Recounting the battle of Lake Mendota.
Seeking the sunshine and escaping Gov. Nevermore’s COVID-19 lockdown, we took our Saturday afternoon (03-06-21) constitutional in 46-degree F weather along Greek row on Langdon Street.
Madison WI is awakening from a long and lonely winter. Here comes the sun, lil’ darling. And I say, It’s alright!
The sidewalks were in motion and the grand old houses throbbing with music. We turned into one of the cul de sacs that run into Lake Mendota to see a most amazing site: fraternity and sorority parties on ice! Dozens of them, stretching all along the shoreline from the University of Wisconsin Memorial Union northeast to the Edgewater Hotel. A good six or seven blocks.
A sight worth preserving!
A table littered with red beer (soda?) cups and a football made a great foreground for a distance shot. That accomplished, we turned the smartphone camera toward the party itself before one fraternity man asked, very politely, not to record the proceedings. Fair enough; might have been a few partiers underage. Don’t want to spoil the fun.
Your correspondent turned away for more long-distance shots. A young man, bare chested, asked if he and his girlfriend could pose with the superannuated visitor for a photo. We obliged with a goofy face.
A scant interlude later, up came three young men. One demanded that your bloggeur quit taking photographs. We explained once again that we were taking only distance shots; no one should be identifiable. A second of the three made the same demand. We responded that he was repeating what the first one said. Then the third young fellow.
“That makes all three of you.”
One of the others repeated the order.
“Now you are repeating yourself.”
Another “No Pictures!” exhortation.
We suggested the three may have been over-served. That observation did not pacify the belligerents.
“If you don’t leave we will have to get physical!”
Blaska smiled and stood his ground … or ice, in this case. As are all lakes in Wisconsin, Lake Mendota is public waters. We made one of those quick calculations in times of extremis: Were they going to pummel a man old enough to be their grandfather? Sized up the quality of the opposition: None of the three appeared to be on football scholarships. They had their teeth, so they weren’t hockey players.
Took inventory of his assets. Blaska could feel the sap rising. He retains significant upper body strength from his years of baling hay. Another chit in our favor: he fights dirty. We could take these guys!
Finally, Blaska assessed the political implications: If beaten to a pulp, he’s a victim. Sympathy pouring in from around the world. Princess Meghan on the telly. Did these boys really want to cause a scandal and have their charter revoked?
In any case, Blaska does not take kindly to bullying. He responded to the threat of a good pounding as evenly as a civil court magistrate:
“Then I’ll just have to stand here and see what happens.”
The deterrent factor
The three departed. Blaska, having stood up for the First Amendment and some outdated notions of manliness, did likewise. But what was this substance under his motorcycle boots? Slushy ice? !!!
Time to go on offense! Blaska reached down and scooped up two fistfuls. Made eye contact with one of his three tormentors. Compressed the frozen substance tightly between his bare hands. Blaska eyed his target; the target peered back. The wind-up and the pitch! The icy missile was straight and true. The cold surprise smacked its target clean upside his left ear. In our mind’s eye, can still see the projectile spraying his companions after the initial impact. USA! USA!
Mission accomplished, your bloggeur turned away and walked back to shore, unmolested, at a leisurely pace. Without looking back.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Only regret is that that the scene was not recorded. If anyone took pictures, please contact me at this address.