Sunday, July 10, 2005

Whitelaw, Wisconsin

Whitelaw, Wisconsin

Linda and Tom were well prepared for us. They have 5 l/2 acres and lots of extension cords. We settled in right away and Linda has kept us busy ever since. On Friday morning we went to yard sales (here it’s called rummaging) with Linda and her youngest daughter, Kelly. We found lots of little things we couldn’t live without (mostly books). We saw Kelly’s new apartment which is a work in progress but she definitely has her mother’s talent for painting and decorating. We stopped for brats (that’s a very large sausage on a bun) which seems to be a diet staple in Wisconsin and it was very good. We got the grand tour of Manitowoc and I got to see where Linda works as a network administrator (she runs the internet access end of the business) for a local telephone company.

I also got to meet Emily, the oldest daughter but Ben, their son was out of town so we’ll have to wait to meet him next time. Dale was amazed that Linda and her daughter Emily looked so much alike and, he was even more amazed when he found out how old Linda is because he swore she didn’t look any older than her daughter and he really really meant it. I agree. Linda has a trick up her sleeve for staying young and I want to know what it is.

Tom and Linda took us to the most fantastic little corner bar/restaurant in a tiny hamlet near here called Menchalville that served real home cooked food buffet style. They called it a fish fry (I was thinking breaded cod strips and French fries) so I was really surprised to see all kinds of seafood on the spread…including cod, scallops, crab, boiled and fried shrimp, halibut, chicken, potatos and salads galore. But the highlight was a table of real homemade desserts which included several kinds of pies, cakes, brownies and a little item called ‘kneecaps’. Yup….that’s actually something you eat. The nearest I can describe this local delicacy is that it was shaped like it would fit right over your kneecap and consisted of fried cake sprinkled with sugar with a dollop of whipped cream right in the middle of it. We were told that there actually is a little old lady who slaves over her stove all week long to produce these amazing desserts for this obscurely located little restaurant that packs them in. What a treasure find that was. To top off the evening, Tom took us all to the Oneida Casino in Green Bay where we all made a deposit. (Well, Dale claims he made a withdrawal…. ).

On Saturday, Tom took us to a sixteen family yard sale in the high rent district and that was FUN. We found more treasures including a nice dresser for Kelly’s new apartment.

On the way home they took us to a very unique house in the country that a railroad enthusiast built. The main house is built to look like a railway terminal on the outside. There is even a vending maching on the porch, a railcart with sacks of feed for shipping, a scale for weighing freight and a sign. Off to the right of the house is an actual railroad car on a short track. In front of the yard is a small shack where mail sacks would be hung to be picked up by passing trains. It is the darndest thing I have ever seen. I was so tickled with the thought of this guy so totally committed to his hobby that he created a real life scale model of it. I would love to see the inside of his house….I can only imagine.

I almost forgot to mention Henry and Keno. They are their family pets. Henry is a rambunctious Irish Setter who, we swear, fell in love with our Maltese Molly at first sight. He had the sappiest look on his face and just would not quit trying to engage her in play but being the stand offish little imp that she is, she’d have none of it, thank you. Of course, part of the problem might have been that he looked like a shaggy haired chop licking predator who had mistaken her for a little white rabbit. (I’m trying to get into her head here.) She wasn’t the least bit put off by Keno because he was so much older than her and quite content to ignore her. He is a rare breed from Japan (I can’t even remember how to spell it) and so totally mellowed out that our high strung ball of white fluff didn’t turn his head at all.

On our last night, Tom told us lots of interesting stories from the days he was a Marine recruiter. Forget all the horror stories you’ve heard about recruiters. This guy was the exception and I wish he would write his stories down sometime for everybody to read. Some of his stories were humorous while others were poignant, but all of his stories were was quite fascinating.

Tom made Brats in Beer to go with Linda’s potato salad. The Brats were grilled first until they were toasty then they were simmered in a crockpot of beer and onions for a couple of hours. DELICIOUS.

We leave tomorrow morning for Michigan but we will take with us many wonderful memories of our visit in Whitelaw, Wisconsin. We will definitely be returning someday, if we’re invited.

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