We meet at the noisy saloon in the forest for supper. The place is bright and packed and we recognize some of the people, and they recognize us. This is progress. We bundle into a booth next to the Trophy Buck video game and soon four beers, two of them root, are on the table.
Some out-of-town snowmobilers are in the next booth. It's possible they're all the way from the Cities. Their boots are a little too new, their coats a little too Outdoorsy. A trim, graying man comes out of the bathroom and heartily asks the kid busing tables, "What's the best way back to Two Harbors?"
The kid stands there with empty beer glasses in his hands, scowling slightly. The man from the Cities waits. Finally, the oracle speaks: "The ditch."