Tag Archives: Charleston

You call this fishing? Perhaps I’d best stay put in the mountains …


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This juvenile black tip shark that chomped on a cut finger mullet was about all I could muster over two days of fishing in the heat and humidity.

For the better part of six months, Miss Emma languished high and dry below Robbie’s deck; my sturdy little kayak probably thought her seafaring days were over.

And after last week’s sorry excursion to Bowens Island, it may well be that she and I will be land lubbers for another few months. If you like small sharks and junk fish, well, I’m your guy. Ellen and Reid will see the details of this sorrowful tale later this week.


June 4, 2018

Ellen/Reid: Hank Williams’ Hey Good Lookin’ just popped up on Pandora and perhaps that means I’ve ingratiated myself that much more to what passes for mountains. Ellen, Tim knows this kind of ‘neck music. 

It’s unspeakably gorgeous today. A very clear blue sky – free of rain for once – and the 80F sun is drying us out after a sodden several week stretch of unrelenting rain. But the raised bed has drained quite well and more than once my lucky stars have been thanked that there’s no basement to worry about as a collection place for water. We absorbed better than 24 inches in the span of not quite three weeks. Once the French Broad pushed up and out of its banks the water began a slow march toward the house. The fields out back resembled a lake but it would’ve taken a helluva lot more water to ultimately reach my back door. Trout fisherman have to be shaking their heads since the fish have got to be swimming way downstream if they’re alive at all. That’s too bad since the summer tourist season is upon Brevard. Already there’s been an uptick in traffic, largely from the out of towners. But since I’m a recent alien myself, there’s no sense bitching about it. It’s good for the town.

Alas, my transplanted butterfly bush bid the garden a farewell as it succumbed to something. It just didn’t take to the dirt although it might have had a severe case of wet feet after all the rain. The spinach and arugula have already gone to bolt (seed) and there wasn’t enough picked. The heat surely isn’t good for cool weather crops and next year the seeds will be in the ground at the end of February at the latest. A friend suggested a tent of gauze might save the tender plants from sunburn and that’s another potential remedy. I’ve been infected with another case of raised garden bed-itis since another 5×5 foot box will be built next week. I can’t help myself.

Also, and Ellen you can thank Tim for his help with steering me to construction resources, the wheels are turning rapidly toward a self-made deck. The neighbors are beating me to the punch with very nice designs but I’m bound and determined to give it a try. It won’t be overly ornate but it will also serve as a hiding place for Miss Emma. Pinterest is a wealth of wonderful design inspiration.

There was some tragedy during and after the White Squirrel Festival. The festival hosts something of a Soapbox Derby down the hill on East Broad Street in downtown, and one of the cars went out of control and careened at full speed into the crowd, sending several onlookers to the hospital, one of them a gentleman with a severe head injury. He passed away over the weekend. As I walked on my daily constitutional past the spot of the accident, there were markings where the sorry event occurred. The whole thing has cast a cloud over the festival. More than likely this is the final time racers will zoom down the hill.

At long last, Miss Emma has rightly assumed her perch atop the Camry and as early as I wake up tomorrow morning she and I will make a beeline to Bowens Island for the first time in more than six months.

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Yeah, I whine and moan about poor fishing skills but there’s really few places I’d rather be than afloat on the tidal creeks and flats.

I’ve itched to get down there and have missed the saltwater terribly. Stopped a bit ago for a load of frozen shrimp at the store and once this letter is done the rest of the gear will be tossed into the car. The one downer about living in Brevard is it adds another 65-70 miles to the jaunt. For the first time ever we’ll overnight in Charleston at some fleabag motel and make a two day fishing venture out of it. Better than 500 miles down and back in one day. It’s just too much to endure. The salt creeks are no doubt heating up and the reds are likely to have vamoosed to cooler waters offshore but that’s no concern to me. It will just be nice to be on the water. Yeah, but best time to fish in the Spring has come and gone but that’s no biggie. I’ll be up and on the road before first light.

