Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Friend Earl

The problem with getting older is that everyone around you is doing the same. Along with with the aches and pains come the realities that your friends will not last forever. My friend Earl (Mick) Taylor passed away Sunday morning at the age of 83. As I have mentioned in past posts, the Taylor's were the first and remain the best friends I have met since moving out of Eleva almost 34 years ago. Earl and Ellie, their children Linda, Mark, and Jack have been my family away from home for all that time. In fact I would venture to guess that over the years, because of location, I have spent more time with Earl than my own father. I guess when you find something good you stick with it. Through the years Earl called me his 3rd son. We were always invited to every family affair, weddings, funerals, graduations, retirements, anniversary's, you name it we were there. Earl and I had much in common however it was our love for fishing that was a special bond. We would often go out, like a couple of old friends, and he particularly liked ice fishing. Earl lived on South Center Lake in Lindstrom Mn, a perfect place to perfect our skills. He was a key member of Team Walleye and continued to fish with us at 79 years old. You do not have a friendship for this long without a few good stories!

Earl and ice fishing were synonymous. Early in our friendship he would often ask me to tag along as I shared his enthusiasm and more than likely being young, I could drill his hole through the ice easier! (Back then we drilled all the holes by hand) One day Earl called and asked if I would take him and his friend Harry Peters up to Mille Lacs. Never one to miss a chance to get out I gladly accepted and told them to pick me up by 9:00. Well in those days I had little patience for tardiness, especially when we were going fishing. Outside by my garage I had everything organized including poles, auger, tackle, and coffee. 9:00 came and went. 9:30 passed by, 10:00 no Earl, and by 10:30 I am about ready to have a heart attack! Well around 11:00 Earl shows up driving Ol'Blue (his panel van) with Harry riding shotgun. I was pretty upset but decided to go anyway. Mark had warned me about his dad's friend Harry. He was a great guy, just liked to start the day with a cocktail somewhat earlier than most of us. That day was no exception. We fished Sunset Bay on the east side of Mille Lacs as it had ice thick enough to drive on. Not the best spot however it was convenient. It was mid December and you could still see open water a few miles out. We were sitting there fishing when Harry decided he wanted to fish somewhere else, started Ol'Blue and headed for the open water. Now Earl was the calmest man I have ever known. Never one to panic over anything he simply looked at me and said "David, will you go get Harry?" Thank God Harry wasn't in a hurry. Chasing down the van, yelling at the top of my lungs, he decided to stop and see what I wanted. Harry had gone about 100 yards but it seemed like a mile. As I approached the window he asked if I wanted to go with him. "Move over Harry, don't you see the open water?" Harry moved over and we headed back to Earl. As I gave him the key in his snickering laugh he simply said "Thanks Dave"

Another time Earl picked me up in his Buick as we headed for South Lindstom Lake, right by the Dinner Bell. This was a great early ice spot, plenty of parking, and an easy walk out. We had a pretty successful day and it was getting cold so Earl went to start the car while I packed up. He came back out to help and upon returning he discovered that the car was running and the doors were locked. It was a Sunday, we were the last ones off the ice with no one around to help. Well Earl started laughing, however I didn't see much humor in our situation. Back then you could open a car using a coat hanger or similar device. Simply make a hook with the wire, fish it between the window and the weather strip, hook the lock pull and lift. I started walking around and to my surprise ran across some 14 ga solid electrical wire. What it was doing there I'll never know, but it was there! Earl was an electrician, not a locksmith, as he wondered what good that wire would do. We stripped the insulation off and in 3 minutes I had the door open. Earl looked a little surprised it was that easy but relieved, we loaded our stuff and headed home.

Earl was a Medic towards the end of World War II. He married his sweetheart Ellie, who has remained an absolute doll all these years. Mark and Jack are truly my brothers, Linda my sister, their families very special. He will be missed, like the other 3 friends that passed away this year. There are too many stories to tell about Earl and I could go on but like many things, we all have to stop sometime. As stated earlier, he was the calmest man I have ever met. No matter what the situation he always approached things in a positive light. I think our lives would be better if we were all a little bit more like Earl.


Dewey said...

One of the downsides of getting older....We start to lose people we care about.
I'm sorry for your loss Dave.

NeenahPete said...

Nice post! Ditto what Dewey said. Laughed out loud at the Harry story.

Dave Anderson said...

I hope it stops soon. Although honored, speaking at funerals is not my desired profession!

Anonymous said...

man Dave you have been having some bad luck with friends. Sorry to hear about Earl and let the brothers know I will be praying for the family. I did fish with him a few times and you are right if we all take alittle of his patients we would be better off.

good luck hunting


ksalter said...

It was great to see you today. Thank you for the kind words about my grandpa. Hope to see you very soon! Karen