Antecedent to Leaguefest, Mrs. Likko and I are visiting with family in Wisconsin. Obviously, being on vacation presents a more relaxed sort of world view. A time when money and calories matter less than “real time.” A more relaxed pace of activity. Less stress.

There are different birds here. My in-laws’ house has a chorus of starlings. And I spotted a wild turkey by the creek. I’ve not seen any birds of prey (I know they must be out there, though).

We rented a Cooper Mini. It’s a lot of fun to drive. I might consider buying one.

My body is not used to this much dairy. Cheese curds, frozen custard, half-and-half in the coffee. This state’s license plate slogan is honest. Still, has something happened to the custard since I was here last? It seems thinner, like regular ice cream, than I recall. Did someone get afraid of eggs for some reason?

Heedless of the physiological effects of increased dairy intake noted to date, tomorrow we go in search of fresh cheese curds in Fond du Lac.

It’s green here. Life in the desert makes me forget that elsewhere, stuff just grows. It also rains more. Weather matters here because there’s more to it than temperature.

Would I enjoy living here, now, as an adult? Probably, I think. But winter sucks, and it exists here with a bite and a durability unlike the relatively mild experience I had in Tennessee. And I can’t make any sense of the real estate market. Then there are the pesky issues of employment and income and licensure. But late spring is a glorious time here, pregnant with promise and seductive in stresslessness.

If only life could be like this all the time.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


  1. I’ve had similar experiences with Michigan. “Here, Jay, have some more gravy.” “If you insist.”

    The autumn was the season that moved me. When it comes to leaves changing, Colorado has Aspens galore… and that’s pretty much it. Green turns to gold turns to yellow turns to winter. Michigan, however, had trees that turned colors like Hobbes was describing in that one Sunday comic. Nature’s fireworks. You’d go for a drive and be amazed at the colors.

    Now, Colorado has 300 days of Sunshine a year (and it feels like 330). When we have two couldy days in a row, people talk about being depressed… and, lemme tell ya, Michigan is one of those states that has 200 days of Sunshine a year, if you’re lucky. Between the lake effects of the clouds from Halloween to Easter, between the rainstorms, hailstorms, and thunderstorms, you don’t have *THAT* many sunny days.

    But if you happen to visit on one of them…

  2. Thank you for this. It reminds me of home.

    (Is Minnesota that different? Of course not, though Southern Wisconsin might be a few days closer to actual Junish weather than we are in St. Paul during this unaccountably delayed spring. I’m just aware I’m not in Wisconsin.)

  3. Tuesday is the day for fresh cheese curds – I often see them at gas stations and grocery stores that day.
    Any other day they’ll be refrigerated almost anywhere you go. If you go to an actual dairy, Monday might be workable.
    I haven’t been to Fond du Lac in years, but surely somewhere has them.

    I would love nothing more than to find a way back to living in Wisconsin – somehow I have to convince the Mrs. that four to five months a year of tough winter is worth it.

  4. It’s green here. Life in the desert makes me forget that elsewhere, stuff just grows. It also rains more.

    A former colleague moved east after 35 years in Colorado. In an e-mail a few months later: “They have an interesting concept here that makes gardening much easier. Every few days free water simply falls out of the sky!”

    • In grad school a friend from PA and I were trying to explain this side of the country to someone who’d lived her whole life in the San Francisco Bay Area. They don’t irrigate crops very much, we said. So how do they get enough water? she asked. It rains. In the summer?!. She didn’t quite believe us.

      Later she got a job in PA, and she was flabbergasted that farms just left produce out by the side of the road and trusted people to pay for what they took.

      Sometimes I wonder if we really are a single country.

      • “Sometimes I wonder if we really are a single country.”

        The more I travel or move around this country, the more I think that.

      • There’s an old saying back home that if you put useless junk on the corner, there’s a good chance nobody will take it. But if you put useless junk on a corner with a sign that says $35 over a coffee can, it’ll be gone in 15 minutes. The can may or may not be there, but it won’t have $35 in it.

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