Time ‘flies’ when you’re havin’ fun

Once a week, usually Thursday, The Outdoors Guy and I go out for dinner.
One week he chooses the restaurant and the next week it’s my turn.
This past week, he chose a favorite local spot. We decided to dine on the patio after a staff member assured us the mosquitoes hadn’t been bad.
The couple at the next table left shortly thereafter, but soon another couple was seated behind The Outdoors Guy.
We were having a pleasant evening until an unwanted guest joined our twosome. I looked at The Outdoors Guy and, WHAM! I hit the side of his head with the palm of my hand. A fly, not a mosquito, had decided to join our party of two. Of course, I missed the fly. But within a few seconds, I said, “He’s baaaack!!!!” WHAM! I hit again… and missed …again! Arggghhh!
But at the same moment, my eyes shifted. I immediately realized the new couple saw me whack Bob on his head. Yet, they didn’t know why. They couldn’t see the fly because Bob’s back was to them.
EEEKKK!!! They looked troubled for a split second until I said…”a fly!” Then The Outdoors Guy, not yet seeing their faces spoke up loud and clear…”Spousal abuse,” he cried. At that point we all started laughing.
The third time was a charm. The fly made the mistake of landing on The Outdoors Guy’s upper arm where there was enough real estate so I could get a good hit. I also had no concern for causing him brain damage…lol! So, I landed a resounding WHAM!!! The fly landed on the patio. We, along with the other couple, cheered! The fly crawled around on the ground, obviously disabled, until I put it out of it’s misery.
As we left, I told The Outdoors Guy the fly obviously liked his cologne. He begged to differ and explained it had to be his magnetic personality. I, however countered with, “I think it picked up on the fish scent from your earlier trip to the boathouse!!”
I had hit upon a reason he couldn’t dispute!!! But, we also determined there will be no more patio dining for this couple!

Big wheels rollin’

Monday of this week, The Outdoors Guy and I traveled to Mayo Clinic-Rochester to have my cochlear implant re-progammed.
My implant surgery took place a year ago in May. It is normal for the brain to take about one year to adapt to the device. In the beginning, men’s voices were gruff and women’s voices sounded like Mini-Mouse!
I am fortunate because voices began to sound normal to me after about six months. Now, with the implant, my hearing is totally normal.
The testing went well. I am at or above the levels the staff likes to see at the one-year anniversary.
The drive home… well… that was another story. The Outdoors Guy and I had a heart-stopping experience.
We were eastbound on I-90, about 20 minutes into our return trip to La Crosse, following a semi, who was a ways ahead of us. Traveling at about 75 mph, Bob pulled out to pass.
Suddenly, the semi had a blowout!! The tire came spinning toward us at a high rate of speed!!! Bob had a split second to decide what to do. Knowing he had to be careful not to go into the median, yet somehow keep us on I-90, he tried to position the Jeep to miss the tire, but it was impossible. The tire crossed the center line and came barreling straight at us!
The tire slammed underneath us with a loud thunk!!! Nonetheless, Bob was able to keep the Jeep under control.
The semi driver pulled over, but it took us about a minute to stop. When we did, we were a ways ahead of the semi. By then, it had also started to rain.
We both got out of our Jeep and looked underneath it as best as we could. We couldn't see any damage, thanks be to God! Still, we were both extremely shook up.
We gathered our senses and continued home, but not before we came across another semi along the highway who also had a blowout. YIKES!
We were never happier to get home!!! When we did, I told Bob, “ I guess our expiration date isn't up yet!!” We both managed a laugh that was really more a sigh of great relief!!!

“He will cover you with his wings; you will be safe in his care; his faithfulness will protect and defend you.” Psalm 91:4

It Hurts

This week I was saddened to learn of Mike Kearns death. I did not know Mike well, but The Outdoors Guy did.
Although they worked in different media, Mike was on the airwaves and Bob was a writer, the two of them spent many years and countless hours traveling together to cover sporting events.
Mike was a lifesaver for Bob because he was always “drivin’ the bus” while Bob banged out the game story on his manual typewriter as they rolled down yet another highway from yet another game in more cities than The Outdoors Guy, Mike, or our families would care to remember.
For me, it was always a relief to know Bob was in Mikey’s capable hands on the road. I would have worried a whole lot more had I known Bob was staying late at a school to write his game story, call it in, and then return home much later into the night than he did with Mike at the wheel.
The two of them shared an abundance of sports history that I know Bob cherishes and will hold forever close to his heart. We are forever grateful they could be media rivals, yet comrades united by the love of sports.
My deepest condolences to Dawn, all of Mike’s family, and to his many friends and radio fans.
Blessed be Mike’s memory.

