“Say, listen,” came the friendly voice over the phone one morning, “my friend Hal has some cartoons he’s done about resorting over the years and he’s thinking of getting rid of them. I think something needs to be done with them, so I called you.” The caller was Joe “Mac” McGuire, former owner of McGuire’s Piney Ridge Lodge in Pine River, and the cartoonist he was calling about was his very dear friend, Hal Rime, former owner of Buckhorn on Caribou Lake in Marcell.
The men met and became friends through their involvement with local and statewide resort associations, including stints on the Minnesota Resort and Campground Association Board of Directors. It deepened through the hours they spent together traveling to and from association meetings and events. Both had spent time as high school teachers, and both came to ownership after those and other professional experiences. Both wanted to raise their families in the Northwoods of Minnesota. And, when both moved on from resort ownership they began spending their winters together, along with Hal’s wife Winnie and Mac’s wife Gerre, in the same Daytona Beach community. Both return to their Minnesota homes for the summer months.
Hal has drawn his whole life, starting in grade school. He turned his cartoonist’s eye toward resort life when he and Winnie bought Buckhorn in 1973, putting a humorous spin on his experiences and observations as an owner and operator. He made time to capture quirky moments that his resort owner friends could laugh about together – confusing new technologies, the foibles of guests and the vagaries of Minnesota’s weather. Even if unschooled in all the characters, the cartoons are funny, good-natured and give a good sense of ups and downs of resort life. To the schooled – Hal’s friends and fellow resort owners of the day – they surely record specific moments in time that have become good memories.
Hal used his cartooning to capture more serious subjects, too. Long before graphic facilitation and graphic recording were things (the use of visualizations in group settings, such as meetings and conferences, to document discussions, support decision-making and implement change), he was illustrating the dynamics at the heart of key policy issues facing the resort community – concerns about forest management and timber industry practices, poaching enforcement and water resources. Shared in newsletters and meeting minutes, Mac credits Hal with skillfully capturing details that would have been missed otherwise, details that were important to remember in the public debates. His cartoons reminded the players involved of the importance of stewarding and conserving the natural resources that make Minnesota Minnesota.
Hal still draws, creating pen and pencil works, as part of his local art guild. While his focus is no longer on resort life, he does have fun musing over current topics that would make good fodder for commentary cartoons – proof of vaccination, social distancing, drones delivering minnows.
Thanks to Mac for making the connection, Hal sent along a bundle of some of his cartoons to Hospitality Minnesota. We’re exploring different ways to use them, and looking for others who use drawing, writing, photography, etc. to reflect on their life in the business. If you or someone you know has a practice, we’d love to hear about it.
In the meantime, and in anticipation of fishing opener next month, we thought we’d share a small collection of fishing-related cartoons. While they capture a moment in time, they are also timeless. Our thanks to Hal for sharing his story and his cartoons, and to Mac for tipping us off!
Click on the image above to be taken to a gallery with more of Hal’s work.