I don’t often travel to far flung northern locales to watch two NFL teams I don’t care about do the helmet-to-helmet thing, but a friend had frequent flier miles and extra tickets to see the Packers, so I found myself in Green Bay, Wisconsin over the weekend. The last time I was within 500 miles of Green Bay was back in the 1990s, when I was on the losing end of a relationship and slunk out to Minnesota to lick my wounds in a cabin by a lake.
I was the guest of Howard, a friend who’d grown up a city boy in Brookline but married into a family of outdoorsy Minnesotans who spent summers on a lake up north. Northern Minnesota is full of fish, and my buddy Howard had been given rigorous training in the baiting of hooks (“get ‘em right through the sucker”) and the finding of crappie holes. He was now going to impart this same wisdom on me. We got a bunch of leeches for bait and out we went.
Out on the lake in a boat, Howard tried to cast his line out but lost his grip on his rod (no euphemism here) and flung it into the frigid waters of Pimushe Lake. It was gone, forever lost in the murky depths below. One might have expected "H," as we call him, to crack open another beer and enjoy the day, but this was his father-in-law’s prized rod and reel, probably an irreplaceable heirloom, loaned to him by a man who possessed many guns. H immediately stripped down to this skivvies and jumped into the leech-infested waters to find the rod and reel on the muddy lake bottom.
We quickly determined that finding the prized rod would require draining the lake. The only option was to drive to the nearby “big town” of Blackduck, where Howard would drop $50 on a new rod and reel to present to his father-in-law. Only later would we learn that the man had lent us $10 rods and reels, knowing we urbanites were too inept to be trusted with anything more valuable.