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Fishin report for Lake Iwanttobethere..


Bobby Bass

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Bobby Bass

SUNSHINE POURS THROUGH the open drapes here at the cabin and the living room floor is covered in dogs while cats lay sprawled across the top of the couch. Has been a few days since the sun has had a chance to warm things up around here. Yesterday I spent some time digging carrots out of the garden. The ground is still soft under the layer of straw and I took them over to the outdoor facet to rinse off. Guess I should have turned the water off as it was froze along with the length of hose that I had forgotten to put away. In my defense if the hose was laying on the ground like I left it the water would have ran out and it would not be frozen. I carried the carrots into the cabin and blamed the wife for being tidy and hanging the hose up.

Cold and windy out yesterday not the type of weather that one wants to be outside working in. I still had a few things that needed to be put away so I tried to keep my gloves on but once you get your hands cold they just never seem to warm back up. Later this afternoon I will head back to the Hotel for the last weekend of deer camp. No more deer to be reported harvested and I have been getting some grief as I saw not one but two bucks last weekend and didn't get a shot off. Good news for me, just as I thought, a few nights in my own bed got rid of the stiff neck I had and so I am ready to hit the hard bunk at the Hotel for the last weekend. On my way to the Hotel I have to stop by the Resort and pick up some rolls and some eggs. Also need to check on Vic, he has not decided if he is going to come up for the last weekend of deer camp as we do have one open bunk.

I did learn a little more about this big buck who has been coming to lunch at the Resort. Seems everyone knows about Becky but me. Marv is the one who named the big buck Becky told me she reminded him of a girl he once dated back in New York. When I asked how did a buck here at Lake Iwanttobethere remind you of an old girlfriend he just said "She had a big rack to "Marv and Vic both gave each other a fist bump and started laughing. I was thinking it must be an old guy thing. I still have not seen this big buck and Vic said he has not been around the past few days, he was actually worried some for the big buck. Yesterday I was heading back to the cabin from the Resort and as I drove down the road I counted twenty-three orange coats coming out of the woods to waiting pickup trucks. I had some second thoughts about Becky running a gauntlet to get to lunch.

I did finally put the garden tractor and the push mower away for the winter. The last of the leaves have fallen and I made a few passes around the yard to mulch them up and to burn the gas out of the tractor. I had plans to run the tiller in the garden but I think I am just going to put that away in the garage and get the snow blower moved up to the front near the doors. I still need to buy some snow shovels and Big Earl keeps telling me they are going on sale but not just yet. Me and Duncan have to haul some wood down to the cabin and make sure the rack is full for the wife. Calling for it to be cold this weekend and I am thinking I will be spending more time in the Hotel then on the swamp stand. But for now the sun is shinning bright and the thermometer says it is thirty-two out, I should go see if the water in the hose is melting, from Lake Iwanttobethere {1,424,488}

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Bobby Bass

BACK AT THE Hotel early this morning, just to cold for me to be sitting in the swamp stand. There are times when it is not a good idea to know what the temperature is outside and as I set off in the darkness I looked at the wall thermometer on the Hotel and saw the red needle just resting above zero. A couple of taps from my gloved finger just made the red needle go down another notch. A dusting of snow fell late last night and it was just enough to tell the difference between new rabbit tracks and old ones. I made my way to the swamp stand and moved slow, didn't want to over heat before I got there. No fresh deer sign along the trail, at least none that I could see. I made it to the stand and gave the area a good looksee and then brushed the snow off the seat I sat down and made myself comfortable.

A heat pad at the small of my back and one in each glove, hat snuggled down covering my ears and my sweater pulled up around my neck. It took about an hour for the first shiver that sent doubt into my brain. Sun was climbing in the sky and no clouds to block it but this morning it didn't feel warm, a bad sign. Some wind came up, not much but just enough to make the branches move some and knock the little bit of snow off. No crows, no rabbits, no squirrels no sound of gunfire, pretty quiet. I tried to make my neck shorter so I could get my chin down into my sweater and I got to thinking that at that moment there are probably deer watching me. Sitting right back in the swamp, out of the wind in a sunny bed of thick swamp grass. Getting ready for a nap after spending the night grazing. They were probably sitting there making small talk about the guy sitting in an exposed tree stand out in the wind.

Shortly after nine I decide to call it a morning and made the walk back to the Hotel. No tracks crossing mine and the only sound was of me breathing. I spotted the curl of white smoke rising over the tree tops coming from the Hotel's stove pipe, somebody was tending the fire. I crossed the little clearing and made my way to the Tahoe parked alongside Chuck's pickup. I put my rifle in the back and slide into the front seat. Started the truck and turned the heated seat too high and waited for it to warm up. As I sat I turn the wipers on to clear the little bit of snow from the windshield and saw Chuck coming out of the woods. He saw me and walked past the entrance to the Hotel and a moment later the passenger door open and he slides in alongside of me. "Heated seats, good idea."

Took a few minutes but heat started to blow out of the vents and I could feel the heated seat on my backside. I think I might have been a little colder than I thought as feeling started to come back to my cheeks. Temperature readout on the Tahoe mirror said it was eleven out but it was a pretty cold eleven. Chuck and I made small talk and he said he overheard that this was going to be the high for the day, eleven, nothing to really look forward to. Tomorrow being Sunday and the last day of deer camp is usually spent making repairs and getting the shack ready for winter. I think we might make today the work day as there is a football game tomorrow at noon that we all have a few wagers on. Junior comes out of the woods and sees us sitting in the Tahoe, he comes over and I roll the window down a crack. "What ya all doing in the truck" he asks. Chuck leans over and says "Heated seats" Junior pulls open the back door and slides into the back seat. Takes off his hat and gloves and I send some heat to the back vents of the Tahoe. More small talk, no one has seen anything in the woods this morning. Junior asks how long does it take for the seat to heat up? Chuck and I look at each other and saying nothing we decide not to tell him that only the front seats are heated. "O it takes a little while" Chuck says and winks at me, from Lake Iwanttobethere {1,426,199}

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Bobby Bass

THE LAST MORNING of deer hunting season was not any warmer then the next to the last day of deer hunting season. When I walked past the thermometer hanging on the wall of the Hotel I tried not to look. I figured what I didn't know could not make me any colder. I made my way out to the stand but this time the sun was already coming up, I had yet to see anything at first light so I figured I would come out a little later. I settled in to the stand and put heat packs in my boots, behind by back and couple on the seat and one in each glove. No sense in saving them and I was a lot warmer then the day before.

Overcast day and no sunshine till late in the afternoon, by then I was off the stand having seen nothing and back at the Hotel. I stayed out till almost one then made my way back along the well travel trail that had far more boot marks then deer hoofs on it. Saturday afternoon we worked on the Hotel, cleaning and fixing things that somehow seem to get broke but no one remembers how. Wood pile was rearranged and some new stuff added to it for next year. A couple of radios were on tuned too different sporting events. Big state rival football game was on as the same time when a local college team was playing in its playoff game. Toss in a pro hockey game and everyone had an ear out for scores as we worked.

Sunday morning I was hoping to see something but it was quiet, matter of fact it was so quiet there for awhile I could hear my watch tick on my hand in the stand. Nothing moved all morning which is never a good sign so when noon came and went I climbed down from the stand for the last time this season. I made it to camp following my nose as the old BBQ had been fired up and Marv and Elmer were turning steaks on it for our last lunch at the Hotel. With all the work being done on Saturday we didn't have much left to do so we decided to have our own version of a tailgate party. Steaks were cooked up and tatters wrapped in tinfoil did double duty keeping hands warm and then eaten when they started to cool some. Border battle football game was being shown on the twelve inch black and white TV that was resting on the porch floor and it was almost as good as being there watching the game.

We might have gotten a few looks sitting outside back at home dressed in our warmest clothes sipping beers and yelling at players who in our opinion didn't know what they were doing. But here in the middle of the woods it was just a thing guys do when they can't be seen or heard by their wives or girlfriends. As the afternoon went on guys started to shed some coats and hats and gloves were all but forgotten. I was thinking it might have been the beer or the Wild Turkey was taking effect but on by way into the Hotel to get some chips I saw that the red needle on the thermometer was rising. The game went into overtime and when it was finally done the sun was setting and it was thirty degrees out. A couple of the guys said we should be in the deer stands but then from out of no where the wind picked up and guys started looking for their coats.

By six the fire was long out, bedrolls were in trucks and most of the guys were already on their way back home. Only Chuck, Marv, Elmer and myself were left looking at the Hotel and thinking if there was anything we had forgotten to turn off put away or lock up. With Elmer leading the way we put the Hotel in our rear view mirrors and drove out the now well travel grassy trail to the gravel road. The plan is to make a stop at a small out of the way diner and have supper. We have been doing this for years, kind of a way for us to decompress from the Hotel to being back at home. Not really hungry but I think I could eat some onion rings and maybe sip on a beer. Not a bad deer season here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,430,516}

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Bobby Bass

TRUSTY 30-30 is back in the gun cabinet, cleaned and oiled till next deer season. Normally the week after deer season finds me and Bud and now Duncan back at the Hotel looking to find a few grouse. I saw only two during deer season and the rest of the party didn't report any so I think I will leave those two alone in hopes they will make some more. Yesterday for a few hours it was forty out and you would think I would be outside in a tee shirt and shorts but forty in November is a lot different then forty in March. I had the garden hose that thawed out to put away and patio furniture to throw a tarp over. Chain saw came out and I cut down a big limb off the maple that I noticed was stealing sunlight from my garden. I waited till the leaves were all off, less to clean up. Grand kids will be here on Friday, no school so I will let them have fun dragging the branches to the fire pit, work for me, play for them.

Another dusting of snow on the deck, not enough to even take a broom to but sooner or later I will need to go to the General Store and buy some shovels. Not having been in town for the past few week's things have changed some. I was down there yesterday afternoon and I noticed a lot of signs in the store fronts declaring they will not be open for Thanksgiving. This was a topic of conversation at the Hotel as several of the guys are business owners. The open early for Christmas shopping has gotten way out of hand. Started off as a six am opening then open at four then open at midnight and now in the big city they are talking about opening at six on Thanksgiving night and some stores are not even going to close. Next Town Hall meeting the topic is going to be on the list of things to change, making it official that stores will not be open on Thanksgiving. The town has already decided to just go ahead and stay closed on their own. Only two places will be open, Gas-N-Go and the Dew Drop Inn who will once again be giving away free turkey dinners.

Of course this is not going to stop people from going into the big city to shop but at least it will be quiet in town here and people will be able to stay at home and enjoy themselves. Sound of the framing nailer coming from Chuck's Ranch. Last time I took a peek he had three walls framed up on the wedding shack. He has some young help as being married now he now has three more sons and a couple of girlfriend's boyfriends to help out. Old guy like me will just be in the way so I will wait till the walls are up and the roof on then maybe I will go over and do some work when the place has heat in it. The idea of working outside in the cold when I don't have to goes against everything that retirement is supposed to mean, at least that is the excuse I am giving the wife. Only thing worse than working outside this time of year is working outside in the snow this time of year.

I did manage to sit a spell at the Lodge last evening. When I drove up I spotted Hammering Hank and Skinny's work truck in the lot and it was piled high in fresh cut Christmas trees. They will be taking them out to the highway stand and since they are not in town they will be open to sell the trees on Thanksgiving. I went inside and exchanged HIYA's with both of them as they were just heading out. The Fellows were sitting at the big round table and the yellow legal writting pad was out and they were all hard at work at no doubt was another money making idea. I nodded at Gus and he drew a Hamms and slid it down the cherry bar top to me. I caught it with a well-practiced left hand and walked over to sit at the Fellows table.

The conversation was about selling Christmas trees and how hard it is to find well-shaped perfect trees on the ground. It can be done if you own your own Christmas tree farm but you have to raise them things for years before you can start selling them. After all they don't have all that kind of time on their hands like Hank and Skinny do. With that they all paused and took long sips from their beers. I could see they had been thinking about this for awhile and feinting just a mild interest I asked what they had come up with for a solution. "TOPS" is what Gary said. If you go out in the woods there are perfect tops on trees almost everywhere you look, the trouble is getting the tops. This is where Steve pitched in with the answer, "Hot Air Balloon." They were working on a business venture of using a hot air balloon to float over the forest and just cutting the tops off trees to sell.

