Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Tough Last Few Days

Nice walleye
I am not exactly sure how to start this but just start typing will probably do.  Last Monday my brother Steve picked up our good friend Kevin Aiona in Eleva and he headed up to my house to join me in our inaugural first ice fishing trip to Red Lake, Minnesota.  Our plan was simple, Mark Applen was already on his way, we would catch up to him and set up our Salem Ice Cabin's that night and spend the next 4 days on the ice.  Usually first ice is prime time however it's pretty late for first ice, the day after Christmas.  No matter, we had the will to make every effort to have our first trip on the ice successful.  The reality was somewhat different than our expectations however you know the old saying."a bad day fishing is still better than a good day at work!"  Monday was a day of predicted snow and the going was slow however we arrived at JR's just as Mark had hooked up his wheel house and him and his wife Jan were waiting for us.  It took about an hour however we finally got our driving plan and headed out on the lake.  We got 1/3 mile from the resort and it was blowing so bad, we decided to turn around.  Relegated to sleeping on land until the morning, one of JR's guides, Hazard, offered to  get us across the bridge and to an area.  Of course it was worth a nice tip as we got set up about 2 miles from JR's.  With 3 of us the house got setup pretty fast and we were fishing within and hour, by 9:00PM.  We had already ate something at the resort so fish was not in the plan for that night, it was getting late anyway.  The next morning we hit it pretty hard but we were at the end of a pretty good storm front and usually the day after is not very good.  Luckily we got enough walleyes for Tuesday night fish fry at JR's.  About a month ago I ended up in the hospital over night because my flour (wheat) allergy suddenly got worse.  I had gone to Scheel's Outdoors in St. Cloud and found a totally corn based fish coating and JR's cook graciously agreed to use it for our fish.  Absolutely amazing and super delicious, and I was very thankful that he was able to make the adjustments!

Brother Jon
On Wednesday about 11:00 in the morning my brother Jon called on the cell phone to tell me that he is being air lifted from Luther Hospital to Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis.  He has suffered from Wyburn-Mason Syndrome, a congenital condition that causes blood vessel malformations in one's eye, middle part of his head and brain.  Up till now the doctors have been able to extend his life through carefully cutting off the blood supplies to those deformed arteries however that was not without problems because the tissues cut off from the blood die and need to be dealt with.  In the end he lost his right eye, nose, upper mouth palate, and at one point had his whole right cheeks surgically replaced.  Once the blood vessels weaken they can rupture causing severe bleeding, Jon almost bled to death a few times.  The last time the doctors could do anything to stop the bleeding, the informed him that it would be the last time they could do it.  Last week, just as we headed up north, Jon started bleeding again.  This time there was little they could do but to carefully see if they could stop it however the masse of deformed blood vessels had infiltrated his brain and any of the past efforts would have resulted in a severe stroke so they had no choice but to let God decide his fate.  Jon knew he was not coming back home and said goodbye. Steve was with me and both him and I decided 6 years ago to take Jon as our guest to Leech Lake Opener, even though Jon wasn't much of a fisherman, he really enjoyed getting away with the guys and as well, they accepted him as part of the gang.  This was good because of all the surgeries he had, he looked pretty rough and was always self conscience of it.  Most of the time he didn't feel well enough to fish but that was OK, he loved being at the resort and being part of something.  In that phone called he took the time to Thank both Interesting that people look at this picture and state that.....yep, you guys look alike.  I'm pretty proud of him as he fought a courageous battle, he passed away on Saturday night about 6:30.  I was nice that Steve was still in Eleva and had the chance to bring our mother up one last time.  I know this was hard on him but I also know that saying goodbye was important to her.  His funeral is next weekend and I will be celebrating his life with the family in Eleva however I should have a few fish stories and pictures to tell about a better time next week.


Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

I'm always worried when there are considerable gaps between posts. Now I know why. Sorry to hear about your brother.


Matt Buratto said...

Dave, sorry to here of your brothers passing. My thoughts are with you and your family.


Jeff King said...

Jeez Dave, I'm without words.... I hope you and your family find comfort from your brother's loss. You only hurt a lot when you love a lot.

Todd Mayer said...

Dave, you have a lot of support in the neighborhood. I'm so sorry for your loss. We are all thinking of you in these tough times.