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The Long Way  Home

Growing old is a real pain in the posterior. But with the right attitude, a little laughter gets you through the worst days.

I’ve written before about some of the times the Bohunk and I have “misheard” things and the resulting confusion that arises. If I were genuinely ambitious, I’d write each down and publish a book. Instead, I get a few laughs and they fade into memory, like whatever I had for breakfast today.

The Bohunk and I are “baby boomers.” Raised long before cell phones, we jumped on the cutting edge as those blasted devices be­came indispensable to life.

My first cell phone was a handset on top of a battery case that was the size of a small cement block. My company bought it so we could “stay in touch” while out beating the bushes for business. Cell service then was even spottier than it is now on the Gunflint Trail.

In a short time, car phones became popular. Mounted on the drive train hump, they weren’t hands-free, and you couldn’t take them into the restaurant with you. But they were cool.

Then, there were flip phones. More cell tow­ers in the metro meant you could make phone calls almost anywhere from a phone that fit in your pocket.

As technology advances and I spent some time in Washington, DC, I got my hands on a Blackberry to keep up with the cool kids on the Hill. I could send and receive emails and get voicemails. Both are critical functions for run­ning a business or getting a congress member to pay attention.

As we survived the Millennium Bug in 2000, I moved on from a clunky blue Blackberry to an Android phone. A year or two later, I was seduced into buying an iPhone.

Becky’s iPhone died earlier this year. She re­placed it with a Samsung Galaxy, choosing it over an iPhone to save significant money. Sav­ings are essential for seniors on a fixed income.

The Galaxy is bigger than my iPhone, so even though she got a black case matching my iP­hone’s color, we could tell the phones apart by size.

My current iPhone is a senior citizen, over five years old, so I replaced it with the same Galaxy the Bohunk has. Our phones are now the same size. I ordered a bright orange case to tell them apart.

The two phones reside on a table in the wood­stove room. I sat down one day and grabbed the black case. I was sure it was mine.

Entering my six-digit sign-in code, it dropped me out after four digits. Confused, I continued trying to log in until the phone locked up. Then it dawned on me that I had the Bohunk’s phone.

Oh, how we laughed.

A week ago, while I was walking the dogs, Becky, whose old iPhone had a red case, grabbed my orange-cased phone and tried to log in. Before entering her four-digit code, she was pissed because she thought that I had replaced the background picture of our late Cocker Spaniel Libby with a picture of our most recent rescue dog sitting in the wrapping paper debris she tore up on Christmas Day.

Instead of being mad at the phone, she raged, “How dare you replace my picture of Libby with Fiona’s?”

She quickly realized she had my phone when it didn’t unlock with her four-digit code.

Again, we laughed for a good long time.

We don’t take things too seriously.

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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