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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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Post-mortem on a self-induced ‘three alarm fire’ …


The dust has settled on my three day disappearance; one thing for sure, it gives a person something to think about. Notably, this is what friends are for – to keep you on the straight and narrow or, at the least, to stay in touch. And bust you upside the head when necessary.

(On a side note, police officers Bajic and Akers couldn’t escape being on the receiving end of a letter. But more on that next week.)


May 22, 2017

Ellen/Reid: Well, what a helluva week that was. Geez. Saturday and Sunday were spent kicking myself for putting you and others through the wringer. There’s a lesson in there somewhere, the least of which is to not rely on snail mail to let you know where and when I go traipsing about whether it’s to Wilson Creek or Charleston or wherever. It’s interesting how any of us react at the very real possibility of the dire and the unknown and the truly serious; there are elements of panic, finality, danger, loss, and any of some other things. I’m chagrined that so many people rallied to your plea for help; Sondra, Jody, Chiana, Troy, John, Ted, my neighbor Dan and more. It’s interesting, too, how urgency creates an instant community among folks who would not otherwise be in this mode if not for precarious circumstances. People are used to the cordial familiarity of their social bonds, not the ‘what the hell?’ news that comes to bind them even tighter in unexpected emergencies. What that potential bad news does, in the beat of a heart, is reinforce what is valued and held dear. So if there was anything heartening to come of this three alarm fire it’s that it put your belief system to a very quick test. It sorts things out for you in a New York minute. I had a moment of instantaneous panic, too; Tim’s ‘call me as soon as you get this’ text really sent my mind racing about ‘Oh my God, what happened to Ellen or the girls?’ That really put me in a full sweat. I’ve spent some time, but not enough as of yet, to thank people for caring. I’ll do that in the next day or so. There was some dark humor, however, in hearing about the full-court sleuthing you two and Sondra, et al, did when you all went into full CSI mode; calls to Charleston Outdoor Adventures, Harris Teeter, ex-flame Felicia, the police and whoever else you badgered. That was pretty impressive on your part. And a key under a doormat? That’s my idea of security? Holy cow, what a doofus.

But that’s over and done with. As for the hike to Wilson Creek, it was great. But the fishing was a bust. I worked my tail off for a few small fish. That’s the price you pay for an area that sees a relatively high number of trekkers/fly fishers. The water just gets a lot of pressure. The fish get no respite from the volume of baits tossed their way. But it was beautiful and the company was wonderful. I would go unplugged again with certain caveats (see above paragraph) since that’s really the best way to enjoy the wilderness. One thing I wouldn’t do is buy a dehydrated meal that includes a ‘heater’ that negates the use of a stove. All you do is add water to activate the heating element. The package literally chugged steam like an old locomotive as the food got super hot. It was bizarrely wild. Then you have to lug the soggy thing back out again.

The new smoker will be put to the test again this Sunday when Troy and Jill and a few others come over to sample brisket. It’s a 14 hour gig so I’ll have to be up really early to fire that beast up and get to cooking.

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The new smoker got a workout – and less than a week after I got grilled by family and friends.

I’d better produce an edible meal or I’ll never hear the end of it. I may throw a pork shoulder on there that can be shredded and put in the freezer once we’re done cannibalizing it. On balance, Tim does a more focused and methodical job with his smoker. He’s the Gold Standard right now for barbecue.

 

Went to the Y this morning but the exercise center was shut down as staff was set to install a whole new set of Machines of Torture (aka ellipticals) that I’ll need to prime for the Bridger. Played golf on Saturday and got over the post-surgery jitters pretty quick although in hindsight another week of rehab might have been more prudent before swinging the sticks. But this past week wasn’t too much about prudence, was it?

Love, Dad

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