Tis the season…....

It’s The Outdoors Guy’s busy season.
He just wrapped up his tournament director responsibilities for the Seniors’ and Women’s La Crosse County Amateur Golf Championships. His schedule this weekend includes tournament director for the two-day, Men’s La Crosse County Amateur Golf Championships.
Of course, every year weather is consistently the one "iffy" factor. It cooperated for the Seniors’ and Women's. May the County Am tournament Board of Directors, volunteers and players be blessed with good weather this weekend as well.
The week before the Seniors’/Women’s County Amateurs, The Outdoors Guy had another six-month checkup following his battle with pancreatic cancer that was first diagnosed May 8, 2015. Yes, it’s been 4-plus years since I first began reporting Bob’s trials and victories during his battle, including 37 of the strongest chemo treatments he could be given, 25 rounds of radiation and major surgery. He is so blessed.
We almost feel like it has become a broken record to report his fantastic results. Yet, who doesn’t love receiving great news? Bob’s tumor marker remains very low at 6 and once again, his CT scan is clean!!!!
Bob’s oncologist, Dr. Paula Gill of Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, La Crosse, shakes her head in amazement each time she gives The Outdoors Guy the incredible news. Our family continues to be astounded as well.
Add to this his recovery from a stroke he experienced Labor Day Weekend 2017, and I have to say he’s the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a walking, breathing miracle. We are truly blessed.
Then there is yours truly's "little" problem. After visiting Jon and Sara, our son and daughter-in-law, at their cabin July 4th, I discovered a tiny tick on the back of my knee. I pulled it off and thought that was the end of it. Well… it wasn’t. Several days later I was experiencing fatigue, aches and pains. That’s when I saw the tell-tale bulls-eye where the tick had been. It also felt warm and itchy.
A visit to my doctor’s office confirmed my suspicions… Lyme Disease. I was put on an antibiotic for 10 days. I’m feeling much better and believe it was caught in time.
A word of warning. If you think it won’t happen to you, think again. Check and double-check yourself, your kids and pets, especially if you’ve been in wooded or grassy areas with exposed skin.
Mayo’s website explains bacteria from the bite can enter your bloodstream if the tick stays attached for 36-48 hours.
It also mentions removing it properly. I’m not sure how to “properly” remove a little blood-sucking monster. In my case, I freaked out, ripped it off and flushed it!!!
Mayo’s website states if the bite is left untreated, it can result in:
* Erythema migrans. A rash that may appear on other areas of your body.
* Joint pain. Bouts of severe joint pain and swelling are especially likely to affect your knees, but the pain can shift from one joint to another.
* Neurological problems. Weeks, months or even years after the infection, you might develop inflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain (meningitis), temporary paralysis of one side of your face (Bell's palsy), numbness or weakness in your limbs, and impaired muscle movement.
At my recent eye appointment, the ophthalmologist told me they even see the signs of Lyme Disease in patients’ eyes.
Between The Outdoors Guy and me, we’ve had three strikes. But the good news is WE’RE NOT OUT!!!

“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

I love a parade

Do you love parades? If there’s a procession in your area, do you grab your lawn chair, snacks, a cold drink or two and settle in for the show?
I recall the song "I Love a Parade," written many years ago by songwriting duo Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler.

I love a parade,the tramping of feet,
I love every beat I hear of a drum.
I love a parade, when I hear a band
I just want to stand and cheer as they come.
That rat-a tat-tat, the blare of a horn.
That rat-a tat-tat, a bright uniform;
The sight of a drill will give me a thrill,
I thrill at the skill of everything military.
I love a parade, a handful of vets,
A line of cadets or any brigade,
For I love a parade.

