Scoutmaster Tribute. Live from North Central Wisconsin, best friends who grew up together pay tribute to a father to one, and a scoutmaster to the other. Both friends are eccentric enough, as was the father and scoutmaster. Their conversation takes place at a rural hideaway built with anything that could be scrounged, or used. The setting sparks a conversation about what they learned in scouts. In ‘Stand By Me’ Stephen King’s narrator says that the friendship’s he forged around twelve or thirteen were the strongest of his life, that he never had friends like that again, and wondered if anybody does. Through thick and thin, on and off through the years two friendships have been the most important to me, largely because of our experiences camping with the Boy Scouts, and for me, especially because of our scoutmaster, who also happened to be my best friend’s dad. Sure he was eccentric, but he taught us all so many great lessons. Later he built a complex of crazy quilt cabins — where this podcast was recorded — which are packed with every kind of thing you can imagine, from every kind of era, and who knows where he got most of them. He never said no to anyone who offered something they didn’t want anymore — and most of that stuff is up in Wisconsin. Given the current situation, all commentary on politics these days sounds like an echo chamber. It’s nice to sit outside on a classic hot summer day in the middle of nowhere in North Central Wisconsin, and talk about things that are, or were real. Friendships that last a lifetime, friends who are as much family as they are friends, experiences we’ll never forget, and people we met over the years who were real characters. After all, aren’t friendship and family the most important things anyway. Sponsored by X Government Cars.
Snowstorm! As tropical storm Nuri hits the Aleutian Islands and Northwest Alaska (Nuri is the same size as Super Storm Sandy, we are told), its hurricane force winds are sucking the jet stream down to the lower 48 from Canada. That means the return of Old Man Winter to the Upper Midwest, in spades. Minneapolis-Saint Paul is forecasted to get as much as a foot of snow before it is all over sometime Tuesday, November 11th. It’s been a long time since Minnesota had a winter storm in November. The smell of the air and snow predictions brings back memories of snowstorms in childhood. Which storm do you remember the best? The 1960’s? 1980’s? The great Halloween Storm in Minnesota of 1991? Sitting by the fire, enjoying potato soup and watching the snow fall, and being elated, because it meant the best thing in childhood; No School. These times in late fall also bring back memories of late fall and winter camping, in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, with best friends in the boy scouts. (Editor’s Note: Of my two best friends, Steve’s dad was the quirky scoutmaster of the troop. The men wanted older boys to take care of the ‘little kids’ as they were called, so the men could have sumptuous dinners and enjoy themselves. While they never abdicated their responsibilities, Steve, Andy and myself were ‘inducted’ into the scouts at a much older and wiser 13, 14 and 15 to fill this role). We had some adventures — far too many for one podcast — but we formed a bond that has lasted a lifetime, and learned some pretty good lessons that have also lasted a lifetime. While visiting Andy down in Arizona this fall, we learned our scoutmaster, and one of our friends had died recently. We were both a little shocked since we’d lost contact over the years. Between snowstorms, memories of campouts and mischief in those days, those perfect days when you’re in between childhood and adolescence, it serves as a break from the constant blaring about politics over the last few days in the wake of election 2014. Yeah, we talked about politics in those days, around the campfire but mostly it was about girls, the right camping equipment, what we were going to do on the next campout, our favorite songs, our shared friends and enemies. Take a break in this podcast from politics, sit by the fire, and remember your own stories from the best snow storms and campouts when you were a kid, where ever you grew up. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating, and by Depotstar.