Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 202

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 202

When We Last Left

…Oconomowoc has a splendid public library, perhaps they can help you…

… Connie and Ace’s Wisconsin expedition is morphing into something more.

“Get rid of that slave woman and her son”

question markThe rooms natural light is short and outside noises are squelched by heavy drapery, yet there is single shaft of light, seemingly without origin, streaming onto a large book. HOLY BIBLE,” Constance brushes the dust away from the yellowed pages. “There is a passage underlined Genesis 21: 10, and Sarah said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman’s son will never share the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

“The story of Isaac and Ishmael, huummm, I wonder if she was troubled by the fact that Mr. Valentine left his stepchildren, hers by Mr. Armour, out of his will.” this distant relative and the whole House of Armour is well acquainted with the financial ins and outs of the considerable estate dealings of both men, with Mary Lester as a common wife.

“You would know about that sordid mess, but there are some old documents rolled up next to the Bible binding, having the feel of animal skin,” she opens the fragile papers, sealed with gold and scented with perfume. “I couldn’t read this if my life depended on it.”

“Why isn’t it covered in dust like everything else… and what happened to that light?” Ace points the obvious, just in case no one else sees the same things.

“Where can I take this to be read maybe Greek or Hebrew, I’m guessing?” she taps into Armour’s local knowledge.

“I live back in Wauwatosa, but I know Oconomowoc has a splendid public library, perhaps they can help you.”

After checking out the rest of the main house, they go down by the boathouse,Valentine Estate cross the Valentine Bridge to Valentine Island and get a close up view of the lake. The water is steadily reclaiming its liquid form, the ice, once a foot or more thick, retreating rapidly from shore.

But, as sure as time passes, things must change and a house that was built 50 years ago, before modern mechanicals, it will be torn down and replaced by a dozen inferiorly framed substitutions.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 170

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 201

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 201

…”I can open it,” Constance reaches into her purse, acquires the proper tool-of-her-trade and it gives way easily…

From their home base in the Town of Eagle, Constance and Ace Bannion head off to meet their tour guide from Milwaukee, a lower level Armour executive that has access to Danforth through his ongoing financial dealings with Patrick Anderson Valentine II. The younger Valentine has no tangible need for the once vibrant P.D. Armour Estate. The upkeep is killing him.

The previously immaculately kept grounds are now overgrown and undistinguished. The 75+ room mansion has been stripped of its appointments by Armour and Valentine relatives who did not share in the ten million dollar will/estate of either family bequeathing.

But as cavernously empty the building is, there seems to be something or someone lingering about. No, it is not that bitter coldness that Pentateuch has need of, or his lingering smell of burning hair & flesh, but there is definitely some sort of “presence”.

“Has anyone ever told you, or have you heard, that this place is haunted,” her investigative skills kicking in, Constance steps lightly through room after room, until on the third floor. She nears a particular room. That isDark locked, “Here, in here!”

“I have no idea what is in there, but the door is locked,” the guide explains. “I believe this was Mrs. Valentine’s sewing room.”

“It’s only a skeleton (key), I can open it,” she reaches into her purse, acquires the proper tool-of-her-trade and it gives way easily. The unused and un-oiled door opens slowly, revealing a room that has not been touched in decades. Cobwebs drape from wall to ceiling and ceiling to furnishings. There is a cradle in the corner, which appears to be rocking back and forth, empty and dusty.

The rooms natural light is short and outside noises are squelched by heavy drapery, yet there is single shaft of light, seemingly without origin, streaming onto a large book….

question mark

“What’s in the book?”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Stay tuned-001

Forever Mastadon


page 169

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 200

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 200

… I would have been foolish not to take advantage of the name branding of my family…

The newest visitors to SE Wisconsin have allotted one full day of getting familiar with the lay of the land (and lakes) and several varied combinations of Polly Pabst meals and country wisdom. Over liters and quarts of caffeine fortified coffee, they get answers to their most prominent questions…

“The name “Pabst” is everywhere around here, are you…” Connie begins to place people to places and places to history.

“Yep. I used to run away from it, unlike my brother Davey, who loves the family business and racing cars. But when I opened this diner, I would have been foolish not to take advantage of the name branding.

“I saw the Pabst Blue Ribbon neon sign in the window.” Ace has been known to sample adult malted beverages on occasion, so Pabst Beer has passed by his lips before.

“I don’t live out at the mansion. I have a small house nearby.”

