Janie is our north woods realtor. Every phone call begins with the phrase “Helloooo! This is Janie Your Realtor!” Except she has her own way of pronouncing realtor, so every phone call actually begins with the phrase “Hellooooo! This is Janie Your Real-Tor!” So that’s what we call her. She is Janie Our Real-Tor. Everything about her screams the Frances McDormand character in Fargo, minus the pregnant belly, and when I don’t call her Janie Our Real-Tor, I affectionately call her Marge Gunderson because Marge rocks. And so does Janie Our Real-Tor. When we meet her at the driveway of the first cabin, she is wearing mukluks up to her knees, a classic touk with dangling pom pom, and she carries a snow shovel in one hand.
“I hope ya have good boots on,” she says. “This could get deep.”
It is almost mid April.
We journey toward the cabin like Pa Ingalls in a snow storm, at times balancing carefully on the hardened top layer of snow and at other times, sinking up to our hips. When we reach the door, Marge says, “Ok now, that wasn’t so bad.”
She is a walking, talking, mukluk-wearing encyclopedia of cabin structure and maintenance, local ordinances, lake geography (“ya just go round behind this island here, Pine Island. We call that “goin’ round back o’pine.”), commercial and retail establishments (“And if you wanna go get a pop, you can boat over round back o’pine and go here, here and here.”), lake people (“Just bring him a six of Michelob Golden Light and he’ll be super helpful.”) and fishing spots (“That’s my honey hole over there right off that dock.”).
Right away, Marge has got our number and quickly starts crossing cabins off our list like she knows I might get there and say “Umm……it’s ok, I’ll just stay out here.” I imagine her getting home and scribbling notes like “north woods good, raccoon poop bad”. I’m more than happy to wade Ingalls-style to the front door but I’m not so much into the haz-mat thing and she knows it.
After the first weekend of looking, she emails this photo: Continue reading →