Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fishing with Wilbur

Hi, folks. It's been quite awhile since I posted. Bailey is right--we had plenty of tourists visit this summer. It was great to meet many of our Scenes and Beans readers! So why is Kanner Lake such a great place to visit? Oh, we've got the beautiful lake and the mountains around, with plenty of places to get in touch with creation. But there's more to this little town than a pretty postcard. This is a place where the stranger becomes family.

Let me tell you a story from my first summer here. It was slow making friends as the new pastor. Everybody figured they had to be righteous or something around me, so they didn't want to do anything relaxing for fear of doing something "stupid." They never worried about the pastor being the one to do something dumb! One Sunday, Wilbur Hucks came up to me after church. (I think his wife may have done a little prodding, but he attended that service nonetheless.) He asked if I wanted to do a little fishing the next Saturday. Boy howdy, did I! I'd grown up in Idaho, and if it's one thing this place has, it's good fishing. I'd been too busy to get out and drop a line. Now here was a local, wanting to take me to some sweet spot. I was pretty excited to get my waders out and get my feet wet.

Wilbur seemed a cantankerous sort, so I didn't want to set him off. I hoped to show him this "man o' God" could get right in there. I didn't know the best lure for this area, but I picked out some of my favorites. Wilbur drove up in his Chevy before the crack of dawn, and we were off. It was a quiet trip except for Wilbur always "honkin' his horn" as he put it. I'd never seen a man blow his nose so much. He said he was having trouble with allergies and never could seem to break open the dam in there.

We started into some small talk until we parked at the trailhead, and then we hiked a little ways to one of the tributaries that feeds Kanner Lake. Lovely area, with trees lining the shore. Wilbur was chatting a little more, telling me about life in town. He also started bragging about his fishing prowess. "I always land the big one," he bragged between nose wipes with his handkerchief.

Our lines started dancing over the water, testing the fish to see what they'd bite. All the while, Wilbur couldn't stop blowing his schnoz. I couldn't take it any more after awhile. "Wilbur, you're gonna scare the fish away a mile around if you keep it up!" I declared. He glared at me as if to say, "You young pup, who are you to be telling me to hold my honker."

In my peripheral vision I saw a big fish splash in the water. They hadn't been biting earlier, so I was determined to get this one. Just about the time I went to cast, Wilbur took a step toward me--and I hit him right square in his snoot. My line flew out just so--right where the fish had landed. Wilbur yelped and threw his hands to his face.

"Wilbur, are you all right?" I asked. All the same, I didn't set the pole down. I wanted to catch that fish.

"Oh my node!" I glanced over and saw blood on his fingers. I hadn't realized I'd hit him that hard. About that time I felt a powerful tug at the end of the line. Wow, what a fish it must be! He almost pulled the rod out of my hand. I look back at my wounded companion. I figured I was in big trouble now. I could read the headlines Jared Moore would be writing: Clumsy Local Pastor Gets Tied Up in Own Fishing Line. So much for making a new friend.

Wilbur pulled out a handkerchief to stem the flow. Instead of threatening me, he waved me back toward the stream. "Don't worry aboud me. You git dad monster!"

We were a sight, let me tell you. I was reeling in what would be the largest fish to come out of Cooper Creek in twenty years, according to the locals, while Wilbur cheered me on with his head tilted back, trying to stop the bleeding. I wrestled the beast to the shore, and after getting him secured, I packed up all the gear. I tottered down the trail with Wilbur leading the way, the occasional drop of blood escaping to mark our path. We reached the truck and got some ice out of the cooler. After another 10 minutes or so, the flow slowed to a trickle, and then stopped. Wilbur was quite the vision, with blood and dirt smeared across him. I was sitting there as contrite as I could be, feeling awful about ignoring him while hauling in my prize. That is, until Wilbur slapped me heartily on the back. He sat on the tailgate, beaming, then pointed at his swollen nose.

"Hey, I can breathe! I can't remember the last time I didn't feel stuffed up. You knocked it loose just great." He looked me up and down before commenting, "You'll do good here in Kanner Lake, Hank Detcher."

