The Badger Chronicles: The Appleton Gummy Gang


Unbeknownst to me Scotty beamed me to Marinette, Michigan a couple of times that day.

Skipah’s Travelling Road Show took the day off from all things Door County on June 23rd, evidently I was drawing to much heat from the badger mafia and needed to lay low for a couple of days before I ended up in Green Bay swimming with the fishes.  Our goal that day was to get our bayside paradise tidied up before we started entertaining guests that evening!  Homemade pizza’s, reminiscing, attempting to burn down Wisconsin, and more Squito Spray were just what the doctored ordered!


Word in the forest is there is a 20-pound fish bounty on your head from the local Potawatomi badger tribe, according to Mr. White Tail!

Who were we entertaining you may ask?  Only my senior year prom date and her merry gang of crumb snatching marauders!  Before anybody thinks this is some kind of “weirdo” post she and I have remained close friends for years!  She is now a displaced Hoosier living in Appleton, Wisconsin who has been keeping a dark secret I soon learned!  With two boys the Turtle Man’s age, and one girl Miss Madison Jr. & Sloane’s age what could possibly go wrong with six kids:  Three boys who think putting butter knives in light sockets makes a cool spark and three girls wishing they could spend the rest of their life living in Cinderella’s castle at Mr. Disney’s grossly overpriced mouse house!  A recipe ripe for disaster, thankfully everyone played well in the sandbox.


Before I die I will write a blog post from this seat!

The big secret is apparently she and her little minions are known locally in northern Wisconsin as the Appleton Gummy Gang!  Mom goes in and makes small talk with whatever store owner, and the little criminals will clean out the place of gummy bears!  I only learned of this when she made sure to tell me not to include her kiddos faces on any pictures for fear of the Wisconsin state police would kybosh their little gelatin sugar addiction.  I agreed, but only if I start getting a cut of the loot since it’s well known I will eat gummy bears until I reach the point of a diabetic coma!


While Miss Madison was updating her Susy Homemaker crash cleaning ninja skills after our epic Russian Bank card duels from the previous night, Mr. Skipah and the gang were preparing the outside for the evening festivities before the arrival of our law breaking guests.  That meant only one thing!  Bonfire prep, since I had more fuel at my disposal than a Saudi prince it was no holds barred on building the perfect conflagration, that is today’s “big” word of the day.  I told the kids I don’t care how big or how small any piece of wood was, the goal was to send smoke signals to the International Space Station and cause Milwaukee area flights to be rerouted due to visibility issues.  When I saw Sloane and the Turtle Man rolling a log the size of a double-wide trailer I knew it was going to be a good night!


Rome is going to burn!

With our fire built, Miss Madison graciously running up to Sturgeon Bay for reinforcements, the Appleton Gummy Gang reached our abode in record time (possibly because they outran the WSP) for a day and evening of pure fun!  A quick trip down the road to hop in frigid Green Bay (I at least got my ankles wet) and then it was dinner time.  Semi-homemade pizzas were the dinner of choice that night.  I say semi-homemade because the crust & sauce were store bought, but I’m on vacation and not exactly wanting to dirty enough dishes to make the evening shift of Applebee’s laugh at me.  Six kids, three adults so, of course, we made a total of four.  The boys made two and then the girls made two.  Italian sausage, bell peppers, onions, pepperoni’s, and of course plenty of cheese (pre-shredded, again I apologize for there wasn’t a cheese grater handy) and the kids suddenly adopted Italian last names.


With dinner out of the way, the now newly time-honored tradition of watching the sunset over the bay (six nights, five awesome sunsets #grateful) completed it was time to make Smoky the Bear’s blood pressure skyrocket!  Building a fire is an art, some people have it some don’t, I think I have it.  I’m a hybrid of Picasso & Monet when it comes to fire construction or just a 39-year-old man with a serious pyromania addiction!  Either way, the fire the kids and I built that night is probably still being talked about at the local Fishing Hole/Tavern.   At the height of its powers, it was boiling water as far away as Canada and Chicago.  There wasn’t a bug within twenty miles of us, long story short it was epic.  I will apologize to Mr. Pine Tree that I thought was high enough that he wouldn’t get singed.  All in all, a wonderful evening!



Sloane and one of the wanted Appleton Gang bandits even walked next door to see the lighthouse.  Pssst… don’t tell the Coast Guard but we trespassed on their property.  Seeing a lighthouse up close and personal at night when it is actually “working” is something that will never get old for me.  For some reason, this land lubber can’t get enough lighthouse action (more to come on this when we headed home) when he is near them!


About it for now, seeing my old friend in her Wisconsin environment and catching up on all things Clarksville, Indiana was great.  She and Miss Madison hit it off immediately, and Sloane seeing one of her friends for the first time in a couple of years was just the icing on the cake.  Unfortunately, NASA never called to asked what the hell was going on with our fire, but after the Appleton Gummy Gang cleared out the next day (that included a full afternoon at the beach and playground #awesome) we had more guests coming.  Not just any guests, but another set of displaced Hoosiers that earned their snow shoveling Wisconsin blue ribbon years ago that hail from Madison, Indiana.


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  1. Pingback: The Badger Chronicles: Meet the Milwaukeeans

  2. Gary that was a big ass bon fire. I’m surprised that you didn’t burn half the dang trees. I’m happy ya’ll had a great time.

  3. That was a wonderful experience,memorable vacation indeed i like the bonfire oppsss should be in the guineas book of records

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  5. No bonfires in California–you can go to jail. But they allow fireworks in some counties including mine here. Let’s add a misplaced illegal firework to the raging wildfires already raging through the state! Glad to read you are having some great vacation time!

    • Vacation was great, one more day to cover :). I figured a bonfire like that in California would probably get you on the FBI’s watch list. I’m sure they take fire irregularities more serious in California than say U.S. State Department email breaches. #NotATrumpFanEither

  6. Sounds like fun. I’m very impressed by your bonfire. I’m sure eventually the forest will grow back again, so that’s okay. 🙂

  7. Looks and sounds great! 🙂 One day, we’re gonna have ONE HELL of a bonfire with our stick and branch pile out in the back 40. I gotta have it approved by the local fire dept, but then, oh the fire we’ll have 😛 Haha!

  8. JugglingMother

    Our fire pit never looks that good!! Impressive! Glad you were able to control it.

  9. I love having this window into a world that is a bit familiar from childhood. But haven’t been in for soo long. I love a good bonfire! And vanity, of course. But who’s talkin’ ’bout that?

  10. I don’t tend to build fires anymore, since the house we now inhabit tends to be in some stage of drought year-round! Good news is we are expecting measurable rain later today!

    The barking poodle across the street confirmed bad weather forecast made by the local human forecasters! Our chicken of a cat is hiding in the bedroom, from either the dog or the weather, who knows? Definitely, not the tiny tiger we had hoped to adopt! Really do not feel like chicken tonight.

    Glad to hear all the kids had a decent weekend even if they were stuck with you!

  11. Can I be next in line to write a blog post information that seat? Good idea on laying low for a day, hope that put the badgers at ease.

  12. Thank bonfire was huge! Looks like everyone had a good time! Have a good day my friend! 🙂

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