Living The Dream

Location: South Haven, MInnesota, United States

Fisherman, Waterfowler and all around good guy!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Family Visit

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Greyson Miller

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Pictures from Michael

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Pictures from Michael

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Photo #1: Spike and the Good Luck Monkey with a very nice Silver from the Togiak

Photo #2: Smitty and a "little bitty" Silver taken from the "BBL hole" on the Togiak

Photo #3: Smitty "The Guide" at the scene of a Beaver crash on the Togiak. All 7 people an board walked away safely!

Photo #4: Smitty and Spike (fat spike) with a TRFA guide in front of our take home Silvers!

Right at this minute I am sitting in the Boulevard Laundry, washing my clothes and surfing the net. My life, baby. It is very exciting, eh?

I have been sitting here thinking about fishing in Alaska. Right now is one of the slower times to fish in the wood river area of Bristol Bay. Most of the Kings are dead and the sockeye and chums are on their last legs although, there may be some fresh ones still around. Pinks will be plentiful if it is a pink year. I have forgotten if it is or not. Maybe Missy will email me and let me know. The Rainbow and Grayling and char fishing will be getting ready to pop on the river as the sockeye and chum drop their eggs. Then the egg slam will be on and yahoo! Rainbow city!!!

Some dry fly action will still be happening. But soon the fish will pretty much ignore evrything except eggs. the grayling however will still go after Dries when the sun shines on the water!

Damn, I wish I was on the water on the "Pak" or the "Wok" Middle of August the Silvers will be running in full force. This is my personal favorite time of the year. The bugs start to die off. It's cooler weather or "fat mans weather" The acrobatic Coho's or Silvers will fill the Togiak, Birch Creek and Rainbow. Shoot, gotta stop thinking about it and fold my shit!!!!!!!



Friday, July 25, 2008

The above photo is of Bristol Bay Lodges Fine Pilot, Dan Claus and my Mother, Ronna sitting shotgun as co-pilot recently in Alaska.
You know , I have had a pretty good time sitting here in the breakfast nook of the Expressway Inn here in Bismarck, ND. Writing these stories about my dad, Roger.

There are so many, I have really just scratched the surface. I have so many more to tell, and someday I probably will. I have really been posting these blogs after my days work. Mostly around 1 to 2 am in the morning. Then going back to my own hotel room at the Rivertree Inn. The Rivertree inn is a decent place. Mostly a flop house for workers staying semi-long term here in Bismarck. Just like me. I should mention that The breakfast nook overlooks the pool area and I have been fortunate these past few nights with the views afforded me from my little table. ;>)

I do miss my friends and family back at home. I have been working alot, 6 days a week. so I have not had a lot of time to scout around for hunting spots. I do however have my first Sunday off since coming to Bismarck this weekend so...............

Anyways, Thanks for visiting my little blog. I hope I did not bore you. If I did sorry.

More to come stay tuned. Mark this as a fovorite and of course you can request other stories on other subjects if you wish. Until next time,



Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hey gang,

I'm tired tonight. It's been a long day and night. I'm hungry as well so I will make this one short.


Roger had just purchased a used fiberglass speed boat, red and white, with a 60 horse Evinrude engine. He had just enough time off to head up to Bowen Lake near Pine River to try it out and go fishing for a day or two. What he needed was a traveling companion. He called my Grandfather Ike, down in Butterfield. Grandpa Ike,Never one to turn down a trip up to Bowen. Agreed! As Grandpa drove up to Stewart, Roger hooked up the boat and drove out to the local sweet corn field that was getting harvested by dads pals from Green Giant. After some bullshitting and arm twisting Roger had the guys dump a load of sweet corn into the new speedboat.

Grandpa made the trip up to Stewart and off the traveling sweetcorn salesmen / fishermen went! They would stop about every major cross road and put up a sign, FRESH SWEET CORN $1.50 A DOZEN!

They made their way up to Brainerd finally. Pockets bulging with money! They set up again and sold more corn! Nisswa, CORN! Jenkins, CORN! Pequot Lakes, CORN! Pine River, CORN! They set up shop in the liquor store in Pine River. (A natural place to sell corn for the pair) Tired of stuffing corn into bags the gang just adjusted the sign, SWEETCORN $1.00 A DOZEN! PAY IN BAR!

As the word got out about town, more and more people were coming up to the bar and getting corn! It was a hot seller in Pine River. The only problem was that even with the sale of corn being great, they still had a ton of corn left in the boat!! Some quick thinking had to ensue or there would be no room for them to fish in the boat the next day.

