The Suitcase Lady


March 6, 2018, 8:42 pm

The car is gone. I am referring to the car on the ice on Lake Michigan at our Manitowoc Marina. It now resides on the bottom of the lake…..presumably forever.

Years ago, I would listen to Prairie Home Companion’s Lake Wobegon stories. The fictional residents of that fictional town would haul a junker car out onto their iced over lake and place bets on when it would sink. Little did I know that this was not merely a storyteller’s great yarn, but rather a grand tradition in the upper Midwest, a.k.a., the tundra.

At the end of January, I read the following headline in my local paper, “Rotary Club Puts Car On Ice For Fundraiser”. Residents were encouraged to buy tickets and guess the month, day, hour and minute the car would sink. First prize was $1000, and second prizes were cruises to the Bahamas, where, presumably, there is no ice.

Rest assured that this bizarre fundraiser is not an environmental nightmare. The students at our local technical college stripped off and drained out any possible pollutants from the car. What is left is best described as a car carcass.

The 1989 Ford minivan went under on 5:19 a.m. on February 28. The Rotary got more money for their charities, the lucky winners got their prizes and we all got increased hope that spring might arrive.

I must also report that Minnesota has us outclassed in their car sinking events. Then again, Minnesota has us Badgers outclassed in almost everything they do these days, except their nickname. I couldn’t handle being a Golden Gopher.

The Cass Lake, Minnesota, Lions Club has put a red Ford Escort out onto the lake for the last ten years….the SAME Ford Escort. They attach a hook and cable to the car’s frame and drag it back up on shore when all the ice melts in late spring. True recyclers.

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