“We took a long drive,” he uses hand signals, “counterclockwise around Oconomowoc Lake and Pabst Farms is the first thing you run into. You know, I didn’t know that cows made beer.”

“What else do you do with 1200 acres, Ace? Hops do not grow well above the 40th parallel, but corn and dairy cattle do nicely.

“There isn’t a better area in the country, it has it all; fresh water, oak forests, fertile soil, friendly people and all this only 30 miles from a major city like Milwaukee.”

“God certainly outdid Himself here, that is for sure,” adds Constance from her two day perspective. “I don’t know if we mentioned it, but we are going to get a tour of Danforth Lodge tomorrow. I hear that it is magnificent.”

Polly has perspective of her own, having grown up in a moneyed family, with a long storied legacy, “That is a good example of what happens when the patriarch senior, then junior get older and all that ostentatious construction makes less and less sense; the kids sell off and divide up the riches, without mom or dad to make a fuss. After Valentine took over Danforth, the luster of the Roaring Twenties and the money island that brought them through the Depression had faded into the past. Property like that just doesn’t make sense any more.”

“You are a bright woman, Polly, I’m impressed. What keeps you tucked away in Eagle?”

“I am tucked, but productive. You may not realize it, but we cater far more food, to wedding and banquets, than we serve out here. There are twenty people in the back getting ready for a party this weekend.”

“This building must be bigger than it looks!”

“It used to be a textile factory, an example of the shrinking manufacturing base in the United States.”

She may be tucked away, but an entrepreneurial treasure nonetheless.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 168

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 199

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 199

…”Ajax Caraway, that definitely has a ring to it,” therein lays the root of Constance still being single…

“What is the Saturday Special?”

“Hasenpfeffer stew,” counters Polly Pabst.

“What kind of stew is that?”

“German for good, let’s go dear, it’s…I’ll explain it in the car…we’ll be seeing you again Polly.” Ace predicts that they will be back. “Did you ever have a pet rabbit?”

“No, we had a parakeet.”

“Then order the meat loaf, if they have it”Luft's-001

Not far down the road, tucked into a lightly forested foothill, they locate Luft’s Route 67 Inn. It is a “motel” by every definition: 10 or so rooms on ground level, each with their own door.

The kindly innkeeper takes their money and passes a register Ace’s way. Mr. and Mrs. Caraway are now official, if not unofficially married guests in Eagle, in the short time before heading into Cooney (Oconomowoc’s  odd nickname).

“Ajax Caraway, that definitely has a ring to it,” therein lays the root of Constance still being single. If she could figure out a way to keep her surname, maybe she could bridge that commitment disconnect.

Once you wing your way north out of Eagle, the terrain flattens out, carved smooth by ice age glaciers. The forests thin out, exposing acres of corn fields and large fenced in pastures that nourish hundreds of Holsteins, the four-legged machines whose milk help make this America’s Dairyland.

pabst-farms-signIf your destination is Oconomowoc Lake, you never do make it to the city proper, having to veer off of Hwy. 67 to less obvious road choices. Bodies of water dictate where roads go and if you come upon a fork in that road, you are given the opportunity to make a wrong turn.

To the right, you will pass away from the lake and the fields of Pabst Farms, 1500 acres of working agriculture that acts as a buffer zone; the Pabst family and Al Capone’s lawyer are tucked away on sprawling acreage.

Hang a left and you will soon see the waters of one of the cleanest fresh water lakes in the state. Sure, the winter’s ice is still floating off shore, but the Caraways can understand why this hidden gem is the destination for meat packers, brewery owners and gangsters; Armour, Miller, Uihlein and Capone; mansion after mansion line the hills along Beach Road, which runs along the western shore.

Right before you round the corner again, just as Ace’s friend’s directions say, P.A. Valentine’s Danforth Lodge sits high above, the royal landlord to the rest of the lake’s residences.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Oconomowoc Lake Club

Forever Mastadon


page 167

New Stuff – Don’t Blink and They’re So Yesterday

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Tech Items

You Need To

Know About

We often check out sci-fi movies and books for ideas on what future tech could look like – anything from Marty McFly’s hoverboard to Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber – but what we don’t realize is that there are so many amazing gadgets and gizmos already around us. Every year, genius minds come up with fantastic ideas that have the potential to be game-changers. Sure, some ideas may fall flat, but for every weird and wacky item, there is a genuinely cool piece of technology that we humans could be using for many years into the future. Let’s take a look at 10 items that seem from the year 3017, but are actually coming very soon or available now.

