The Lord has certainly blessed me

May 8, 2015, began like all other mornings.
The man got out of bed and said good morning to himself in the mirror. The only difference was the man in the mirror had a different look. He had an eery yellowish complexion.
Thanks to his wife’s urgency, the man rushed to the clinic. It was news he didn’t expect or want - the kiss of death - pancreatic cancer.
The weekend presented the couple with oceans of tears, endless hugs, tons of questions and round-the-clock prayers as we awaited more evasive tests that Monday.
To make a long story short, 56 fewer pounds, 37 rounds of the strongest chemotherapy allowed, 27 rounds of radiation,  a hospital stay with an ulcer resulting from the harsh chemo, major surgery to attempt the “Whipple Procedure” at Mayo’s St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn., a stroke and rehabilitation, 27 CT scans, 7 MRI’s and more prayers than one could imagine, I’m here to say this man celebrated his sixth anniversary with that horrible disease last Saturday.
I am truly blessed to be able to continue with regular six-month checkups, lab tests, CT scans, MRI’s and doctor appointments.  So far, so good.
If you don’t believe in God, I hope my testimony is reason to change your mind. Without question, I realize I wouldn’t be here today without my wife, my family, my friends, my doctors and medical staff, but most of all my Savior Jesus Christ.
I always thought I was a good Christian. I was raised in a Christian family, baptized, said my daily prayers, attended Sunday school and church regularly, and was confirmed. However, I have a confession to make. While always believing I was a good Christian, I drifted away from the Lord during my college and pre-marital years.
Once married, Kathy changed my thinking. We made sure our two sons were brought up in a Christian household, following our church-borne footsteps we set before them.
Yet, I discovered I never truly found Jesus until I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on May 8, 2015. It was a sole prayer session in a barren St. Mary’s Hospital Chapel in Rochester where I truly found my Lord and Comforter. Whatever happens, I will always remember that day where it was just God and me.
Thanks be to God, I’m still around to write about it.
 


Kick off your racing season with a party!

WEST SALEM, WI - Here’s your personal party invitation for the 2021 stock car racing season.
WHEN: Saturday, May 8.
WHERE: Exhibition Building at the La Crosse Interstate Fairgrounds (next to the speedway) in West Salem, WI.
TIME: 3 p.m.-7 p.m., with awards ceremony beginning at 4 p.m.
COST: Free and open to the public. Food and beverages will be available.
DETAILS: Due to COVID-19 pandemic  indoor "group gathering" issues, the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway annual Champions’ Banquet has been changed to a "Champions' Party." The annual event recognizes track champions, rookies and other titles from the 2020 season.
PRE-PARTY ACTIVITIES: Prior to the Champion's Party, the track will feature its annual drivers’ tune and test day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. All race fans are welcome to attend.
POST-PARTY: The 2021 racing season begins at 2 p.m., on Saturday, May 15, with the Kwik Trip Late Models, Lawnkeepers Sportsmen, Auto Value Hobby Stocks, ANTS Pest Control Hornets and Street Stocks racing at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway.
MORE INFORMATION: Log onto https://lacrossespeedway.com/ or contact (608) 786-1525.
See you there!

Badgers have nothing to be ashamed about

The 2020-2021 basketball season is finished for the University of Wisconsin Badgers. The same also can be said of four other Big 10 teams.
The No. 9-seeded Badgers lost to the South’s Region’s top seed Baylor Bears, 76-63, in Sunday’s second round.
Wisconsin fans, coaches and players would probably admit that the Bears were a better team, although the Badgers put up a valiant battle to the wire. While they didn’t quit against Baylor, the Badgers’ effort wasn’t as good as - in my estimation - their best performance of the season Friday night with an impressive 85-62 victory over No. 8 seed North Carolina. Why was it so impressive? Wisconsin shot 51 percent from the field and 48 percent from 3-point land. It was also a supreme defensive effort, a complete game.
However, Baylor’s tenacious defense was more than Bucky could handle.
Let’s give the Badgers some credit. Eight Big 10 teams gained NCAA Tournament berths.
Two of those Big 10 teams nabbed top seeds in their respective regions, 2 more as No. 2 seeds and 1 other as a No. 4 seed.
Top seed Illinois, No. 2 Ohio State, and No. 4 Purdue were eliminated before Wisconsin. No. 11 Michigan State, the other Big Ten qualifier, lost in a ”play-in” game on Thursday.
That leaves Michigan, the top seed in the East Regional, Iowa, No. 2 in the West Regional, and No. 10 Maryland as the only three Big Ten teams left. Michigan meets LSU, Iowa faces Oregon and Maryland goes against Alabama in second-round games today.
So much for the Big 10 being labeled the strongest conference in the nation this season.
Overall, I’m proud of the Badgers, although they disappointed me more times than not this season. I’m actually surprised they made it to the second round in the NCAA Tournament. And I’m pleased with their “never-say-die” effort to the very last second of the season.
One other point. College basketball’s Mid-Major teams are proving they really can play with the top major schools in the country, aren’t they?