I sat back in my chair and sipped on my beer and thought it over some, the tops part is true, there are some pretty ones out there and I have shot the tops off a few trees in my younger days. The same trees are still growing to this day, just missing their tops. In a roundabout way I asked how they were going to get the tops back to the ground and to the truck and how many do they think they could cut and haul. Of course they had not talked yet about where they were going to find or borrow a hot air balloon. Tiny said he could go talk to his cousin at the mine, maybe they could get some of them big dump truck inner tubes and make their own hot air balloon? I needed a refill on my beer so I got up and went to the bar, Never dull here at the Lodge at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,432,985}

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Bobby Bass

DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING and if you have not ordered your fresh turkey from Ma and Pa's Grocery I think you will have to find a frozen one elsewhere now. This year we are all headed to the mother-in-laws for Thanksgiving. The wife doing some haggling has agreed to go there for turkey day as long as she can have everyone here at the cabin for Christmas. Wife is busy here today as she is baking pies to bring to her mothers. I came home yesterday to find two big bags of apples sitting on the kitchen table. The wife won't tell me where they came from but I am thinking she has been holding out on me. This morning I got the apple peeler out and made quick work of one bag and that should be enough for about eight pies. The other bag I told the wife I am saving for pies for us, actually me.

With apples peeled I was ordered out of the kitchen and I took the dogs outside. It was a sunny day out when I woke up but by the time I made it outside the clouds had moved in and the sun was long gone. Still it was twenty-five degrees out which was not too bad with it being calm out. I thought about moving the newly made brush pile out of the garden but instead grabbed the pitch fork and moved the straw off the carrot patch. Surprising the ground was soft enough to work and I started digging up carrots to bring over to the mother-in-laws. It was hinted that maybe I could bring over a bag of my home grown potatoes but I am thinking I am going to be forgetting them. The home grown potatoes are much better eaten here with steak then shared with my in-laws but I will bring carrots and apple pies.

Two of my nephews have donated a couple of Wild Turkeys that they shot this fall for the dinner. I am going to donate a bottle of Wild Turkey for dinner, I thought it would be fitting that a few chosen adults should have Wild Turkey with Wild Turkey. Last I heard it seems that everyone on the wife's side of the family will be at the gathering. At last count I have over thirty nephews and nieces on the wife's side and add to that my five grand kids and my kids and all the spouses of the nephews and nieces and it is going to be a pretty full house. The eight apple pies will hardly be enough but there will also be pumpkin pie and cheese cake. The Thanksgivings get togethesr have gotten so big that I once said we should all wear name tags. I received several stern looks from the mothers who knew all of the babies and everyone's birthdays and what grade all the kids are in. In my defense I was just saying that maybe the boyfriends and girlfriends of the nieces and nephews should have to wear the name tags and escaped by asking loudly "Who wants more pie"

I had a bucket full of carrots and I was pulling the straw back over the carrot patch when it started to snow. I went to yell for the dogs but all three of them were already sitting at the back door, their backs white from the falling snow. I had to wash the carrots off in the sink and the wife was sitting at the table sipping on a glass of wine. I asked if she wanted me to sample one of the pies and got "The Look" which I took as a no. Before I could try a different approach to one of the cooling pies she asked me if I was going to work on string up some Christmas tree lights outside. I just nodded and mumble something and left the kitchen like Duncan needed me for something.

I went to the den and sat down in my chair and spotted the three boxes of Christmas lights on the floor, the wife had already been busy while I was outside. I was pondering an excuse when she came in with an extension cord and told me I should probably test them first. Duncan sat in the corner and looked at me and at the boxes and back at me. I looked out the window and saw that the snow was falling a little heavier and the deck was now white. I put on my coat and grabbed the Tahoe keys and Duncan followed me to the kitchen. The wife made an effort to hide a note book under her arm, which I know is her Christmas list and looked back at me. "Snowing pretty good out there, I think me and Duncan are going to go to town and get a shovel and maybe see Earl about some new lights" the wife picked up her wine glass and nodded her approval and I went out the door before she could add stuff to my very small list. As I walked to the Tahoe I thought maybe I should get some more Wild Turkey, from Lake Iwanttobethere {1,435,920}

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Bobby Bass

THANKSGIVING AT THE Mother-in-laws was a pretty smooth event this year. Smooth as in dinner was an hour later then planned but that seems to be something that as each year goes by the announced dinner time is a guess. The crowd gets bigger and more prep time is needed to prepare food and set tables and of course the mother in law is not getting any younger and insists on still doing everything herself. Dinner was to be at five and I got a call at four from my mother in law who was at the mall. No, she was not shopping she was calling because she could not find her car. OK maybe there is a little more to this story. The Mother in law could not find the cranberries that she had bought for dinner and you can't have thanksgiving dinner without cranberries. I totally understand this as a few years back I went to my daughters for dinner and she burnt the rolls. You can't have dinner without rolls. Being in the big city I went down to the local bakery to buy replacement rolls only to find the store closed. There was however a guy standing outside the store scalping rolls, and I had to pay twice what they were worth but we did have rolls with our dinner.

OK back to the car. Sometimes you might have a hard time finding your car if you are in a hurry and you don't pay attention to where you park. I have on a few occasions done that, I have never lost my truck but I have misplaced it a time or two. On the phone the mother in law told me she had just ran down to the local mall to get some cranberries, there is a little shop there she likes to buy from and she needed the berries to make the meal just right. The trouble started when she went out to get into her car at home and she was blocked in by one of her grandsons. Rather then moving his car he just gave the keys to his grandmother and told her to just drive his. The mother in law drove to the mall, bought the cranberries and when she went back out to the parking lot she had forgotten where she had parked. She then called me after driving around the lot several times with the mall cop looking for her car, that is when she remembered she didn't drive her car to the mall and didn't remember what her grandson's car even looked like.

Did I mention that it was snowing the whole time? I was almost to the big city when I got the cell phone call so I went to the mall instead of to the mother in law's house. I called the nephew to find out what he was driving and then met with the mall cop in the parking lot. My thought was to look for a parked car with a lot of snow on it since it had been sitting there for awhile. About ten minutes later we found the nephew's car and the key fit. Back at the house with the mother in law having gone MIA the daughters took over the rest of the prep work. When the wife and the mother in law and myself walked in the door carrying the apple pies and bag of garden carrots and of course the cranberries the meal was ready to be served. Like I said the dinner went smooth. The mother in law was a little upset so I didn't bring the bottle of Wild Turkey into the house. I did however stick it in a small snow bank in the back yard and told a few of my liked relatives it's location at the dinner table.

In the old days after dinner the men would play cribbage, drink and smoke cigars but those days are gone. With so many little kids and babies around now any smoking is done outside. I don't think my mother in law caught on at all that people who were going outside who didn't smoke. A quick trip to the snow bank for a nip of the Wild Turkey and they were back in the house. I found out my brother in law had the same idea and a bottle of gin appeared next to the Wild Turkey in the snow bank. Somehow a twelve pack of beer and some wine coolers were found hidden in the big bird bath. It didn't take long for all the adults to duck outside and as the Wild Turkey kicked in coats were no longer needed.

The thanksgiving dinner was reminding me a lot of like my old high school dances used to be. Only now we were hiding out from my mother in law who still was acting like our chaperone. After awhile the Mother in law did catch on. She followed my wife outside and told her she might as well bring in her box of wine. Several of us stood outside near the birdbath holding beer cans and were busted with snow falling down around us. The flood lights were on and we watched as my mother in law walked to an undisturbed part of the lawn and sat down on the snow covered ground. I thought she had fallen and went to help her up only to watch her lay back and start making a snow angel in the fresh snow. The old lady continues to surprise me and we will remember next year over the dinner table the story of the lost car and the mother in laws cooking sherry induced snow angel, from Lake Iwanttobethere {1,440,498}

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Bobby Bass

SMALL BUSINESS DAY here at Lake Iwanttobethere and that pretty much covers every store in town. I was at the big city mall yesterday but that was only to find the Mother in law and I did no shopping. I have been shopping today as finally Big Earl at the General store has shovels on sale. Of course the one that I needed were sold out by the time I got to the store. We have been getting dustings of snow the past week, so I am not the only one who thought it was time to buy a shovel. I guess Big Earl has been telling everyone to wait for the big sale. Sun shine is pouring through the windows here at the Lodge as we are of course open for business. An announcement of sorts to make as Gus and I spent some time at the Hotel together and have decided that I am going to return to the Lodge as a manager.

I know some of you didn't even know I left and some others may not have even noticed anything other then I was not around too much. Our new arrangement is or will be that I will return to manage the Lodge during the winter and Gus will do the cooking and then Gus will manage during the summer but I am not going to cook, I will be at the Resort. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal for me and you would be right. Gus likes to do a lot of ice fishing so this will let him get away more during the winter and do that. Also means he won't have to carry a cell phone around with him all the time. I on the other hand have no problem carrying the Lodge cell phone as I just turn it off.

Truth be I kind of miss the place and it lets me keep an eye on the Fellows. The thought of them in a hot air balloon cutting tree tops over at the Resort made me realize that someone has to keep an eye on them when their wife's aren't. Speaking of the Hot Air tree harvesting scheme, that has been put on the back burner so to speak as it is kind of late to get that up in the air and running this season. So now that I am back at the Lodge I can look into getting our small meeting room back on Saturdays that the Ladies Auxiliary have been renting. They are in there now and the double doors are closed and I think they are having a seance. I can hear chanting through the wall and I thought I saw a flickering of candles through the crack of the door. When the meeting breaks up I will tell them that Gus said we need the room back.

The Resort is quiet and Vic has things under control. Since we made him the caretaker he is doing just that. He has a pretty good system down and Marv is spending more time in the Club House then he is in his Airstreamer. Between Marv, Vic and Elmer they have become the three Musketeers and the Resort has become their castle. This winter we might look into extending a trail to the Resort to see if we can get some snowmobiles. I already know that the three of them are talking about putting an ice shack out on the little bay with in walking distance of the Resort. They were talking to Hammering Hank and Skinny who thought building a new shack would be right in their wheel house and maybe a couple of more could be built to rent out.

So I just stopped in here at the Lodge to get my secret shopping list that I have taped to the bottom of my desk drawer. I have several more stops to make around town getting some things that I need o and of course things for people on my list. There is snow on the ground but all the sidewalks are clear, Christmas lights twinkle in store shop windows and the bell over Ma and Pa's Grocery is jingling every time the door opens. No ice yet on the skating rink but a couple of kids are shooting pucks off the dirt into the boards. The thumping sound echoes across the lake that has some ice on it but not safe enough to walk on just yet. Ice House Fling is set for December 15th but I am thinking it might not be till the 22nd. Hope to see you out shopping today or better yet stop by the Lodge here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,442,821}

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Bobby Bass

I WAS JUST getting ready to leave the Lodge yesterday armed with my Christmas shopping list when the Ladies Auxiliary meeting came to an end. The ladies filed out and made a beeline to the main door and some gave me a curt nod of their heads but most didn't even give me a glance. Dorris who I know is the president came up to the bar and before I could mention to her that we would be needing the meeting room back she handed me a white envelope and a pie. I said thank you and she turned and marched to the front door that her sister Dotty was holding open. The door closed behind them and the room felt warmer, maybe because they were gone and the draft was gone or maybe just because they were gone. I set the envelope down along with the pie on the back bar.

