Thursday, March 26, 2015

Pictures of the Moment - North Country Lottery

It's cold for much of the year in northern Minnesota and other parts of the Upper Midwest. Even the 4th of July can be sweater weather any given year. If you're going to live here you have to embrace the climate and have a little fun with it.

An annual tradition all over the Northland is to bet on when some oversize hardware will break through the ice of a local lake with the onset of spring, an event that may seem overly optimistic in January. The proceeds usually benefit a local charity. Springtime visitors to the region should keep a look-out for large objects randomly sitting atop open ice just off the shoreline of lakeside civic parks. And in the land of 10,000 lakes, just about every town has a lakeside civic park.

In Minnesota, May showers bring June flowers. Did the lake ever actually thaw after the 2014 polar vortex? I half-wondered as I photographed this sign in March, 2015. But soon small towns and large all across lake country will raffle a full slot of guesses on the day, hour and minute of breakthrough. Prizes may be modest, but there is such a thing as "bragging rights."There are no statistics on the prevalence of sabotage, but a grenade and "tomorrow at 3:30 am" crossed my mind..

As an aside, Valentini's Supper Club in Chisholm is the place for a good, family Italian meal in northern Minnesota.

This isn't an ice fisherman parked on a small lake (by Eveleth), and the ice isn't thin in March. Someday soon though, this pickup itself will need to be fished out. The time-honored approach is a rusty old junker that's been stripped of its engine. Even minus the oil and transmission fluid, such recycled entertainment isn't likely to be sanctioned by the Sierra Club. Most hand-wringers don't have much sense of fun anyway.

A giant bobber may be creative, but the sudden sinking of a truck is dramatic. How many tourists have happened across such scenes while it's being dragged out and stuck around in hopes to see a body? So I'll see the same truck in the same place next year, maybe a little rustier. But first comes fishing season.