Fond du Lac Follies


Fond du Lac Follies motored to Chicago,

the Windy City. We were traveling to attend the Heartland Book

Festival. It was a long boring ride on excellent highways. Patricia

and I laughed together and listened to music as we cut through the

middle of Wisconsin.

The trouble began when we got close to

O’Hare International airport. The traffic began to get heavy. We

began seeing more cars than we are used to seeing. Patricia was

driving and I was scanning my Android map app trying to find our way

to the Crown Plaza Hotel; our destination.

We finally found the place and that is

where our troubles began. I got out of the truck and gathered our

travel bags and took everything inside to check in. I got my room

cards and directions to the parking ramp used by the hotel. We split

our forces, I took the bags to the room and Patricia went to park the

truck. After what seemed like a long time we were reunited.

We found our way to the feast. We sat

at a large round table, there were two authors and five or six

booksellers at each one. I was paired with author Erin Hart. We

talked through the salad course and then moved to another table where

we were invited to talk about ourselves and our work.

I started by introducing myself in

Ojibwe. I continued for a while then stopped and told the booksellers

I could see they didn’t understand, that deer in headlights look. I

did the rest in English. I closed by reciting a poem called Shrinking


We moved to another table where I did

the same thing, first Ojibwe then English. It looked like I was the

only one having fun.

The next morning I signed books for the

stream of booksellers. By noon we had used up all of the books and we

were released.

Patricia and I made our escape from the

city and drove north towards home.

When we got home I played with my dogs

Buster Brown Shoes and Oscar Mayer until my heart returned to normal

in the quiet pines and popple trees.

Fond du Lac Follies motored to the

Northern Lights Casino in Walker, Minnesota. It was just a short

jaunt up Highway 2, then a left onto Highway 200.

We were motoring northwest to catch

Keith Secola singing at the casino. It is unknown if his imaginary

brother Pep is with him.

Keith sang just hard as he usually


After his set we visited and ate Red

Lake walleye. That alone was worth the trip.

After our visit Patricia and I went to

the casino to try our luck. Keno was generous to me and gave me

niiwaak das waabik, 400 frogskins. We also met Keith’s daughter

Margareta as she was walking through the casino.

We enjoyed looking at the fall colors

on the way home. It was a pleasant drive across northern Minnesota.

Once again Fond du Lac Follies motored

to another book festival, this one was closer than the Chicago gig

since it was held at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds in St. Paul. I

guess we could call it book on a stick.

Son Aaron and I cruised up and down the

aisles looking for free books and a large bag to carry them in. We

saw some publishers we recognized. I also saw Media Mike Hazard in

the crowd. I was scheduled to sign books in the Lit Lounge (Who

thinks up these names?) I saw former Governor Jesse Ventura signing

books. I stood in line to get a free book. When he saw me he told me

about his grand plan to fund the Vikings new stadium in partnership

with various Indian tribes in Minnesota. Jesse said he could not find

one legislator brave enough to introduce a bill. I hoped to make him

feel better so I gave him one of my signed books.

After Jesse left I sat at the table and

autographed books.

Dr. Robert Powless invited me to his

class at UMD called War and Peace. The people attending this class

were all senior citizens. Since they were my peer group I talked

about my time in the Vietnam. After giving my perspective we left and

ate lunch at the Duluth Grill on the way home.

Fond du Lac Folllies motored to

Birchbark Books in Minneapolis to read from and sign copies of “Rez

Salute” and “Walking The Rez Road, Golden Anniversary Edition.”

Suzy introduced me to the audience.

I saw Ray and Cheryl Earley, Heid

Erdrich, Melissa Ranta. Jeff Chapman, and a few other friends in the

audience. I signed books until well before my hand got numb from

signing books.

Mii sa iw.

The views expressed in this column

belong to the writer alone. They are not meant to represent this

newspaper, any book festivals, Jesse Ventura or any state fairs.

Comments and bingo packs can be sent to FdL Follies. PO Box 16,

Sawyer, MN 55780-0016 email: facebook too.