I walked out from behind the bar to go check the small meeting room. The double doors stood open and the first thing I noticed it was clean. Not Lodge clean but I mean clean, everything was in its place and tables and chairs almost looked like they had been polished. The only thing out of place was a new wood cabinet that hung from the back wall that had a brass hasp on it. No lock on it just a knitting needle where a lock should be. In calligraphy was a small sign that simply said Ladies Auxiliary members only. I took the bar towel that I had in my hands and tossed it over my shoulder and I was just about to pull the knitting needle out when I heard Gus behind me "I would not do that if I were you" I turned and replied to Gus "Why do you know what is in there?" Gus just shrugged his shoulders and said "Can't be any thing good"

I followed Gus back to the bar and I picked up the white envelope. "What's this" I asked. Gus sitting down on a stool said that it is for the Christmas fund. "We have a Christmas fund?" I asked "We do now" replied Gus with kind of a half smile on his face. Gus changing the topic of the white envelope asked if they left pie. I reached behind the bar and picked up the pie and placed it on the bar top. Gus rubbed his hands briskly together like they were cold and said "Ahh, a quarter pie" I looked at the pie, I had heard of these pies but had never seen one, matter of fact I thought they were just a story made up as a promise to husbands that is never paid. "Behold a quarter pie, gather forks and plates so we can partake" Gus said trying to sound like a knight from a round table.

I went into the kitchen to grab a couple of plates, forks and a knife. A Quarter pie, they do exist? I guess I should explain there are stories of the Quarter pies that are made of Cherries, Strawberries, Raspberries and Apple but the four are not mixed together but each make a separate quarter of the pie but all share the same crust and lid. A well-kept secret of baking and often spoken of but seldom eaten. I heard Elmer say he once was given one but he never talks about it. I returned to the bar and Gus took the knife and made a few small cuts into the pie. A moment later and my fork rattles on the empty plate and I smacked my lips after eating a Apple/Strawberry slice of pie. "Do the Ladies leave these pies here every Saturday" I asked Gus. Gus eating the last forkful of Raspberry/Cherry just nodded yes. I am now having second thoughts over whether we really need the small meeting room back or not, from Lake Iwanttobethere {1,444,385}

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Bobby Bass

MAKING GOOD PROGRESS in trying to locate my gas can with gas in it for the snow blower. Overnight twelve inches of wet heart attack snow has fallen here at Lake Iwanttobethere with more to come. Sunshine Ray was on the local radio station, KCUM with a forecast that called for a lull in the snow fall and then we will be picking up some wind and maybe as much as another foot tonight into tomorrow. Normally I would just wait till the storm was done and blow it all at once but it is going to get below zero making any snow banks rock hard. I am pretty sure I left the gas can behind the shop but sometime this morning all the snow let loose from the roof and I now have a chest high pile of snow where I think my gas can is.

I hear the kids in the big city have a day off, schools are closed. Not so here at the lake, I have already seen the school bus go by at its regular time. Of course the buses here at Lake Iwanttobethere are outfitted with snow plows so not having a plowed road is not an excuse for the kids here. I have been out shoveling twice already this morning, Am making a dent on the snow piled on the big deck. Chuck has been out with the tractor cleaning off his drive and I expect he will be over here sooner or later to do mine. Elmer is not home, he is at the Resort so we will clean his drive off last. My call to the Resort was answered by Vic who said they were just fine, Had pie and beer and lots of eggs and they will get to digging out when they get around to it. With no hurry to get to the Resort I am just warming my toes in front of the fire here. I to have beer and pie but I could use a few eggs, might have to check Chuck's coop later.

I have cleared a path off the deck to the shop and moved the snow away from the roll up door. I moved the snow blower to the shop the other day to do an oil change and it didn't get it put back in the garage. I was going to fill it with gas but forgot but I did buy gas for it just misplaced the can. I guess I could just find another can and run down to the Gas-N-Go but I would waste some time driving down and back that could be better spent warming my toes here at the fire. It is still snowing here, big flakes that are tumbling down. As long as they are not them small wet ones I am in no hurry.

Of course this is not news to you, I am sure where every you are it is snowing to or soon will be. We will not have to worry about not having a white Christmas this year. Of course it now makes the ice on the lake a little questionable. Having the heavy wet snow on the ice is going to make some slush and with it acting as insulation the colder temps that are coming are not going to be the best mix for making good fishing ice. Buying them shovels when I did down at the General Store was a good idea. Thing is I just don't want to use them all up on the first snow storm. Today is garbage and recycling day and I was lucky enough that the rolling cans were brought down yesterday to the road. Would have been a real pain to drag them through the snow this morning. Other then miss placing the gas can I have had a pretty good string of good luck so far today, must mean something bad is going to happen, at least that is the story I am going with as I eat pie in front of the fire and my excuse for not being outside shoveling here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,448,376}

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Bobby Bass

SOMETIMES LAKE IWANTTOBETHERE is not the place you want to be. We are getting there today as we are in day three of our first real snowstorm of the season. Our trained weather spotters who have been going out around the lake with a Big Earl General Store wood yardstick are reporting snow totals of up to twenty-eight inches so far. In some places another ten to twelve inches are forecasted to fall still today. I knew there was a reason I made sure to pick up everything in the yard this fall. I did find the gas can for the snow blower, I used the last gas in the weed wacker and leaf blower to get the snow blower running for a few minutes which was enough for me to move the snow that slid off the roof. Finding the gas can I filled the blower and made a dent in the snow during a lull yesterday afternoon.

No school today, the school bus driver could not get to his bus and plow. Tomorrow might be iffy for school as I have heard stories that kids were barricading their driveways with large snowballs they had rolled up. The snow has been wet, perfect for making snowballs and castles. When the cold comes in tomorrow the balls will freeze as hard as ice and the castles may be here to spring. About twenty inches of snow here at the cabin and I had to move the Tahoe down to the bottom of the drive. The wife's Jeep along with the Dodge are buried in a snow drift and we will need Chuck's tractor to dig them out when the snow stops falling. I was in town this morning, with no school three of the grand kids were picked up to spend the day here.

Duncan is now the leader when the dogs are let outside to do their thing. With snow chest deep Barney and Bud have to forced there way through the snow while Duncan just breaks trail leaping and hopping through the snow. I try to keep the big deck open and the old dogs don't seem to have to much of a reason to leave it. Elmer is still at the Resort and his cabin is pretty much buried in snow. We talked with him early this morning and told him not to even try to come home, I will keep an eye on it for him. After I picked up kids from their house I made a stop at the General store to pick up some shear pins, just in case. Funny now how Big Earl has racks of snow shovels for sale but not on sale. Junior was back at the loading dock, said there was no reason to leave as they were selling snow blowers about as fast as they could get them to the dock. His dad kept reminding him on his ear piece that he knew they were going to have a good winter.

Looks like the whole county is getting lots of snow but here next to Lake Iwanttobethere we are getting some lake effect snow. The storm is parked right over us and the lake is feeding it plenty of moisture to make snow. Winds have started to come up and now we are getting some drifting. I am hoping the wind clears the snow off the roofs otherwise we are going to have a lot of snow to get down. I hate that kind of snow the most as when it comes off the roof it is heavy and seems to pack so hard you can't shovel it. Might have to see if I can get one of the sons to shovel off the shop and boat house. Going to take a few days to clean up after this one. I have not heard a snowmobile yet just the sound of snow blowers and of course the ten o'clock freight came through. It was led by the railroads big snow blower and I could hear it but not see it through the falling snow. With all of this snow there should be no problem building the luge run at the Lodge, we should have a pretty good starting hill. Grand kids want to go outside and play, I need to tag along so I can find some shovels for them to play with, here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,450,661}

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Bobby Bass

TOWARDS THE END of the third day of the snowstorm it stopped being any fun any more and became work. Being retired work is now a bad four letter word to me. Just north of the lake a final snow total was recorded, forty-three inches. We are no longer counted the snowfall in inches but in feet. Here at my end of the lake we are just shy of two and half feet which no matter where you live is a lot of snow. I wish it was all powder but it is that heavy stuff that now that takes real work to move. Over night temperatures were around ten below and a few degrees above zero is all we are going to have for a high today. But the sun is out and that is more bad news. The roofs are buried in snow and that means the sun will do some melting and ice dams will continue to build.

Yesterday I made a dent in the snow, at least enough so I could move around some and the dogs could get off the deck and not have to wade through the snow. Cleaning a 400 square foot deck is not fun especially when it is several feet deep in snow and today maybe I will try and get snow off the roof. Of course that means it will bury the deck once again and all that snow will have to be moved off. With any luck we will get Chuck's tractor in close enough to move that snow out away from the cabin as the best part of this is that this is just the beginning of winter. There will be more snow to come so this all needs to be moved back and away so we will have room for the next snowfall. Of course I am sure that a lot of you are having the same problems as I am. Some might even have more snow and more cold. Just letting you know that we are all in this together and when I get cleaned out I will be heading to Elmers house to do it all over again.

Down at the Lodge Gus was snowed in as he stayed just a little too late and got himself trapped. Was not till yesterday that they got some heavy equipment down there and move the snow in the parking lot and away from the garage doors so the snow blower could be taken out. Vinnie volunteer to go up on the roof and clear the snow away from the siren. Story I heard is that he was doing a good job using a coal shovel that he had sprayed down with shortening. The shortening keeps the snow from sticking to the shovel. He did have a little problem as at one point he lost his balance and fell backwards onto the roof, lucky for him he landed in his shovel. Unlucky for him is that he was facing backwards and the shovel being coated in the shorting slid down the valley on the roof and went over the edge. Lucky again for him that he had shoveled all that snow off the roof as it broke his fall but unlucky for him that it did not stop him. Still sitting on the shovel with the handle pointed skywards he headed down the hill to the lake. In the storm no one could hear his scream well he said he was yelling but I figured he was screaming as he went down the hill. Lucky again for him that Hammering Hank had that stack of orange barrels to slow him down before he got to the lake ice.

Mark the mailman did deliver the mail yesterday but my garbage has still not been picked up from Tuesday. Something about the truck being buried in town in an alley. There is one way of knowing this snowstorm is work and that is I have yet to hear a snowmobile go by. Guess everyone is still to busy shoveling out to have fun just yet, from Lake Iwanttobethere {1,457,947}

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Bobby Bass

ICE HOUSE FLING might not be happening this winter. I was in town last night for awhile and things are starting to return too normal at the Lodge. Normal being that guys are trying to get out of work by hiding out at the Lodge warming their feet in front of the fire. A lot of chatter going on as bragging was being done about of how much snow fell at their cabins. Guys exchanged stories about how much snow they had to dig out just to get out. Right now Frank the plow driver is not the favorite guy in town as he seems to have a knack of coming by and filling up driveways just minutes after they have been cleared. Happen to me yesterday as I was just done blowing snow away from the deck after clearing snow off the North roof that I had used a snow rake to get down. The snow blower was just starting to sputter as I made it to the garage before it gave a last pop that sounded a lot to my ears like "IM Done"

The gas can was empty and I needed to head to town to refill it. I ducked my head in the cabin and told the wife I was headed to town and as I walked toward the Tahoe I saw Frank and the yellow grader coming up the road. As I watched the wing of the grader dumped a load of snow neatly across the mouth of my driveway and the snow looked like a frozen surfer's wave caught in a picture hanging on some travel agency wall. As I stood and watched the grader chugging along I could hear the sleigh bells that Frank hangs from the exhaust pipe. More snow builds up along the wing till Frank reaches Chuck's driveway and there it slides off leaving Chuck his own wave of snow. Having spent several hours in the great outdoors already and my beard frozen and tangled in ice and with the snow blower out of gas I did what most guys would do. I started the Tahoe, put it in four wheel drive and proceed to smash through the snow wave at the end of the drive several times. Not as clean as using a snow blower but still very satisfying especially as I had the Flight of the Bumblebee playing loudly on the Tahoe's stereo. I like to listen too classical music when I am wrecking stuff.

Frank was doing a good job on the county road, as I drove to town I could see he was widening the road and there is not much he can do about the snow the wing blade was dropping along the way. When I got into town the roads changed, they got bad. The black topped roads should be clear but instead are covered in hard packed snow and ice. The slush that people were warned about during day two of the storm had frozen solid and it did not look like it was going anywhere soon. There was a long line of idling trucks at the Gas-N-Go so I drove on by. I pulled into my parking spot by the back door of the Lodge. I made my way into the Lodge and exchanged a few HIYA to patrons close to the door. I went to my office and started shedding my coat and sweater and mittens, a scarf a hat and my hoodie. Feeling pounds lighter I made my way to the bar and poured a full mug of hot apple cider. I found an empty chair near the fire and started to thaw out leaving a little puddle of water at my feet.

