By John Matonich
A friend of mine posts trail reports on his website and has for years. I usually read his posts daily because I believe he has very good information on the condition of the trails (especially in the winter) and always has a pretty good joke at the end of his report. He doesn’t post as often in the summer, but I still enjoy when he does.
Recently, his post had a bunch of lines about Yooper tendencies. I have read most of them in other places over the years and many are at times associated with folks who live in the South. Something such as “You take your dog for a walk and you both use the same tree.” Not bad and I know folks who can relate. Another that made me smile was “Your grandmother has ‘ammo’ on her Christmas list.” Neither of mine ever did but I am sure some grandmothers might have.
One of the “tendencies” did catch my attention. It read, “You come back from the dump with more than you took.” I hate to admit this, but that described my dad to a tee. I always shuddered when he said he was heading to the dump because I never knew what I was in store for upon his return. For many years, my hometown and about every other town had a dump. They were open to everyone. You could simply load up your car or truck and head up there and dump your trash. It took some time, but the state finally got them properly capped and closed. Trash now goes to licensed facilities that are monitored as they should be.
Formal recycling wasn’t big back then, but my dad certainly did his part by dragging things home that he was sure he could fix up or repurpose. Unfortunately, many of those items were intended for his kids to use and because I was the oldest many of them came to me first.
I remember one of these items like it was yesterday. When I was a senior in high school, I took up the game of golf with some friends I worked with. I bought a starter set of clubs from Sears. It came with a couple of woods, a few irons, a putter and a bag about six inches in diameter. When fully packed, it weighed about three pounds so it certainly wasn’t a chore to lug around the course.
Imagine the look on my face when I came home one day and my dad said he had a surprise for me. Seems he went to the dump earlier in the day and came across a hand-cart that was built to carry a golf bag. I think the reason it got tossed is that it had been run over a couple hundred times. That didn’t deter my dad at all. He had worked a good part of the day trying to straighten out the frame and the spoked wheels. He even spray painted it silver. All I could do was thank him multiple times and express my appreciation for his thoughtfulness. I really wasn’t sure how this was going to be received by the guys I golfed with but it did come from my dad and I had no choice but to find out.
I was very surprised when I took it out of the back of my truck the next day and loaded my clubs on it. All of my buddies came over and commented how cool it was and how lucky I was to get it. I really appreciated those comments as I expected a few different ones, but my guess is they all had dads like mine and received a few salvaged items from their dads as well. As I mentioned, back then every town had a dump.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …
After a 35-year career downstate amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.
Image credit: kbass941