When Maggie applied for this job, I sent Cass and Linsday to recruit her heavily through facebook—I knew she’d be a hard worker, and I was right. Her snappy assertive feistiness brightens up the place for all of us. Maggie knows how to laugh loudly at life. If you have visited, perhaps you’ve heard her laugh from the crew cabin, or coming off the lake when she’s fishing.
Mike: It’s really fun to hear how excited Mike gets about Pizza Ranch. He always wears a hat with a fish hook in it, he’s a trustworthy towboat driver, and we’re very fond of him. And what makes us laugh? Oh, say when he’s complaining about a mouse in the boys dorm. “Do you keep any food in there?” we were asking as we were figuring a solution. “Oh NO…says Mike. Just a few snacks…” He’s been in competition with Daniel all summer over fishing, and who knows what else.
It is very comforting to have Caitlin’s little voice at the other end of the walkie talkie whenever we need someone in the Trading Post. Mostly though, I love to watch for the jokes that appeal to her. Here’s one the other day:
What did the urologist say to his patient? You’re in trouble. Good joke, —but the really funny part is to watch her crack up. Caitlin came from Palmer Alaska, and I think she could get into it with Paul about her former governor, but she just makes little side comments with snappy eyes. And laughs at the ironic stuff.
Justin (a.k.a shnookums): Justin makes lots of pies, and I really like that in a guy. He’s incredibly talented…no matter what he does. So he throws his creative competence this summer into searing the beef just perfectly, then adding a little ginger and baking it, so it is absolutely tender. We’re so lucky to have him—I wish you all a Justin–but we’ll keep ours as long as we can.
Andrew has arguably had the most wildlife encounters of all of us because he often ran the snowmobile trail—my favorite story was of the grouse chasing the bear (and I actually believe it). Andrew and I took a very pleasant tow boat ride at dusk, to bring a new canoe to an unfortunate camper group in July. It did my heart good to see him so thrilled with the BWCA…so appreciative of the subtle majesty of Saganaga on a calm summer evening.
Jen is a good sport about life. Pretty much game for anything, steady, cheerful, pleasant, rugged, optimistic. She has many stories and experiences, and she’ll shrug and tell you, if you ask (like…did you know she was in the Air Force?) She’ll go blueberry picking or portage anywhere or hike or camp or….
Lindsay is particular about perfect food packing, and Tuscarora guests benefit. We try to have her review her tidy packs with the clients. For one, she’s good at it, and knows how to steam the buscuits just perfectly, or to mix the corn so carefully packed with the Turkey Wild rice. But another reason; after I’ve unloaded the pack, it looks as though 3 packs have just exploded, and how am I going to get all that stuff back in, in perfect order, so these people can eat their way to the bottom of the food pack? Linsday’s blogs probably convey her enthusiasm for the northwoods best—or, ask her about the moose she ran into on the way to the crew cabin in the mist, or the baby grouse she saw…she’ll light up and animate her way through those stories too! Stay tuned–in her future is a small business—“Lindsay’s gormet camping food” or something catchier…
Sarah came here from Pennsylvania. As her why? She’ll just shrug. She’s spent the summer figuring out what Minnesota-nice really means, and wondering why nobody takes the last piece of pie. Here she’s recycling peanut butter tubs into a trap. Very creative, but I don’t think the Minnesota minnows fell for it.
Here’s the thing, when someone is genuinely empathetic as Cass is, you want to go ahead and tell her everything. They should have sent her to Guantanamo Bay from the get go, because I think she knows all that goes on within say…a 30 mile radius of the OG dorm. Honestly, everytime she leaves I think “Oh no, what are we going to do without Cass?” Lucky for us, she comes back—this is her 5th summer…and we’re working on next year.
Well, our secret is that Paul runs outfitting and Cass runs housekeeping, and so together…they could run all of Tuscarora. We think that Louisiana winters and Minnesota summers could make for a real nice life. I have a soft spot for Paul, and all he does around here, and how he internalizes the whole place with high standards. On first glance you might misread a southern crotchetiness, but can’t you see the twinkle in his intelligent eyes through his beard? That’s why my kids are drawn to him—that’s why I want to ask him what he’s thinking about what news he’s just studied. Stay tuned, because Paul owes me a blog, and I know he’s good for it.
So there they are…I think I was stalling on staff introductions, hoping that they would never actually leave….but they will…and we miss them already. We’re ever so grateful that they’ve made us a part of their lives this summer.