So the ice house fling, as I thawed out then warmed up I listen to conversation about the poor ice conditions on the lake. We had about ten inches of ice but two and half feet of snow was not good. A few guys somehow had managed to convince their wife's that they should wait till the end of the storm before cleaning up and went fishing instead. No sooner would they cut a hole in the ice then they were backing up trying to get away from the water pouring up out of the hole. Slush is going to be a problem here at the lake for awhile, the snow we can move but we are going to need some help with the slush. Gus's brother in law works over at the ski hill and he has made a little deal with him to get him to come over with his groomer and do the hill going down to the lake. At least we will have the snow on the hillside managed for sliding. Should be easy for the groomer, all he has to do is follow the trail that Vinnie left riding the shovel from the Lodges roof.

As for today I am not doing much of anything. I woke up to it being -17 and the wind is blowing some. The wife thought it would be a good day for me to go cut a tree down with the grand kids. I nixed that idea, She asked why and all I did was let the dogs out onto the deck. They walked out did a 180 and came right back to the door. I let them back in and they headed to couches to climb up and snuggle with grand kids under quilts, the wife just said "Maybe to cold out?" From here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,461,435}

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Bobby Bass

TODAY IS TO be much warmer than yesterday, that is what the forecast calls for us here at Lake Iwanttobethere. Yesterday the high was four below so I am guessing that "Much Warmer" means it is going to get above zero. I can live with the cold, it is just a matter of dressing for it, The time I take getting dressed and undressed is what bothers me. I woke up this morning to the smell of coffee and bacon and followed my nose to the kitchen were a stack of flapjacks were listing on my plate waiting for me. Kitchen was already nice and warm and the butter on the table was soft, a sure sign the wife had been up for awhile. Dogs were all in the living room and a good fire was going in the fire place. I sat down at the table and even the Sunday paper was warm to the touch and the sports section was resting on top. I knew something was up.

I had just put a few pats of butter on the top flapjack and was pouring some Lake Iwanttobethere Maple Syrup on top and watching the forty weight syrup slowly drip down in a river to the next edge of flapjack when the wife said. "I need to take the Tahoe to my mothers and the wood box needs to be filled" With my mouth full of flapjack I just nodded my head that I heard her. I was thinking no big deal, I was not going anyplace. There is a football game to watch and I would just use one of the kids sleds to bring wood down from the pile. Smacking my lips I was busy cutting out another forkful of flapjack with one hand while reaching for some bacon with my other when the wife said. "I almost forgot, the grand kids took all the sleds to go sliding yesterday" I might have been chewing on a mouthful of bacon with another forkful of flapjacks waiting and missed that comment.

As I continue to eat the wife was putting on her coat and she patted the dogs and gave me a wave which I nodded my head in return. "O maybe you could dig my jeep out today? I hear it is going to be warmer" and with that she was out the door. I was about to ask for some OJ but I was too late. I made my way over to the cabinet got a big glass and then open the fridge for juice. I was standing at the window sipping on the juice and watching the wife inside the Tahoe. She was adjusting the seat, moving mirrors and finally she put it in gear and drove down the drive. I sat back down at the table and finished breakfast, looked over the sports page and slipped Duncan a small taste of bacon. He had gotten off the couch to come and lay at my feet, no doubt hoping for a piece of bacon to be dropped.

With breakfast done I picked up the paper and made my way to the living room. The fire was getting lower and I went to toss a few sticks in from the wood box but it was empty. Just a few pieces of bark laying at the bottom of the box. I took the poker to the fire and made a few jabs trying to get some heat out of it and I was rewarded with a flare up that quickly flared down. I tied my rope around my robe and traded slippers for a pair of boots and stepped out onto the deck. It didn't feel any warmer outside to me, and the wood rack was empty. I called for Duncan and I made a quick speed walk up the little hill to the wood pile and took down a few pieces of wood. One I gave to Duncan and he headed back to the cabin dragging it behind him. I had enough in my arm to get me till half time I was thinking as I shuffled down the path to the cabin. By now the warm air in my rope was long gone and I was thinking it is not really any warmer then yesterday here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,464,49}

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Bobby Bass

A NEW DUSTING of snow fell overnight, nothing to really talk about and it is not even worthy of taking a broom to it. Except it is resting on the two plus feet of snow that is on the ground. Yesterday I had to haul wood down to the cabin and it was not what I would call warm out but then again there is not much doubt that winter is here and it is going to be here for a long time. With no sleds around I was not looking forward to hauling wood down to the cabin by the arm load. Still to much snow on the path to use the wheel barrow so I rigged up the zip line instead. Have not used the zip line this year so I had to dig in the shop to find it. Very simply the zip line hangs from a maple tree back by the wood pile down to the cabin. A half a dozen pulleys rest on the line and they are connected to old tongs that I found at a rummage sale years ago. I simply close the tongs around a chunk of wood and give it a push to start it on down to the cabin.

When the last pulley is sent on its way I grab a couple of chunks and make my way back down to the cabin. I toss the wood chunks in the rack and release the ones from the tongs and it saves me a couple of trips every time I do it. Half way through filling the wood rack the wife came home and the job was made even easier as I sent the wood down to her and she releases it from the tongs and just made a pile. I clipped on a length of clothes line to the first pulley and the wife gives the end of it to Duncan and I just call him, he then brings all the pulleys back to me, no walking at all for me. As soon as there was a big enough pile to fill the outdoor rack on the deck and fill the wood box inside along with a roaring fire I tied the tongs up to the Maple tree, I have to do this otherwise the grand kids will ride the zip line down to the cabin, you know when they are doing this from the bang they make when they hit the side of the cabin.

With the wood rack stocked I took a little breather and just stood on the deck and looked around. I have way to much snow to still move and if it was warmer I would have been done by now. But I am not getting any younger and I am in no real hurry so I was not planning on starting the snow blower. As the sun was setting behind clouds it was pretty quiet out and still, I was actually looking for some birds or maybe even Ed or Eddie the squirrels, but nothing was moving. The snow storm has been over for several days but yet the trees are still heavy in snow. Pines have their branches touching the ground or maybe it is just that the snow is so deep the ground has come up to the branches. Maple trees have crotches filled several feet in snow and of course you already know that all the roofs on the out buildings are covered.

I never did get the last of the carrots out of the garden and I am not about to dig through a couple of feet of snow to get to the hay and I am sure the frozen ground below. I will just till them up next spring and leave them as a treat for the deer to eat. Today finds the sun shinning from time to time and I should get the snow blower going but I was out already for a little while chipping ice on the deck. Some wind blowing and it feels even colder than the past few days. I might go clean the snow of the Dodge and the Jeep, maybe let the sunshine warm them up some or I just might sit in front of the fire and read. No rush, the snow is not going to go away anytime soon here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,466,510}

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Bobby Bass

JUST KILLING SOME time here, got a phone call that Frank the plow driver is working his way down my way. I figure I got an hour or so before he leaves me a mess at the bottom of my drive. I was going to take the snow blower out anyway as I am still cleaning up around here and trying to reclaim ground from the snow storm. Sunshine Ray is forecasting a high of one today but on my bass jumping thermometer hanging on the siding of the cabin it is nudging eight. Of course it is sunny out and although the sun is low in the sky it at least looks good. I was already down to get the mail, a few bills a few flyers and an outdoor magazine, a Christmas gift subscription from one of my daughters last year.

I was sitting at the kitchen table sipping on some juice and looking through the magazine. I think it was page forty-eight when I came across the first fishing story. The first forty-seven pages had nothing but advertisement and most of them had nothing to do with the outdoors. A lot of drug company's I notice now are advertising in the sporting magazines. Must be because as we grow older us guys seem to spend more time talking about drugs at the hunting camp or sitting in the boat. I guess that is fair as we get older we become the target market of the drug companies. Of course there are still ads for motor oil and outdoor clothing but as you flip the pages we get in to the first of many male enhancement drugs ads. Still can't figure out why a couple would be sitting in two bathtubs on the beach, that one has me scratching my head.

I finally get to the bass fishing trip article and as I read it no doubt the writers "Bucket Trip Fishing Trip" no doubt paid for by the little blue pill company. Good for him I am thinking as I read of catching big bass in some other country where it is warm and no snow. I put the magazine down for now I will read the other story in it later. I took my juice and went to the window and looked out at the piles of snow and wished it was March. If it was March I would just leave it and let it melt but were are December and this is just the beginning of winter, by the calendar we still have eleven more days till it is officially winter.

I wonder what it would be like to have grass storm, you know instead of snow the grass would suddenly grow non stop for three days and when it was done we would have thirty inches of grass everywhere. What would one have to do if you had to cut thirty inches of grass on your driveways, porches and decks. How would you get it off your roof or the fenders of your truck. More importantly what would you do with it all? It was just a thought mind you, of course fishing on the lake would be interesting trying to get the Puddle Humper through all that grass. I have a feeling it is going to be a long winter, it has not even started yet and here I am rambling on about drugs and grass from Lake Iwanttobethere {1,468,267}

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Bobby Bass

TAKING A BREAK here from sending out Christmas cards. The wife already has hers all done and stacked neatly in a pile. She takes care of all the relatives and I just do my fishing buddies and a few guys in town that I like to keep getting store discounts from. Every year I make a calendar and I send them out to friends and I try and get photos of them in the calendar, The guys at deer camp are good for a group photo but it never makes it to the calendar as it is x rated. The other day I was down at the bottom of the drive waiting for Frank and his grader to come by. Snow blower was idling away and I was already done pushing my own banks back some. Frank gave me a wave and dropped a load of snow in the drive and before he could make the curve in the road I was busy tossing snow. Well right up to when I wrapped a metal coat hanger around my shaft and broke the snow blower. At first I thought it was a shear pin and then as I dug the snow out I saw I was free spinning. Think I broke a belt and I took it back to the garage and parked it. Have not open it up and looked at it yet, was too cold to be playing with metal. How a metal coat hanger found its way to my snow bank I haven't a clue.

So yesterday was the grade school Christmas program and the snow blower sat. The program is a little early this year as it was rescheduled because of the couple of snow days the kids had. You would think it would be later rather then earlier but I don't know who decides these things. I think they figured the kids weren't going to get any better so they might as well have it now rather then wait and hit another stretch of snow days. Of course we had to get to town early so we would be able to get a good seat. We had to stop and pick up the mother in law as no way was she going to miss watching some of her great grand babies perform. Arrived at school to find all the parking spaces in front of school taken, seems that a lot of grand parents didn't want to miss anything. I was just about ready to give up on finding a spot and head for the parking lot when a SUV pulled out. The wife punched me in the shoulder and pointed the spot out and I just beat out a soccer mom in her van to it. The gal driving the van was a looker and I was thinking of being polite and letting her have the spot till I saw the look the wife was giving me.

We made it inside the school and walked down to the auditorium doors. A couple of students guarded by a teacher held coffee cans with hand printed labels asking for donations. The wife slipped a couple of bills into the can on the right and as I trailed behind them I had the can on the left thrust at me. I said "I am with them" pointing at the backs of my wife and mother in law, but the little girl just held out her coffee can and waited for me to drop my donation. I had some quarters for parking in my coat pocket and I pulled them out and dropped them in the can, She looked at the can and at me and gave me a shrug. As I followed the wife into the auditorium I thought the little girl might have a future in county tax collection.

The wife and mother in law headed to the front of the auditorium where my daughter was standing guarding two seats. With a little imagination you could picture my daughter with her blond hair in pig tails holding a broad sword daring anyone to try and take the seats. I blinked a few times and saw she was really only holding her scarf and was waving it at her mother and grand mother. I found a place against the back wall and took a lean. Can't sit in the narrow wood seats of the auditorium. My legs fall asleep and I get stuck in the small seats, at least that is my story that I have been using for years. Seems it is a good excuse as I am soon joined by Big Earl and Gus and Walt. A low hum of conversation fills the auditorium in back ground noise and there must be a hundred conversations going on at once.

