Memories and Legacies

 

It had been a rather perfect evening weather-wise.  The heat of the day resignedly gave way to a light breeze and a cloud cover that lowered the thermometer just enough. We sat at long picnic tables, plates full of potluck food and the sizzle of frying fish in the background. It was the first all-camp fish fry of the summer season and it felt special, a touch magical. Continue reading “Memories and Legacies”

Bring Me Your Stories

 

I want to capture the stories that walk on in people’s minds but won’t live forever. The stories of our place here at The Angle. The land and those hearty enough to survive, tame it, love it.

These songs will sing on without us but someday we won’t know the words. I want to write them down. I want the songs to sing on. The small line of harmony I might add to the greater melody will be dwarfed by what is to be learned by listening and writing down the stories. Continue reading “Bring Me Your Stories”

Joan of Oak

I met Joan Undahl only six years ago when she invited me to lunch at Sportsman’s Oak Island Lodge to gracefully hand over the involvement she still had in The Angle’s annual Blueberry Festival. We laughed and talked, and I’m sure I must have seemed naive and yet oddly familiar in my fresh-from-the-city attitudes. Over the years that followed, I saw her many times at luncheons, when she needed groceries delivered or the rare boat ride to Young’s Bay. She was always sending me letters with random ideas for The Angle she had saved over the years, and I was honored to have been chosen in her eyes as someone who might carry-on those dreams. Continue reading “Joan of Oak”

Grooming The Road Less Traveled

The Angle Welcomes a New $10 Million Dollar Man

 

The road to the Northwest Angle is a multi-faceted character in an epic, cross-genre novel that spans decades. The story has had many narrators over the years, from the original logging and dragline crews, to the hearty stick-pickers and early adventurers, to the Lake of the Woods county folks who’ve matured and maintained it, to the oft-traveling parents, school bus driver and local package carriers who, today, use the road nearly 260 days a year.

To know The Angle is to be intimately acquainted with its road. The only over-land passage in and out, it belongs to both Canada and the US. It sports a tarred toupee for a majority of its winding miles, but the final 18 are gravel, and that is where its bi-polar personality is cemented and made infamous. Continue reading “Grooming The Road Less Traveled”

Wannaska survives the trends of rural decline

Rural America faces plenty of economic challenges, from the sharp decline in the number of family farms and, in turn, the small-town economies that supported them, to the disproportionate reliance on manufacturing jobs, to a severe shortage in child-care providers.

Of course, these are broad-stroke issues within a greater problem facing the country at large, but despite the gloomy outlook touted by commissioned studies, universities, and rural betterment institutes across our 50 states, there are still small community success stories happening everywhere you look.

Wannaska is one such story. Continue reading “Wannaska survives the trends of rural decline”

Angle Outpost Resort Celebrates 60 Years

From its very foundations, family has been central to Angle Outpost resort. Through four sets of owners, 17 children have been (or are being) raised there, beginning with Harold and Irene Peterson’s five.

Peterson’s Camp was formed as a hunting and fishing outpost in 1957. That was in the pre-electricity days of the Northwest Angle, before there was much for indoor plumbing or even a road to get there. Raising a family and running a resort in those hardworking times took fortitude. “Money was pretty scarce and I ‘worked out’ eight hours a day,” Harold said of the early times, his faded yet still musical Norwegian accent catching on the hard consonants. Continue reading “Angle Outpost Resort Celebrates 60 Years”

Togetherness: the greatest milestone

Joyce and Melvin Ortmann have known each other forever. Before there was 62 years of marriage. Before there was world travel. Before there was a quiet, shared grief upon losing their only daughter. Before there was a legacy of nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Before all that, they cross-country skied the snowy fields on the outskirts of Warroad while their parents visited over coffee. They played as kids do, tracking the snow, sliding the haystacks, coming back into the house wet and red-cheeked in their childhood joy. Continue reading “Togetherness: the greatest milestone”