The other day Tom Kaffine (above, right) stopped by. He’s sort of a hero around here. After all, he was basically the founder of our beloved Centennial Trail. He is not wearing a US Forest Service shirt, but don’t let that fool you. He’s one of them, just like his friend Tamer.
Because the USFS are in charge of the woods around here, we call them whenever anything goes wrong. If there are fire restrictions, we blame them on the Forest Service. If there are too many people in the woods, we blame that on the Forest Service. If there aren’t any people in the woods, we blame that on the Forest Service. If there is a storm and the trees fall across the portages, we blame that on the Forest Service. If it rains too much and washes out a latrine or two=blame it on the Forest Service. Are you getting my drift?
Everybody does it.
When Tom stopped–hoping for a free soda, like Jim Leeds (former owner) used to give him…and to say hello, just on the road–you know, we didn’t really think anything of it. Yet I did not give him the soda, because it would not be good for him. And I believe this is a key detail in the chain of events that followed.
Later in the afternoon a soaked staffer Joe walked back to the office because he couldn’t get the suburban and trailer back down the road–he dropped some guests at Seagull, and in the time he was gone, about 50 yards of the road flooded, one of the culverts was straight up in the air, like a geyser. Joe’s jeans were wet well above his knees. We jumped in the truck to do some re-con, and it was cresting even higher– it seemed to me as though another Cross River was flowing down the road. Whoa, where was all that water coming from?
At that point, it wasn’t feeling safe to ford the rapids, so we returned to the office to call the highway department who started up the Gunflint Trail with their fleet.
Later, when the water had passed, we had a mess of a road left. We did some shuttling of people and supplies. By evening the county had dumped many trucks of sand, and had magically transformed it to passable road again.
≈We were so busy with vehicles and excitement, that it wasn’t until we got a call from a neighbor that we connected Tom Kaffine to the event. I had to slap the side of my head. Why didn’t I think of it? It’s just too much of a coincidence, right? WHERE ELSE could all of the mysterious water come from?
1. Look at Tamer’s sincere and honest face. A clever diversion.
2. Look at Tom’s right hand…he’s holding something…what is it? If he were really just after a free soda, why the paperwork?
3. And look at his left pocket. How could we have MISSED that detail the first time?
It’s enough for me. I’m going to have to agree with the neighbors. I don’t know WHERE he got all that water, but …it just has to connect to the Forest Service somehow….some way….somewhere. If only I had given him the soda…maybe then…
Well, the road has been repaired with fancy new culverts. And you can bet, we’ll have that soda ready the next time Tom Kaffine drives in.