Monthly Budgeteer columnist Eddy Gilmore is a freelance writer, father of twins and husband of one. Connect with Eddy at eddygilmore.com.
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She was in miserable shape all day. After I arrived home, she somehow summoned the strength to stand and greet me. Three minutes later, she just faded away. The family dog lost consciousness as if she were sleeping, her breathing became slower and slower and then she was gone. Resisting tears, I found myself drenching her grave with sweat on this scorcher of a day as I immediately commenced digging a large, deep hole. There was nothing left to do. It was difficult work, but really cathartic.
Perhaps you've wondered what it takes to open your own retail space. Here is the formula that worked for one of my neighbors: intense physical pain plus $7,200 in startup costs, plus burnout and restlessness, plus a debilitating medical diagnosis, plus a whole lot of elbow grease, equal one art gallery. "I wouldn't recommend people buy a house, sell a house, move and start a business, all within a month," said Aaron Kloss, owner of Lakeside Gallery, 4431 E. Superior St.
Lunch has been extra-special lately. Sacred, even. I look forward to that short break on the farm owner's porch for hours. When the moment arrives, I nestle into a chair on the cool, shaded porch, remove my confining work boots and savor every bite of the meal that follows. My nourishment is the fruit of last year's labor, cost me dearly and is worth every ounce of sweat equity that went into it. Who knew a simple sandwich could be so satisfying?
On Dec. 9, in the midst of an icy rain, I made 14 small punctures in the earth's crust. Into each of these small holes — desperate for some hope while enduring what felt like a bottomless depression — I placed individual cloves of garlic. Might this have been the latest outdoor planting of a crop in the entire history of Duluth? Though they entered the ground last, the resulting plants were the first to shoot out of the soil in early spring. All 14 of them! Now over 2 feet tall, the early greenery was a real shot of encouragement in the month of March.
What a horrible, rotten, no good, very bad day! Endless arguments stretched out beyond the horizon, seemingly into infinity. It was the sort of day that causes a questioning of not only your parental abilities, but even the ground upon which you walk. What am I doing here on this planet? Can I do anything right? Right when it was needed most, the simple solution flooded into my mind, like water flowing across a parched land.
The St. Louis River, on its meandering course, drains 3,634 square miles of watershed within six counties and two states. It's a fast-mover with a big job, serving as the largest U.S. tributary to Lake Superior. Prior to contributing to the immense bowl that holds 10 percent of the world's fresh water, the Louie slows down and spreads out among 12,000 acres to form one of the largest freshwater estuaries on the planet. At times it can be difficult to distinguish where the water ends and the land begins, demonstrating that an estuary is more than simply the sum of its water.
At the moment this paper goes to print, I'll be entering a new decade by completing my 40th trip around the sun. Time keeps moving. My 41st orbit commences right now to the tune of 66,600 miles per hour.
How do you feel about compelling all women, ages 18-25, to sign up for the draft? There is a bill circulating right now in the House of Representatives which would require that very thing. During a recent presidential debate, multiple candidates referred to it as a civil rights issue, speaking of equal access and opportunity for women. Chris Christie responded, after mentioning his own two daughters,"There's no reason why one young woman should be discriminated against from registering for the Selective Service."
I recently spent a day in the role of assistant baker for Duluth's Best Bread, a business in Lincoln Park. Wholly uninterested in this sort of employment, I agreed to the trial run out of simple curiosity. While the mouth-watering product certainly is outstanding, how is it that a sourdough fermentation process, handed down generationally for thousands of years, could totally upend a young man's life?
It's the holidays, but I'm feeling the blues. In desperation, I submerged the 14 individual cloves of garlic into cold, saturated black dirt. Pulling back a layer of rotting leaves to reveal my canvas, I came upon what Aristotle describes as "the intestines of the earth": an earthworm. Exposed directly to the elements, it wriggled and writhed like a sea serpent brought up from the deeps. I have never observed such activity in the soil at this time of year. These cloves, each containing the mystery and potential of new life, are like Jack's magic beans.