Roger came up with a plan. He drove the boat down to the local Red Owl grocery store. Found the owner/manager and offered the remaining corn to the store at $1.00 a dozen. The owner counter offered .50 an dozen. Roger told him that this was no ordinary sweetcorn but the primest stuff in the state. Picked that very day from the fertile fields of McCloud County. The Giants Finest Corn!! They settled at .70 a dozen and 2 stock boys to empty the corn from the boat!

Roger later said that he would have given the owner the corn if he would have known that the stock boys would have unloaded it for them!

After the corn was gone people were still showing up for more at the bar! An earlier customer was a little bummed out that the corn was gone, so dad bought him a drink and they began talking about fishing and the local lakes and where to catch'em (In the upper lip!) Finally the guy asked dad about the boat. What did he want for it? Dad said that he had just bought it and hadn't even fished out of it yet and did not really want to sell it. The guy told him that the resort that they were staying at had reserved them a very small boat and they were disappointed in it and liked the sweetcorn hauler much better. He told dad that they had been fishing on whitefish lake and the fishing for northern pike had been slow and their boat was not the kind of craft they could easily use to run around the big lake with. As the night wore on dad and grandpa, by now feeling very little pain, invited the guy and his wife to Bowen lake and that they would take them out fishing for pike. The guy staggered out of the bar and off to meet his wife at their cabin.

The next day our hero's/corn salesmen were still in bed nursing a couple of serious hangovers when there came a knock at the cabin door. It was the corn guy and his wife. They had come to fish and look at the boat. Now, it was after noon, and while Roger did enjoy to fish he was not in the greatest shape to do so. Neither was Ike, The Boat was still on the trailer! Well, out they went, dropped the boat in the lake. Roger tossed Ike the key and Grandpa Ike started it up. The couple got in with their gear and grandpa Ike rigged them up with probably a red eye wiggler and an old red and white spoon and off they went. Trolling as always clockwise around the lake.

Now, I myself have fished Bowen lake many, many times. In fact, I fished it at least 1 week a year from the time I was a couple of months old until I turned 28 years old and quite a few times since then. If there is one thing I know; is that you rarely have problems catching Northern Pike in Bowen Lake. They may not all be lunker's but the numbers are good.

Ike took the couple out for a round around the lake, The fishing was very good. Roger stayed in the cabin sleeping. After a couple of hours of fishing the lucky anglers had their limit of Pike! Including one nearly 10 lbs! They also had a bunch of crappies. They woke Roger up to look at the fish, Ike went up to the fish cleaning shack to clean the days catch and the couple started in on Roger about the boat. They asked dad how much he wanted for it. How much he paid for it. Would he PLEASE sell them the boat! Dad said finally that the boat was theirs for $600, But he was not so happy about selling it because here he was on Bowen lake and hadn't even fished yet. The couple was going to try to talk him down, but I think that after a night of drinking and carrying on in town roger was in no mood to haggle. I would bet that they could feel the "vibe"! $600 it was. They hooked up the boat. Got their fish from Grandpa Ike and off they went. Right up to Mr. Anderson the resort owner to book 2 weeks for the next year!

Our hero's looked at each other. Now they had no food as they had sold ALL of their corn, and no boat with which to go fishing for food. So they packed up and headed back to Pine River for happy hour to celebrate before heading back home to a very surprised Ronna and Grandma Bea!

Everyone was happy however when the money was tallied up from the boat sale and all of the sweetcorn they had sold.

Roger had owned a speed boat for 3 days and had never even sat in it, before he sold it.

Years later he he would tell me, "Every thing I own is for sale for the right price" Dad, loved to sell, It was his "Sport" Like golf, or baseball, it was a game to win or lose.

He was a pro at it.



Wednesday, July 23, 2008



Last hunting season, was right around he corner. I went down to Big Al's and retrieved the Water Bitch. Painted the Herter's Mallard Decoys. Oiled up the guns, packed the hunting clothes packed the boots and prepared the truck for the annual trip to Cando, North Dakota. This season dad had asked the gang if it was alright to bring a new friend of his along. Dad had met Mike at Walmart in Buffalo or Monticello, I forget which. We said sure, because a new guy is always fun. They try so hard and are easy to make fun of!

As the trip drew near, Roger was not feeling all that well and needed to go to the St. Cloud VA hospital to get his meds checked. I ran to The Tractor Supply store to talk to the manager about the company.