Also see "How do I tell an old friend goodbye?" - Bob's Blog at https://boblamboutdoors.com/index.php/bob-s-blog/2856-how-do-i-say-goodbye-to-an-old-friend.html

For once, I was ‘drivin’ the bus'

We were excited! It had been last fall since The Outdoors Guy and I were at our kids’ cabin in Barnes, WI, north of Hayward.
Jon, Sara and our grandsons, Jackson and Bryson, had invited us for Mother’s Day Weekend.
But, it was also a celebration of The Outdoors Guy’s sixth anniversary of a continued clean bill of health since he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer May 8, 2015. God has blessed him and our family in ways we could not have imagined since that day. One in particular: He is in the company of only 2% of pancreatic cancer patients to survive this dreaded disease.
Naturally, there was some reminiscing about Grampa’s battle and also when, on Labor Day Weekend 2017, he had a stroke while we were at the cabin. It was a frightening time for all of us as we stood in the Hayward Memorial Hospital parking lot with nightfall closing in, watching Grampa being lifted by helicopter bound for United Hospital in St. Paul.
But, The Outdoors Guy is a fighter who hasn’t been ready to give up the battle. Part of this is due to the incredible strength God has given him throughout his journey and his remarkable team of doctors and staff.
Throughout the weekend, there was the usual ebb and flow reminiscing about the good-times/frightening times we have experienced together in the past six years. But, we were also excited to see the latest addition to the cabin, a new pontoon boat. What fun it was to have Jon, Sara and the boys show us the many features it sports. Then, Jackson, age 13, who, at the insistence of Grampa, passed online boater’s safety with flying colors earlier this spring, took us for a spin around the lake.
Then, Saturday evening, Jon said something I wasn’t expecting, “Mother’s going to drive the pontoon.”
“WHAT?!!! I exclaimed. I’ve never even piloted a fishing boat, much less a pontoon boat.” Still, why not? I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, especially when it comes from the kids and grandkids!
Jackson showed me the ropes. I started off slow and tenuous, but gained confidence as we went. I found it was easy to handle and an enjoyable experience. I told everyone, “I can’t wait to tell “B” (my sister, Brenda) that I piloted a pontoon!!!” Laughter echoed across the lake!!!
We never know where life is going to take us. There is good and bad, joy and sorrow, but God has it all wrapped up in one precious life story for each of us to accept and embrace no matter what life throws our way. And, when it does, have faith God is riding on the bus (or pontoon) right along with us!!!

It’s the little things in life

There hasn’t been much excitement in our lives since a year ago when COVID-19 reared its ugly head.
Staying home as much as possible has become the norm.
The most action we’ve had this winter has been the 4-6 inch snowfall our area received Feb. 4.
The Outdoors Guy and I live in a country condo association on the outskirts of La Crosse. As the snow continued to fall and the wind kicked up, we wondered if our snowplow guys would still come on the 4th because of all the blowing and drifting. Finally, about 8 p.m., Thursday evening, we saw their headlights at the condos below us and knew they were on the job.
By the time they reached our condo, it was about 9 p.m. Bored out of our minds, we stood by the window and watched Matt perform his magic in his large pickup truck as we relaxed in the comfort of our home. In less than 10 minutes, he had our double-driveway cleared and was on to the next condo. There are 50 units in our association, so it’s no small feat.
Mostly, it’s oh-so-nice to have the job done with no effort on The Outdoors Guy’s part. Because of his battle with pancreatic cancer, one of his side effects from chemo is not being able to withstand the cold like he used to. I have back problems making shoveling a big no-no for me. So, it’s a great relief to have snow removal done for us.  
After Matt plows, has dad, Pat, follows up, clearing snow close to the garages with a small tractor. On Feb. 4, Pat was running late, so we didn’t get to see him work his magic as he zig-zags back and forth at lightning speed! We left our outdoor lights on for him. Bob woke up about 1 a.m. The job was finished. Nice!!!
But, one thing is for sure. If things get any more exciting around here, we honestly don’t know if we can take it!!!