I’m not a Yooper


Pretty soon it will be 25 years that my wife, my first born one-month-old and I, a Troll city boy, moved to the U.P.

There was one day that I stood next to the impressive woodpile that I had cut and split to feed the very thirsty woodstove to heat our home for yet another winter.

I asked my Yooper friend, “If I do this (waving at the stacks and stacks of wood) for another 10 years, will I be considered a Yooper?” There were no words, just a slight shake of his head making a “no” gesture. Now, almost 25 years later I clearly recall that moment and relive that disappointing feeling as I write these words. Why this feeling, and really, what is a Yooper?

We recently had some trees selectively cut off of our 40. We didn’t cut for many years because we loved the woods, we didn’t want to disrupt nature, but then we learned about healthy management of woods and the beauty it could create and decided to hire the Wender brothers to do the cutting.

We hired them because of their good reputation. These guys were like artists with the trees and the hills as their canvas. Not only were the good, they welcomed my curiosity and taught me a little bit about logging.

One day the brothers explained to me how the logs were valued and how, by looking at the cut and the long surface of the bark, you could determine the value of the log. After explaining, one of the brothers fired up his chain saw and cut about 18 inches off the end of a log jutting out of the pile. After the cut was made and putting down is saw he explained how that single cut increased the value of the log by about $45. Pretty impressive, not only were they good hearted, they were smart.

Now these guys are a couple of true Yoopers. But we have had dealings with other Yoopers that have not been so wonderful. Whoa, wait a minute. There have been Yoopers and Trolls that have done us right and done us wrong.

-There was the septic tank that was put in backwards (that stuff is supposed to flow downhill) Yooper.

– A wallboard tapper using WD40 on his wallboard knife because it made the mud go on smoother (latex paint doesn’t stick so well). – Troll.

– The neighbor letting me borrow his wood splitter every year – Yooper.

– The neighbor letting me borrow his rototiller every year – Troll.

– The driver tailgating me, putting them, my family and their family, and myself in real danger – Yooper.

– The driver tailgating me, putting them, my family and their family, and myself in real danger – Troll.

So what is this disappointment of not ever being able to be considered a Yooper?

Maybe I need to rethink my thoughts. What do I really want to be? I know that I do not want to be a liar, a cheat or a fool. I know that try to be good- hearted and help my neighbors. I think I have a reasonable handle on good and bad. Hmmm.

So I’m not a Yooper and I really do not feel like I am a Troll. Aaaah.

I hereby proclaim myself a Trollper. But I guess the important thing is what kind of Trollper am I going to strive to be?

Greg Weiss