Midwest: The Summer Ends

This was the week I put summer away.

I took my boat out of the water. For instructions on how to do this (actually it’s about how to put a boat in the water, but taking it out is just doing this in reverse) there’s none better than (who else?) Charlie Berens right here.

As these operations go, this one went pretty smoothly. It’s all about planning. You want to take a boat out or put it in on a weekday in the early afternoon. That pretty much guarantees that there will be no witnesses and no fishermen in the lake waiting to come in and needing very badly to relieve themselves of the six pack they consumed while not catching fish.

This year I whistled the trailer back in there (it’s actually harder to back in an empty trailer) in one try. Well, yeah, it was slightly askew, but close enough for government work. Then I got in the water (the water was cold) and got the winch strap attached to the bow and winched her on up. It was not pretty. It did not display my best skills. But it got the boat onto the trailer, which was our primary objective here.

My boat on its last day in the water for the season.

Next I’ll have to back that sucker into the garage, which is a harder task, but since it can be done in the comfort and safety of my own property I can take all afternoon to get ‘er done. For now I parked the boat in the driveway. I’ll fight the next battle when I’m good and ready but before the snow flies, for sure. In any event, with the boat out, the guy who takes out our dock has smooth sailing whenever he shows up.

I also took down my hammocks and Dianne and I moved chairs and accessories (including my Corbin Burnes bobblehead) from the porch to the basement. What we couldn’t move we covered in tarps. There’s more to do next time we’re up there. I’ve got to arrange the garage, make sure my snowblower is ready to be fired up, clean up my garden and split the last of my firewood. But we got a good start on buttoning stuff up for the winter.

In fact, we got enough done so that we didn’t feel too guilty about driving up to Marquette just to enjoy the fall colors along the way. Marquette is a college town, somewhat like Madison, on the shores of Lake Superior. You can spend $40 on a carry out lunch, so it’s in the UP but not of the UP. If you haven’t been there, the Upper Peninsula isn’t at all like northern Wisconsin. There aren’t many lakes and there are very few farms or even orchards. On the route from Watersmeet to Marquette you won’t find a Starbucks or an art gallery. It’s pretty much just rugged desolation. I love that trip.

We’re back in the Emerald City now, where it’s easily two weeks or more behind the UP in the march toward winter. And here, in our condo, there’s not much to do to prepare for the gales of November. So, I’m glad we’ve got the place up there to force us through the rituals of autumn in the Upper Midwest. And, every year I do it, I get just a little better at taking the boat out. It’s good to be a 63-year old guy and still improving at something.

Welcome to Midwest, an occasional Sunday morning feature here at YSDA, where we explore what’s good about the center. Want to read more about why it’s best to be in the middle? Pick up a copy of Light Blue: How center-left moderates can build an enduring Democratic majority.


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

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