An "Up North" Parody

By: Dennis Walsh © 2018
(Used with permission)


Dennis resides in the Cities. He once created this parody version of an “Up North” poster to have a little fun with - and to test the observational skills of - his parents (Larry and Nancy), who lived on Little Bass Lake. They were my "neighbors to the south" for a long time and you probably read about their escapades in LBLR Chronicles several times over the years. Read and enjoy.


My parents, Larry and Nancy Walsh, had a framed poster in their home on Little Bass Lake, featuring a bucolic (and overly sappy, in my view) testimonial to life in the northland. It was printed in elegant script and aptly titled “Up North”. It's fairly common in cabins and houses in the Northern sections of the state so you've probably seen it at one time or another. It read:

"Up North"

There's a lot of talk about "up north" ...

It's the place everyone seems to want to go to escape the pressures and frantic pace of everyday life.

But where is "up north"?

Ask a dozen people, and you get as many answers.

For "up north" is not so much a location as it is a state of mind.

So, how do you know when you've arrived "up north"?

When you feel the cares of the world begin to slip away...

When you find yourself breathing a little deeper because the air seems purer somehow..

When you notice the sky is bluer, the trees taller, and the people smile a lot…

Then you know you're "up north"!


Just for fun, one time in the mid-1990’s when I visited, I took the poster and secretly wrote a parody version that instead took a good-natured poke at the long, cold winters. After a bit of searching I located the exact same font that was used on the original, and printed my version in the exact same type size and layout. I then placed my version on top of the original, reframed it, and hung it back on the wall. To the casual observer, everything looked pretty much the same. I didn’t tell anyone I did this, figuring it would be more fun to let the joke unspool organically; one day someone would take a closer look at it and do a double-take and say “What the..... who did this?” Below is the wording of the replacement poster:

"Up North"

There's a lot of talk about "up north" ...

It's the place everyone seems to want to go to experience the unique sensation of a frozen outhouse in January.

But where is "up north"?

Ask a dozen people, and the three whose lips aren't frozen will each give you a different answer.

For "up north" is not so much a location as it is a sheet of ice.

So, how do you know when you've arrived "up north"?

When you feel all sensation in your fingers and toes begin to slip away...

When you find yourself running a little faster because that polar bear seems to be gaining on you...

When you notice the wind is stronger, the ice is thicker, and even the mosquitoes wear parkas...

Then you know you're "up north"!



And then I waited.......and waited.......and waited some more. Clearly, no one actually looks at these things – or maybe I’d done too good a job at making the parody version unnoticeable. Finally, about 18 months later, my mom noticed the replacement poster and called to ask, good-naturedly “Some smart aleck messed with our Up North poster. Was it you?” I’m pretty sure I was the only suspect, so I quickly confessed. As it turned out, however, I think Mom actually liked my version better because she left it in place in the frame from that day forward. I eventually inherited the poster and still have it today!




Below are Dennis's two posters. On the left is the original; on the right is the replacement which wasn't noticed for 18 months.