Program was to start at one o'clock but DOC Burriem was not there yet, finally about five minutes late DOC Burriem comes in the door and shuffles his way down to the front of the auditorium. He shakes hands and waves as he heads to his reserved front row seat. DOC Burriem has delivered just about every kid who will perform and most of the parents in the auditorium and now that he is seated the program can begin. I put my glasses on and watch my granddaughter as she walks on stage carrying a sword, gee just like her mom, from Lake Iwanttobethere {1,472,693}

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FINISHED UP THE Christmas cards yesterday and was surprised to find that it had gotten warm outside. The bass thermometer was reading seventeen and that may not be warm where you live but here at Lake Iwanttobethere the wind-chill has been in the minus thirties for several days and the overnight temperatures have been on the other side of fifteen below. Seventeen degrees above zero with no wind had me thinking of putting on a pair of shorts. Instead the dogs and I spent time outside and it was a very good afternoon for getting things done. I didn't work on the snow thrower at all but instead did snow removal the old fashion way, I used a shovel. A few minutes on the pile that was up against the Jeep was enough to finish moving what the snow thrower had left. I started the Jeep and let it run and by the time I got around to it the windows had cleared and it was ready to get inside.

Now I normally only drive the wife's Jeep but maybe two times a year. I am a good size guy and I often refer to me getting in the Jeep as like climbing into a space capsule, a small space capsule. I have to put my knees up to chest put my chin down to my knees and then slide in across the seat. That is after I have already put the seat all the way back and the steering wheel all the way up. The seat fits me like a glove and the Jeep and I are now bonded together. My left arm and leg press against the door and my head is about an inch from the roof. Any good bump has me hit the roof with my head and bang my knee off the door handle. However the Jeep is the perfect ride for the wife and she would not part with it. Being only fair and since the wife has been driving my Tahoe the first thing I did was adjust all the mirrors and change the radio station.

With the Jeep in four wheel drive I had to rock it a few times to break loose of the frozen ground and with a little of this and a little of that and some body English I broke out of the snow bank and backed the Jeep out of its resting place for the past ten days. I knew I was clear and it was time to stop when I hit the recycling bin and scattered the contents across the drive. I know this because I am so one with the Jeep I could feel the difference between snow bank and recycling bin. Of course seeing milk and oj jugs scattered in my mirrors on the snow behind me also might have been a good indicator. With the Jeep out of the snow bank I parked in a cleared section of the parking area and marched into the cabin with a job well done.

The wife was putting on her coat as I was coming in, "I see my Jeep is out" she said. I just nodded my head and went to the fridge, seeing the empty oj jugs scattered had made me thirsty for some juice. The wife then said. "I am going to run into town and do some errands I'll take the Jeep and O by the way you need to put gas in the Tahoe" Pouring juice in my glass I nodded my head and said " Before you take off you need to pick up the recycling, something must have knocked it over, just a few jugs, should not take you long." I stood at the window and watched as she picked up two weeks worth of recycling and moved the recycling bin off to the side. She then got in the Jeep but was right back out again as she had to adjust the seat and clean snow off the back window. Got me thinking that if I had cleaned the snow off the back window I might have seen the recycling bin. Back in the Jeep I could see her adjusting the steering wheel and mirrors and I could hear music, Dang I forgot to change the disk in the CD player. Juice done and the wife gone I went back outside and eyed the snow on the boathouse roof. Got the snow rake out and went to work here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,474,789}

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JUST SOME SHORT notes here about happenings around Lake Iwanttobethere.

This morning finds some light snow falling and I noticed that you can sure tell the old dogs Bud and Barney are not as quick as Duncan is. When I let the dogs back in the old dogs had more snow resting on their backs then Duncan did.

Ten days out from Christmas and other then telling you about the kids Christmas program I have not mentioned at all that the town is decorated and the lights are turned on at sunset every night. Hockey rink has been cleared of snow and there is ice making going on every evening as the Fellows are in charge of doing the flooding. Saturday afternoon senior hockey league starts this afternoon and I was asked to play goalie but declined. The only ice I want to see on a Saturday afternoon is in a glass.

Ice House Fling has been rescheduled to next Saturday due to snow, we just have to much of it on the lake. However the Luge run is open and the kids are saying it is the best ever! Big Earl did have his log cabin shanty hauled to the public access and his store is open out of it. At the Lodge we are renting out plastic sleds that you can use if you don't have your own. There is no charge to use the Luge run but it is also a use at your own risk venture.

Winter has settled in here at the lake and you can tell the locals by how much snow is still on the roof of their cars. The first twelve inches of snow we received in the storm was the wet stuff so it just kind of froze on the roofs. Depending on how tall you are or the car is reflects how much of the snow you were able to clear off the roofs. Some locals are driving around town sporting a white snow mohawk down the roofs of their SUV's. It is going to take some sunshine and warmer temps to melt the snow away.

Speaking of snow mohawks I just learned that the Lake Iwanttobethere High School cheerleaders are going to be holding a fund raiser this afternoon. Not a car wash but they will for a small donation clear snow off your car or truck, scrape windows and check the air in your tires. Event to be held at Dug's Garage, hot chocolate and coffee will also be available for another small donation.

Main Street along with the side streets in town remain snow packed. Big Earl at the General Store has installed short skis on some of his shopping carts making it easier for customers to get stuff to their trucks.

This afternoon I am going to clean the chimney here at the cabin. I figure with all the snow on the roof I will just be able to walk right up, no ladder needed. If I fall the worse that I can do is clear a path down the roof with me.

Monday and Tuesday Stormy Clearweather is forecasting the temperatures will rise into the twenties, above zero! Will look into fixing the snow blower and cleaning roofs of snow and knocking down ice dams.

Fishermen are on the ice of Lake Iwanttobethere and the Lodge is holding an ice fishing contest. Mostly guys pulling portables out on to the ice and the going is tuff unless you are a skinny guy. If you have any weight to ya you go right through the crust and sink into the deep snow. Fellows have announced that sometime next week they will have their surplus military half track up and running and for a small donation they will run fishermen out onto the ice. I would urge caution if you hire them.

Grand kids are waking up, they were all over last night and stayed up late watching a movie. Way past their normal bedtime but that is why they like coming here on Friday nights. Their parents get a date night and I get to have all the kids here. Best part is after I spoil them they get to go back to their parents. Time to log off and get the wife to start making pancakes here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,477,118}

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Bobby Bass

GLAD THERE WAS football to watch today because I could not think of any reason to be outside in the cold and wind. I rewarded myself with a cigar and put my feet up and spent the afternoon watching football ( a win by the way ) and a beverage of my choice. Yesterday was a pretty good work day again as it got warmer then forecasted and I made quick work of cleaning the chimney. I had but one small problem and that was Duncan climbing up the ladder to follow me up on the roof. As long as he was up there I had him hold the brush for me. Getting off the roof was a breeze, I merely sat down on my rump and slid down the roof over the edge onto the snow drift. Duncan wanted to come back down the ladder so I had to go back up the ladder and carry him down.

With the chimney cleaned I started a fire and for once things looked good. Every once in awhile I get a day when things are all lined up and nothing bad happens. Pushing my luck I decided to take a look at the snow blower or snow thrower, I always find the words blower or throwers interchangeable. Anyway I used a heat gun to melt the snow and ice away from around the inspection plate and a few minutes later I had the cover off to find that I merely had thrown a drive auger belt. Also discovered that I only had one belt where there are suppose to be two running side by side on companion pulleys. I put the belt back on, greased the fittings and started it up. Auger works just fine and I put on my shopping list that I need two replacement belts, In the back of my mind I am thinking I will replace the old belt and put on a new second belt on sometime when it gets warm, like July.

With the sun still up in the sky Duncan and I drove into town, the thought was to look for an auger belt and that is what I told the wife where I was going. I drove by the hockey rink and saw several of the guys out on the ice and more of them leaning up against the boards. I then remembered it was the start of the Men's Senior Hockey League. I parked the Tahoe and left it running with instructions to Duncan not to go any where. I made my way over to the boards and I see the rules of the league have been relaxed some. Big Earl was in the goal and I do mean in the goal, he was sitting on a three legged stool with his stick resting across his knees. Hammering Hank and Skinny were doing lazy circles out at the blue line but most of the guys were just leaning up against the boards sipping on beer. I exchanged HIYA's with the guys and started up some polite give and take.

It was during this time I noticed a few things, one there were a lot of home made hockey sticks in the hands of the guys and just about all of the sticks had cup holders taped to them. The other big thing is that I didn't see any pucks, not a one. I mentioned the lack of pucks and Wilbur told me they had sent Junior back to the store to get a couple, seems no one remembered to bring one with. Mike asked if I was interested in playing and I told him no but I could hold on to Juniors stick and a beer till he got back. I was just getting ready to climb over the boards when Duncan stood on the horn and I remembered about him. "Sorry guys, I got to go do some shopping" and I went back to the Tahoe and Duncan. Today as I sat on the couch petting Duncan between the ears I think how sore I could have been if I played hockey yesterday, for sure I would have been pushing my luck here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,481,242}

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BEEN BUSY PAST few days here at Lake Iwanttobethere. Got a break in the weather so have been outside most of the time just catching up. Put the now working snow thrower to work clearing the parking area up and taking back some of what Mother Nature was trying to claim. The dogs now have more room to do their thing outside and almost on cue it snowed overnight and I woke up to a few more inches of the white stuff on the ground. Took the shovel out and went to work, didn't want to use the snow blower. I still have tons of snow to move but I am sick of talking about it let alone writing about it and here we are still four days away from winter officially arriving.

I have been dragging my heels on getting a Christmas tree but I did get that done today. The Dodge is dug out but the box is still full of snow and when Chuck volunteer to use his truck to go get trees I was onboard. The idea of a late tree was so that I would not have to go cut trees down for all the relatives. Seems every year as soon as I mention I am going to cut a tree down the wife announces it and then meets me at the truck with a list of trees. Of course it is not just any Christmas tree will do I have orders for seven foot Norway pines, six foot Spruce and they all have to be full limbed and no trees from the swamp, they smell funny. This year I got away with just getting a few trees as I told the relatives the snow was just too deep to get into the woods and no I was not going to cut down any trees on my property to give away for free.

Chuck and I got in his truck, tossed some snowshoes in the back and I brought along the single shot 20 ga, just in case I saw a grouse or two, The hardest part was getting the shotgun out of the cabin without Duncan or Bud seeing me with it. We drove to Chuck's uncles old tree farm and we were not too picky this year as the snow was deep and we knew the wife's were going to find something wrong with no matter what we brought back. No birds seen so we walked back a few yards and dropped a few big trees, cleaned them up and dragged them to the truck. An hour later I was back at home and the wife was eyeballing the Norway and gave it to my surprise her stamp of approval.

I have a feeling something was up and right after I put the tree in the stand and stood it up in the corner she told me she had a little job for me to do. That is when I found out about the big garbage can of Christmas lights she bought at a rummage sale this fall and now wanted me to find some place for them outside. In a flash I had an idea and without a word I took the garbage can to the back door, I told her I had just the place and she countered by waving her finger at me and telling me that the garbage is not what she had in mind. But I was one up on her, I took the garbage can of lights out onto the deck and dumped them inside the wheel barrow that I use to haul fire wood with. I tipped the wheel barrow over at the edge of the deck and plugged them in. A little fluffing and it looks like I had dumped a pile of lights from the wheel barrow, which is exactly what I had done. To my surprise it met her approval and I was two for two.

