Back-To-Back State Champions -- 2018-2019
In the midst of one of the scariest times in the history of the world, things happen every day that allow me to enjoy just being around home.
Those things or events throughout a day, in these times really vary. If one doesn’t keep busy and just sits around watching Netflix videos, YouTube or just continue reading one book after another I’d imagine boredom can be a part of one’s life. For me, I try to do as many things in a day’s progression as I can as Charlie Behrens of the Manitowoc Minute says, “Keep er Movin.”
A daily hike has proven to be a real great mental cleanser for me. My hikes range in distance from 3-6 miles. Some go “Over The River and Through The Woods” while others traverse compacted aggregate or crumbled, rough and at one time fully paved roadways in the neighborhood. Heck, one of the worst one-time, fully paved roadways is a U.S. Highway that ends in these two digits - 51.
On every hike I note and observe a multitude of things. During the past week I have been able to discern where all the breeding pairs of Sand Hill cranes have chosen their annual propagation routines. If they could plant stakes I have figured out where the boundaries of each avian domain lie. While in flight, if a second loving pair of birds gets close to the imaginary boundary of another pair’s domain the pair that have it claimed begin a strident, gravelly warning that apparently means: Find another place to raise another family! The birds that flew over the boundaries quickly turn and move off to land in another part of the marsh areas of Oshaukuta and its surroundings.
Some, I should really say most of my hikes and meanderings result in prizes I find on the road, in the ditches or in the fence lines. Today for instance I left with just a rapier-like shaft. Actually it was a golf umbrella I dug out of a trash can at the ball yard a couple years ago which was still in good shape. I returned home with a plethora of items that just could come in handy in one way or another (no pun intended) “down the road.” I was able to add to my collection of black, rubber tie straps. Most of those in my extensive collection are found without one or both of the S hooks on the ends. Today’s find was a perfect one - no cuts or tears in the black rubber with two intact hooks affixed to each end. The rest of today’s finds included a fiberglass dowel about three feet long that could someday be used as a stir stick or ramrod for one of my many “front stuffers”, A clear glass or plastic dowel about two feet long that may in time serve as a method to affix one of my wood carvings to the base of a scene; a piece of fairly heavy wire with a loop on one end and a small, flat piece of rubber that looks like it could have been part of an automobile floor mat. One can from time to time need a piece of heavy wire to hold something to another something and the flat piece of rubber will become part of my soon to be updated fishing rod building apparatus.
It’s not unusual for me to come home from anywhere with more items than I left home with. Most of said items were at one time other people’s trash but in my possession they become a treasure (the aforementioned items for example). Years ago my wife sent my young son to the then "dump" with me with instructions from her to “make sure dad does not come home with a bigger load than he leaves with.” Now they call it the recycling center.
My plan this morning was to go southbound on the shoulder of highway 51 and return on the northbound side. Once out and moving I then consider all my choices for the actual route and ultimately make decisions based on nothing other than a whim. Today as I rounded the curve just before reaching the confluence of East Morse Road and the aforementioned highway I was hiking on I chose to just keep going until something stopped me and turned me around. Perhaps it would be distance. Maybe it would be time. With the umbrella in hand it could also have been a sudden downpour. I had no clue that my turnaround point would be three quarters of the way up a rise in elevation on said route caused by a caustic odor originating from whatever material the fella is burning in his outdoor furnace a short distance from the shoulder of the highway. I am allergic to many things that trigger an asthma issue. That pungent smell turned me 180 degrees back toward home.
SARS-CoV-2 has so far, delayed the start of what had promised to be an exciting season attempting to search for better and claim a third straight state softball title. Whether or not a season takes place is yet to be seen. I started planning for the 2020 season moments after the final out was recorded when winning the second straight title a year ago. I know that may sound like poppycock to some but it is the truth. Conversation with several players that would return this season took place before the girls even received their championship medals. Those girls needed instant information on where they fit into the program’s and their needs for 2020. Time was spent during the summer in small group training sessions while other instruction took place during the Wednesday night league games and the three weekend tournaments the Summer Pumas played. Softball Open Gyms are not part of our program. Other Pumas’ players were members of other teams, a couple based here and a couple others on teams that traveled far and wide. The latter groups were told what would be expected of them once the high school season got underway on March 16th.
That date has come and gone and a foreseeable first-day is not known. I have a plan in the event that the faith I have in the rest of humanity abiding by the urgent messages from the scientists who understand communicable diseases will make it possible for not just the seniors but the freshmen, sophomores and juniors to also be able to “seek better” on a daily basis.
My hike this morning was more than a breath of cool, moist fresh air. My mailing address is N4944 U.S. Highway 51. My two driveways both end at the shoulder of the highway. The Wisconsin DOT has told me that, on average, 5000 cars pass in front of my house daily. Sunday’s are always lower numbers but not as low as I experienced on this morning’s hike. By the time I had reached that aforementioned curve in the highway, a distance of 3/8ths of a mile just one car buzzed past me going the same direction I was hiking and not a single vehicle faced me head-on. I hike for more than an hour along that busy highway. The final vehicle zipped past me when I was about 10 feet shy of my mailbox. It was just the 11th car to go northbound while just 15 had gone south. That’s 26 vehicles.
We just might have a chance girls! We just might!
Spread the word. It seems to be working. Social Distancing, a term none of us did not even know that we did not know was a term just might get us a season.
For now I think I will work on that red fox carving I started years ago as it hops into the air to attack its prey below. After all, I now have that clear dowel to hold the beast airborne.
Keep it Rising Folks -- KEEP IT RISING!