Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)
TITLE: The White Sucker Blessing
By Tim Manzer
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We rode the tiny boat from Cooper Harbor to Rock Harbor, Isle Royale. Some parts of the national park still had snow covering the ground as we arrived that chilly May. We decided to hike up the middle of the Island on Greenstone Ridge. The views were superb from on top the Island because the trees had only tiny little sprouts of leaf growth. We saw lots of mature moose who had traveled up into the forest to eat the young leaf sprouts. There were no mosquitoes or black flies that usually haunt Isle Royale because it was to cool on the island for their survival in May.
All the food that we ate we carried in our backpacks. It was the crazy 70’s. People were still eating freeze-dried food just like the astronauts feasted on in space. However the freeze-dried food looked like packing peanuts and tasted like flavored cardboard. After about a week on the island, we had a left-over mixture of instant oatmeal, Tang and the worst of the freeze-dried stuff.
Our male conversation, daydreams and thoughts were all about steak, hotdogs, Big-Mac’s and pizza. We no longer talked about the beauty of the island, moose or girls. The main topic was “REAL FOOD!” We had eaten all the beef jerky on the long trip across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The few cans of chicken meat and Spam we packed onto the island had been devoured on the first days of the trip. The two summer sausages made it through about fifteen miles of hiking. Our lack of thoughtful dietary self-control left us in cuisine depression.
We hiked down from the highlands in the middle of the island to a campground on Lake Superior. To our delight a small stream entered the island and gently flowed to a beautiful inland lake. In the midst of this beauty we turned into ravenous hunters and began to look for “REAL FOOD!”
We tried catching fresh water clams. It takes many clams to make a meal and when they are cooked up they taste like old leather shoes. We abandoned the claim dinner idea. The second source of wild protein we tried was white suckers. The very ugly fish were running up the tiny stream in huge numbers that spring. Since killing a moose or hunting down a wolf was out of the question, our menu was sucker.
We tried to hook them with string and sewing needles but failed. The unsightly white suckers were on a mission to lay lots of eggs. They had no time for lunch break. So we craved spears from sticks with our jackknives. This plan failed as well. It was obvious that Don and I had lost all connection to our primitive side. Then I looked up to see Don ecstatically holding a large slippery fish in his arms. He was in the stream with only his boxers on catching fish with only his hands. So I stripped to my Hanes and got down in the cold waters of the Lake Superior fed stream and fished with my hands with amazing success.
We built a huge fire and let it burn down to red-hot coals. Then we added our fresh fish fillets into a pan of hot cooking oil. That night, we feasted on fresh fish with pure delight. We wanted hamburgers and steak but God gave us tender white sucker from Lake Superior. We learned to be content with not what we wanted but with what the Creator provided. More sucker, please!
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