Polly Erickson, the West End’s favorite blood collector, is once again asking for volunteer donations when the bloodmobile is in town on Tuesday, July 21.
Donating blood is a very important community service, saving and improving the lives of our loved ones, friends and neighbors. It is also a lot of fun to visit with the staff and the other donors in the bloodmobile.
One of the less pleasant, but necessary, parts of the blood giving experience is the lengthy interview that determines if you are eligible to be a donor. Now days, you can go to the Memorial Blood Center website and complete the questionnaire online. It speeds things up on donation day, both for you and for the staff.
The large, colorful, converted RV will be at Zoar Lutheran Church in Tofte from 2 pm until 6 pm on Tuesday, July 21. Call Polly at 663-7398 to make an appointment.
North Shore Area Partners, the excellent program based in Silver Bay that provides in-home services for seniors and disabled folks in eastern Lake County, is holding a public event during the Bay Days Celebration next week. They’ll be at Reunion Hall from 9 am until 4 pm on Saturday, July 11. Stop by, learn about the program, buy some food, make a silent auction bid - and please thank the many volunteers for their valuable community service.
Camp Menogyn, the famous YMCA camp on West Bearskin Lake on the Gunflint Trail, is offering some open spots in their canoeing, backpacking and rock climbing trips to local kids at a reduced price. The trips start next week, so you need to act fast if you want to take advantage of this huge opportunity.
If you are entering grade 7 through 12, get in touch with Fred at the camp right away. A Camp Menogyn experience can literally change your life. Menogyn is Ojibway for “together” and is spelled m-e-n-o-g-y-n. If you can’t find it online, call WTIP for contact information.
Steve Gendron, from Minneapolis, has been volunteering to count loons on a selection of West End lakes for more than 20 years. He reports his careful counting to the DNR where they are combined with the efforts of hundreds of other volunteers to track the loon population in Minnesota over the long term.
This year, Steve brought along his new dog, Bode, along on the trip. Bode is a husky mix and came to Steve through a rescue organization just a couple of weeks ago. On Monday, as he was crossing the portage between Smoke and Burnt Lakes in the BWCA Wilderness, Bode was spooked by some thunder and ran off into the woods. Despite two days of searching, Steve and his family could not find him.
On Wednesday, the Gendrons had to return to Minneapolis with heavy hearts. Signs and pictures at the Sawbill entry point are alerting people traveling in that direction to keep their eyes peeled, and by Wednesday evening we had several reports of Bode sightings.
We would be more despairing for Bode’s fate if it weren’t for an almost identical situation two summers ago. That dog, also spooked by a storm, was missing for more than two weeks before it showed up at a campsite and was enticed into captivity with an offer of food. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the same outcome for Bode.
Back in 1958, my parents hired a lovely high school girl from Duluth named Dee Sampson. That same summer Sawbill Lodge, our next-door neighbor, hired an awkward boy of the same age named Steve Hedman. I was only five years old, but I distinctly remember that whenever he wasn’t working, Steve would come over and stand in the corner of our store and look miserable. I tried to talk to him, but he could barely string a sentence together in his painful shyness.
As the summers rolled by, Dee continued to work for us and became a treasured family friend. Steve continued to hang around and act weird, but slowly worked up his nerve and started talking to Dee.
One day, I rounded a corner unexpectedly and caught Steve and Dee kissing. I was shocked by this wild behavior, but apparently I was the last to know that the two had grown quite sweet on each other.
In 1966 they were married and, of course, took a BWCA Wilderness canoe trip for their honeymoon. We decorated their canoe with “Just Married” signs and tied tin cans to the stern.
On July 2, Steve and Dee celebrate their 49th anniversary. They have three children and more grandchildren than I can keep track of. They are visiting Sawbill to relive the wonderful memories that they created so long ago.
By the way, Steve overcame his shyness, got a degree in genetics, and had an illustrious career as a professor at UMD. Dee is well loved in Duluth for a lifetime of community involvement and acts of kindness.
While other people looking at them may see an older couple when they look at Steve and Dee, after all these years, I still see the awkward boy and beautiful girl slowly falling in love.