I then told her I had to run into town for a few things and I was good to go as she was decorating the tree and probably didn't even hear me. I was headed for the Lodge for a beverage of my choice and as I drove by the hockey rink I saw the Fellows were out flooding. I slowed down to give a wave and that is when I saw the paint job and had to pull over. After exchanging HYIA's with the guys I brought up the paint job. "I thought there was to be two blue lines and one red line" I asked Gary. Gary with his hands in his pockets looked at me and just said "We ran out of blue so we just used green" I nodded, interesting choice. Now we have a blue line, a red line and a green line. I decided not to ask about the purple face-off circles. "Say Gary, I can't help but notice that the lines are not all that straight" I said. Gary looking down the wavy green line said "We had some trouble getting the masking tape to stick" I headed back to the truck thinking it does not really matter, most of the guys in the Senior Hockey League are color blind anyway, here at Lake Iwanttobethere [1,486,014}

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WELL THINGS ARE getting a little back too normal here at Lake Iwanttobethere as we are just a week out from Christmas. The Ladies Auxiliary decorated the Lodge main room on Saturday and Skinny and Hammering Hank dropped off a ten foot spruce for the ladies to decorate. Ladies were questioning Gus about where the little lights were that they donated last year and Gus feinted a total lack of knowledge on their where abouts. They had to make do with the old bulb lights which I know for a fact Gus prefers. The snow shovels are stacked near the back and front doors with the small sign above them asking for Lodge members to move a few scoops of snow. Lodge members have been stepping up and shoveling back the snow around the entrances and the sidewalk is cleared and bare. With the Lodge Christmas party coming up next week we don't want anyone falling.

Today finds me at the Resort, have not been here for a week as I was trying to clean up my mess at the Cabin. With the Cabin pretty much caught up I decide to come over and check on Vic and I see somehow the three of them Marv, Elmer and Vic have the place pretty much squared away. Hammering Hank plowed the roads back and the parking lot is snow packed but level. The ice fishing tackle order that I put in several weeks ago arrived and they have already sold half of the stuff. I was surprised to find out that the little bay the Resort is on does not seem to have as much snow on it as the main lake. A couple of the Fellow have holes cut in the ice and have been fishing but not talking to anyone about it. Marv and Elmer have been working on a shanty to put out and although it is nothing fancy it will be with in walking distance of the back door to the Resort.

As I mentioned the Bait Shop or Bait Room is actually doing some business and the kitchen has been selling a few burgers. Marv's Kaiser rolls seem to be a secret hit and we may just have something going on here. Arlo showed a few of his snowmobile friends a trail that leads back to the Resort and now that it has been traveled a few times we are getting sledders riding it to see where it goes. Vic has a Christmas tree set up in the main room and there are even a few presents under it, I think they are fake ones as they all look to be the size of a beer case but when you lift them up to shake they are to light to be a full. I did notice the main room and the porch along with the bait room are covered in them small Christmas lights. I asked Vic where they all came from and he said that Gus dropped them by right before deer season, said they were extras. I nodded my head and told Vic they look good here.

The bell jingled over the bait room door and I followed Vic back. A couple of fishermen were just knocking the snow off their boots and looking into the minnow tank. Vic exchanged HIYA's with the guys and went to work. I slid behind the counter and found the clip board that had our NEEDS list hand printed in Marv's block lettering and took it out to the main room where I had my laptop. Ten minutes later Vic came out from the bait room and added a few more things to the order I was making. Some of the things I could just pick up down at Big Earl's General Store so I figured I would just go ahead and take care of that today. I got in the Tahoe and the temperature on the mirror said seventeen and no minus sign in front of it. I adjusted the visor as there is actually a blue cloudless sky and the sun was in my eyes. I drove out the Resort road and some Christmas music was being played on the town's radio station KCUM and I thought to myself it is getting to look a lot like Christmas here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,487,399}

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JUST WHEN I thought I was all done Christmas shopping I spent the better part of the afternoon and into the evening yesterday, shopping. I was driving the youngest daughter around who had a day off from work and a list she wanted to do all at one time. We started off at some of the stores right here at Lake Iwanttobethere and making the rounds the daughter shopped and I chatted up people that I knew. A couple of the stores had bell ringers out front and both my daughter and I made donations to the pots. Here at Lake Iwanttobethere the ringers do it a little differently. Not ringing the bells or shaking tubes with rice in them but what they do is when you make a donation they give you a little sticker to put on your jacket. When you go to another store with a bell ringer and they see the sticker and they don't give you the evil eye when you walk by the pot because you have already donated.

The big city is a different matter, some of the gifts on her list were in the big city so I drove her in and dropped her off at the different stores and then waited in the parking lot for her to exit. This gave me an excuse to smoke a cigar and do one of the things I like to do best, people watch. First thing I noticed is the total lack of skin to be seen. I don't think I saw a single naked ankle the entire time we were shopping. Everyone is dressed in long coats and pants and high boots. The next thing I noticed is the parking lots, full of slush and piles of snow. You would think an effort would have been made to clear the lots so people could push carts across them and not have to worry about slipping or falling. Guess the profit margin does not allow for lot cleaning. I really feel for them cart wranglers trying to get the carts back to the store, definitely a young guy's job.

We hit a couple of mini malls and every time she came back to the truck she had a few more names on her list checked off. Our last stop was a clothing store and she was looking to cash in on the clearance sales and I followed her in. I guess the sticker from the bell ringer at Lake Iwanttobethere does not work in the big city. I walked through the main entrance and a little old lady gave me a kindly smile and softy rang her bell. As I passed by the pot and past her she rang the bell a little louder and I looked back over my shoulder to see her glaring at me. I brushed the sticker on my chest but all she did was give me one more loud ring from her bell before smiling at a couple behind me. I saw the guy drop some change into the pot and the bell lady tell him Merry Christmas.

The daughter made her way to the woman's clothes department and I headed towards the aisle with the gadgets. The store we were in always has a mess of seasonal stuff like talking counting coin banks and back scratchers. I did find a big display of Christmas mugs and Gus likes mugs so I decided to buy this rather large red mug with a picture of Santa on it. I took the mug back to where I had last seen the daughter and when I arrived I saw her with an armful of clothes heading into the dressing room. The ladies clothes dept. is on the other side of the main aisle from the shoe department and on the end there is a bench where you can sit and try on shoes. Looked like a good place for me to sit and that is what I did. Not five minutes later Walt and his wife walked by and as Walt's wife headed into the ladies section Walt spotted me and came over for a chat. Like me he was a chauffeur for the day and we exchanged parking complaints. Walt inspected my Santa mug and gave it his approval and when his wife reappeared he turned to follow her but not before he jokingly dropped a couple of quarters in my mug. The coins hit the bottom and rang out. He chuckled at me and walked away, before I could say anything a passing lady dropped a couple of more coins in the mug and told me to have a Merry Christmas.

A young couple pushing a cart with a little girl in it approached and I heard the little girl ask her mom if I was Santa taking a break. She made me chuckle and I gave her a smile and the dad dropped some change in my mug and said "How's it going Santa" and the young couple rolled the cart and their daughter down the aisle with the little girl looking back at me around her ma. I gave her a little wave and someone else dropped some more change in my mug. The daughter appeared with one shirt from the pile she carried into the dressing room and asked me what I was doing. She looked into the mug I told her people keep dropping change into it. She just said "What do you expect, you are sitting here on the main aisle wearing a black and red flannel jacket with a red shirt and black pants and you have a white beard holding a big red mug with a picture of Santa on it, you are a Big City Santa"

I got up and followed the daughter to check out where I paid for my mug and then headed out the door but not before I stopped at the little old bell ringer. I dumped the change from the mug into her pot and she smiled back at me and said Merry Christmas softly ringing her bell. We walked out the doors and I stopped, holding my mug I pointed with it to where I parked the Tahoe, and a lady dropped a quarter in it and said Merry Christmas, from Lake Iwanttobethere {1,491,751}

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GOT OUT THE skinny skis yesterday afternoon and struggled some through the deep snow till I made my way out to the trail that Arlo has been coming into the little bay to fish on. He and his buddies broke trail wearing snowshoes and when they got the deep snow packed down some they switched over to the cross country skis. As long as you stayed on the trail you were good and I made my way to the trio of pop up ice houses they had just off the little island where the eagle has her nest. The number two granddaughter had spent the night and as we laid in bed the next morning watching cartoons she declared that Saturdays should be called Lazy Saturdays. I was leaning up against the headboard sampling Christmas cookies that the wife was baking. The grand daughter had managed to wrangle some samples for us and I thought it was a good idea.

Lazy Saturdays I asked the seven year old, now where did you come up with that idea? The granddaughter munching on a shortbread cookie that she had already plucked the cherry from said " Well you have Silent Sundays so we need to call Saturday something" I nodded but decided to pursue this a little more. "Lazy Saturdays, you mean no work on Saturdays?" The granddaughter slurping some milk through a straw glanced away from the TV and said "Well I already have to go to school five days a week and I have to ride the bus to and from and you know bedtime comes early for me" then looked back at the TV. I nodded and as I thought about getting another cookie I looked at my granddaughter who I guess did need a Lazy Saturday.

Shortly after one my daughter came and took my granddaughter back home with her, they had to run over to her in laws to do some baking and when the grand daughter gave me my kiss on the cheek she whispered in my ear so much for Lazy Saturday. I chuckled at her and we did our secret handshake and out the door she went. With the wife baking in the kitchen I looked out the deck window at the lake and the deep snow and I thought there just might be something to this lazy Saturday idea and I decided to get my skis and head over to the Resort. All three dogs were laying on the kitchen floor and no one wanted to go with me, I think the idea of a chance of a falling cookie was more inviting to them.

As I came up on the trio of fish houses I could hear the faint sound of a radio and some voices. I paused to catch my breath and looked out over the spot where the houses were tucked away behind the island. Undisturbed snow stretched out as far as the eye could see. Pines along the shore still held heavy loads of snow on their branches and the birch trees blended in with the snow along the shore. Arlo popped his head out the flap of his house and asked if I was going to stand out there or come in. I gave him a half wave of my hand and took the skies off and stuck them in the snow alongside several other pairs. The snow had been cleared away from the ice and I had to step down to get into the portable.

Arlo and his buddy Norm were sitting on little chairs inside the house and I was waved over to another one sitting over a hole and I was handed a rod. I dropped a waxie down the hole and started unzipping and unbuttoning. Arlo handed me a Hamms from a shallow depression in the ice and the popping of the can sounded loud in the little house. The guys were listening to a football game and it didn't really matter who was playing, it was just some background noise to add to the sound of the heater and the propane lantern. The flasher at our feet flickering in colors but mostly we just sat back in our chairs and enjoyed the peace and quiet and the sound of cracking ice on the little bay under our feet. The wind shook the shelter and the sound of snow could be heard hitting the sides. We made small talk and I mentioned the granddaughter's thoughts about Lazy Saturday. To a man we all agreed, we all need more Lazy Saturdays here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,498,572}

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LODGE CHRISTMAS PARTY tonight at the Lodge of course. The wife was up early this morning getting the fixings together for her seven layer salad and the oven is warming up for her Swedish meatballs. Over night it looks like about four inches of snow fell and as I stand at the Den window I can see the wind is up and the snow is blowing. Already the morning tracks the dogs left on the deck are gone. Fire is crackling in the fireplace and the wood box is full. Dogs are sleeping on the couch as there is no sunshine on the floor. Christmas tree has already been watered and presents surround the base. I have rehung the ornaments that the cats have taken down during the night, at least the ones that I found.

Been on the phone with Gus down at the Lodge, Hammering Hank was clearing the parking lot as we spoke. The work truck with the plow was making quick work of the empty lot as the snow was light. Hank's wife Tess had come down to the Lodge to check on decorations while Hank plowed. Gus said she was fussing with the tree and removing beer coasters from it that the guys had decorated with. Later this afternoon Lodge members and their wife's will start to show up and the women will go to work on the tables and the guys will find a stool at the bar. Some will not be so lucky and will get roped into moving tables and chairs and expanding our dance area so more then two couples can use it.

Around five or so the paper bags with lit candles with be put out to mark the path to the Lodge and that is about as fancy as we get here. Candles will be lit inside the Lodge and each table will have one. I often tell the wife we eat by candle light so we can't see what we are being served and I usually get the same response, a smack of a wood spoon to the back of my elbow. Casseroles or hot dishes will arrive in gloved hands and will be placed on the serving line. Always more food then we can eat and more kinds then can be all sampled. Bread baskets will be filled with hard rolls and dinner rolls. Wicker baskets will hold dozens and dozens of cookies and fudge bars. Home made rock candy will fill small little dishes at each table and the wife's will have husbands use napkins.