Love, Dad

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A lawn. I forgot, ignored, dismissed the idea of a lawn …


My last slog around a lawn sweating behind a push mower was in 2005? 2006? Whenever. It’s just that when my base shifted south of the Mason-Dixon Line, there was never a moment’s thought given to cutting grass – and edging and weeding and fertilizing. I fell in love with Brevard but forgot about the bigger home maintenance picture. Now I’m living it. And to think I’m thinking about chickens, too. More on that foolishness next week.


March 5, 2018

Ellen/Reid: Well, it’s another Monday morning up in the hills and for a change there’s nothing falling from the skies. Until Wednesday according to the forecast. That means that, for the first time in all these years (12), there is a lawn to be mowed while relative dryness exists. Cutting grass was not in the vernacular; I thought mowing was sworn off forever. The neighbor across the street, Sonny, says it takes him 15 minutes to mow his small patch of green but he doesn’t have a back yard quite the size of mine so you can

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This is why I moved to Brevard. To walk a couple of blocks to the Brevard College campus and another couple of blocks to the downtown.

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Of course, this too is why I moved. There just happens to be a small lawn that comes with it.

tack on another 10 minutes to the chore. Still, this is about one-third the size of the acreage on South Shore Drive. My commitment is to an emissions-free electric mower (which I have yet to buy) so I’m borrowing one to see how it works. Last week the developer volunteered to fertilize (with an organic mixture) and the fescue grass (a derivative of blue grass) has just exploded with growth.

Next up is a raised bed garden. Several weeks ago I walked by a nice example of a well thought out bed that I hope to replicate. I’m really looking forward to small plot to tend to. Probably something in the six by 10 foot range. Tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, garlic, sugar snap peas, that sort of thing. Maybe some red raspberries and blueberries. Perhaps the size should be upped to eight by 12. The local extension service publishes a gardening how-to guide so that’s a must read. It’ll be fun to get my hands dirty in the good earth for once. That feeling has been missed since moving to the South and was a real drawback to the townhome in Charlotte.

Feeling good two weeks after the surgery. Feeling very good, actually. The doc called me the anomaly among his patients and after less than two minutes in the examination room he gave me the green light (short of doing something super stupid like heavy lifting). I was already performing contortions and gyrations while installing the shelves and came out none the worse for wear. Walked most of nine holes with Sondra and Jody over the weekend and came through that, too. So there’s full anticipation of being able to golf (50 percent swing effort) in roughly two weeks time. I have steered clear of lifting most things. It’s a hard sneeze that’s the killer. That rattles your timbers from top to bottom. You know precisely where the incision is, that’s for certain.

Reid, when is a good time to visit you? You’ve got some deciding to do in terms of Chicago, Oakland or New York. Nice to have some options, although personally Chicago would present the least amount of upheaval if you can parlay your Oakland experience to their Chicago base of operations. Your friends are there and you know the town. Take that for what it’s worth. But it all seems on the upswing for you.

Perhaps I could double dip with a one-trip visit to Chicago while en route up to St. Paul in May. Ellen, let me know when and where and what you want me to do in terms of assistance.

Got a full slate of friends penciled in for visits. That’s how it should be. Hopefully there can be a jaunt to Charleston with Miss Emma squeezed in sometime in the next three to four weeks. I’m very anxious to fish. It could also be that I’ll rent a kayak rather than tote her down as a way to avoid the lifting. We’ll see how the recovery goes. My shelving had to account for all the rods and gear but there’s still some stowage space that needs to be resolved. I’m not ready by any means to ditch the saltwater gear just yet. I will visit Dave H. in early April to pursue tarpon. If we hook into anything of appreciable size that’ll really test the scar.

Well, enough for today. Be good, please, please, please contact me every so often. Hope to see you all in short order. Give the girls a squeeze.

Love, Dad

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‘Operator error’ – again (and again)


Long ago when patriots were patriots in the truest sense, Thomas Paine wrote “These are the times that try men’s souls.” True then and true now. 

Especially when it comes to basic carpentry for basic shelves. Attaching planks to brackets sounds simple enough but someone has to make a ham-handed mess of things and that might as well be me. Thanks to near-continual operator error, Mr. Paine, my soul has been tried enough. Measure twice, cut once? Never heard of it.