Wilbur and I have been friends ever since. This story just shows how this little quiet town takes in family. We take all kinds. It reminds me of one of my favorite verses, Psalm 68:6, "God sets the lonely in families."

God bless you all.

-- Pastor Hank

Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 0 comments links to this post
Monday, September 24, 2007

Angie's Reflections

It's hard to believe over a year has slipped by since our lives were forever changed July 22, 2006. It is one of those dates that I'll always remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news. It's just as etched in my mind as other major events, such as the day that JFK was shot. My, how things have changed in Kanner Lake, and even my own life, this past year.

In July, the press was back re-capping the events of a year ago. We came out of church to news vans and reporters. It was really a mess. Most of us simply pushed past the mob and went home. Of course, Milt Waking came to town a month before and shot a story for one of those Sunday night news shows. Maybe you saw it. I didn't watch it. I've lived it and don't need any reminders. However, I'm sure Milt did a tasteful job. I did have him over to dinner again, along with the family, since he and Frank Jr. have maintained their friendship. Poor Leslie, she was out of town on vacation with her family and missed all the excitement. We had Milt sign a picture for her, but of course it didn't replace meeting him in person.

As to the past few months since I last posted, they've been quite busy. We've had more T's (tourists) than ever in town this summer and I think everyone has been impacted. I've been helping Dimples at her gym since it seems that even people on vacation work out. I can't say that I've regained my Goldie Hawn figure, but I'm in much better shape than I was last year at this time and feeling great.

As for David and me, we're enjoying our relationship and having a lot of fun.

Cosmo continues to be my faithful companion and friend, although I do get tired of cleaning up the mess. I love him, but I would never have chosen to have another dog. Bev is still convinced that she did the right thing, but trust me, never give a pet to an unsuspecting friend. Of course, she and her husband dote on Talkatoo. She has that silly bird quoting Shakespeare at times.

As for Frank Jr., I've sworn off trying to get him married. Of course he's helped the situation by finally courting a wonderful young woman from Coeur d'Alene. She has no problems with squirrels. I can't say any more...

And I'm going to be a grandma again! Melissa and Reggie are expecting a baby boy next month. That will make four children. I don't know how she does it sometimes with soccer, ballet, home-schooling, and working part time in their business. I'll be spending some serious time in Coeur d'Alene helping for the next couple of months.

My goodness, how time slips away. I've got to run and help Dimples at her gym. Just one more thing, I forget to tell you, I've finally started my children's book.

Catch you next time.


Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 0 comments links to this post
Friday, September 14, 2007

Great News from S-Man

Shnakvorum Rikoyoch (Greetings, Friends).

Big news on the agent front. Two weeks ago I got word from an agent that he's interested in representing me. Which is quite exciting! But there's a bit of a snag. He wants me to make some changes to Starfire first, and only after those are made will he make his final decision regarding the manuscript.

Many of the changes aren't anything big, some wording issues and such. But there are a few I'm not sure how I feel about.

The first isn't necessarily something I disagree with, but it does feel quite daunting to me. Character descriptions. The agent thinks I need to cut back on the specifics on many of the descriptions because they drag on too long. I can see his point, but part of me rebels against it. I mean after all I'm dealing with ten-plus characters and dozens of different Saurian species, all of which are drastically difference in size and appearance. I need to make sure the reader can see that. But at the same time I suppose that if I let the descriptions go on too long then the important parts get lost in the mix. So I need to find the right balance and flow. Hopefully I can do that to the agent's liking.

The issue I’m less accepting of is that the agent thinks I have too much of the Saurian language in the book, especially words without clearly stated definitions. Removing Saurian words is something that I think would greatly impair the feel of the book and the sense of seeing an alien culture in action. And I can't be stopping for every word to give a definition. Especially since I have a glossary included with the book. And how do you use an English word for something that is completely alien anyway?

But then this is a question of whether I’m willing to give some in order to be represented and hopefully published. So I suppose I will have to go back and look at exactly how I'm using some words and the frequency of usage and the contextual clues to definitions. I must admit I have found a few places where I think I've been able to be gentler on the uninformed reader, and hopefully that is mostly what the agent is looking for.

