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Stake and Potatoes

Howdy, Neighbor. People have been telling Phil he’s a good storyteller for a long time… so we are trying something new and pretty-much non-sales Just sharing occasional sweet stories, tall tales, and life lessons learned around these parts. Northwoods Notes are a new, semi-bi-irregular peek into the heart and mind of Phil Frasier… you can read or listen… whichever you prefer… and you are receiving a copy because you’re a current customer of Frasier’s Plumbing and Heating, Inc. We think you’ll like them, but you can unsubscribe any time by clicking on the link at the bottom. But we hope you give us a chance!



Every night, there would be a line of pickup trucks at one of the local potato farms in Sugar Camp, Wisconsin.

Depending on the size of the truck, a load of spuds ran anywhere from twenty to fifty bucks. These weren’t prime potatoes. They were the culls.

We’d throw those taters around our yards and deer stands.

When the potatoes would freeze, they would turn sugary and the deer couldn’t resist ‘em…these were the pre-chronic waste disease days. Now we’re all watching out for our deer herd and frozen potatoes are prohibited. But back then, a lot of folks did it.

I’d drive over to Sugar Camp and pick up potatoes in our old stake bed truck.

Driving that truck was always an adventure. And not always a fun one, either.

You’d have to spin the steering wheel fourteen times to make one left turn.

And good luck keepin’ that thing straight. You never wanted to pass a policeman for fear that he’d think you were driving drunk. That truck would sway all over the road… especially when filled with potatoes.


The first time I drove it, I think I was sixteen.

It had hand-cranked windows, a radio with knobs and push-buttons, and a big ol’ vinyl bench seat that my back was always stickin’ to.

It also came with a standard transmission, a tommy gate, and 2-55 air conditioning. (That’s when you roll down two windows and drive 55 miles per hour.)

You’d have to slam the passenger door at least three times to get it to shut.

And even though we kept it clean, it always smelled like work.

That big stake bed truck probably got around five miles to the gallon… and that’s without a load.

And boy, it was loud. You always knew when it was comin’.

We finally retired that truck in 2002. Probably 30 years later than we should’ve.


We loved that old truck. So we kept it on the road as long as we could.

Nowadays, we have a dependable pickup truck and trailer that’s much safer for everyone on the road. But, man, I’d love to take that ol’ stake bed truck out for one more spin.

Are you hanging on to somethin’ that you can’t get rid of? Do you have an old car or truck that you could never let go? I’d love to hear about it.

Take care, neighbor. Take good care.

P.S. – I wonder how many potatoes would fit in the back of my current pickup truck. I guess the world will never know.


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