Since they’d seen such skill-less, expletive-laced home task bludgery before, Ellen and Reid had to know this was coming.


February 28, 2018

Ellen/Reid: My base of writing operations has shifted from the already cluttered desk to the less cluttered (but it’s getting there) kitchen counter. All the better to sit with my cup of coffee and watch it rain, again, outside. I’ll hand it to Brevard; it gets it’s share of moisture of which there has been a lot of as of late. But when it’s nice, it’s beautiful here.

Reid, Oakland sounds like one helluva tech gig, and your mom tells me they have a Chicago situation that you might be involved with, too? That would be really a great thing to slide right into that. You wouldn’t need to give up your Chicago life and friends. Of course, I could always use a little more first-hand information so keep me up to speed. What you’re doing in California is beyond my comprehension and you’ll need to to take any explanation slow and basic with me. But it all sounds good. Aren’t you excited?

I’m up to my eyeballs in shelving. Damn, that feels like all I’ve done is install tier after tier of shelving in each closet and, now, the attached shed at the back of the house. The 10’ x 5’ spare room was a catch-all/dumping spot for virtually everything that wasn’t allowed in the house or otherwise had no place to be put. Literally, the space was packed. You couldn’t walk into it.

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Yeah, I suffer my share of goof ups around the house but I can always retreat to the back deck for scenes like this.

It’s really the last storage frontier. But yesterday the first inroads were made (my carpentry skills are sorely lacking and several boards had to be recut because of operator calculation errors) and even though it’s raining now I’ll be back at it as soon as this letter and the morning coffee are finished. It does feel good to get at least some things up off the concrete floor and into some semblance of storage and organization.

A shelving breaking point was reached about 5:30 last night and I honestly said, aloud, ‘The hell with this’ and drove off to a never-before-visited spot, Ecusta Brewing. It’s on the main drag on the east end of town and a scant few feet from the Davidson River. You could tell right off that it was frequented by locals. It’s a small scale brewer that does a really nice job with their darker beers and they’re not quite so IPA driven as the local big boys such as Oskar Blues and Sierra Nevada. But after one glass I hit the short road home. Everything is on the short road in Brevard. My Camry is still operating on the quarter tank of gas that was in it last weekend. It’s one mile to the store, one mile to downtown, 1.5 miles to the far side of town. That close proximity has taken a bit of getting used to. Now that there’s finally some free time, there’s finally time to explore.

My follow up appointment with the surgeon is Friday morning. Since there is no pain and no apparent complications (knock on wood), the full expectation is that he’ll give me my walking papers after just a couple of minutes of face-to-face time. He told me at the initial consultation that this operation would be a snap and that the recovery shouldn’t be as extended as the procedure last April. Of real interest is when I can hike and kayak and golf and work out again. I’m very anxious to get back down to Charleston since it’s been three months since Miss Emma has hit the water. I did fashion a custom spot for rods and fishing gear in the shed. A new friend up here, Billy, is prodding me to hit the trout streams. He’s quite the accomplished fly fisher and it’ll be good to be under his tutelage. Of course, right behind me is the French Broad River although walking access to it from the house is kind of sketchy.

Alright, that’s a wrap. Reid, please keep me posted. I’m so happy and anxious for you. Ellen, give the girls a squeeze – and Tim a pat on the back for putting up with you three. And let me know the dates in May that will require me in St. Paul. It’s a good human quality for you to host immigrants.

Love, Dad

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Mr. Chicken Little bites his nails as he picks flooring …


As the three of us spend less and less time on the phone with each other, our typical very short calls are largely for items that are mostly quick updates (“I arrive at the Minneapolis airport at 4:30. Goodbye.”). We’re just not chatters and FaceTimers so the letters step in to partially fill informational voids.


