Tales From Normal, Mn.--FICTION

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Tales from Normal, Mn. Headline News---FICTION

Friday, June 27, 2008

Normal, Mn.: "The Tale of Loon Lodge"----FICTION

Last week while I was recovering from the recent spate of high school graduations, I spent a long week fishing in my favorite location, Normal, Mn.. It has been almost ten years that I have been making the trek to Normal, and while sitting in Betty Lou's Cafe, sipping a extra strong Mocha with almond flavoring, heaped with lots of whipped cream, Herman mentioned to me that now that I have passed the "decade test" I am elegible to be inducted into the Order of the Loon Lodge.

As I gazed around Betty Lou's, it was filled with other fisherman, and they all seemed to know that I had passed the ten year mark, and was elegible. So---wanting to be excited and yet wanting also to know some details, I asked Herman to explain what was involved.

'Shucks, Wolfman (that's what he always called me), it's real simple. Years ago the Order of the Loon Lodge was just bunch of guys that went fishing and looked at the occasional loon that was in them parts.(click on the post to hear the loons). The whole area is zoned recreational, so we were fine with the boats and the small shack that we stored the bait in.

Over the years we got tired of bringing the beer in each time, so we upgraded the facility to merely adapt to the modern times, and ...well...after twenty years or so, it became a two story A frame facility with kitchen area, liquor storage, an area to change clothes and lockers and such. During the off season, the facility was perfect for graduation parties and alumni gatherings. Some guys used to love to use it for bachelor parties. ....and more recently some graduation parties. "

"Is there some sort of charter or code that one has to be inducted into before one can belong,"? I asked.

"Nope"--Herman replied. "Everything is on a need to know basis. When you join, you are told the rules. It's just that simple."

"How much does it cost,?", I asked.

"It costs $450 a year for the full membership. It includes two catered events a year plus extras."

"What extras?, I asked.

"I can't tell you about them until you join. That's just the rules."

Wow. This was pretty stunning. To pay $450 a year to just watch loons just drove my curiousity wild. Click on the post for the sound of the loons. Seem pretty normal to me. There must be something extra. For me. It might be worth $450 just to find out what it was.

I know that lot of folks give me a lot of grief about why I always write about my favorite getaway in Normal, Mn. The fact is that Loon Lodge is just one of those unique historical traditions that is so unique that it makes life, and fishing so special. It is just a shame that we do not have any such tradition back here in Wisconsin.

Monday, June 16, 2008

"Sheriff Shocks Normal"----Fiction

Well it sure is good to have school over. Time to head on up for a little quiet fishing up in northern Minnesota at my favorite fishing hole, Normal, Mn. My in laws just bought a place near Lake Sylvia, so I combined a little moving of furniture with a chance to fish.

As soon as I drove into Normal, I stopped at Betty Lou's for a strong black, extra sugar coffee in those classic Minnesota dark purple Minnesota Viking mugs----Betty Lou never did learn how to make a mocha, so she just made it all extra strong.

As soon as I had settled in the booth, I was joined by my old friend Herman, the countryboylawyer, who also served on the Normal Minnesota school board. Herman started right in:

"Wolfman, we've had a real shock up here. Have you heard?"

"Nope" I said. What is up?"

"Last Friday night, with no warning, Sheriff Bob of the Normal County police force conducted one of them traffic stops at the only entrance to Normal, Mn. there is, and he ticketed almost half the town for drunken driving."

"Wow." I exclaimed. What is shocking about that?, I asked.

"Well," Herman went on, "it was just totally unjustified legally. We had just no warning at all. It came right out of the blue. I am just swamped representing half the town for the defense. I'm working 7 days a week with all the fact finding and such."

'What is going to be the theory of the defense?" I wondered.

"It's pretty slick, Herman exclaimed. I am going to plead that because everyone knows we have been competing for the highest drinking state with Wisconsin, and therefore we have had it in our civic pride to drink as much as humanly possible, it is just unfair to convict us on a crime even if everyone was sloshed."

"But Herman, ignorance never is a defense---what else do you have?

"O.K. Herman went on, I have pled a theory of "estoppel" in the alternative. Since the law has not been enforced in these parts since Prohibition, the civil authorities are "estopped " from enforcing them."

"Wow", I exclaimed. that is turning the law against itself. I wonder."

Well. It sure is good to be back in good old Wisconsin. Where after competing with Minnesota for 75 years, at least we would put out a press release that suddenly the law would be enforced----that would be the gentlemanly thing to do.