As I left The store, my cell rang and with a very bad connection, I could make out dads voice. But very little else. I heard, Hospital, St. Cloud, ambulance. call mom. talk to Mike. Can't go this trip and then the phone went dead. I tried to call back and could not get through. I called mom and asked her if she had heard from dad, she had not. I told her what I had heard. I raced home and picked up mom and we headed to the St. Cloud VA. On our way there, dad called and let us know that they had transferred him to the St. Cloud Hospital. Upon arrival we found his room and he was waiting for a blood transfusion. He told me to get the rest of the gear ready and for me to pick up Mike and head to Cando. When he was done with his treatment he would head over with the van. I doctor looked at me and shook his head.

Mom and I spent the night at the hospital at least for a while. The next day, knowing that, I had been trained well by Roger to "Do as I say, Not as I do" We all headed to North Dakota, The group was a little down in the mouth at our meeting spot. (The Fargo Hooters) NOTE- This is where Smitty told us all that he had a GIRLFRIEND!! Talk about Shock and Awe! We made it to Jeff Solseth's home in Cando, and set up shop. We prepared our gear for the next day. We field hunted at the farm and just smacked the heck out of the Mallards. It was a blast. I figured that dad would show up any moment. After the hunt I drove until I could get a cell signal. Called dad's cell phone to see where he was. This is when he told me the bad news. He would not be able to join the group on the hunt as the doctors told him that he had Mylo Dysplastic Syndrome or Smoldering Leukemia. I just sat on a gravel road and cried. I could not believe it. The man who had cheated death so many times before, 3 bypass surgeries, numerous car crashes and tons of bar fights. Now this. Well, he would of course beat this. Just as he had the others. I told him to just get stronger and listen to the docs. We still had the second trip to go on in October. He said yeah, He could do that. I went back to the guys at the camp and told them the news.

We had a good hunt. Little Mike had a blast and I had a blast hunting with him and the gang of course. But we all were a bit sad that the "Fucking Old Coot" or "FOC "for short was not there to shoot his usual 10 boxes of shells!

Dad was pretty much in and out of the hospital for the next few weeks. Doctor Al, the well known cancer doc, in St. Cloud took dad's case and ran him through numerous tests and had him trying every drug in the books, including some new stuff, just on the market. He was getting transfusion about every 3-4 days and mom and I and the girls were reading everything we could about the disease. We could all see the toll that it was taking on him. At home we would laugh and joke and tell stories and ask him stuff about growing up with Bev and Ordell, and how he met mom and where we all lived. His favorite cars, favorite vacations. Things that kept our minds off of the situation at hand. Michelle and Missy flew in from both coasts, we had not spent this much time together as a family in a long time.

As the second Duck hunting trip approached, dad was adamant that he was going. The doctors were adamant that he wasn't. It was a battle of wills. I wanted dad to come, he wanted to come. I knew that he would not be swayed. As the day of departure arrived. He told me that he had to go and get a transfusion so he could be strong enough to make the trip. I finally told him that it would be ok, if he wanted to stay at home and rest, sitting this one out. Talk about a hissy fit! There was no question that he was making the trip. Hours later he called me from the hospital and told me to take off as he was being delayed at the hospital and could not make it right away. He would drive the van over to North Dakota when he was through with the transfusions.

I wish I would have stayed and waited for him. But, I still wasn't sure if the Doc's would actually let him go.

We hit Hooters, continued on to Cando and prepared our gear, for the next days hunt. I drove out of town and called out to Paul Nistler and Wayne "DK" Schmeling who were also arriving late. I then called to see about Roger,s whereabouts. Back at the hospital dad had called mom and had her pack his clothes, gas up the van and bring it over to him at St, Cloud so he would not have to drive back home and could leave straight from the hospital. Jeez! When I called him he was just about in Devils Lake. Only about 30 miles away. I went back and informed the gang! Drove out to the outskirts of town and waited for his arrival.

Not long after here he comes cruising up and getting out and getting a big hug from me! We went to the house and all were waiting for the "FOC"!