December 5, 2017

Ellen/Reid: Now’s the time for a bit of nail biting as the buyers have until Dec. 15 to pull the plug. To be able to keep their $2,500 won’t be of much solace should the deal head south. My Realtor tried to keep Mister Chicken-Little-The-Sky-Is-Falling calm yesterday; he cautioned that there’s always a ‘list.’ The only bugaboos to me are the water heater and a periodic small drip from the freezer, which I have already disclosed. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

All it’s done is solidify the desire to relocate in Brevard. You know the reasons. There is also something about reinvention of self with a little adventure and the unknown tossed in for good measure. What I do know is that picking flooring is not my cup of tea. Ellen, the lighter shade just seemed right so I’m sorry to have vetoed your choice. The hardwood goes down this week. You will have more opportunity to serve as my decorator; what would you think about plantation shutters? Those are what’s in the current home and I like them very much.

The final nail in the Head West coffin was poking along at seven miles an hour yesterday on I-77. One hour to drive the final seven miles to home. That’s just a deal killer. Three lanes of white lights and red taillights for as far as the eye can see. That’s no way to live, no way to drive. I’m going to do better. Already, I’m Googling things to do in Brevard and Asheville and Hendersonville.

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The kitchen is in the final stages of completion. I’m finding the hard way that decor and interior design is not necessarily my cup of tea.

To reiterate, the reason for three bedrooms is so that you and friends from Charlotte and Iowa have a place to stay on the doorstep of the mountains. There will be a definite open door policy for those sorts of visitors. And be sure to tell Tim, Ellen, that I will hold him to his oath for you four to spend next Thanksgiving at my new pad. Reid, you and Liz are welcome, too, although your T-Days seem locked in at St. Paul.

It was a good decision at the last possible moment to head early a.m. to Charleston. The fishing was unbelievable for species I seldom catch, trout and sheepshead. I mean, for a long time it was nice fish after nice fish. Bang. Bang. Bang. It didn’t appear that way at first. The tide was by far the highest I’d ever seen it owning to the Super Moon effect. It pulled the water almost to the top of the docks. It was cold and windy, too. The thought was ‘Here we go again – no fish’. Reid, I tried a new Z-Man plastic lure slipped over a jig that has a big ‘eye’ where the lead weight usually is. The trout went bonkers over it. As per usual, a black man who fishes from the dock at the put in point was the beneficiary of my good fortune. He got a hefty 18 inch black drum and a nice 20 inch trout. After all the gear was stowed at home and the fish cleaned, I dropped some off to my friends Jill and Troy. Nice to share the bounty with folks who will know what to do with it. Troy is one helluva chef. I was wrong, too, about Bowens Island as only marginally further from Brevard. It will add about 60 miles each way. Perhaps it’s time to junk the down-and-back mentality and just stay overnight and fish for two days rather than one.

As for the new hernia, jeez. The doctor cautioned me against too-harsh floor workouts which he attributed, in part, to the new bulge. But since there are no restrictions between now and the surgery date (which has yet to be set) then all will be good in terms of preparation for the move. Ideally, it would be nice to stave it off until after all is said and done with the new house in Brevard. Ellen, let Tim know I appreciate his offer to fly down and help with the packing (and heavy lifting). I may well take him up on it. Reid, I don’t know your schedule beyond Sri Lanka but don’t feel by any means that your presence here is required.

So keep your fingers crossed that the 15th will yield a set-in-stone contract. Toes crossed, too.

Love, Dad

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North Carolina mountains, here I come …


The time of crying wolf (you may have heard my prior threats to move) is over; if the deal holds together, I’ll pull up stakes in Charlotte and move to Brevard. It’s on the doorstep of the mountains in North Carolina. 

Ellen and Reid have heard all the details but this was the first time they got something in writing. I deleted some points in this post but you still get the drift.


November 28, 2017

Ellen/Reid: Talk about roller coaster weekdays. Jeez. Up up and away yesterday, down down down today. One of the worst, or most harried days in a long, long time.

I was on Cloud Nine Monday before waking up like a shot about 4:30 a.m. today with a moderately severe case of buyer’s remorse. I sweated bullets that the rear deck wasn’t large enough and was accessible only through the master bedroom, therein denying it as an entertainment spot with its nice views of the mountains to the south. The Realtor got a panicky call from me this afternoon

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Construction isn’t quite finished but there will be a good view of the low-lying mountains and the French Broad River just beyond a treeline.

but he was able to talk me back from the ledge. He reminded me of all the other good points, and that most entertainment would be in the large common room, and, of course, he was right. So tonight the signed contract was sent to him. Looks like a bridge loan is in the offing. Your uncle has helped me understand how those work.