10. PowerRay underwater drone by PowerVision

Sure, drones can record incredible footage from the sky, but what if you want to explore another vast and open area: the ocean. That’s why the Powerway underwater drone looks to be hugely popular, as it will be able to be controlled underwater to depths of 98 feet (30 meters). The little submarine-esque item can record 4K video and stream it to your phone, which is not only fascinating to the average seagoer, but also useful for fishermen. A sonar function is available which can apparently detect fish from up to 131 feet away (40 meters) and baits them with the help of a blue light. This makes us think that fishing doesn’t sound so hard after all!

9. Spectacles by Snap Inc.

Snapchat is already one of the most popular apps in the world, and now the company behind it all, Snap Inc., has now released their very own physical product: Spectacles. These record 10-second clips at the press of a button, which can then be uploaded to your Snapchat account. These sound useful, as you can have your phone in your pocket but still be able to record things from your POV, and they are stylish enough to be worn outside (unlike Google Glasses, RIP). However, there has been some discussion about privacy concerns regarding the Spectacles, as the thought that someone could be taking a video without your knowledge or approval is a real issue among people today.

8. Smart bikes by LeEco

LeEco has created smart bikes that contain some very useful improvements to your regular bike. There is a 4-inch touchscreen attached to the frame, which can provide you with on-screen directions and riding stats, as well as a compass, speedometer and barometer. There’s also some lasers attached to the handlebars, which create a virtual lane in front of you, which is kind of cool. There will be two types available for LeEco’s smart bikes: a road version and an all-terrain version. What’s great is that the smart bike doesn’t look so much different from the bikes of today, thereby reducing the risk of theft as it’s not over-the-top and ostentatious.

7. 360 smart bed by Sleep Number

This is perhaps the most high-tech bed on the market. The 360 smart bed is said to adjust to your ideal level of firmness and support, as you can control all settings relating to comfort. What’s really fun is that if the bed senses you snoring, it will gently raise the head section to (hopefully) prevent it for the rest of the night. Sleep Number’s bed can also warm your feet, which is said to help induce sleep much faster. In the morning, you’ll get sleep statistics sent to your phone, which means getting good sleep is now training of sorts.

6. The Core by Norton

The Core is not only a modern router for the home, but also a very stylish and futuristic-looking item – exactly what we want! But it’s more than a pretty sight, as the router contains security features that are said to prevent hackers, malware, and viruses from ever getting into any item with an Internet connection. As we have smartphones, laptops, tablets, and even fridges connected to the web, this is a big advantage in a world where cybercrime is a prevalent threat.

5. U connected shower system by Moen

This is something we’re really excited about, as getting the perfect shower temperature every morning seems to take way longer than we’d like. From your smartphone, you’ll be able to pre-heat the water temperature before you even get in, as well as setting a time limit to turn off the shower so you don’t spend ages in there and end up late for work (easy to do on a Monday morning). This device could also help in drought areas, as there’s no need to waste water as you wait for the perfect temperature – it happens instantly.

4. Moxi stroller and phone charger by 4moms

Everyone loves to get two things done at once, so that’s why 4moms made the moxi. The stroller doesn’t just get your child from A to B, but can charge your phone whilst doing so. Using kinetic energy, you can ditch regular old electricity to keep your phone from running low. There are additional great features of the stroller too, like an LCD dashboard that shows various data, headlights and taillights, and a fully adjustable seat and handlebars.

3. Pop instaprint camera by Polaroid

Not a company to dwell in the past, Polaroid has gone full 21st century by creating their Pop instaprint camera. Able to print 3″ x 4″ prints on-the-go, the camera gives you those instant memories but in a much more modern and sleeker design. The Pop from Polaroid can also shoot 1080p HD videos, making it the ultimate party or travel item. The notion of printing out photos has died somewhat, as most of our pictures tend to stay on our phones or computers, but the Pop camera bridges the gap between digital image and handheld phone.

2. Touchscreen by Tanvas

Have you ever wanted to feel what the material is like of a shirt when shopping online? Well, Tanvas can make that possible with their touchscreen technology. Tanvas has partnered with apparel company Bonobos, so you can know how smooth or rough those pants are before purchasing. It remains to be seen about what other applications this technology from Tanvas can be used for, but for the meantime, this could be very useful for online shoppers who want to go that extra mile.

1. Kitchen assistant by Hello Egg

Move over Alexa, there’s a new voice-operated home gizmo in town. Hello Egg’s device is specifically made for the kitchen, where it will assist you in planning meal ideas for the week, as well as keeping your shopping list organized and shouting out instructions for when you eventually start cooking. We really love this idea, as it can be often confusing to cook a new meal with only written instructions, but thankfully Hello Egg’s assistant has the option to show videos too, in addition to voice directions. No more burnt meals!


