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The Baileys Harbor Bird and Booyah Club

Dave Crehore

Publication Year: 2012

Open this book and you are in Door County, Wisconsin, strolling down Coot Lake Road—a one-lane, dead-end gravel track just a few miles from Baileys Harbor and the Lake Michigan shore. Along the way you meet George and Helen O’Malley, who are growing old gracefully. Russell, their brave and empathetic golden retriever, wags hello and offers you a paw to shake.
    The Olsons and the Berges live just down the road. Bump Olson is the local septic tank pumper and birdwatcher extraordinaire, and Hans Berge, MD, PhD, was at one time the only Norwegian psychiatrist in Chicago—or so he says. In a cottage out by the highway, you may spot Lloyd Barnes, ex–Tennessee state trooper, hound fancier, and local man of mystery. Uncle Petter Sorenson, visiting from Grand Forks, takes the polar bear plunge at Jacksonport. Around the neighborhood you’ll meet Deputy Doug, the flirtatious cellist Debbie Dombrowski, and Italian import Rosa Zamboni.
    Dave Crehore’s sketches of life on the Door peninsula also expound on:
•    the delights of codfish pizza
•    how to insult Canadians
•    what to expect at your fiftieth high school reunion
•    how to lose a school board election
•    the prevention of creeping old-fogyism
•    Marilyn, a buxom eight-pound smallmouth bass
•    and what goes on in the winter, when no one is there.


Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Title Page, Copyright, Quote

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pp. iii-v


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p. vii-vii

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Back Home Again in Baileys Harbor

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pp. 3-9

As anyone over sixty will tell you, growing old isn’t for the faint of heart. But it beats the alternative, and so we submit to the passing years with all the grace we can muster. This is a book about George and Helen O’Malley, who are growing ...

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Don’t Get Old before I Do

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pp. 10-18

The sweet scent of burning popple filled the living room of Coot Lake Lodge. George knelt in front of the cavernous fieldstone fireplace, poking at some freshly cut logs that were grudgingly beginning to burn. It was the first Friday of July, but the week had been cold ...

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Bear Trouble

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pp. 19-24

When you’re a full- grown Door County Irishman of sixty- seven winters, and you’ve been married for forty- five of them, there isn’t much that can scare you. At that age you’ve learned to take most things in stride, except when you’re upstairs shaving on a quiet ...

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The Baileys Harbor Bird and Booyah Club

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pp. 25-32

George tucked the butt of his rifle firmly into his shoulder and centered the crosshairs of its scope on a target tacked up a hundred yards away. A ribbon tied to a stake near the target was fluttering slightly to the left in the April breeze, so he shifted his point of aim ...

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The Hound of the Basketballs

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pp. 33-41

As the last bright leaves of autumn fade and fall, the tourist trade in Door County fades with them. A few of the restaurants, boutiques, and gift shops stay open on late fall weekends, but most are closed for the season, and it gets hard to find designer jeans, gourmet jelly ...

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The Outcasts of Caribou Camp

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pp. 42-53

Supper was over, and George and Helen were doing the dishes when the phone on the kitchen counter rang. George pushed the speaker button, and a loud and familiar voice boomed into the ...

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Pennies from Heaven

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pp. 54-63

On a sunny afternoon in June, George was up a ladder, puttying a loose pane of glass in one of the lodge’s south windows. As he worked he pondered the mystery of mortality. Trim and strait- laced men he knew were dropping like flies in their sixties, ...

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The Four Musketeers

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pp. 64-73

A steady rain was drumming on the roof of Coot Lake Lodge. George put his empty coffee cup in the sink, lit his pipe, and went out onto the porch to look for a patch of blue in the west. But the late August sky was uniformly gray, and there would be no fishing ...

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Let George Do It

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pp. 74-81

The three-day windstorm that struck Wisconsin in late October 2010 left thousands of people without power for days. It uprooted trees and wrenched the roofs from buildings. Southwest winds that reached sixty miles an hour sent huge waves rolling up Green Bay ...

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Reefer Madness

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pp. 82-90

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,” wrote the poet Robert Herrick, a long time ago. “That age is best which is the first, when youth and blood are warmer . . .” Sooner or later, every man in his late sixties looks back at his warm-blooded days and ...

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Just a Gigolo

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pp. 91-98

A damp and gusty wind slammed the door behind George as he came indoors. “Well, Hans, it looks like the fall has come and gone. It’s starting to rain, and the sky is getting pretty black to the southwest. Mark my words, by tonight it’s going to turn into the first snow of the ...

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Miracle on Coot Lake Road

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pp. 99-108

George was pricing aged cheddar at the market in Baileys Harbor when a woman wearing a lot of perfume sneaked up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder. “Hey, Georgie, do you still play your viola?” she asked. George ...

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Petter Takes the Plunge

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pp. 109-117

On a cold, gray afternoon in early December, George was tying flies. He secured the nose of a completed number ten Golden Parachute with a whip finish and applied a few drops of glue to the yellow thread that held the body, wing, and hackle on the hook. While the ...

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Hidden Depths

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pp. 118-128

On a Friday night in mid-October, the members of the Baileys Harbor Bird and Booyah Club were sitting at a table in Snuffy O’Toole’s Tavern, sipping draft Guinness and watching the seventh and final game of the World Series on Snuffy’s big-screen TV. The ...

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The Last Summer

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pp. 129-142

George tied his rowboat to the dock and started up the path to the lodge, carrying a stringer of plump bluegills he had just caught in Coot Lake. It was early June, and the fish were starting to put on weight. As he walked by Helen’s old Buick station wagon, he heard a ...

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The Return of Tuddy

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pp. 143-146

It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and Chicago was living up to its reputation. A thin mixture of rain and snow pattered on the windows of the maternity ward waiting room, and a twenty- mile-an-hour wind ...

Author’s Note

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p. 147-147

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780299286736
E-ISBN-10: 0299286738
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299286705
Print-ISBN-10: 0299286703

Page Count: 128
Publication Year: 2012