The last few weeks have seen some comings and goings here at Grouse Hollow. First off, the cats. Gypsy left us and Tony and OC moved in, only to disappear and return. The hot weather seems to have gone and much cooler weather has taken its place. The two are directly related to the state of my ambition to get things done. The drought we have been experiencing has gone, bringing almost two inches of much prayed for and much needed rain fall. Green has come back to our grass and the brown has mostly soaked away.
Mike Bendel from Sunburst Landscaping showed up on a Tuesday morning and left, job done around 2 p.m. They demolished and filled in our pool/turned fire pit, pulling the treated timbers Davy Becker, Ben and Mark and I set in cement for a retaining wall in the rounded gouge in our lawn back in 1990. Back then, Steve Strasser of Coulee Backhoe did a nice job of the original dig, skillfully carving out the half circle and leveling off the base for the original 18-foot swimming pool.
After the boys were off becoming mountain men, the pool became a pool maintenance job I didn’t want. I made a trade for the pool and filter and such to my friend Ron Von Glahn. He offered two Green Bay Packers tickets for it. Ben and I and Von and Curt Christenson went to what would be a classic Lambeau experience. We were the first car in the front row that morning. It was 25 degrees and it flurried lightly the entire day. We tailgated, grilling brats with beans and a little beer. At halftime the Packers and League honored longtime Packer radio announcers, Jim Irwin and Max Mcgee — their last game at Lambeau. The game was exciting and the Pack beat the Houston Oilers 30-22. Bret Favre hit Antonio Freeman for three touchdowns and Ryan Longwell’s sure leg added 12 points. As it happened, this would be Mike Holmgren and Reggie White’s last game at Lambeau Field in green and gold. Perhaps you recall the iconic images of Reggie White jogging around the field holding his helmet up in a salute to the fans in a light snowfall while the crowd chanted, “Reggie, Reggie, Reggie!” Steve McNair’s Oilers were so depressed they dropped the Oilers name at the end of the season. We were almost the last fans to leave the lot that night. Crews were using end loaders to clean up trash left behind. In one pile, I spied a red and white an Igloo cooler. I strolled over and rescued it from a dumpster. Back at our waning tailgate party, we found it had a six-pack of Budweiser and a plate of sausage and cheese and a package of crackers! We dubbed it “The Stolen Cooler.” El and I still use it when we go fishing.
Anyway, that swimming pool site held lots of good memories of hot summer days with kids splashing and yelling, and me working on my tan while drifting in my floating easy chair with a good book. When the pool was gone, the site became our fire pit. We had some good times there, hosting family and friends, and occasionally El and I would take cocktails by a fire and hold hands for an hour while a moon would rise over the ridge. We only did that once in 2020. It had mostly become a place to put leaves and brush to burn. The walls were leaning in and it was becoming an eyesore. They also landscaped the site, so we, uh Ellen should be able to mow more easily next summer. Sunburst also fixed the washed out ditch crossing behind the tobacco shed.
A couple of weeks ago, El made it abundantly clear how much she hated riding on the back of our Honda four-wheeler. So we added a used Polaris Ranger side-by-side to our collection, compliments of Andy Foley and MotoNation of Stoddard. I cleaned up the Honda and put it on greg’slist, at least that’s what El used to call it. Two days later a big yellow taxi came and took my Honda away. Actually, some nice folks from Cashton came in a pickup truck with a trailer to help offset the cost of the Polaris.
Last week, we returned our leased Subaru Legacy after three years. We leased it just before Ellen’s stroke. She only drove it a couple of times. Seeing it go was bittersweet. I drove El to emergency in that car. Every time I got in it, if there was a little time, for some random reason the memories of that nightmare creep into my head. I won’t miss it much.