “Where in the world are you going to find Hula dancers in April, here in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin” I ask her. “Ya might find an Eskimo or two if you’re lucky….” She replies,”There’s a dance troupe in Duluth.” I bend down and give her a peck on the cheek and tell her “Whatever you want dear is fine with me” and turn towards the door. As she types away on the keyboard and continues to look at the screen, she responds with” Is that so? Well then I want to go to deer camp with you!” I stop in my tracks as if I heard the click of a land mine disarming and slowly turn around with the deer in the headlight look. As Katie continues to rattle the key of the computer she looks up at me out of the corner of her eye and says “ Ya I know, NO GIRLS!” doing her best impersonation of my father’s cry. I sheepishly look at her and say “C’mon, you know dad is still coming to grips with me marring a Mud Duck.”(For those who are familiar with the term Mud Duck, It’s what us Cheese Heads like to refer to our neighbors across the river as.) “Give him a year or two. The old stubborn Norwegian will come around….maybe. He’s still ticked at you for out shooting him when we were shooting them clay pigeons down at your dad’s. I told you to take it easy on him didn’t I?” With out missing a key stroke, she replied “Get out of her! Go have fun at your boy’s club. Abby and I will have fun with out you. Call me when you get there so I know your van didn’t break down half way there.” “Will do dear. Love ya!”

I stop by the bed to scratch Abby’s head. She looks up at me with those “Where the heck are you going with out me!” look. Abby is our three and half month old chocolate lab. Katie got her for me as a way to get out and walk after two open heart surgeries I had in the spring. Well her idea worked because I take Abby out twice a day, for about an hour each time. I bend down and give her a kiss on the top of her head and rub her ear and tell her to have fun with mom and not to beat up Fred and Barney too much. They are both perched on the dresser looking tigers with both their tails flipping back and fort, almost in unison. They look at me like they want to say “You are taking that dog back to where ever you got it from aren’t you?” I inherited Fred and Barney last May after Katie moved up. If you were to look up “fat cat” in the dictionary, their picture would be there. I give both a stroke down the back and up their tails. They both respond by giving me a big purr. “Just wait boys. In year or two, she might stop thinking you’re her personal chew toys. Maybe….”

I stop by the fridge to grab a Diet Dew that I hid in the back for the road. It’s the last one from the last 12 pack I told Katie that I would buy. After I got out of the hospital for the last time, she really got on my case about drinking soda. She told me that I had to stop drinking pop, even if it is diet. “All that caffeine and junk is just what you new heart valve needs” she scolded me sarcastically. “You need to start drinking water instead.” Which I very true and I have cut down my Dew intake considerably. I stand in the kitchen peering into the refrigerator double checking that I haven’t forgotten anything. I shut the door and open the top freezer door. YIKES!! I almost forgot to grab the packages of brookies and rainbows that dad and I caught Labor Day weekend a ways down the creek from the beaver dam. We limited out all 3 days we were there. Grandpa would have had a blast with his fly rod enticing the fish with his gray hackle fly. I grab the frozen fish and head out the door yelling good-bye to Katie one last time.

I throw tomorrow night’s supper in the cooler. I get in the driver’s seat. I put on my safety belt and start the van. I put it in gear and head down to the driveway singing along with Bananas at Large as Turdy Point Buck blares from the radio. “ Did ya see the turdy pointer?……………”