Here’s the confession: The Outdoors Guy and I DON’T love a parade!!! Each fall when the Oktoberfest Maple Leaf Parade is held in La Crosse, count us O.U.T.!!! At 3.5-4 hours, The Maple Leaf Parade is excessively long and overly crowded for our taste.
So, imagine our surprise when Grampa said he wanted to go to the Barnes, WI, July 4th Parade not far from where we were visiting our son, Jon and daughter-in-law, Sara’s cabin.
“Who is this guy?!!!” I asked.
No one had an answer because our kids know full well parades aren’t on Grampa’s radar. Well… mine either.
Still, we all piled into the vehicle, including 11-year-old Jackson and 9-year-old Bryson, and headed to the main drag in tiny Barnes, WI, (population 774) in Bayfield County, parked, walked a ways, and waited along the parade route with hundreds (not thousands) of parade-goers.
Then, it clouded over and a few sprinkles were in the air. I looked around and noticed a small library that used to be someone’s home. It had a small covered front porch, so I ducked under it for cover. It wasn’t long before the sprinkles turned into a steady rain and the others flocked toward the library and joined me under my refuge.
We patiently waited out the shower with no grumbling from Grampa!!! Then, the clouds parted, the sun came out and everyone came out from undercover.
A fly-over with two F-16 Fighter jets got things started. The parade mainly consisted of antique vehicles in pristine condition, farm machinery in tip-top shape, fire trucks from surrounding municipalities, and a couple of trucks turned kinda/sorta like floats from restaurants/bars with patrons aboard and music blaring.
Low and behold, also in the parade was the Barnes First Responders Ambulance with the same two staff members who took The Outdoors Guy and I to Hayward Area Memorial Hospital when he suffered a stroke at the kids’ cabin on Labor Day Weekend 2017.
Along the route, there were what are designated “dry zones” and “wet zones.” When the fire trucks came through, if you were in the dry zone you wouldn’t get sprayed but… you guessed it… in the wet zone, everyone got drenched!!!  
There were no marching bands or fancy floats. Also missing from the lineup… politicians!!! Yay!!!
Finally, two choppers flew overhead, not far above the tall pines behind us. The Barnes parade was in the books.
This was Grampa’s and my kind of parade… about 30 minutes from start to finish. Jon, Sara, Jackson and Bryson enjoyed it as well.
Even so, don’t think Mr. Outdoors and I are suddenly new-found parade lovers. Nope! Not happenin’!!! We’ll reserve that special memory for the Barnes July 4, 2019 Parade.
It will probably be Grampa's only parade memory because it’s anyone’s guess if he will ever love a parade again!!!


What’s in a number?
It depends upon what that number stands for.
If we say something is the best, the meaning is clear: It’s #1 in anyone’s book. When we refer to a person’s character as being first-rate, or they are superior at what they do, they’re considered A-#1.
The Outdoors Guy received a #6 rating last week. No, it’s not #1, but it might as well be. It’s a number he’s so very blessed and grateful to have reached because it is his Cancer Antigen 19-9 tumor marker test result. Any number below 35 is within normal range for a patient previously diagnosed with cancer. Bob’s #6 is STELLAR!!! Six months ago it was an eight. His outcome can’t get much better in anyone’s book!!!
Bob is enjoying life to the fullest, taking advantage of the years God has blessed him with since his devastating pancreatic diagnosis nearly four years ago on May 8, 2015. Whether it's hunting, fishing, golfing or just smelling the fresh air, Bob is always smiling.
The Outdoors Guy persevered through 37 of the strongest, most grueling chemotherapy treatments oncologist Dr. Paula Gill of Mayo Clinic-La Crosse campus would allow. Additionally, he endured 25 radiation sessions and surgery by pancreatic surgeon specialist Dr. Mark Trudy at Mayo in Rochester. Yes, the tumor took a hit, but at the same time, Bob’s side effects were relentless. Yet, he beat them back.
We continue to cheer on our Outdoors Guy after a fantastic #6 tumor marker result and as he nears his May 8, four-year survival date!!!   

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:10.