Then my Realtor here used the velvet hammer to beat me down somewhat on the asking price for this place. It’s not the amount I wanted but he was likely right too, although I assured him there wouldn’t be much budging by me to lower the price if there are no immediate takers. This is still a great location and a wonderful unit. Yet this is where things might get a little dicey. If this townhome doesn’t move right away, I risk being on the hook for the balance of the bridge loan in mid-February. Hopefully that won’t happen. But it could. Showings begin Thursday morning. I’ve got one full day to get things ship shape.

Deja vu: for the past couple of weeks my stomach had felt a bit odd and it appears to me that there are the makings of another hernia. It’s in the center of my torso just above my navel and is not close to either of the hernias repaired in April. What a time for this to happen. The surgeon will take a look at me on Tuesday morning to see if indeed my self diagnosis is correct and if so, what might be done about it. The remedy is surgical since hernias can’t heal themselves. I’d like to push the knife off to after the first of the year or until my Medicare supplement insurance kicks in. How much the other two cost me out of pocket is still a very fresh memory.

To top things off I lost Sondra and Jody’s dog for a couple of hours tonight. They were on their way home from Thanksgiving with Chiana in Colorado and they asked if I’d pick up little Maizie, an Aussie, rather than let her again languish overnight in a kennel. Sure, that was fine. The plan was to deposit her at their home and after her leash was off just inside the front door, I turned to retrieve a tub of mail on the porch – and the dog just bolted outside. I tried to catch up but she’d have none of it and after a bit I lost track of her completely. She disappeared for the better part of two hours. I just couldn’t believe it. Somehow she returned to their front porch and a bouncing tennis ball and the promise of a treat was enough to coax her inside.

Part of me has wrestled with this whole move thing. Hard to put my finger on just why; part of it is to dodge Charlotte’s abysmal traffic and adapt to a slower pace of life in a small community, part of it is wanting to be off three floors, and the final part is just a desire to start all over again. But Brevard isn’t so far from Charlotte that I can’t bop down to see friends. There’s a little bit of trepidation over it but things will be okay. Lots of funky shops and restaurants, the mountains, the trout streams, and Asheville and Hendersonville and other small bergs close by. Charleston is about 50 miles further which should put a halt to the insanity of same day up-and-back trips.

Well, I’ve got the housing contract to deal with and some other stuff to wrap up before I hit the sack. St. Paul was sure fun with you guys, and now you may have a new spot to visit next year. We can do the meal all over again.

Love, Dad

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Two letters for the price of one …


Trust me, the fallout from the ‘missing persons’ case is mercifully at an end. It garnered far more attention than it deserved.

Still, there were a couple of loose ends to tie up – including a surprise follow-up visit by police officers involved in the case. (What? You think they could possibly escape being on the receiving end of a letter? Dream on. Scroll all the way down to read my note of thanks.)


May 30, 2017

Ellen/Reid: There was one final bit of residue from the missing persons case. I was in the kitchen last week about noon when two police officers walked onto the back road behind the unit. I knew right away what was up and raced down to the garage and opened the door. I said “you guys must be  looking for me, and one of them said “are you Dave?” Yeah. One was Evan Akers and the other a Ms. Bajic. Both had visited the house during the disappearance and they were just stopping by to make sure I was still around. It really was good to meet them. We had a laugh about all of this, and they took a moment to remind me to make sure someone is told the next time I go on any extended excursion. All that’s coming up is the Bridger and Spain.

Come to think of it, I’ve got to get cracking on the Spain trek. The guidebook arrived last week but am chagrined to say it’s yet to be opened. Tom Bohr has nickel and dimed me with tips and ideas and that has been a real shot in the arm for planning. He and Vince are my tutors for the trip. I’ll tap into another local friend, Richard, for his thoughts too since he and his wife walked the Camino a few years ago. All that help is just what’s needed.

