Friday, October 15, 2021

Wisconsin mystery

     We hit four state parks and two county parks during our five days in Wisconsin, the last being Whitefish Dunes State Park. It seemed fitting to end our trip walking along the sand, watching the waves roll in.
     Just before we left that park and headed home, we tucked into a small lakeside area, the dimness under the trees contrasting with the bright beach just beyond. We sat for a while, watching the water through the trees, then turned to walk back to the car.  
     "Look, a doghouse," my wife said. It seemed incongruous, this small canine dwelling, just set there.. We walked around it. No door. No window. No entrance of any kind.  It had obviously been there for a while. A theory immediately came to me, ludicrous in its wrongness.  
     "Maybe they are testing roofing materials," I said. "For park structures and such. They built this little model here to see how it stands up to the elements."
     I hesitate to share this here, lest I establish myself as a stupid man. But that is what, confronted with the object, I thought and said aloud, sharing my wildly improbable theory. It shows imagination, if nothing else.
     My wife, far brighter, pointed to the concrete base.
     "It's probably covering up some unsightly thing," she said. Of course. An electrical meter or gas valve or some such device. That has to be it.
     "Some unsightly thing." I want to pause, and savor that phrase. Heck, I could use that as the title of my autobiography. One of the really enjoyable aspects of the trip was our conversations, and my wife, as always, would say things I just had to admire, with the surprise and appreciation of a philatelist discovering a rare issue. There was one during our first hike.
     "It's so friggin' quiet," she said, with feeling. I did marry a city girl—well, Bellwood, close enough. A simultaneous praise and dismissal of the Wisconsin natural idyll. I wish she had used the actual obscene present participle, and not a euphemism. But nothing is perfect. Close enough though.


  1. In June I was hiking through Peninsula State Park with my wife and there was a tennis court in the middle of nowhere. If you moved the sticks and leaves you could have played. It was kind of strange. Maybe some kind of Wisconsin sense of humor I'm no familiar with.

  2. Except for the fact that apparently there was only one, I would have assumed it was a Native American spirit house or grave covering. See, for example,

  3. I like the model home theory. :) But good thing Edie was there as a voice of reason, and couth.

  4. My first thought was a gas valve or even an abandoned gas well. Ohio has lot of them, and some are right in yards, and even next to garages. But a gas well would be left uncovered. And there would also be (as required by law) many warning signs and cautionary signs and even "no smoking" signs.

    So it must be something else...I have no idea what. When roofing materials are tested, they are often just nailed to a fence and left to weather. Paint is just slapped onto a fence and allowed to get the maximum exposure. Definitely a mystery. Did you ever find out the answer, Mr S?

  5. Oooh! I love a mystery! Based on the photos alone, I can make some assumptions.

    First, there's nothing groundbreaking or worth verifying about the fact that if you leave things out in the forest, green stuff will eventually grow all over it, so it's not for materials testing.

    Next, the picnic equipment in the background suggests that this might be connected to that, such as a covered storage container. Had you grabbed either long edge and tried to lift it, I think you would have found that it's hinged to open, revealing some half-full bags of charcoal or rusty cans of lighter fluid inside. (There would not be a grill itself under that, as the first idiot to close it over burning charcoal would have burnt the whole thing down.)

    It looks like handyman construction by a retired roofer. If your only tool is a hammer, all your problems will look like nails. If your only construction materials are shingles and siding, all your projects will look like little buildings.


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