Cribbage in Canada

The Beaver, ready to fly

A short while ago, I was contacted by the Pigeon Flyer, a blog out of Omemee, Ontario, to offer something about cribbage. Here it is.

It is not easy to get to a remote cabin on Whitewater Lake, Ontario, deep in the heart of the Wabakimi Provincial Park wilderness. From Omemee, you might drive northwest about 1400 km on Trans-Canadian Highway 11 to a tiny little town named Armstrong. The more scenic route–Trans-Canadian Highway 17–veers northwest as well, but you’d pass through Sudbury, Sault St. Marie and Thunder Bay, kissing the northern shores of Lakes Huron and Superior, and the route is about 180 km longer. Either way, you’d need an outfitter from Armstrong to fly you another 60 km north, skimming the treetops and flirting with the early Canadian sunrise, at least if you want to fish that day. I have made this journey, albeit from Duluth, MN, not Omemee, Ontario. As we were a group of seven, we split the trip in two beaver seaplanes; the larger otters, with their longer fuselage and more impressive wingspan, were already away.
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All The News That’s Fit To Print

This morning, I depart from cribbage but move to writing. Read on.

This last semester of grad school has been a wonderful, exhaustive and exhausting experience; I’ve joined several other writers as we edit the creative nonfiction submissions for Hamline’s own Water~Stone Review, and we’ve been reading a few books on the business of editing. Between my day job at a publisher, night classes at Hamline, and working on this book of mine in what little meantime remains, my eyes and ears are rather attuned to a little creative word-smithing, which leads me to this:

My hometown of Duluth has a pretty good blog. As I looked through old posts, I stumbled across the gem below, which is notable not only for its colorful depiction of various drunks, but the narrative flair the editors used to relate the stories. I don’t know how many police blotters today might describe the perpetrator (the perp!) as “[contributing to the city treasury]” or, in an even more impressive act of narrative journalism, falling into “the clutches of the police,” a sentence suggesting significantly more policing than may have in fact been necessary. Excerpted from the blog:

Regular folks getting drunk used to be front page news. Ah, the good ol’ days.

From the first issue of the Duluth Herald, April 9, 1883:

James Clark got drunk yesterday and was run in by Officer Turcotte. He was taxed $8.50 this morning by Justice Martin.

A. Lonquest was drunk and disorderly at Rice’s Point last night and Officer Peloski found considerable difficulty in arresting him. He had an infernal machine called a self-cocking revolver on his person besides a dangerous looking knife. He contributed $10 to the city treasury this morning.

P. Peck was a plain drunk who was picked up by Tom McLaughlin yesterday. He paid the customary $8.50 this morning.

Mary McGraw got beastly drunk yesterday and fell into the clutches of the police. This morning she woke up financially embarrassed and the result was she was sentenced to ten days’ confinement in the county jail.

I love it. Close reading tells us that despite Mary McGraw’s “beastly” intoxication, it is in fact P. Peck we must be wary of in the future; a “plain drunk” opposed to Mary’s night of excess. I’m glad she didn’t have an “infernal machine,” or there’s no telling what sort of skulduggery she may have found!

My Friend, Philip Connors

Just kidding. I don’t know Philip Connors, but I feel like we’d be friends. Last Wednesday, Connors read from his just-released book Fire Season: Field Notes From A Wilderness Lookout, at the inestimable Magers & Quinn bookstore in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis. Fire Season recounts the experience of Connors’ beloved job, that of a fire lookout in the Gila National Forest of New Mexico, one of North America’s landscapes most prone to fire, to flame, to spark, kindle and inferno. After several years as an editor at the Wall Street Journal, Connors abandoned the miasma of New York life for the (relative) solitude of the southwest. I haven’t read the book–yet–but I enjoyed Connors’ contribution to State by State, writing of our mutual home state of Minnesota, and had read a few excerpts of his work in other publications. Why do I think we’d be friends?

Dude plays cribbage. Continue reading