Sort of a quiet week otherwise. Had a small group of 12 over on Sunday for smoked pork shoulder and brisket and ribs. The smoking starting at 3:00 a.m. since it required a 13 – 14 hour process. The earliness cut into my sleep time but I napped a few times in a chair in the garage while babysitting the Weber. Tim’s advice really helped me and the meats turned out just great. There was enough to feed a small army. Much of it is still in the fridge even though as much as possible was given away as people departed. The best move of the night was to relocate the proceedings from the garage – the hot sun poured right in – to the breezy and shaded common area behind the house. We moved everything; tables, food, chairs, coolers. It all went. That really helped. We capped off things with a small fireworks display of very small fireworks. The store had a display of weak, puny North Carolina approved fireworks so it was a total impulse buy although I was reminded that I could head over the border to South Carolina for some real explosives. Hey, a few sparkly fountains and some sparklers were about all the group could handle.

A young woman from Des Moines is here for the week as she goes through raft training at the U.S. Whitewater Center just northwest of Charlotte. Eva is the daughter of Mike and Lisa LaValle of Des Moines, and she’s really a treat. Bob Furstenau made the arrangements and I was only too glad to host her.

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Eva was a low – make that no – maintenance house guest while she toiled at the Whitewater Center for her rafting certification. And she earned it.

Eva arrived on Sunday just in time for the party and she fit right in. You just can’t find a lower maintenance guest that Eva. You can hardly tell she’s here. She’s in town to earn some sort of raft guide certification so she has to be out there every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Her parents, particularly her dad, Mike, are true chefs and have been in the DSM high-end restaurant scene for years but I sense her heart is on the water or in the mountains. As for the Whitewater Center, it is really one hell of a place, and it’s changed a lot, Reid, since you were here all those years ago. They’ve worked in more trail riding, yoga, trail running, zip lines, live music, etc., to jazz the place up to draw more people, which it certainly has.

Looks like no fishing in Charleston this week. Just no time for it. I’ll watch Sondra and Jody’s new dog, a sweet little azure eyed Aussie named Masie (sp?). She’s still a puppy so my hands will be full. She and I will go to the Whitewater Center for music on Thursday then I’ll park her at a kennel on Friday as I golf up in the mountains. I’ll retrieve Masie early Saturday then we’ll just sort of veg the rest of the weekend. That makes her my kind of dog.

Love, Dad


May 30, 2017

Officers Bajic and Akers: On a severity scale of 1 to 10, my alleged ‘disappearance’ probably rated a 2 but that’s almost beside the point given how you guys responded to the call for help. I’m not sure if a missing persons report rates a badge of honor or not. Probably not.

I’m still trying to piece together how events led to your inclusion in the manhunt yet my kids (Ellen in St. Paul, MN and Reid in Chicago), and the other searchers, were very grateful for your involvement and professionalism. (Honestly, I’ve tried to put the topic to rest since every time I talk to the kids about it they use the opportunity to climb all over me and let me have it, again.)

Still, you two and anyone else in the police department who abetted the search really demonstrated what you do on a day in, day out basis. You all have an admittedly tough job and minor flare ups like the one I subjected you and a whole lot of other people to is no doubt par for your course.

When I was in the kitchen the other day and saw you two patrolling out back, I knew in an instant who you were and why you were there. It had me chagrined a little that you would take the time to stop by and case out the joint to see if indeed I was still around and among the living. That was a nice touch of follow up on your parts but in some ways I’m sorry to have subjected you to it. When I found out that people considered me a goner and on the AWOL list, one of the first calls I made from my car on the way home was to the 3-1-1 line to have the search called off. Of course, the operator bucked me, appropriately, to the 9-1-1. The dispatcher said it wasn’t as simple as just making a call; when I did get home another call would need to be made so an officer could stop by and see for him/herself that it was me in the flesh. Since I was hosting a dinner for friends that night, it would have been morbidly fun to have an officer stop by in the midst of the meal to check things out. Fortunately (for you, most likely) a friend who formerly was in law enforcement was able to set things straight. But I was only too glad to meet you when I did.

