If there ever was a testament to how safe and crime-free Wisconsin is, I think this may be it. I will personally sleep better at night knowing that our tax dollars are going to hunting down dangerous outlaws like myself.
Darryl and I traveled to Minocqua, WI this last weekend for a wedding. Minocqua is a hot tourist destination for Sconnies and FIBS – which makes for an interesting dynamic between those visiting and those that call themselves “locals”. The town pretty much shuts down during the off-season, when the college kids go back to school, and the grandmas take over running the bars and gas stations.
We drove up Saturday afternoon after spending a couple days in Tigerton, where Darryl’s hunting land is. We affectionately refer to the land as “The Farm,” since Darryl’s mother’s family used to own and run a fully-operational farm on the land. The farm house has since been burned down, and a large shed remains – chalk full of ATV’s, bicycles, hunting gear galore, scrap metal, and most importantly – a keg and a deep fryer.
Now – I’ve had friends that like to talk about “going up north.” Or going up “Nort” as the real Sconnies say. They talk about their warm log cabins, cozy fires, homemade crock pot meals, watching old Hollywood movies with Mom…things of this nature. When I tell people I am going “up north,” usually that’s the kind of imagery provoked. Let me take the opportunity to displace all imagined “up north” imagery with this:
The glorious camper.
It comes equipped with coffee pot and propane tanks for heat. And I’ve grown to really love it.
My favorite part of going “Up Nort” is Darryl’s inability to use the syllables T and H. Within four minutes of passing into Shawano County, Darryl begins to talk “like all da odder folk from up in dose parts of town.” He loves to talk about “da big ol’ bucks in da field dat don’t seem to be movin’ dat much.” But he is confident “dat if we just move dose apples around, da does will smell ‘um and da bucks will be close behind.”
My next favorite part of going “Up Nort” is when we “head up to da bar for cold ones from Brenda.”
After north woods shenanigans ($10 all-you-can-eat fish fry and a haunted forest), we headed up to Minocqua, leaving plenty of time to get ready at the church. While traveling, we always make it a point to stop at Mobil gas stations when we see them, because they can be scarce outside of Madison. We are loyal to Mobil gas stations for one reason, and one reason only: the Mobil Speed Pass. The Mobil Speed Pass is a little, black stick that is connected to a credit card that I don’t pay the bills for (Thanks Dad! You’re the best in the whole world! I love you!).
We spotted a Mobil on our way to the church and thought it would be best to fill up. We were also somewhat lost, so Darryl wanted to run inside and ask for directions (how un-typically male, right?). I was left with the responsibility of filling up while Darryl inquired inside.
Now. Whether or not I actually held up the speed pass or just began pumping fuel is up for debate. We were excited to get to the wedding. We were in a rush. We were a bit flustered. My memory is hazy. But as far as I am concerned, I most definitely used the speed pass. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. If Darryl asks, I definitely used the speed pass.
Fast forward to later that evening. We are in St. Germain for the reception- another small town about 20 minutes east. I get a call from a northern Wisconsin number around 9 PM. They leave a voicemail :
“Hi, this message is for Melissa Faulkner. This is the Minocqua police department and we are calling to report a guy drive off in your vehicle earlier today. Please call us back so we can clear this matter up.'”
I listened to the voicemail in the reception hall – which was loud and crowded. I immediately looked at Darryl and said “Um…the Minocqua PD thinks you stole my car.”
We were fairly perplexed by this voicemail, considering A) we drove the car to the reception, and it was parked outside and B) the guy driving off in the vehicle was my boyfriend, and I was in the passenger seat.
We head outside just to make sure the car is, in fact, still there, and we listen to the voicemail one more time. Turns out I heard “guy drive off” but what the police officer really said was “gas drive off.”
It’s 9:30 PM on a Saturday, and the Minocqua police is on an all-out man-hunt, trying to find the person that left behind a $27 gas bill… I can only imagine what they thought when they looked up my license number. Zero speeding tickets. Zero infractions. 23 year old blonde female registered in Cross Plains. Typical criminal profile.
The next day Darryl and I returned to Minocqua to settle our debts with the 78 year old grandma that had called us in. She said she was grateful for our honesty and was glad we were there to do the right thing. I responded with “Um…my license gets revoked if I don’t pay this so it doesn’t have much to do with being nice…so if you could call the police officer, and call off the man hunt, that would be great…”
We headed out of town on our drive-of-shame, only to get a call a couple hours later from a good family friend asking if I needed bail money.
My driver’s license is registered to a Cross Plains address, where a wonderful family has adopted me. I use their home as a permenant address cuz changing addresses every year as a college student is a pain.
Michele proceeds to tell me that the Madison Police Department showed up at her house at 9 PM last night looking for me…something about an unpaid gas bill in Minocqua…
Ladies and gentleman. Rest assured that our state is on top of doing everything in their power to stop those dangerous outlaws that drive off without paying for their gas. Think twice before you drive off without paying for your $27 gas bill!