Early the next morning. The alarm went off and I started stirring, getting ready, and such. I went over and shook dad and told him it was "daylight in the swamp!" He did not move. I said "come on dad, get your ass up." No Movement! I shook him again, and said "come on dad, no foolin' around." Now, Smitty was sitting up and looking to see what was going on. I felt dad's neck for a pulse. He was warm and it looked like he was breathing...... Still no movement. Finally he moved his fingers, and said, "I'm up. I'm UP! I helped him get dressed and get his waders on and we jumped in the truck and headed off to Island Lake. We had a great day! The birds were flying as usual, we were all shooting and carrying on. Making wise ass remarks to each other. I did notice that dad was not shooting as much as usual and was a bit quieter than in the past. But that was to be expected. We all cleaned birds and hit the sack, tired but happy. The gang was back together again, just like the good ole days.

The next morning Roger was very tired and told us that he was going to sleep in. It was the first time he had ever done this. We were all a little surprised when about 2 hours into the hunt I saw the van pull up to the access and flash his lights for me to come pick him up. We all had a great day of hunting and topped it off with Big Smitty shooting his first Swan!

The Schoepke's and Wayne and Paul left to head back to work, leaving Tom, Corey and Dad and I, to hunt the last day. We decided to try Long Lake, as it would provide soft sand beaches and comfortable hunting for us all, but especially for Roger. It was quite warm for being the final days of October, the sun and the sand, made for a lazy day of hunting and a bit slower than usual. We all shot ducks and we all missed a few. Roger fell asleep and fell off of his chair which we all laughed at. We were all dozing off from time to time.

We finally packed up and headed toward the access. Loaded up the boat and cleaned the birds. Roger was very quiet during all of this so I asked him finally just what was up! He told me that he had to take a #3 (a number 3 is when you have to go #1 and #2 but in a real big hurry(#3)!)

I helped him out of his boots, and out of his Camo Coveralls and helped him put his shoes on. All so he could faster get into the Corrigador Bar and Grill just up the road and use their bathroom. We shot out of the access like a bullet! Straight to the bar. Upon reaching the parking lot, dad told me he was fine and that he could make it until we were back in Cando. I told him that it was a 30 mile drive. He assured me he could make it. I took off slinging gravel in the air into the night sky.

We made it back to Cando and Roger fairly ran into the house. Corey and I and Smitty started to pack up the gear so we could take off early in the morning. Just as we were about done with or packing. Roger came out of the house and asked me where I had put his false teeth?!!! I told him that I did not do anything with his teeth! Well, right there we started to unpack the van, looking for his teeth! We looked under the seats, in the gunning boxes, in the gun cases, in the coveralls, in his waders, in his shirt pockets. In the decoy bags! Everywhere!! No False teeth anywhere. Of course it was all my fault, I had forgotten his teeth somewhere after putting them somewhere for safe keeping!!!! After pulling basically everything out of the van looking for the lost teeth, we came to the realization that they had to be back out at the lake some 30 miles or so down the road! I said that I would go and see if I could find them. He wanted to come along. We unhitched the Water Bitch and off we went back down the road, dodging deer after deer! Chatting away, mostly me listening as to how it was my fault that we were driving back in the first place. If I had only kept track of his teeth like a good son would!!! I told him that if my father would keep his damn teeth in his mouth we would all be sleeping right now!!! As we approached the Long Lake road approach, I was thinking, just what are the odds that his teeth were in fact there? If they were there, did I run over them on my way out of the access? Did Tom and Corey run over them on their way out of the access. Did the farmer come out of his driveway and run them over. Were the damn teeth even there in the first place?

I hit the brights and crept up the gravel road, my eyes scanning both right and left looking for a glimpse of the pearly whites. There they were!!! Right in the middle of the road! Just waiting for their owner! I'll be damned! Dad got out of the van and said, "See you prick, right where I said they would be!!!" "That will teach you for being in such a hurry!"

We stopped off at the Corrigador and had a beer to celebrate! (and to wash off the teeth!) Toasted a good trip and headed for home.

There was only one thing to say in summing up this night. "Fucking Old Coot!"

Little did any of us know that this would be the last hunting trip for "The King" Less than a month and a half later, dad would pass away at the St. Cloud Hospital.

On the way back to South Haven, I had to stop at the Tractor Supply Store in Jamestown ND for my 2nd Interview. This one with Randy Rebel, District #811's DM. As I was filling out paper work Dad came in and introduced himself to Randy. Randy took dad through the store on a tour. Dad was in his glory! He so loved to sell things, and the merchandise that TSC carries was right up his alley! I think about it everyday. If he were still alive, He would be impossible to get out of the store. I really think that this is my dads real dream job.

The last time we talked in the hospital he told me how happy he was about me going back to work. I told him how happy I was that I had the whole summer off to hang out with him.

Sometimes God works in mysterious ways!