So on behalf of my kids, my friends and other worried folks, thanks again for doing what you did. Sure, on the severity scale, maybe it didn’t even rate a 2, but to them – and eventually me – it’s not the number that counts, it’s the result and how all of you responded together that really counts. Trust me, this likely won’t happen again. If you knew how my kids blasted their old man and how my friends used the chance to pile on, you’d know what I mean. Thanks again for your effort and service.

Best regards –

Dave Bradley

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A spiffy space for my girls … and the specter of the knife


One week it’s St. Paul, the next week it’s Florida. By my standards, this is a fairly active travel schedule. Ellen has a completely made-over home and my granddaughters are enamored with it – as is their grandfather.

But the travel is about to grind to a halt, at least temporarily. What’s a month on the shelf?


February 27, 2017

Ellen/Reid: It was great to be up in St. Paul to assist – at least partially – with your move, Ellen. You and Tim did a ‘wow’ of a total makeover to that house. Don’t sweat the stone-topped coffee table. Of all the things that are wonderful about the home, that is a blip on the design radar.

The girls sure seem to love it. What a pair of total goofs; Emma ever the Drama Queen and showperson, Georgia and her angelic little presence. There’s more space for them to roam (and spread toys) but they each get their own rooms.

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Bedhead or not, sweet little Georgia loves her room with a view.

The upstairs windows are to die for; such light is magnificent. It seems highly unusual that an older home would have such spacious wraparound windows but that is a real plus for you guys. And you seem to have a nice amount of storage vs. the other house.

The kitchen is the real star of the show. It is a real cook’s kitchen. I could’ve been content to spend all my time in there to whip things up. You’ll love cooking and baking with gas. There is absolutely no comparison to that hard-to-clean glass cooktop that was tough to control temperature-wise. Gas is so much more efficient and manageable. And again, all that storage. Then again, you might jettison some things that aren’t needed; i.e. tupperware up the wazoo. That is hilarious. A whole drawer devoted to the stuff. On a more serious note, I’m already shaking from the DTs after going without Tim’s smoked pork shoulder. To call it incredible is to sell it short. It was unbelievable. 11 hours on a smoker will do that to hunk of meat.

The move didn’t really bother the hernia thing. But it was a mild downer to find out today the March 16 surgery would be a double hernia affair. The doctor said 4-6 weeks of recovery before full activity. There can be very limited movement after a couple of weeks. But I suppose the good news is it’s not very invasive in the sense of not being sliced open. Three small holes on each side of the abdomen. A week of feeling pain and then it should subside. The operation has caused me to cancel a golf/St. Patrick’s day trip to Asheville but it will be a good tradeoff to be able to do my floor exercise and full daily YMCA regimen. I miss the pilates and other floor exercises. Already, I’ve added a few pounds and can feel the lack of hard work in the gym. But he said there were no restrictions on the trip to Florida which will begin early tomorrow morning. That’s a relief. With me will go four rods, associated fishing gear and my golf clubs. We plan to fish offshore a couple of times and golf a couple of times. My guess is I’ll see significant kitchen duty which is okay with me. If I’m feeling up to it, I’ll probably make a stopover in Charleston to fish. If I’m up to it. In some ways I’m anxious for the surgery to be over and done with. Still have a few Medicare issues to work out and if those don’t pan out I’ll dip into my own pocket. It’s gotta be done.

Pretty good response to the non-move. People here are accepting of it although there’s been almost no contact with friends in Des Moines. One thing that was noticeable in St. Paul was how cold the wind can really be. It was bitingly cold on the walks to the hardware store and around the block with Henry. Those temperatures are something that won’t be missed by any stretch.

Reid, I do want to plot a trip to Chicago. Let me know what dates in April or May work for you. I’ll be totally on the mend by then. I’ll drive as far as southern Indiana then head due north up your way. Probably a Thursday – Sunday excursion if that’s okay with you.

The next big decision is do I keep the house on the market and find smaller digs in most likely an outlying part of Charlotte. My tilt right now is to take it off the market and stay put since it’s an incredible location and one I like – a lot. Not as nice as your spiffy new space, Ellen, but good enough for me.

Love, Dad

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