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"In Five Years We'll Be 71"

by Tom King

Did you ever notice that when a group of friends get together for a weekend that invariably someone will  say something that becomes the mantra for the weekend. it could be silly or stupid...it could be a line from a movie (how many golf weekends become a Caddyshack quote fest?) it could be just a throwaway line that gets magnified...but it happens all the time. This time was my turn to coin the the phrase that became the theme of the weekend. I got together with a group of high school friends for some time in the Northwoods. We had gathered at a funeral this past winter and decided that we wanted to get together again and renew old times...so it became a Northwoods weekend at  near Manitowish Waters. 2 guys and 4 women, most of whom were not regulars in outdoor exercise..me included. The original idea was to kayak on Saturday and have Sunday open. Unfortunately it rained hard most of Saturday morning which led us to a great watering hole in Mercer called "The Heart Of The North" for bloody marys and a planning session. It was decided that hiking was the mission for the day and what most of us thought would be short jaunt of a couple of miles turned into a marathon session of 9-10 miles at three different sites. Now don't get me wrong ...the hikes were fantastic, especially the water falls at Copper Falls State Park...but by the time we stumbled back to the car after visiting Wren Falls, most of us were dragging and as we sipped a post walk libation we talked about a hiking trail that was being built stretching from upstate New York to North Dakota. Kay said we could plan to walk that in five years...which led to my response "Five Years? In Five Years we'll be 71". It took everyone a few seconds to realize that my math was a bit off. Off by ten years...We'll be 61, which led to Pam suggesting I should join the 2nd grade math class she teaches. As it was the rest of the weekend, when anyone was tiring or sore the tagline was "don't forget, in 5 years we'll be 71!...followed by genial laughter.  I guess you had to be there.

Other memorable moments from the weekend.....Susie and Beth bringing party gifts for everyone which included some homemade touches memorializing the weekend.....Friday night fish fry at Little Bohemia ( the sight of the shootout between the FBI and John Dillinger's gang back in the 30's) featured in the Johnny Depp movie Public Enemies........waiting out the rain on Saturday morning shooting pool & darts and singing along to a kick-ass juke box with a bunch of bikers in Mercer....a 4 hour kayak float down the Manitowish River which featured at least a dozen eagles soaring right above our heads....we stopped midway in a reed bed and had a cold Leinies Canoe Paddler and I'm pretty sure that was the tastiest beer I have had in quite awhile....Porkys Bar, also in Mercer which features a dog wearing a diaper which has the run of the bar and took a shine to Kay's leg during our stop there.....getting a wood tick in a vital area....reminiscing about old friends no longer with us and enjoying the ability to re-connect. We hope to make this an annual event and invite more old friends to join us each year. So to Kurt Eggebrecht, Pam Gessert, Kay Lillie, Beth Bliss and Suzie Williamson...thanks for the great time and I can't wait for next year.

My old I-phone is slowly dying. It's at least five years old and the battery doesnt hold a charge for very long these days. It pooped out around noon on Saturday and I actually enjoyed not having the ability to check it every few minutes. We sometimes lose sight of how addicted we have become to our electronic devices and it nice to be reminded that we can live a day without them.

Songs Of The Day  (from my I-pod)

Old Days-Chicago (1975) a classic look back...from the year of our graduation

Hello Old Friend-Eric Clapton (1976) another happy look back