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Hits and Misses and Other Stories . . .

Where to begin?

Last night I checked up on some website matters with my administrator, Jeremy Hendrickson.  I learned that this site has had an average of more than 530 ‘hits’ a month since it’s inception in January of this year.  I had no idea!  Next, how about sales over these past five months.  Here, a much different story.  Why?  Purchases from this site are through PayPal–a very legitimate and popular service.  We are of the impression that some of those who check the site are wary of credit card transactions on the internet.  Jeremy is going to add a ‘Good Housekeeping’ type of assurance to the site.  Occasionally, I get book orders–people wanting autographed copies– on my ‘regular’ site:  shatiferin@aol.com where customers simply send a check to me.  Some order my books through Amazon, others through the book stores that carry my titles.  Whatever!  I think that when Doppelganger is published, sales will skyrocket.  That would make me very happy.

Today has made me very happy and it’s only midday.  Let me share.  Up early (as usual) and on my computer by 5 am.  I’m still tweeking Doppelganger and, at the same time beginning another story.  Another Mickey Moran story.  In writing early I can allow the morning to creep out of the low sixties and into the mid-seventies.  By 9:30, I was spent with writing and ready to wind down.  My favorite therapy is biking or  hiking.  I strapped my bike on the rack on my car, packed Gatorade and granola, synced some tunes on my ipad, and headed to neighboring Keewatin.  By ten I was unloading my bike and then heading west through Keewatin (on 3rd Avenue) and toward the Mesabi Trail entrance to the Keewatin-Nashwauk segment.  The morning was gorgeous, the scenery fantastic.  I forgot my camera again; missing photos of mine pits and beaver dams and anthills that are as tall as I am and blooming trees and butterflys and squirrels . . . nature in it’s simple beauty.    Just east of Nashwauk is a spur that can be easily missed.  The marking says ‘LaRue Pit’.   The spur goes briefly north where it converges with a narrow, hidden highway that slopes gradually, then sharply downhill.  At the base is a magnificent sight–a sight like a hundred others all across the Mesabi Iron Range– and abandoned iron ore mining pit.  The LaRue has filled with spring water so clear that you’re tempted  to have a cold drink.  (I had Gatorade instead.)   Parked near the edge was a pickup truck and a few feet away was a young man who was tending to a pair of handsome black Lab puppies.  The pups froliced at the ankles of their master and paid me no attention.

On the trip back I  listened to some old Dylan songs and made a stop at the park near the O’Brien Reservoir west of Keewatin.  Parked here was a well-driven and rusted Honda and a middle-aged woman sitting behind the wheel with the window down.  Seemed to me like she was meditating about something–something serious?  Anyhow, she was smoking and the aroma wafted near the picnic table where I was sitting.  Five years ago I would have taken the break from biking to burn one myself.  If you’re a former smoker you know what the ‘tug’ feels like.  I had a heavy tug but it didn’t last more than a few seconds.  Back at my car, now 11:20 and 14 miles later, I loaded up and headed home.  Every time I’m out on the Mesabi Trail I get more deeply ‘in touch’ with the Iron Range which is my home.  Although I’ve written some about the early history of this place, I realize how many stories that remain to be told.  Every mine was a story in itself (and there were hundreds) and every miner was an even richer story.  How many men toiled every day in  the old LaRue mine?  How many died there?  What was LaRue location where most of them lived like–it’s gone now, and many who live in Nashwauk or Keewatin these days hardly remember it anymore.  The same is true of Agnew, and Stevenson, and Carson Lake, and Mahoning, and Poole . . . and so many other locations of our past.

Well, I’ve been at this posting for about 45 minutes and have nothing much else to say–except, if you sense this observer’s pride in where he lives, you’ve got it right.  There is also a good dose of spirituality that goes with being away from everything and out in nature–a time to meditate and say a prayer or two.  I did both.  Now I’ve got a gorgeous afternoon to continue with  . . .  whatever?  Thanks for joining me on this site and God bless . . .

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