New Stuff –

Don’t Blink and They’re So Yesterday

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 198

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 198

…Wouldn’t you know, both liver & onions and  meat loaf are not a part of today’s menu…

Pabst Diner Menu-001

The would-be diners look at each other and say jointly, “We’ll have the fish fry.”

“That is locally caught perch with rye bread and a choice of coleslaw or french fries,” the waitress, a young woman with a farm girl look, recites by heart.

Guest check-001

“Can we have both,” asks Ace. “We are starved. It’s been a long drive.”

“Chicago… that will be $1 dollar extra.” She is unintentionally ambiguous.

“Is the dollar for coming from Chicago or the extra food?”

She ignores the question as stated, “We get a lot of folks from Chicago in here, but you two are way more polite than most; you don’t even sound like you’re from the north. I’m good at guessing where a folk is from.”

“Give it a shot darlin’. I’ve got an Alexander Hamilton here that says you can’t guess what states we are from.”

She looks around, after seeing there are no other customers, then offers, “The lady looks like a true Southern Belle, maybe Georgia or the Panhandle.” She looks at Ace from his head and stopping at his feet, “You sir are from Texas.”

“Tallahassee, Florida,” CC raises her hand, while Ace adds, “Austin, Texas and I bet my rattlesnake boots gave me away.”

She grabs the $10 Silver Certificate and stuffs it into her apron, “Do you want tartar sauce?”

“I like you, you, you are ____,” prompts Ace?

“Polly, Polly Pabst.”

“I like you Polly Pabst, but I wouldn’t play poker against you; you’re cold.”

“I have a mortgage to pay.”

“We are headed to Oconomowoc; do you have a name of a good place to stay for a couple days?” Constance is planning ahead.

“Cooney is only 20 miles away…we have a cute motel on the north side of Eagle, you can’t miss it. Are you two married?”

The would-be overnighters look at each other and say jointly, “Yes-no, no-yes.”

“I ain’t being nosey, just that the older gentleman running the place used to be the preacher over at the Lutheran church and his wife is a bit of a prude.”

“We thank you for the head’s up,” Constance locks arms with Ace as they head out. “What is the Saturday Special?”

“Hasenpfeffer stew.”

“What kind of stew is that?”

“German for good, let’s go dear.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 166

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 197

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 197

…they traverse the un-glaciated sliver of land named the Kettle Moraine State Park; bluffs, hogbacks, escarpments and kettles…

ROAD TRIP-001Thanks to a State Farm Travel Atlas and Ace’s keen sense of direction, they do not get lost on the twisting 130 mile trail through the Dairy State. Once they pick up Highway 67 outside of Lake Geneva, all signs count down the mileage remaining until you reach the city with the 5 letter Oconomowoc-001‘O’s in it. The road sign reads:

There are only 3 towns of note on this two-lane highway, an indication that there isn’t much else along the way. “You don’t go to Yellowstone Park to see skyscrapers,” the driver makes an analogy.

But not before they traverse the un-glaciated sliver of land named the Kettle Moraine State Park; bluffs, hogbacks, escarpments and kettles give it an out-of-place feel. “Are we still in the U.S.?” asks the passenger, even though she is the wiser.

Pabst Diner-001“Can we stop for a cup of coffee?” At 108 miles out of they have reached the inconspicuous berg named Eagle, 500 some odd folks who thrive on people traveling by automobile, hence the two filling stations, a general store and the Blue Ribbon Diner.

“I bet you that restaurant has coffee and a good home Pabst Diner Menu-001cooked meal,” Ace guesses. “Liver and onions, that’s what I’m hoping is on the menu.”

“Eeeuuwww!” Connie holds her nose. “I’ll settle for meatloaf and mashed potatoes.”

They stroll through the wooden screen door and discover a place frozen in time, like it hadn’t changed, even the stools at the lunch counter, since the 1920’s.

Wouldn’t you know, both of their menu wishes are not a part of the handwritten chalkboard list that includes homemade: chicken soup, pot roast, clam chowder and today’s special, the Friday Fish Fry.

“Liver and onion Special is on Sunday,” the cook (with long ears) reports from the back.

The would-be diners look at each other and say jointly, “We’ll have the fish fry.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Kettle_Moraine

Forever Mastadon


page 166