It's way up there man! Somewhere around Hayward. Fifty-miles from Telemark, where they hold the famous cross-country ski race known as the Birkenbeiner. My friend Jake sold his tool rental business, and bought a big house with a tavern in the basement. He had twelve cabins for campers, and rented snowmobiles, bass boats, and fishing gear. He also sold worms, and beers. He owned a pontoon boat, a Piper Cub single engine plane, equiped with struts, and pontoon landing devices which allowed him to fly clients to all the lakes in the area, on up into Canada. He lived on the Chain-of-Lakes, and the view from his living room in the main house was breathtaking, and spectacular.
In the morning, we drank 100-proof Wild Turkey bourbon, chased by Leinenkugel beers in the bottle. We'd go outside on the porch, and shoot red squirrels with our .22's. Jake said the squirrels were nasty little creatures, and that they needed eradication. I don't remember why, but I was happy to help him with the task. We probably made squirrel stew, who knows?...We were drunk all the time. We chopped firewood in our t-shirts, listening to the jack pines crackling from expansion-and-contraction. It was a dry ten-degrees, and I was sweating from the effort! It was sure nice to be 25 years old, by God! We went to the local tavern and ate bacon and eggs, with our coffees. Then we bought a loaf of bread and some hotdogs, before heading out to God only knows where, to hunt snow-shoe rabbit. Around noon, we'd start a fire, roast the hotdogs, and have a couple beers. We'd come back home and watch an eagle fish in the lake. Its talons extended, and with a "whoosh" in the water, the glorious bird accelerated into the sky with its wiggling prize.
The fire in the main house was warm, and me and Jake reclined in two, big, lazy-boy chairs, wiggling our toes next to the fire. Our woolen socks were still on our feet. We looked like a couple of drunken, Wisconsin hillbillies. We laughed and told jokes. Jake was a man's, man. He was built like an ox. He knew how to operate and fix machines. He could drive just about anything. He was 35 years old, ten years older than me. We played a lot of poker together, raced motorcycles, and went fishing and hunting. We were always in trouble with our wives. The town of Gordon had a three-lane bowling alley, way back in the mid-seventies. An Indian lad was the pin setter. I liked Gordon, Wisconsin. I'd hate to think that it has changed, but my logic tells me otherwise. Jake couldn't make a go of the resort. I tried to find him for a long time after his sister and I got a divorce. He was a helluva guy. Maybe someday, our paths will cross again...(Since this writing, I found Jake on Facebook!)