Panic on Roman’s Point

This weekend’s post comes to us from Port Huron Steve.

I used to own a cabin on Roman’s Point, which is a peninsula sticking into Lake Superior from its Wisconsin shoreline. There are about twenty cabins on the point. While a few were owned by Wisconsin residents, most belonged to people who live in the Twin Cities or Milwaukee and came to the shore of Superior to relax. The cabin folks were mostly professionals: teachers, writers, social workers and so forth. The people who used those cabins on the point formed a loose community. Everyone got along.


The cabin owners on Roman’s Point were a mellow group. They were highly educated and keen on protecting the natural environment. They were nature lovers. Indeed, they paid a lot of money for the privilege of enjoying one of the loveliest natural areas in the US. The people with cabins on the point were relaxed about security issues. The point was a friendly place where nobody expected crime.

We were amused, then, when somebody reported an odd theft. A young woman returned from a walk, kicking off her running shoes as she entered her family’s cabin. When she went out again, one running shoe was missing. That seemed strange. Who would steal a running shoe?

Not long afterward, another woman lost a sneaker from the back step of her cabin. People began to talk about this. Days later, another shoe went missing. And then another. What the heck was going on?

Now people were scared. Four shoes had disappeared. Something weird was going on. The shoes had no value, so the thief couldn’t be selling them. And “he” only took one shoe each time. Was lovely Roman’s Point haunted by a one-legged criminal?

Somebody finally said out loud what we had all been thinking: the only imaginable reason for stealing women’s shoes was some obscure sexual fetish. People began talking about the “Roman’s Point Pervert.” Cabin owners began locking their doors at night. For the gentle souls of Roman’s Point, this was our Boo Radley moment. Fear was in the air.

While Roman’s Point is “air conditioned” naturally by chilly lake breezes, now and then the weather can be hot and sticky. On one of those rare sultry nights, a few young folks chose to sleep in pup tents behind their parents’ cabin. Although they had sleeping bags, it was so hot they slept on top of the bags as if they were mattresses.

Just at dawn one of the girls woke up with a strange feeling. She gradually realized something was happening to her feet. She sat up. There, at the open end of her pup tent, was a red fox that was licking her bare feet. When the girl sat up, the fox was startled. It snatched one of her shoes and disappeared in the leafy underbrush.

Hours later, the Roman’s Point cabin owners mustered up a search team. After tramping around a bit, they discovered the fox’s cache of shoes in a little hollow surrounded by brush. They returned all the shoes to their owners.

Have you ever worried about something that turned out to be silly?

50 thoughts on “Panic on Roman’s Point”

  1. Since the photos have no captions, I’ll offer information here. The lead photo is a shot of Bark Point taken from our old cabin on Roman’s Point. As I recall, it was Memorial Day of 2010. The other photo shows a small bit of statuary that used to sit on the gatepost of one of the properties haunted by the Roman’s Point Pervert.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve worried about a few things that turned out to be silly in my day (nothing leaps to mind) but my wife is the champion of excess worry over nothing.

    If I feel a funny pain in my chest and make the mistake of mentioning it to her, she immediately goes into nurse triage mode and is ready to rush me to the emergency room. If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then to her mind, a pound of prevention is worth a ton of cure.

    If a random event happens once and she’s even the slightest bit negatively affected (say she got caught in a downpour without an umbrella and got her work clothes damp walking from her car to the door (about 50 feet), then if there’s even a 10% chance of rain in the forecast, she’ll bring her umbrella along and not need to use it for months between the times when it’s raining exactly at the moment she walks to or from her car at work.

    If there’s been any sort of plane crash in the month before I take one of my infrequent plane trips, she worries that my plane will be the one of the thousands in the air that day that will crash. (I can always see in her eyes–like she’s saying “goodbye, I love you,” for the last time.

    It’s endearing to a point, but it also puts a lot of pressure on me not to screw up and “choose the wrong plane” to fly on. Or get the cold that turns into pneumonia that kills me. Or to . . . *fill in the blank with any activity that entails even a minute degree of risk.*

    Chris in Owatonna

    *BSP* Since I know there are a few TBers who are interested in my “book tour”, I’ll be selling and signing my new book, Straight River, at Chapter 2 Books in Hudson WI today from 11-1, and at Once Upon A Crime at 604 W. 26th St in Mpls. (Just off Lyndale) from 3-5.

