You just have to live right to find fun in life
September 16, 2023
Every day, life is full of characters and immediately I thought of Dan Urness, a chap who puts a smile on life.
We hadn't talked in a while.
He is the Roseau High School Guidance Counselor, who can do wonders for kids who need to change a class or figure out how to actually graduate.
"You mean I have to take a science class! I hate science!"
At 7:56 on Tuesday morning, I called his school number, and it rang about five times before the voicemail came on:
"Hi, this is Dan Urness, school counselor at Roseau High School. I will be out of the office until approximately the middle of August 2023."
Right away, I thought I'd better call Dan and tell him to update his voicemail.
And why wasn't he in his office?
I dialed his cellphone and he answered right away.
Can you hear me?
"Yeah, my car just barely started. I'm a little late. I drive this old runner that I bought from Jeff Olson (Jeffrey Floyd) for $800, and I need a new battery. It just barely starts."
I can picture Ernie as a Hamm's Beer guy, eating a hotdog and tinkering with this old beater.
He has this terrific blue collar outlook of nursing an old battery into one more start.
Buy a new battery, I suggested.
"It's a little 1998 CRV Honda," he said. "We bought it for Olivia when she was a teenager. I like it."
Of course he does!
He got it cheap.
Once, we worked in the same building where I taught senior high special ed students.
Dan was like Houdini.
He worked magic and my people - kids just like me who struggled in school - mostly graduated.
I was a scamp in high school.
Grade school, too.
But I have great memories of Roseau High School and students like Fast Eddie Thompson and the late Scott Helgeland.
Helgy was fun.
A beautiful character always running a little late, always having an original excuse, and a lovely mom who worried he wouldn't graduate.
He graduated all right.
He had a heart of gold.
Fast Eddie Thompson, wherever he is now, bled on the newly installed carpet on the first day of school in my classroom sometime in the last century.
We were shadow boxing before the start of school and somehow he leaned too far forward just when I threw a light love tap towards his mouth.
He bled instantly.
"I'm sorry, Eddie," I said as more blood splattered on the new carpet. "I have to report this. You bit my knuckle."
Oh, Fast Eddie quickly shook off that notion.
"Let's do nothing of the sort. I'm fine, Bro," he said - which saved my butt.
There are hundreds of kids who have made my life richer.
The former Lisa Peterson, now Mrs. James Mack, was a RHS senior when a former RHS graduate, John, stopped by after school as Lisa was talking about the upcoming deer season.
She's like an Annie Oakley and does not miss.
But John wouldn't listen.
"Girls can't hunt. They're poor shots," he said.
As Lisa's mom is Shar (Przekwas) Peterson and comes from a family that is renowned for shooting the biggest bucks, I had to say something to the young man.
And get his apt attention.
"John, Lisa could shoot your left nut off at 300 yards!"
Lisa laughed heartily, and this bloke got embarrassed and quickly left my classroom.
And here this past week, I am always right about the Przekwas kinfolk.
They do not miss.
And therefore they will never starve.
One of the great phone calls was a month and a half ago when Gary Przekwas called and sounded depressed.
He had stopped at his sister's house for an early morning coffee before heading into town for work.
"Can you believe it, Bro? Shar got an elk license!"
Which meant he didn't and was thoroughly bummed out.
"But guess what? After I left, I checked my mailbox and there was my elk license approval."
Oh, it would have been a bummer if his big sister got a bull elk, and he wasn't even selected for a license.
What's the likelihood of a sister and a brother getting two of these elite elk licenses for the Caribou area?
Luckily, they have different last names.
Charging into the winner's circle on Saturday was Shar, who shot a 7X7 bull elk, according to Gary.
He sent the photo.
On Sunday evening, I texted back and asked how long the season lasts.
"Until next Sunday," he replied.
On Monday, he texted, "I got him, Bro."
Damn right, he did.
He and Shar had scouted everyday last week prior to opening day.
"It was an epic contest," he said on Tuesday. "I would have been there until Sunday evening."
It's a beaut!
There was a big gathering out in Caribou on Monday evening at Gary's place.
"There were about 75 to 100 people coming and going," he said.
A number of beers were consumed, and many photos were taken with the head and rack.
It was like holding up the Stanley Cup and celebrating with Coors Light, Bud Light and Hamm's Beer in the Land of Sky Blue Waters.
It's a trophy elk!