“Jackpine Savage”

Oh.  My.  Gosh.

I stood there feeling like Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies.  I had on thermal leggings & top, Smartwool hunting sox, a long camo fleece robe and a hand-me-down too large red plaid zipped wool jacket.  Feet: 1200 gram Lacrosse Burly camo rubber boots.  Face:  freshly stripped with soap in prep for makeup.  Hair:  Pebbles Flintstone bedhead.  Destination:  Outhouse.  I looked like a mugger from Central Park .  Oh wait… they wear trench coats and black sox.  Okay, so I looked like a mugger from Duluth .

I had become - a Jackpine Savage.

It was a nearly comical sight.  Standing on the snowy trail to the outhouse, I did a head-to-toe visual inventory of myself,  tossed back my bedhead and belly laughed to the sky.   The squirrels gathered near the porch looked puzzled.

Minnesota is a special place.  Wisconsin is too, but we won’t talk about them.   Do a Google search for the definition of “Jackpine Savage” and you won’t find one.  You will find various vague and enigmatic references, but no true definition.  The reason?  It’s a Midwest regional privilege to be a Jackpine Savage, not relegated to official definition.  Only the inner circle knows its own.  The rest can go and play, as MC Hammer says, but Hammer is DEFINITELY not a Jackpine Savage and it has NOTHING to do with skin color.   Cidiots?  They have no clue.  “Pretty People”?  Totally clueless.  But, “totally clueless” is slang a Jackpine Savage would never use.  The Avande Garde?  Ha!  Puleeeze.  They think a Jackpine Savage is an elf who lives in the California Redwoods or perhaps is a brand of Hobbit.

So what IS a Jackpine Savage?  You either know without reading this article, you’re pretending you don’t care, or you are in denial like it’s a bad thing.

Some people are naturally Jackpine Savages.  Other people wake up one day and realize they have always been one.  Ahem.  Some are steeped in it, aged in it.  They own it.  They are most always native Minnesotans (or maybe Wisconsinites).  Jackpine Savages can be converts from other socio-ilks, or one can be a Born Again Jackpine Savage by virtue of a primal nature eruption no matter where the origin.

Jackpine Savages eat venison and like it, often have dirty fingernails even if they are millionaires, and like the unpredictable.   John Wayne was a Jackpine Savage.  Bill Clinton and Prince are not.  Willie Nelson is a Savage, Tom Cruise is not.  Being a JPS has nothing to do with net worth, college degrees, breeding, or religion, BUT most JPS’s are spiritual.  I guess that goes with being passionate.

I saw one explanation of Jackpine Savage that likened it to being “Stupid”.  I don’t THINK  so, unless stupid means being dumb like a fox.

There are Jackpine Savage Days in Wisconsin , but does that tell us what a Jackpine Savage actually is?  Uh, no.

Perhaps a Jackpine Savage can best be explained by some real life examples and some traits they possess, whether male of female.    JPS’s do nature calls in the woods, wear camo to church and never drive a Beemer.  Barter is a way of life.  They toss dead mice on the roof of their garage.  They have cash stashed in strange places, have high Cylinder Indexes (own many devices that are piston driven), and often do not have political allegiance.  JPS’s of either gender have no problem expectorating or doing the “farmer nose blow” when tissue is not available.  They like loud things like Harleys and chain saws, but they like quiet things like the woods at dawn or a fire burning.  They mostly don’t live in the City.  They know the movie “ Fargo ” is a gross exaggeration... of the truth.   They like two wheel drive because doing donuts is a lot easier and they can drive just as well in snow as with 4WD.   They probably took their driver’s test with a stick shift.

A Jackpine Savage prefers being in the garage to being in the house and obviously drives a truck and not an SUV because they don’t want to share air space with dead animals,   gas cans or manure.  That said, a Jackpine Savage can clean up pretty well which really speaks for their versatility.  In fact, a jackpine savage is comfortable with the fact that they can embrace social niceties with aplomb when appropriate, and yet be okay with  relieving themselves in the bushes outside after the Governor’s Ball.  A Cidiot, on the other hand, could never pull off being off a Jackpine Savage.    Contrary to popular belief, not all Jackpines are Norwegian.  Most own at least some blue spatterware,  call aspens popples, say “ennyway” or “so” at the end of  sentences, call everything “stuff” and believe that unmapped public land is their own hunting territory.  We talk fast, have supper at the end of the day, know Hiway 2 to Bemidji intimately, get “go cups” of coffee, and have an interesting habit of putting “age” at the end of words…, like nappage, or mappage, or windage.

As I sat in the outhouse looking at the lacey frost patterns on the window panes, I reached for some wipe only to discover a dehydrated dead mouse in the lime bucket.  Too bad.  The coons eat them overnight, and this one went to waste.  I pondered a bit as one does in such a venue, and realized that since my childhood tomboy days, I have always been a Jackpine Savage.  But I have also always been a girly girl. And quite frankly, I like it like that.


© May 2008