I just couldn’t imagine what theatrical production the former owner, Ron Kaminski, had in mind when he nailed cardinals, woodpeckers and palm trees to deck of the Forst Inn. It was a puzzle I had to solve.
Shortly after the closing we were standing on the deck looking out at the often, but not always quiet 4-way stop in the center of Tisch Mills. Suddenly I noticed another one screwed on to a telephone pole across the street. Then we spotted another - then another – and then even two fox at the post office across the street. Clearly this wasn’t Forst Inn decor, but a Tisch Mills phenomenon. Yet the mystery remained.
We are directly on the Wisconsin Ice Age Trail. The first story we heard was that these were markers for the trail. That made sense as the sign for the Ice Age Trail also is adorned with birds. There is a nice whimsy in the notion of palm trees marking an Ice Age Trail.
But slowly pieces of the real story emerged. Seems Tisch Mills has been blessed with a jovial retired farmer who enjoys woodworking named Robert “Bobby” Yanda. Bobby would cut the pieces, and then his late wife, Lucille, would paint them. Bobby gifted them to neighbors and friends and spruced up downtown Tisch Mills with his creations. The stories flow pretty effortlessly around town that Bobby was a real ‘can do’ guy who was always ready to help out his neighbors with projects and repairs.
You can’t help but smile when you see all of these cardinals, palm trees and woodpeckers around town. I wonder how many people have driven through this intersection and never noticed them? I think my favorite is the woodpecker on the telephone pole by our parking lot. We're not sure why he chose palm trees, but a back-room bar at the Forst Inn once was known as the palm lounge. Perhaps he created a few good memories there through the years?
Sadly, we just have learned that Bobby, 88 years old, has been put into assisted living this past week. We at the Forst Inn would like to thank him for adding his charming touch to downtown Tisch Mills. I am looking forward to seeing those red cardinals against a backdrop of freshly fallen snow this winter. They'll surely brighten my day. - Catherine