Cutting corners

Do you cut corners? I’m curious, if, like me, you physically cut corners… and pay for it.
For some reason, I never give myself enough leeway. Worse, I’m always in a hurry, meaning my hands, arms and legs take the brunt of it. Whether it’s rounding a corner too tight, reaching into a cabinet too close to the shelf above, or slamming into a table or chair, whatever is in my path, I can’t seem to widen my scope enough to avoid bumping into things and being in constant bruise mode.
As a kid, I used to cut corners too tight riding my bike. Once, while making a sharp turn, the handlebar came back and hit me just below the rib cage. It knocked me out cold. I came to lying in the middle of the street and remember thinking, "If no one is going to help me, I might as well get up and go home!”
A number of years ago I gave myself a black eye closing a cabinet door. Wouldn’t you know it, shortly thereafter I ran into a high school classmate/friend who looked at me very warily, even after I explained what happened.
Not long ago, I was rounding the corner from our hallway into the dining room and slammed my forearm into the corner of the banister, giving myself a bruise plus a huge bump to go along with it.
You’d think I would learn. But, oh no, this self-abuse haunts me! My latest run-in was with a kitchen stool. While pulling out the recycling/trash drawer, I accidentally dropped the piece of paper I was about to throw away. Bending down to retrieve it, WHAM!!! I slammed my forehead into the top back corner of the kitchen stool next to it. Ouch!!
“Well,” I thought to myself, “at least it didn’t break the skin, but I’m sure I’ll have a bruise.” Ha!! Not only did I get a bruise, now I have a permanent dent in my forehead as a reminder!!!
This corner-cutting thing may be inherited from my mom. She was always in a hurry too, and frequently had the bruises to prove it.
Another reason why I believe it could be an inherited trait is a close call between my late oldest brother, Mel, and my youngest brother, Jerry. Mel took curves wide, whereas Jerry turns tight. The result was a near miss, head-on car crash on a fairly sharp curve on Water St. in Eau Claire. It’s one of those family stories that becomes more hilarious every time it is recounted.
For years I hoped I hadn’t passed this corner-cutting gene on to our boys. However, one of Evan’s famous lines is, “I get hurt every day!” And, he does.
It’s safe to say it’s a good thing I don’t hunt, fish or golf like The Outdoors Guy.
I can picture the news now. “We have a report of a crazy woman who knows nothing about hunting, fishing or golf, yet she tried to do all three the same day. She hooked the rear end of her husband's pants instead of a fish, slammed her golf club into the back of her own head while careening her golf cart into a pond. Then, while hunting, she tried to squeeze between a pair of too-close-together trees and shot herself in the foot.”
It’s no wonder I’m a bit of a recluse. I believe it is my responsibility to protect the public’s safety from myself… a self-proclaimed, corner-cutting train wreck!!!

Boathouse Bob and Junior

For the past couple of years, Bob has been the "keeper" of the boathouse belonging to one of his best friends, Junior.
It’s the old one-hand-washes-the-other antidote. The Outdoors Guy keeps an eye out for any problems at the boathouse, alerts Junior, and a solution is found. In turn, Bob appreciates fishing privileges from spring through fall.
These longtime friends also enjoy their daily fishing trips to their favorite spots in Junior's boat during the summer months. However, medical issues for both of them have limited their time on the water.
This spring, Junior and Boathouse Bob have been busy bees with their "watchdog" duties. Of course, you know why. FLOODING!!! The high water has kept them swamped attempting to keep the antiquated boathouse afloat and from drifting away.
Thankfully, Junior hired Derrick to do the "grunt work." He also checks the boathouse every day. If there are any problems, Derrick is younger, mobile, stronger and able to handle anything the two 70-plus-year-old guys can’t.
It’s a great relief for Boathouse Bob and Junior, who is awaiting back surgery. Since recovering from an ongoing fight against pancreatic cancer, Bob has been left with a few residual side effects, including a loss of balance from chemotherapy and a stroke on Labor Day Weekend 2017. Bob isn’t as stable as he used to be, especially in a canoe on high water.
Yet, even with high water and duties in store for the "good ol' boys," every day, I see the joy on Boathouse Bob's face when he announces, “I’m going to the boathouse.”
For my part, I have no desire to go to a skanky boathouse where spiders are as big as fried eggs, mean teeth-baring fishers (a member of the weasel family) have been encountered, and snakes and other unsavory wildlife abound.
Consequently, when Bob announces he’s off to the boathouse every day, I smile and remind him to BE CAREFUL!!!
Yet, at the same time I’m thinking…. EEEKKKKK!!! LET. HIM. GO!!!!!

If you wish to comment, send them to kathy@boblamboutdoors