The Wake

Trout Whisperer

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The cabin sits on a hilltop with a benched elevation of 1665 ft. Lake Superior, depending on what map I look at shows an ordinary high between 550 and 610 ft above sea level. We have assembled on high.
From this amazing vantage point we can gaze on a clear day and see the Wisconsin shoreline, and if were lucky the ore boats in season headed up or down lake, depending.

It's from this cabin of highest heights we have gathered to throw a wake for one of our own. He lived a long life. He died and were going to miss him. His funeral left five of us with more to say. When you have a shirt and tie on at your buddy's funeral and all you really remember him wearing was black and red plaid vests, we needed to put him to rest, and us at ease with his parting.
He would flick his cigar ashes off this deck. We all lit one in his honor. We mixed his favorite cocktail and let it sit on the table in the chair he held sway from most often. We cooked him deep fried chicken wings and beef tips. We served where he sat, and we all ate, laughed, and poured some strong ones down our respective throats. Telling the old stories got him back out of the casket for the afternoon and we let him air himself out proper before he gets to his final reward.
He drug us around more deer trails, grouse woods or soggy bottomed brookie creeks, so if he's late for the pearly gates it's almost like we were getting even with him. Just talking him up for the day made us all feel better besides.
None of us were in what the church would consider our Sunday best. But we couldn't have been more properly attired for an old cabin in the woods wake send off. Boots that thumped, and showed wear. Red vests with black chromer hats and faces fully whiskered with stogies sending him smoke signals just made for a more fitting dress code.
When he was lying long in the box, he just wasn't dressed right. So today with the shimmering snow, a fryer spitting hot oil and some of the boys talking and only telling his good and bads, seems to fit.

At the real funeral everyone gave glowing reports about a curmudgeon we dealt with, less the immortal and more as mere human. He seems to be sitting up again as the guys go over his realness, but that just may be the cocktails influence on the boys in the room.
Well like any fine Irish wake it's got to end. So while we can still stand, we pour his, one sip at a time into us. You don't waste good whiskey. His plate full of vittles gets fed one bite at a time to the dogs here lying warming the floor. Striplings of mid life bid a parting to the old master.

We snuff the cigars and damper the stove. Dogs actually rouse and wonder why were not staying the night. He's gone and we have to go. But this time, he's gone with a forested salute. In thought, I think he's resting easier now, that we all feel better.

Posted by Trout Whisperer under Hunting Stories on January 24, 09 08:13 AM | Permalink

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