Husbands will display their best table manners and silverware will be used instead of fingers. Actually Christmas dinner at the Lodge is just a big family affair and lots of food will be eaten and the ladies will get to show off their baking skills. Big Earl will make the rounds and deliver thumbs up to the ladies as he samples cookies and bars. Matter of fact I have never seen him give a thumbs down. As the night moves along dinner partners will interchange and no doubt before the night is over the Fellows will all be sitting at the big round table. The bar will open at seven and there will be people on the dance floor by eight. The small meeting room will hold the gift exchange and groups will use it.

By ten the place will be clearing out as members with kids have to get back home and get baby-sitters back to their own homes. The Fellows will bring wife's and girlfriends back to their houses and some will return for a second shot at the serving line. By eleven it will just be the hard core regulars who will pull up chairs to the fire and watch the moon reflect on the ice and snow off Lake Iwanttobethere through the big windows of the Lodge. Back bar drinks will be sipped and cigars lit, smoke rings will drift up in the main room till caught by paper angels taped to the blades of the slowing moving ceiling fans. A couple of the guys might head down to the lake to do some ice fishing as that is a tradition for them while others will just tell tales of Christmas past. At least that is the usual plan for the Christmas party here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,500,504}

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Merry Christmas from everyone here at Lake Iwanttobethere

Reed the Realtor, Porky's Houseboats, The Johnson Boys Barley and Hopps, Hammering Hank and his wife Tess, Tom Foot, The Dew Drop Inn, You Bet'Em Casino, Mark the mailman, Ms. Molly Bodensteiner, The Watering Hole, Frank the plow driver, Marv's Diner, Marc's Towing and Lawn Service, DOC Burriem, The Sundown Cafe, Gas-N-Go, Jess the paperboy, Old Lady Snaggletooth and her son Bucky, Blaze, Dan Theim, Dusty McMurty, Dale "Frozen Toe" Mitchel, Mabel's Sauna and Hot House,

John Lufer and the Power Co-Op, Jimmy, Swen and Leona and their son Lars, Sunshine Ray, KCUM Radio, Stormy Clearweather, Old Man Walter, Surplus Is Us, Floyd's Hardware Store, Nytelyter, Ben and Jeanie, Mr. McPettes, Mrs. Peters, The Jones twins and the Do Me Inn Resort, Peatmoss, Mindy and Mandy, Brandy, Rocky and Rocky's Hobby Shop, Uncle Gus, Mister Big, Candy, The Inn, T's Bait Shop, Big Jim, Skinny, Chuck, Big Earl and Junior, Dug, The Masterbaiters Shop and Vicki, Amy's Bakery, Del's Pizza and Sub Shop, Sadie and Lady, Barney, Bud, Elmer, Mike, Mr. Thompson, Werid Willie, Walter, Old Man Peabody, The Old Goose, Ed and Eddie, Old Man Iverson, Jerry, Jason, Ma and Pa's Grocery, Vic, Vinney, The Fellows, Honey Sauce, Duncan,

Fred and Fiona, Tatter, The Wife, grand kids 1 through 5, Marv, Gus, Katrina, Bailiff, Sheriff Tim, Mr. Wilson, The Women's Auxiliary, Burt and Bart's's Barber Shop, Farmers Market, Jeanie and Stan, Howard and Polly, Tinker's Fly in Service, The Dew Drop Inn, Eagles Nest, Gray Goose Inn, Echo the wonder dog, Grace, Buff and Smokie, Sam, Pepper, Old McDonnell, Barb, Diggers, Close Enough Shop, The Golf Course, Mr. Perch, The Chicken Shack, Little Louie's Liquor and Licorice, Captain Swanson,

Elise, Duckslayer, Junkyard Mike, Luan, Tongue and Grove, Norman, Arlo, Andy, The Bacon Platter Diner, Butter and Scotch, Broken Stuff, Doris, Denise, Mr. Scroggs, Steve, Mrs Stitch, Tiny, Twitch, Wing Gee's Asian Chop Shop, The Well Bar, In Your Face the Breakfast Place, Josh, Lucky the Duck, Middle of the Block Cafe, Mr. Miester, Walt, The Resort, all the tourist that have come to call this home and the Lodge here at Lake Iwanttobethere and of course Bobby Bass

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I WAS RESTING on my shovel here this morning watching small snow flakes fall and wondering to myself, why bother. Over night a few more inches of snow fell completely covering the reindeer tracks I had made in the snow for the grand kids to find this morning. The magic combination of corn and oatmeal, reindeer food, was also covered by the fresh snow. The dogs Buddy, Barney and Duncan have already been outside tracking up the new snow and have made the rounds of the deck, wood pile and boat house. I started off the morning with the broom sweeping snow off the trucks and then had to come back for the shovel. More snow had fallen then I had thought and now I was taking a break from pushing snow out of the way, making a path to the trucks.

Last night we opened presents here at the cabin and three of the grand kids spent the night. Later this afternoon we will head to the mother in laws for dinner and another round of present openings. Not everyone gets the holidays off and my daughter and her husband both have to work today, but they will be at the in laws where they will hook up with their kids and me and the wife will make a quiet ride back to the cabin. For now I am just leaning on the shovel and taking my time moving snow out of the way, no hurry, it is not going to go any where by itself.

I am guessing we have receive five more inches of snow over the past two days and there is enough for me to get the snow thrower out but not today. Today I will just carve out some paths as Stormy Clearweather is calling for a warm up on Friday. Highs will hit thirty maybe and that is much more appealing to me then the ten outside today. Of course it can be worse it always is somewhere. The other side of the lake received thirty plus inches of snow, add that to the thirty they got in the beginning of the month and that is five feet of snow and we are not out of December yet. As I shovel snow I think to myself what a weird weather year we have been having. Almost snow less last winter till March and then the snow started falling. When ice was supposed to be melting it instead was getting thicker and snow was covering the gardens that should have had robins working.

Took well into May before the ice started to melt and fishing was poor. Gardens got in late and summer never really did arrive. Now fall came early and cold weather arrived with it. I took another lean on the shovel and looked at the snow banks high around the cabin. More snow on the roof that needs to be cleared away and the wood pile looks like a big mound of snow. But it is Christmas and that is for me the halfway point. Another week and we are in a new year and everyday the days are getting a little longer. The latest grand baby will be crawling in the grass here in a few months and I will hold her in my arms and take her down to the lake and point at bluegills swimming in the shade under the dock. Like her sister and her cousins before her she will point at the fish and talk in some gibberish that I won't understand but I will translate it into fishermen talk and we will get to share the moment.

The snow will melt, the grass will grow, Birds will fly and maybe this spring the robins will not find snow covering their tracks. Kids will count days till school is out and grown men will count days till fishing season starts. I go back to shoveling and I hear shouts and the door of the cabin bangs a few times. Dogs come racing out followed by grand kids looking like marshmallow men. New Christmas scarfs are tied around chins and the shovels leaning against the wall of the cabin are now in the clutches of the children. Number two grandson comes over and with his hands outstretched and I give him my shovel. Kids not being asked to shovel snow, a Christmas miracle! Here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,504,266}

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Jingle bells, Jingle bells,

Jingle all the way;

Oh! what joy it is to ride

In a one horse open sleigh.

Jingle bells, Jingle bells,

Jingle all the way

Oh! what joy it is to ride

In a one horse open sleigh. Hey

Christmas dinner here at Lake Iwanttobethere for more than forty years has been at the Mother in law's house. Dinner is supposed to be at five but over the years it gets to be later and later. Main reason being that more and more relatives gather at the house and parking and seating has become a problem. The mother in law now counts her grand kids and great grand kids into the forties and I over heard that the next great grand child will put her at an even fifty. That is a lot of kids and on Christmas Day everyone of them was at the house along with son in laws and daughter in laws, uncles and aunts and a few boyfriends and girlfriends. The house was full, the living room was full, not just the couches and chairs but the floor to. Dinning room was full and standing room only in the kitchen where all the chairs had been removed.

The kitchen table had the leaf put in and stood alone in the center of the room. A sliced up turkey along with a spiral ham took center stage and was surrounded by baskets of sliced home made bread. Relish trays and a three piece slow cooker set which held corn, stuffing and gravy took up one side. A large bowl held salad and an even larger bowl held mashed potatoes. A variety of salad dressing stood lined up like soldiers and a bucket held silverware and dinner plates were stacked like the leaning Tower of Pisa at the edge of the table. The mother in law with her back up against the built in oven directed traffic with a wood spoon in her hands. Grand daughters whirled and twirled around the kitchen under her direction placing salt and pepper shakers and setting out glasses.

Uncle Mike and his friend Jim being the oldest they waited at the head of the serving line and when the Mother In Law waved her hand they started to circle the table dropping food on their plates. Trouble is the two of them were sharing a senior moment and what should have been an efficient trip around the table was turning into a rush hour traffic jam on a cloverleaf. A couple of the granddaughters stepped in and urged the old guys through the line and after that it was just a matter of sliding in the second platter of turkey and all was well.

Kids were fed, babies burped, Gallons of apple cider disappeared and plates collected. Pie was served and belts were loosen. Fifty-five gallon black trash bags appeared from the closet and the kids knew what they were, The Mother in law had presents and there was one for everyone. Having done this many times before I relocated myself to a chair in the living room next to the front window. It was open a crack to let fesh cool air in. I looked out and saw Uncle Mike and his friend Jim, they had slipped out the front door and were now standing on the sidewalk at the bottom of the porch steps sneaking a smoke. The Mother in law called for attention and it took awhile but finally she had everyone looking at her and she announced she was ready to pass out gifts but first everyone had to join in and sing Jingle Bells and so we all did.

Dashing thro' the snow,

In a one horse open sleigh,

O'er the hills we go,

Laughing all the way;

Bells on bob tail ring,

Making spirits bright,

Oh what sport to ride and sing

A sleighing song to night.

Jingle bells, Jingle bells,

Jingle all the way;

Oh! what joy it is to ride

In a one horse open sleigh.

Jingle bells, Jingle bells,

Jingle all the way

Oh! what joy it is to ride

In a one horse open sleigh. Hey!

The Hey shook the house as everyone really put their heart into it, I noticed something outside and yelled "One more Time" and the Chorus was sang again, this time with all the adults joining in trying to out sing the kids.

Jingle bells, Jingle bells,

Jingle all the way;

Oh! what joy it is to ride

In a one horse open sleigh.

Jingle bells, Jingle bells,

Jingle all the way

Oh! what joy it is to ride

In a one horse open sleigh. HEY!

And with the last shouted HEY I watched with a grin as the snow broke loose on the porch roof and tumbled down on top of uncle Mike and his best friend Jim ..... here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,508,827}

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Bobby Bass

BLAME ME OR thank me but I am pretty sure that we are not going to get anymore snow this season. I say that because this morning I was down at Dug's Garage and I ordered two auger belts for my snow thrower. The way I have it figured that since I ordered the new belts when they arrive and I take the snow thrower apart and install them it will stop snowing. The snow thrower will then sit in the shop with new belts and a full tank of gas and not be used. Because we all know that is just how it works. If I did nothing we will get snow from now till May and between now and then I would break the old belt and I will be without a snow thrower, because that is just how it works.

The red needle on the bass thermometer hanging on the wall here at the cabin is nudging thirty-six, I would tap it but I am afraid it might go down. Duncan has been restless and about every thirty minutes he wants to go outside. So I let him out and while he makes a quick trip around the grounds I scrape some packed snow off the big deck and shovel it out into the yard. The sun is shinning and I may even get all the snow finally off the roof of the Tahoe. The luggage rack on top holds the snow altogether so I have not been able to get it off but now with the heat and some sunshine there is dripping going on.