    I’ve met a handful of TBers at other signings, and I’d love to meet some others. I know either LJB or PJ is planning on showing up at one or the other today. Barbara in Rivertown, if you show up at one of the venues today, you’ve earned the title of “Official Groupie of the Straight River Book Tour.” 😉 (She’s been at my last two signings.) No prize or lapel pin or T-shirt or monetary compensation, just a big hug from me. 🙂

    C in O

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I will have to assess my energy level for this, Chris. I may or may not be up for it. (My energy tends to wane even more in the late afternoon.)

      Liked by 2 people

  3. If I’ve told this before – apologies. Once in high school, when my father and I had raided the local bookstore, I came home with The Exorcist. Just picked it up off a big pile at the front of the store, didn’t really look at it closely. Started reading it around 10:00 at night and by 1 a.m. had scared the beejezuz out of myself. I was too afraid to stop reading so I called Princess (the Wonder Dog) upstairs and locked her in the bedroom with me; the mythology of the time was that dogs could sense the supernatural sooner than humans. Finished the book at about 3 a.m. and was never so happy to see dawn in my life.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. What a lovely story, Steve. Once in Winnipeg i started shreiking in the kitchen “Chris, come here! It’s a cockroach!!!” It turned out to be a large, oval flattened purple grape that missed the top of the kitchen garbage can.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Once when my friend Tia was visiting from Chicago, I found myself pounding away at what I thought was a centipede in the bathroom sink with my sandal. Turned out to be one of her false eyelashes!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Love this story – sort of gives possible new meaning to Fox in Socks…

    Curious Steve – did this group of “cabiners” ever get together as a group, or was this information just passed via one-to-one conversations?

    I’m sure I’ll remember something eventually, but meanwhile: my mom, when traveling anywhere in winter, used to be a basket case if she saw even one snowflake in the air. Not entirely unfounded – she was probably remembering the time we went into a ditch during a blizzard on our way to Grandma’s…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Roman’s Point cabin bunch didn’t socialize with each other much. But when the shoes began disappearing, word spread from cabin to cabin, especially on the east side of the point, where “the pervert” was doing his crime.

      We did begin socializing a year or two later. Someone (a wealthy doctor, we were told) purchased a big piece of land on the point. That land had never been developed. The fear of that area losing its wildness was enough to bring the group together to debate our response. Several of us wanted to pool our resources to buy back that wild land, making sure it didn’t suddenly sprout a lot of cabins. One family opposed that plan, so in the end nothing came of it. But the threat of unwelcome development led to four meetings between folks who had a lot in common but didn’t know each other.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I knew someone once who thought that if something bad happened at a certain time, then you should avoid the place at that time forever. She told me that I should never go to Aldi (at a certain time) in the afternoon because when she had seen a fight in the parking lot at that time. I was puzzled as to why she thought that time should be avoided in the future. Did she think that the fighters arranged to fight in that parking lot at a certain time (every day)?


    1. I don’t experience fear often, so I rarely have fears that turn out to be foolish. A doctor did tell me once, after doing that test that men don’t like to discuss, that I might have cancer. I sweated through an unpleasant four weeks before a specialist could see me. He found no cancer, and in fact he expressed contempt for the original doctor’s work.


      1. I had a doc describe something once as “pre-cancerous.” Yeah – that’ll make you sweat, too, until the doc you know and trust calls anything like that hogwash, like saying you are “pre-pregnant…” – it’s cancer or it isn’t (and in her opinion, what she saw was benign and nothing to fret about).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Whoa! So are you suggesting that a doctor who gives you a diagnosis you don’t want to hear is wrong?

          I have yet to encounter a medical doctor who “expressed contempt” for a another doctor’s opinion. I have had doctors disagree on a diagnosis, and what would be the best course of treatment, but never express that disagreement in a way that indicated contempt for the other’s opinion.