How do I say goodbye to an old friend?

He was more than a La Crosse media rival.
He was a longtime friend.
From the time he knocked over a typewriter on his first night on the job in our old newsroom office, to the times we shared a radio studio, and to the final road trip we took together for a basketball tournament game, he and I always got along extremely well.
It was a perfect match in those days. While he provided on-air radio coverage, it was my job to report the news in written form. He drove while I pecked away on my old typewriter with a flashlight in my mouth. Then we stopped at a bar or restaurant, called the office, and I dictated my story to make deadline for the next day’s newspaper. There were no cellphones back then.
In those days, it was traditional “them against us,” media wars between newspaper, radio and TV as we attempted to be the first to get the latest scoop. He and I had a pact. If one of us got the scoop and reported it, we always had the courtesy to let the other know what we had.
We not only shared the same WKTY van, but also countless hotel/motel rooms and golf courses at media events through the years. It didn’t matter what event, time or place. Whether it was Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers media days, or corporate events right here in God’s Country, we were together for it all.
He was one of the first to call and console me after learning I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on May 8, 2015.
I wish I would have been the first to call him after he suffered a stroke, and then a sudden heart attack a couple years later.
We drifted apart the last two years, but I prayed for him each and every day and I know he prayed for me, too.
There aren’t enough hours to share all the stories we produced back in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s.
When I called one of our longtime friends Jamie Thibodeau last week, Jamie told me to say an extra prayer for our friend. According to Jamie, our friend was now suffering from leukemia and his time on earth was growing short.
I, and I’m sure all of his friends, said many more prayers in the last week. However, God chose to take our friend to his heavenly home.
I know he is in a much better place now. That’s the best part.
God Bless You Always Mike “Mikey” Kearns! I know I will see you again some day.
Your old friend, Bob Lamb

Also see "It Hurts" - Kathy's Korner Blog at https://boblamboutdoors.com/index.php/kathy-s-blog/2857-it-hurts.html

Ice anglers, read and heed!

Falling through the ice isn’t funny. I don’t care if you can swim.
Tell me the last time you went swimming with all your winter clothing on, plus boots? It can be deadly.
There were two close calls in the La Crosse area last week. Two anglers and their ATV broke through the ice near Stoddard and were rescued by fire and rescue. Two others reportedly broke through ice on the north end of La Crosse and were lucky to get out safely before first responders arrived.
We lived in Bay Condos, a small association on the border between La Crosse and Onalaska, for seven years. Our corner condo was on the northwest peninsula where the “old Domke” residence was, according to longtime neighbors. It was common knowledge that years ago the bay was dredged for housing development all around the bay.
I fished South Lauderdale Bay during spring, summer and fall, but only a few times in the winter. Ice depth varies depending where you are on the bay.
My study windows also overlooked the bay, the same bay where La Crosse and Onalaska first responders were called more than once during the winter. Fortunately, no one drowned during our time there.
Bass, northern pike, walleye, sunfish, perch and crappies were plentiful. I would often grab my fishing rod, walk the shoreline and cast for 15 minutes or so during lunch hour.
Fishing success slowed drastically in the winter, although there were always anglers on the bay. Some did OK, I heard. I didn’t venture out that often. When I did, I didn't have much luck.
Water depths and springs are deceiving in not only South Lauderdale Bay, but also across the road in North Lauderdale Bay. The water can be knee deep in some sandy spots and suddenly drop off to 20 feet or more in other areas. Ice depth is also tricky due to several springs. Ice may be 8-10 inches or more in one spot and less than 3 inches a few feet away.
Now, daytime temperatures are forecast in the upper 50’s and lower 60’s this week.
My best advice is quit for the season. Stay off the ice, get your fishing gear and boats ready for the next three seasons. Winter is history.
There isn’t a fish on the earth worth losing your life.