During my morning exercises and stretching, I peered out through the cabin window that overlooks the lake to see two hands and a small face pressed directly against the glass. The second we made eye contact, a little guy ran to the side of the cabin and burst through the door, loudly introducing himself as Hunter. He immediately asked if I indeed hunted, undoubtedly due to my fly ass Northwoods fashion stylings, and invited me to join him and Mel at their neighboring cabin for some homemade pickled Northern Pike.
We walked to their cabin and I finally got to meet Mel, whom I had spoken to at length over the phone regarding my water troubles. He was a big man. A retired private investigator from Minnesota who owned a farm about fifty minutes from Webster. Although the relationship between Mel and Hunter immediately felt like that between a father and son, I quickly learned that Mel was actually his uncle and had raised Hunter from a very young age after him and his parents got into a tragic car accident, paralyzing his mother from the neck down and causing his father to move to California. They affectionately referred to each other as "Big" and "Little" so as to distinguish between "Father" and "Son".
The three of us sat around the kitchen table and enjoyed some pickled Northern Pike, or "fish candy" as Hunter liked to call it, that Mel made himself after a recent fishing trip in Northern Minnesota. It was pretty tasty, and although I didn't eat a lot, Hunter finished off the mason jar in a matter of minutes. I sat around the kitchen table all afternoon listening to stories from Mel as he drank Vodka mixed with green stuff and fed me bottles of Ice House. Oh, awright.
Before I realized it, the sun had already set and Mel was asking if I would like to join the two of them for dinner; a wild boar roast that his son-in-law had shot on a ranch down off the Mississippi. I quipped that I had only eaten wild boar once before, in sausage form, at the legendary Hot Doug's Encased Meat Emporium back in Chicago, which had recently closed.
After momentarily retreating back to my cabin to obtain a bottle of whiskey for dinner, I returned to enjoy the succulent wild boar roast. Mel and I continued to sit around the kitchen table watching the Minnesota High School Hockey Championships on TV (a very big todo around these parts), drinking, and talking about jerky. A natural born storyteller, Mel spent the night recounting some of his favorite tales such as the time he chased Buckethead across Minnesota in attempt to serve him papers at a concert, but missed the bus and ended up in the VIP section drinking beer with Ozzy. He was also surprised that I knew very well who the "crazy guitar lunatic that wears a bucket of chicken on his head" was. "I just really love metal", I replied.