        2. Not so much disagreeing with the diagnosis- more how it was framed. Like whether you call something a sweater or a cardigan. Are there things that can become cancerous? Yes. Was this likely to be one of them? Probably not. Even the way the first doc talked about it had me wondering about the “pre-cancer” designation. It did more to create fear than actually give me useful information on what we were looking at and what was worrisome about it and what I should watch for in the future. Would I go back to the doc who called something “pre-cancer?” Yep. A good doc. And beyond the semantics, I did trust what they had to say.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I left out some details, PJ, that might make my story more credible. Of course, negative diagnoses are not inherently wrong. I respect them unless I’m told they are wrong. Like you, I have observed that doctors hate to criticize the work of other doctors. My cardiologist recently was jolted to hear some advice I’d been given by another doctor. He said nothing, but corrected the bad advice. That’s normal. In the case of the cancer scare, the specialist went much further, explaining how the referring doctor erred and expressing his low opinion of that.


  7. one thing i am not taking as a silly worry is in the front page of the b section of the minneapolis paper today. the story is about the concentration camp survivor who attended the annual holocaust commemoration in minnetonka. at 90 she said the recent san diego shooting and the 2017 charlottesville march where demonstrators carried torches and anti semantic slogan bearing signs cause flashbacks to her youth where nazi ideology was taking root.
    i get concerned today that front page coverage of the ultra right and the sickness that has lay hidden for so long is making it a thing to do for sick minds who will think going down in a blaze of glory while achieving their 15 minutes of fame where their names will be broadcast for all to hear and read.
    the knowledge that a 40% portion of the population is so messed up as to support a psycho leader who throws all that is good under the bus in order to serve his own aspirations of grandiose self adoration is very concerning.
    i hope we turn out to be a stronger country than the nazi resurgence suggests.
    i hope it’s a silly fear.
    i really do

    Liked by 3 people

  8. threw a bummer curve at this topic

    hey i worried about stuff so frivolously as a younger person i had ulcers in high school worrying about viet nam and my pursuit of a college major. it popped in 85 and i thought it was bulletproof but one of my medical gurus told me to watch out, if you don’t deal with it the consequences will find a way shyer the doctors tried to fix my ulcer problem by addressing the symptom rather than the cause
    didn’t work.

    today my choice is to err on the side of not being overly concerned vs letting it drive me nuts
    sometimes it works sometimes not.


    1. My dad had an ulcer by end of h.s. – didn’t keep him out of the army at first, but got him a medical discharge before he got sent overseas. Might have saved his life, but he also paid his dues later.


  9. A regular one, especially this time of year: that the dog(s) will get out of the yard and take themselves on an off-leash walk. It’s not unusual for neighbor kids and other visitors to not close the side gate. When a dog doesn’t come right away when they are called, it’s usually about then I see the gate standing open…and about 5 seconds later that the pooch in question trots around from behind whatever was hiding them in the yard.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Judging from the amount of “lost dog” posts to FB and various bulletin boards, that apparently happens quite often.

      Back when I was a kid, dogs pretty much had the run of our town, and no one thought anything of seeing a stray dog. Same thing when we go to Kino in Mexico. Wherever you’d see a group of kids, you’d see dogs. and never on a leash. I suppose that was before people got upset with dog poop from other people’s dogs, and leash laws were enacted.


      1. Our hound Barney did take himself on a couple of meanders. Never got too far – and he was always happy to be guided home by whatever neighbor found him. Current dogs, well, who knows…Potato (the white one) would gladly go to anyone with a treat but only has a couple brain cells to rub together, so likely to get herself good and lost in pursuit of belly rubs and cheese. The black one (Sugar) is the shy drama queen – less likely to wander off, but more likely to find a dark corner and hide once she realized she was Not Home. Silly dogs.

        Liked by 3 people

  10. Right now I am worried about a trip to Los Angeles late next week. My worries are entirely irrational. Daughter graduates from USC with her Master’s degree in Social Work.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Congratulations to both you and your daughter, Rene. That’s quite the accomplishment. Hope you have a wonderful celebration together.

      Liked by 2 people

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