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A bike, a party and a few trout (make that a very few trout) …

I’ve been initiated – sort of – into the local social scene. It’s nice to have some new local friends. And for Ellen and Reid it’s a nice breather to get a taste of something other than blah garden news.

Most of these folks are actually transplanted Atlantans or Atlantans ready to move up this way. Brevard isn’t overly far from the Georgia border and for years Transylvania County was a summer landing spot for these Southerners. 

And courtesy of friends Andrea and Kurt, I’ve now got a spiffy bike (alas, not a Harley) that will let me tool around town like a real local.

April 2, 2018

Ellen/Reid: Today was the first day in a few weeks that I hit the wall with the garden. The last square feet of sod had to be carved out, the final few heavy flagstones laid in jigsaw puzzle fashion, and the day lilies planted at last. I dunno, it just seemed a mix between tedious and onerous. Just ready for the damn thing to be done, and, except for a few minor touch ups tomorrow, it will be. Then comes the easy part of planting lettuce and peas and spinach. But it’s fun to look at as I sit out on the back porch to write this. A glass of pinot noir helps to take my sour edge off.

Once the day labor is done the garden tools will be hung up for a while and I can venture out into the Pisgah Forest or trod a few hundred yards to the French Broad. And pedal to downtown Brevard. My friend Kurt Powell delivered my ‘town’ bike today vPyXmJ0%QQWkQFtsHf83Xwand it’s pretty spiffy. He and Andrea are good friends and he brought the bike up with him as they take their kids on spring break to a place called Lake Toxaway, about 40 minutes due west of here. He brought a bike lock and fancy front and rear lights and a rack to hold saddlebags (or panniers as he calls them). 

Tom Bohr and his wife Kitty will drive down from Chicago in two weeks time for a long weekend. Tom and I have some serious planning ahead of our hiking tour of the Alps in July and August. He’s a planner extraordinaire and will no doubt have everything down pat with the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed. Every trek needs a guy like him. My plane ticket is already in hand. Only about $800 but I cashed in some credit card miles to help pay for the trip. And listen you guys, give me your schedules for Thanksgiving stat so I can get your tickets. 

Hosted my first party this past Saturday for 18 folks. It was the birthday of a woman here, Louise, and Robbie and her friend Kathy from Atlanta did all the heavy planning and organization.


A birthday party with 17 guests broke in the new house in the right way. It’s a good spot for gatherings and it sure won’t be the last of these soirees.

The house is ideal for that sort of soiree. I made a muted effort to smoke a pork shoulder on Friday but after 13 hours it wasn’t done so had to tuck my tail between my legs and finish it in the oven overnight. It worked out okay but was clearly disappointing and there’s a lot of learning to be done on the smoker end of things. 

Formed a local Meetup golf group that’s a variant of my group in Charlotte, Golf for One, but there’s been tepid interest at best. Had several sign up for our first outing but no one showed up. I’ll give it another whirl but if there’s no real participation I’ll fold the tent.

Went trout fishing last Tuesday with a new friend Billy and he just knocked the trout out of the park. Me, not so much. I landed three, he netted 24-25, not counting more than a few that got away. He’s got it all; the gear, the stream knowledge, the casting technique, knows all the flies by name, et al. It was a lesson in abject humiliation. It’s as if I’d never fly fished before. But there’s no giving up now with so many streams so close by. Next Wednesday I drive to Florida for another type of fishing, tarpon, with Dave Hemminger. He has secured a guide and, hopefully, we will do better than be skunked, which we have the last couple of times even with professional help. I’m debating toting Miss Emma with me to make a foray at Charleston/Bowens Island on the way back. She’ll probably stay home.

With the raised bed gardens virtually a wrap, it might be time to turn toward design of a deck. Ellen, let Tim know he’ll be my deck advisor. Thinking of a design that has some sort of roof since there’s full sun all the time out back. Maybe even a pergola. Not sure when there will be time to start it, perhaps not before my St. Paul visit. 

Alas, time to go. Give the girls a hug and Reid, keep me post on Oakland.

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.


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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