Fond du lac follies


It is a beautiful summer morning and I am listening to Robert Johnson and his blues guitar. I am writing the Follies while jamming along. The sun is shining on my left arm, the dogs, Oscar and his dog Belle, are barking at whatever dogs bark at. I am drinking coffee and wondering what I shall write about this time, so let’s go, see what comes out while under the influence of blues and caffeine.

In looking back over the month since I wrote the last edition of the Follies I have had some visitors that were slightly out of the ordinary.

First of course was Gary Farmer.  He wanted a weekend away from his teaching duties in Sioux Lookout, Canada. He wanted to relax and perhaps play a little poker at the Black Bear Casino.

For those who don’t know Gary, think movies and Pow Wow Highway, or Smoke Signals.  Gary Farmer ate, slept, talked and charmed everyone he met in Sawyer including my sister-in law, Cynthia Dow, who was visiting from Morton, Minnesota. Cynthia visits all the time so she is an ordinary visitor. Gary liked the Black Bear Casino where he won enough at poker to pay for the gasoline he burnt to get here and back.

Charlie Hill and his brother Rick were the next surprise visitors. Charlie came to Sawyer to meet some Navajos who were visiting my son Jim. As long as he was in the area Charlie decided to drop into the World Headquarters of the Fond du Lac Follies.

Charlie has been making people laugh since the late 70s and our trails have crossed quite a few times since then.

Of course both of those guys had to have a ride in the ’64 Corvette. I took Charlie to the S turn road south of Sawyer. He didn’t scream as we went around the corners but I know he wanted to. We ate together and the two Hill brothers motored back to Wisconsin.

The visitor that traveled the farthest to visit the World Headquarters was Mary Modeen, a well know artist and college teacher. Mary teaches at the University of Dundee, Scotland. She lives in Blairgowrie. Her website is, click over there if you want to see some of her art and writings.

Mary and I sat at the kitchen table and I learned her mother was a Jackson and her grandmother was a Grasshopper and both of them were from Fond du Lac. I told her I was related to some Jacksons and we might be some kind of cousins.

I was stitching on a basket so it wasn’t long before I gave her an awl, some basswood sewing strips and some birch bark. She learned how to sew birch bark with basswood bark.

After the sewing lesson Mary and I took a Corvette ride. We went to Kiwenz campground and I showed her where we had our language camp. I invited her to come to the next one in June, 2012. She took one of our fanning baskets with her back to Scotland.

When she left my wife asked if it was celebrity week on Northrup Road. I smiled.

**** The something annual Veterans Golf Tournament was held at the Black Bear Casino Golf Club.

Once again my wife Patricia and I were chosen as the host and hostess of this event. The job was pretty easy. We smiled at the golfers, applauded when we saw someone make a good putt, laughed and joked with the ones we knew.

My son Joe is a golfer, which is a given in that he works at the golf course and plays a lot. He and his team, Dapper, Wesley and Bob placed in the money; With this modern technology we shot a video of some of Joe’s drives and putts.

The sun was shining with nary a cloud in the sky. We took turns driving the golf cart around, sometimes I was the driver and other times I was the nagger. I remember that place when it was just a swamp and a gravel pit, now it is a beautiful piece of landscape art.  

I think the Rez is doing well if the golf course is an example of one of our many achievements.

**** Fond du Lac Follies motored to Mille Lacs for a pow wow. I met my childhood friend Tony Davis there.

It was 64 years ago when we used to play cars in the dirt of Sawyer. We didn’t really have cars but we found rocks that kind of looked like cars. I remember the noises we made as we skidded around corners, squealing tires too.

It felt good sharing decades old memories with Tony.

****  Mii iw, mii sa iw.