Thanks to all of you for your encouragement. I hope you all get the chance to read Starfire for yourselves one day.


Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 4 comments links to this post
Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wilbur and the Bear

Hello, everybody, it'll been awhile. Wilbur Hucks here. Good thing Bailey finally got the blog fixed. We all thought we'd be lost forever in outer space. (Oh. Someone just told me it's "cyber-space." Whatever in the heck that is.)

Carla's typing this for me 'cause I can't type or spell a lick. If you want to know how old I am now, it's 78. Let's just get that out of the way, and don't say you weren't curious. Been married for as long as I remember and survived it. So far. Also survived a war and just last year, heart surgery. Got the scar to prove it--the surgery, I mean--and it's a mighty fine one. More on that another day.

Might as well say something right up front. As you know, Bailey's reason for starting this blog last year was to make visitors to Kanner Lake feel welcome. That's fine I guess, and a lot of you are good folks and have even stopped in to see us. But don't expect me to be all-out friendly to everybody. Figure you better know what you're stepping into if you're gonna drive all this way to see the town. For every saint like Bailey you've got one of me. Come if you like. Take us as we are. We were here first.

Bailey suggested I tell you about the goings-on hereabouts, like the hunting, fishing and hiking. As the best fly fisher in Idaho, I expect she's got the right man for the job. We got fish in Kanner Lake so big you can ride 'em like a horse. For hunters, we got elk, white-tail and mule deer thicker than fleas on a dog's back. We also got ducks, geese, wild turkeys, and bear.

Took me on a bear once. Bare-handed. Well, more like footed. But the foot wasn't bare.

Since we were youngsters, Wally Keller had been telling me he wanted to sneak up on a black bear and give him a boot in the pa-toot. Don't ask me where he got such a fool notion in his head. I told him from the start he was a downright idgit, but he kept on. Then he started calling me chicken 'cause I didn't want nothing to do with it.

Nobody calls me chicken. Even at the age of eight. I told Wally if he and I ever got the chance, I'd be the one to give it to the bear.

Fifty-some years went by. Wally and I grew up, went off to war and came back. (Thank the Lord.) Wally got married; I got married. We both had kids. Had us some good times with our families and some bad. In all the ruckus of life in general, we forgot about that childhood promise. Then one day when Wally and I were hiking, lo and behold out of the blue we came up on a big black bear napping in the sun with his head resting on his paws.

Wally pointed at the huge critter and then aimed his finger at me. I was about to shake my head no when Wally mouthed "You're chicken." Well, he's right about that. But then I got to thinking, doggone, we'd waited over half a lifetime for that moment, and could this war veteran just walk away? Right then and there my decision was made.

I snuck up on that bear so quiet it would have made Daniel Boone proud. Got my feet set for running, hands up and fingers spread for balance. Holding my breath. Up came one foot while I made good and sure I was stable on the other. Then I let my boot fly.

Tell you what. That bear let out a howl the likes you never heard and took off like he'd been shot out of a cannon. Likely didn't stop until he crossed the state line. Wally and I fell on the ground laughing until we near split our guts.

I came back from that hike with the proof I'm no chicken, though I suppose you could call me a durn fool. But I had me a good story to tell. Half the people don't believe it, even with Wally as my witness. Too bad, I tell the story anyway. Tell it to you in person, too, when you visit Kanner Lake.

So come on see us at Java Joint. Make Bailey happy. Just stay off the fourth stool at the counter. It's mine.

Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 0 comments links to this post
Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Summer's Gone

My, I can't believe we're almost to mid-September already. We've had a beautiful summer in Kanner Lake. And still now the weather is terrific. Clear, sunny skies and temperature in the high 70's to low 80's. What a gorgeous time of year. Soon the fall chill will come, and with it, the turning of the leaves. Although our forests will stay green all year long, of course.

Let's face it, every season in Kanner Lake is lovely.

One of my frustrations this summer has been with this blog. Did you notice it got slower and slower to load? Because of that, I've been unable to post. We've been dealing with a tech person for help on this, and it's looking like the load is now faster. Let's hope so. This post is really a test. If it goes up, I'll be happy!

Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 0 comments links to this post