dog out for a walk near Spooner when hernheard the dog running up behind liim atrntop speed. The dog ran right past him.rnWlien the man turned around, he foundrnhimself face to face with a black bear uprnon its hind legs. The man pushed thernbear; the bear took a swipe and scratchedrnhim; but they both ended up going in differentrndirections. More recently, a 14-rnyear-old Boy Scout had to have 196rnstitches after a bear hauled the boy, hisrntent, and his sleeping bag 78 feet into thernwoods.rnWeddings in northwestern Wisconsinrnare social events. Some get carried away.rnA bachelor party at Murphy’s Bar andrnGrill in Dresser, Wisconsin, turned into arn50-man bar brawl that led to 16 arrests byrnofficers in nearly 20 units. The Dresserrnpolice chief got punched while tring tornbreak up the brawl. There was no reportrnon how the wedding turned out.rnBut newlyweds here are practical.rnThe local Farm and Fleet store that sellsrnfarm supplies, work clothes, lawnmowers,rnand dog food features a bride andrngroom registrv that is very popular. Theirrnads proclaim: “At last, a place for therngroom to register too!”rnThis area still has church suppers,rnpotlucks, barbecues, and a popular regionalrndish of bratwurst smothered withrnsauerkraut. There are old-time dances: Irnattended one on a farm on the Fourth ofrnJuly. It was over 90 degrees, but Mr.rnMorgan, a one-man band, kept playingrnpolkas, two-steps, and waltzes from hisrnstand in a pole barn. Despite the heat,rnthe people kept dancing—and Mr. Morganrnkept playing.rnThe Ceska Opera House in Haugen,rnWisconsin, has been in operation forrnover 100 years. It features variety showsrnby local talent, from a violin player to arncollege professor completely decked outrnin a Scottish kilt playing the bagpipes.rnMy favorite was a lady dressed in a blackrncow suit, dangling a shocking pink udderrnwhile she played a trumpet solo.rnEven more astounding to an out-oftownerrnis the way the folks up north raisernmoney for charit}’. Mv first “chickenrndrop” fundraiser at a rural saloon was anrneye-opener. I grew up on a farm in SouthrnDakota, so I am familiar with the personalrnhabits of chickens —I just never expectedrnto be betting on them. The floorrnof a fenced area was marked off intornnumbered squares, and the participantsrnbet on the numbers. Then a well-fedrnchicken was placed in the pen, and whateverrnnumbered square the chicken relievedrnitself on was a winner. Since thatrntime, I have seen a “cow drop” in a parkingrnlot divided into squares, and a bunnyrndrop, which was a little less predictable.rnWliat really makes northwestern Wisconsinrna special place is the people.rnMany are descendants of the loggers orrnfarmers who struggled to survive in thisrnarea a hundred years ago. There is ethnicrndiversity, yet a proud clannishness asrnwell. I live in an Italian community thatrnhas some of the best Italian food I havernever eaten. Another eommunitv^ featuresrn”Scandinavian Saturday” where the bestrnin local Scandinavian food and crafts arernon sale. People quietly work on their ruralrnacreages growing berries, raising produce,rnbuilding boats, painting, woodearving,rnmaking pottery, designing crosswordrnpuzzles, or carving out a new golf course.rnThere are as many stories as there arernpeople, and it doesn’t end. For a photojournalist,rnit is a wonderful place to be.rn]oAn Melchild writes from Cumberland,rnWisconsin.rnLetter From Spainrnby Brian KirkpatrickrnThe Tribe Above MadridrnThe sun was low as the luxurious charteredrnbus labored up the steep dirt trackrnto the wedding reception in the hillsrnabove Madrid. We walked up the last ofrnthe slope from the buses to the lawn inrnfront of the hunting lodge, where wernlooked down on the distant city. Middleagedrnnren and young girls circulatedrnamong us in uniforms, carrv ing trays withrnsliced Spanish ham streaked with fat,rndrinks, canapes, and small sliced sausagesrnin hollowed-out bread. As the sunrnset, the groom explained that the half-finishedrnhouse on the hilltop behind us —rnthe highest point in sight—was a weekendrnretreat for Franco that was neverrncompleted because of the dictator’srndeath. We stayed on the lawn imtil dark,rnthen we moved into the tent attached tornthe side of tlie lodge for the formal dinner.rnThere was a hint of the evening’s messagernwhen I heard that the priest whornpresided at the wedding had officiated atrnthe weddings of the bride’s mother andrngrandmother. Surely, it should havernbeen clear to me when the men of the tuna,rnfriends of the groom wearing medievalrnshort pants and mandes, threwrntheir cloaks on the ground at the churchrndoor and sang to the bride and groom.rnDuring supper, the funa—half fraternity,rnhalf glee club, each man a member forrnlife —periodically burst into ribald or romanticrnsong, the members seated at theirrntable, playing guitars and small instrumentsrnsimilar to mandolins. I shouldrnhave nohced that all the Spaniards knewrnthe words and sang along. The point wasrnobvious, but with my American eyes Irncouldn’t see it, e’en when the tuna surroundedrnthe bride, the groom, and theirrnparents at the head table to sing, thenrnmade the groom stand and serenade hisrnnew wife.rnAfter we’d eaten, the bride and groomrnwalked from table to table with Cubanrncigars, aird waiters with Fra Angelica andrnliquor de manzana verde circulatedrnamong the tables. When the cigar smokernand the roar of conersation drove mernout into the night, I looked down on distantrnMadrid and watched the fireworks ofrnthe festival of San Isidro slowly rise andrnbloom above the city. Finally, at midnight,rnthe party moved into the mainrnhall, where the skins and skulls of gamernhung on the walls.rnThe world of the bride and groom wasrneducated, cosmopolitan, international;rntheir guests included psychiatrists, socialrnworkers, and lawyers from Scotland,rnColombia, the United States, GreatrnBritain, and Argentina. I was in the newrnEurope, vvfiere half the room spoke Englishrnand manv of the foreigners, Spanish.rnThe groom spoke three languages;rnhis father spoke fie. The DJ played discornand American music from the 70’srnand 80’s, and Arrrericans, North andrnSouth, mixed with Europeans on therndance floor. It was the kind of dancingrnany American would have recognized,rnthat formless combination of disco andrnfrug and nameless things we don’t takernany fime to learn, because there is nearlyrnnothing to be learned.rnBut after half an hour the musicrnchanged, as Spain, having failed to reachrnme, resorted to a more direct method.rnThe DJ played a passionate music onerncould only call Spanish: castanets, guitars,rna sensuous, serious sound. Nothingrnwas said, no announcement was made,rnbut the Spanish women all moved to therncenter of the room, the men steppedrn38/CHRONICLESrnrnrn