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Fond du Lac Follies
Fond du Lac Follies
Thursday, August 07 2014
 
Written by Jim Northrup,
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fond_du_lac_follies_jim_northrup.jpgBy now we should all know that Lex Porter of the Fond du Lac Reservation should be recognized as one of the Code Talkers who helped the United States in their efforts during World War Two.

The family of Lex Porter was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his efforts. Chair Karen Diver brought the award back to the family from Washington, D.C. I wonder what other language speaker he was talking to?

****

Well, this is it folks. The final curtain comes clanging down on the Fond du Lac Follies. After 25 years of writing a monthly column I decided to step back and hang up my spurs and computer. What a different world it was, of course it was 1989 and I was a quarter century younger. Let me see, that must be at least 15 Rez Cars ago, probably just as many Rez dogs ago too.

Gambling was in its infancy then, I think all we had going was bingo. Now with two casinos, we are in a death cage match with Duluth over the profits of one of them. Apparently the winner will be decided by who can spend the most money in attorney fees.

On the Rez, the monthly per capita payment has kept the lights on in some homes, made car payments and has put food on some tables, the rest of us use plates. The per cap payments has given us a higher standard of living and even a higher tax bracket. Remember how hard it was to live on zero bucks a month?

Of course there have been some problems associated with gambling. One is we think money can solve anything. Two is we think money can solve anything.


Fond du Lac Follies
Monday, July 07 2014
 
Written by Jim Northrup,
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_northrup_cover_mug_small.jpgOur friend Cheryl Gresczyk died. She was the wife of Rick Gresczyk. Our family watched as she fought her illnesses with dignity and courage. Cheryl, you will be missed by everyone in this household. We were saddened by your leaving but were glad that your pain is now over.

****

Fond du Lac Follies
Thursday, May 01 2014
 
Written by Jim Northrup,
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_northrup_cover_mug_small.jpgThe time to harvest maple sap came and we were ready. By we, I mean the crew, son Joe, son Aaron, nephew Kris and two daughter in laws, Sara and Jackie.

We have been working together for about a decade and I think any one of them can set up their own sugar bush. That was my goal when I invited them all to work with me. The afternoon sun brought warm feelings to us.

Months before we tap we talk. We decide which trees we will use. This year we found a better place to get the gallon jugs, our drills are still good from last year. We use electric and hand drills to make the holes in the trees. Because of attrition we made some new taps.

The deep snow was a handicap, my brother Vern said he slipped off the trail and sunk into the snow, the only part of Vern that was showing was his hat, now that’s deep. My crew had to wear snowshoes most of the time.

In our first boil we began with 110 gallons of sap, when we were done we had four gallons of syrup.

After having the appropriate ceremony. The syrup was delicious and I am glad we do this every year.

I think we will have one more boil before we pull the taps to close another successful season.


Fond du Lac Follies
Friday, April 04 2014
 
Written by Jim Northrup,
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I really like winter. The cold and the snow stay outside my little HUD house. I especially like the tree shadows on the snow, the gravity defying clumps of snow that hang onto the pine branches, the cold wind that reminds me I should have put on one more layer.

I hear people complaining that this winter has gone on too long, they want to see spring. I just ignore them and enjoy what we have.

Very soon we shall begin our sugar bush. We have plenty of firewood. and we found a new source for the gallon milk jugs we use. My son Joe is showing his son Joe how to carve taps.

Another seasonal cycle for these Anishinaabeg will begin soon.

****

Fond du Lac Follies
Monday, March 10 2014
 
Written by Jim Northrup,
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_northrup_cover_mug_small.jpgC'mere I want to tell you a story. Once upon a time, no wait, that is the wrong story. How about a Vietnam veteran war story? It starts out like this … this is no shit you guys. No that isn't it either.

Try this one: Fond du Lac Follies jetted to Budapest, Hungary to recite poetry. I went over there as part of the U.S. Embassy's Official Speakers Program.

I flew to Budapest with a short stop in Paris. I barely had enough time to get lost in the DeGaulle airport. It was a short two-hour hop to my destination – Budapest. I was met at the airport by Dimitri Tarakhovsky of the U.S. Embassy who took a taxi to take me to the plush hotel that overlooked the Danube River. I knew it started in Germany and ran downhill to Buda and Pest.

The next morning I met with Gabor who had earlier contacted the Embassy to see if they would bring me over. He wanted them to help celebrate the publishing of his book called “Nagy Kis Madar” (with a hyphen over the a) the book was about Jim Northrup and his poetry. Monika Vali and Attila Nemeth provided translation, transportation and photography.

I learned that poets are venerated in Hungary. There are children, streets, schools and bridges named after their poets.


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