I write the clues - but first, a beer
OK, I'll come clean. I'll tell you the whole story and how it came to be that I hid the medallion in Mounds Park this year.
I was sitting in Obbs Bar. It was Aug. 19, a Sunday, which you might remember as a significant date because that day Johan Santana struck out 17 Texas Rangers. I thought the Twins probably wouldn't be able to keep the guy, but that's a different story. There was a great deal of whooping and hollering in the bar but I found myself gazing out the window.
Long after the game was over, I left the bar for a spell and walked into the woods across the street. I always like some markers, peculiar tree formations, that kind of thing. I wandered in a little deeper and looked for a hollow log but I came upon a rusted old drum. There were some dead tree limbs on the ground and I thought I would hide the puck this year under one of those limbs. Then I counted my way back to the street, about 300 steps.
That's what I did.
I felt so good about my choice that I went back to Obbs Bar. By the time they kicked me out at closing time, I had most of the clues written. I guess that's why, when I try to explain them now, I have to admit some of them were a bit on the wild side. I was writing them on bar napkins, and the ink ran on a few of them because of my wet beer glass.
My personal favorite was Clue No. 6. I enjoyed writing that one. I was entirely familiar with Edward Duffield Neill. Heck, who isn't? I knew he was the first to conduct excavations in Indian Mounds Park. Yeah, I knew that. He was an educator and a minister, too. This guy, as we all know, founded Macalester College and House of Hope Presbyterian Church. That's where I got the idea to put the kilt in there, you know, for the Scottish connection.
I must have exclaimed or shouted out something gleeful, because one of the waitresses in Obbs came over to my table and wondered whether I was OK.
"You could say that I'm more than OK,'' I said. "I'm brilliant. That's what I am.''
And then do you know what I said to her? Rakishly, I said, "Hey, baby, look sharp now and never mope.'' Quickly, I wrote that one down, a little throwaway line I could use at the end of Clue No. 6.
She rolled her eyes. I couldn't tell her any more. I wanted to. I wanted to impress that chick that I was the old CW. But I couldn't. And I was careful to shield the paper napkins spread out over the table. I didn't want her to remember that night and remember that guy at the table next to the window who was talking to himself and every once in a while shouting out something like, "Mason!''
"Another over here,'' I said.
She brought me a beer but said I should consider winding things down.
That's why I put beer in Clue No. 8. That's the one where I put "buck" in there, because of all the deer in Mounds Park. And then a thought occurred to me. I got up and walked over to the bar.
"Barkeep,'' I said.
"You don't happen to know if there is a Masonic Memorial in Mounds Park, do you?''
"Why, yes, I believe there is.''
I went back to the table and crafted it right off the top of my head.
Look at the buck to acquire good luck
In finding the grail this year
Link a jar, a line, a star lawyer divine
While crying in your beer
Oh, I was careful to guide you away from the burial mounds themselves, and I certainly sprinkled the clues with admonitions about safety and stuff like that. But to me, that is just filler. What I like is the tough stuff, like my clever reference to all the Johnsons out there, and to Stephen A. Douglas and the Masons.
Like I say, they look a little iffy now, but they sure looked good to me that night at Obbs. Good old Obbs. And for all who are wondering, I put that message board drivel line in there that night in August.
I don't write these things as the hunt moves along.
I write them in the summer, in bars.
Joe Soucheray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-228-5474. Soucheray is heard from 2 to 5:30 p.m. weekdays on KSTP-AM 1500.
Copyright 2008 Pioneer Press.