Tomorrow is forecasted to snow but that is not my fault, I will not get the new auger belts till sometime next week. Sunshine Ray is forecasting the bottom is going to drop out and we are looking at a spell of cold nights that might hit minus thirty not counting the wind chill. Monday night is Town Hall meeting night and Tuesday night is a Lodge Meeting along with our gala New Years Eve party. Lodge meeting is going to be a little different this year as we will be sitting down at tables decorated with glassware and napkins. Christmas decorations are still up and the only big difference will be the balloon drop. I expect the Lodge meeting will be brief so we can get right to the drinking part of the evening. Unlike the Christmas party no kids are allowed so everyone should be in the sprits before eight.

With cold weather and some snow on the way everyone is taking advantage of today's warm weather. I know Big Earl has his sidewalk in front of the store completely clear of snow and it is even dry. Down at the Lodge the Luge has been busy as kids are out of school and for fifty cents they can rent a red plastic toboggan and ride all day. Several fishermen are also out on the ice and over the weekend a small town has grown straight out from the landing. Hammering Hank and Skinny have plowed a couple of roads and the Fellows have been dragging out shanties with their retired half track truck. So far it has not broken down which is a surprise to a lot of the guys who have placed wages in the betting pool.

With the small town right out from the Lodge we could not have an Ice House Fling even if we wanted to. Several houses are out on the ice arond the lake though as locals have just hauled them out right off their properties. Might not be the best places to fish but a lot of guys just have the house so they can get away from the wife. Back at the Resort Vic has a house out that Marv and Elmer helped build. Not far from the Resort it just so happens to be over a brush pile that somehow was located late last fall. Eating size crappies are coming back to the Resort just big enough to make fish sandwiches on the home made Kaiser buns of Marv's. Along with the French fries from the home grown spuds and I don't think Vic has a need for anything else. With the sun shinning and the red needle on the thermometer now reading thirty-seven things are good here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,512,816}

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Bobby Bass

HEARD A RUMOR of a few grouse sitting just off the county road on the way into the Resort. So this morning I am trying to get a few jobs done around the cabin here so I can slip away and maybe chase them. Yesterday was down right decent here at the lake and I took back some of what Mother Nature tried to bury in snow this month. Got sidewalks cleaned right down to the concrete and packed snow cleared away from around the gate posts. Big deck is cleared and this morning I am working on pulling snow off the cabin roof. Never any fun and hard on the arms dragging the snow rake down the roof. I had planned on getting the number two grandson up on the roof but the wife saw me helping him up the ladder and nixed that idea.

In defense of my idea the snow on the roof is deeper then his legs so no way was he going to be able to fall off and besides it would have been an adventure for him, good or bad something he would have a lasting memory of. Instead the wife brought him into the kitchen and made him hot chocolate and gave him buttered banana bread. I came in looking for banana bread but was directed back outside to finish what I started. Snow from the upper roof is now resting in a big pile on the lower roof and after I take a break here I will go out and shorten up the snow rake and pull it all down to the deck. Snow thrower will get started and with any luck I will toss all the snow off the deck without breaking the belt. At least that is the plan.

Sunshine Ray has revised his snow forecast and now we are only going to get an inch or so this afternoon. Going to stay warm the rest of the day before the front comes in tonight and then it will be time to sit in front of the fireplace and read. Thirty degrees out right now is supposed to turn into minus thirty degrees in thirty-six hours. These are times when I have a hard time explaining just why I love living here at Lake Iwanttobethere.

The next part of the plan after the snow throwing is done is to grab the old twenty gage and me and Duncan are going to take a walk in the woods. Snowshoes are already in the Tahoe and we may not walk far or long but we will still get in the last bird hunt of the season. Duncan's web feet are going to come in handy when we hit the deep snow and he will be going alone. Just to much snow for the old man Bud to try and hunt in.

Since the grouse are near the Resort I will head there after we take our walk. Change of clothes and I will see about joining Vic in the shanty for some early evening fishing. Now that I look at what I have written I have a pretty full day ahead and it is not getting done sitting here. From what may be remembered as a pretty good winter day here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,517,083}

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Bobby Bass

SOUND AND SMELL of thick bacon sizzling on the grill here at the Resort on the last Sunday of the year. I am sitting in the first booth and Vic is on the grill this morning frying bacon and making pancakes. Never one to turn down a breakfast Vic was already up and asked if I wanted some breakfast and now I can hear him humming away as he mixes up pancake batter. Yesterday I had a pretty good day, it was warm and I got the snow off the roof at the cabin. Duncan and I spent an hour on our last grouse hunt and the evening was spent in the new ice house here at the Resort. Might have been better if I had seen a grouse or caught a fish but sometimes it works out that way.

The soft snow of yesterday has been replaced with crunching snow this morning. I had just my flannel on when I went out to the Tahoe to get the plastic bowl of dog food that I had brought along for Duncan. As I passed the deer jumping thermometer on the wall here I saw the red needle resting at minus ten which was expected. The wind however was not and it was brisk and it was cold. The flannel jacket didn't do a whole lot to keep it off me. With food bowl in hand I turned and shuffled back to the Resort at a quicker pace then what I came out. I paused at the door now out of the wind and gave a quick look around me. Nothing at the bird feeder and other then the wind chimes banging away it was quiet out. I grabbed a couple of chunks of Birch from the wood rack and let myself in to the main room.

Duncan greeted me or maybe it was his bowl of dog food with a wagging tail. I popped the lid off and put the bowl down next to his water bowl and he looked at me and I gave him a wave and told him to go ahead and eat. The wood went over to the rack by the fireplace and I poked at the fire and decided there was room for a couple of more sticks, I tossed in some Maple and adjusted the screen and listen to the fire crackle for a moment. I went over to the first booth and sat down and cradled the coffee mug in my hands. The coffee was warm to the touch through the mug and I didn't drink any but instead let the coffee warm my hands.

The sun has broken through the cloud cover and is streaming through the windows of the main room. I have to move my laptop a tad to avoid the glare. Duncan is done with his food and he slurps water from his bowl. He heads towards me and water drops drain from his open mouth to splat on the floor, a typical lab moment. Duncan sits at my feet and I reach down and tug on his ear. He looks up at me and I can hear his thoughts, he wants to know if the pancakes are done yet. Speaking out loud I tell him no the pancakes are not done yet and Vic comes out from the kitchen carrying two plates and says "Yes they are."

Vic slides the plates across the table and sits down across from me. I get up and bring the coffee pot back to the table and fill Vic's mug while adding a healthy splash to my own mug. I just set the coffee pot down on a pot holder and think to myself the wife would be so proud if she saw me using a pot holder and I sit back down. There is a few minutes of quiet as the only sounds are the scraping of forks through the stacks of pancakes dripping with the Lake Iwanttobethere Maple Syrup and maybe the munching of bacon. There is also a tapping sound and I look down to see Duncan's tail hitting the wood side of the booth, patiently waiting for his pancake. I lift a pancake from my stack and lower it to Duncan, the pancake disappears in his mouth and he walks towards the fireplace where he lays down and starts licking the syrup off his lips. Vic says "That will keep him busy for awhile" and Duncan knowing we are talking about him stops just long enough to make eye contact and then goes back to licking.

Vic and I plan the rest of our day, not much of a plan mind you as us older guys don't work to much on planning and instead just kind of let things happen. Football game is on at noon, maybe some lunch at half time and we will take another try at the evening fishing bite. Yesterday was a poor outing but today is another day. Besides Hammering Hank and Skinny mentioned yesterday they were going to try and fish during the afternoon today so the shanty should have some heat in it when we venture out. Last Sunday of the year, where did it go here at Lake Iwanttobethere {1,521,471}

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • islandmn
      Try Duane's Marine in Virginia,MN. Great service, a Evinrude/ Johnson dealer, on the second generation.  
    • Muskies
      I posted some information on a May 5 on Rainy lake 2020 fishing .... basically no crossing the border.   Muskies HSOShow.com Family 'we have more fun' I Share On FishingMN  132 199 posts Location: Reef Point, Rainy Lake Author Posted May 5 Found this information and thought it would be good to share:   This from the CDN gov’t.  COVID-19 Notice: February 3, 2021 During the COVID-19 pandemic, unless exempted, foreign national boaters are not permitted to enter Canadian waters. Failure to comply with the current prohibition of entry for discretionary or optional reasons (leisure, pleasure fishing, sightseeing, etc.) may result in severe monetary penalties or criminal conviction and/or imprisonment. Visit Transit through Canadian waters for more information.   Opener on the Ontario side of rainy lake is May 15. Good fishing to everyone!
    • SkunkedAgain
      That's a good thought. I'll call but they went "online" only last year so he no longer has a shop. He talked with me about how he needed to cut his fixed costs in order to compete with all of the online parts suppliers selling out of their garages.   It's a shame though. That place was amazing. Lots of great, old motors on the walls. When I went there needing a new lower unit for my 1957 motor, he pulled out a box and said "which color?" The place was a timewarp of boat motors.
    • anchor man
      I'll be up there with a couple friends on the chain. Never have any confidence for walleyes on opener, so we'll go after whatever bites (with an emphasis on eyes). 😀  
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end...  On the lake, the focus is on the May 15, 2021 Fishing Opener for walleyes.  There is much optimism as fishing in the Rainy River this spring was excellent and reports of good fishing from the spring season on the lake was also good. The limit for walleyes and saugers during the open season is a combined limit of six fish, up to four of the six can be walleyes.  There is a slot limit in which all walleyes 19.5 - 28.0 inches must be released.  One can be kept over 28 inches.   Pike anglers are still catching fish in back bays. The pike season is open year-round on LOW and the Rainy River.     On the Rainy River...   Sturgeon anglers are enjoying catch and release through 5/15/21.  Closed 5/16/21 - 6/30/21.  Harvest season opens up again on 7/1/21 - 9/30/21. Good numbers of sturgeon have been running in the Rapid River near Clementson just east of Baudette this past week.  These fish are incredible to see up close, but are also very much protected and respected. Anglers looking to this weekend and the opener.  Typically, there is some good walleye fishing in the river early in the season, such as this weekend. Up at the NW Angle...  A few anglers fishing pike in back bays but most looking forward to the May 15th fishing opener.  The go to walleye spots come the opener will be shoreline and island structure and underwater points.  The technique, a jig and a minnow! With the Canada border still closed, there are many ways to get up to the Angle.  The LOW Passenger Service, charter boat shuttle service from the south end, is open and running.  If you have the right boat and expertise, boating across is an option.  And finally, Lake Country Air flying service, a float plane service out of Baudette and other locations.  
    • ozzie
      i will be up in the area but not sure i will hit the chain.  the history with me and opener on the chain has not been productive so this year I am finding a smaller shallow lake in the area and going to hit it for walleyes.  I have not asked my father in law what the temps were but he has hit south cross and clamshell a few times and when fish are caught they have been on the smaller side.  Good Luck to you!
    • ozzie
      If I snagged an anchor line I am pretty sure i would not ask the anchored angler to lift so I can get my jig back, but I am sure I would warn them that there is a hook now in there anchor line!  I am that way fishing around docks...if I get caught on a dock I will always butt up to it and carefully remove my hook so they do not stick themselves or have a little kid get stuck from it.  Amazingly I have had confrontations with people in this regard!  And it is not like i am pitching bass jigs as I am usually crappie fishing around docks so i am using light line, small hook and cork bobber so I am not hurting a dock if i accidentally cast into it.  Oh well...Good luck to all you Vermillion fisherman on opener and in the rest of the season!
    • CJH
      No one's been out on the chain?
    • Walleye Guy
      Twin City Outboard in Shakopee only works on old motors.  They do great work and the pricing is reasonable.
    • SkunkedAgain
      My 1960 Johnson Seahorse is on the fritz. I did an overhaul the over the winter rebuilding the carb, replacing dry fuel hoses, fixing two stripped bolts (helicoils) on the powerhead, etc... This spring she only wants to run on one cylinder. I am assuming that it's the coil or something similar but suck at the electrical side.    Great American Marine in Bloomington won't touch old motors anymore. Neither will Boat Motor Recyclers in Burnsville (1990 and up!).    Does anyone up near Vermilion still work on older motors? I'll take a recommendation for somewhere near the lake or in the Twin Cities. Any input is appreciated.
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