Weekly Columns
Retirement opportunities are endless PDF Print E-mail

By Jon Guttormsson

First off, I would like to thank each and every one of you that attended the recent Open House held last Friday afternoon. The Open House was held in honor of my retirement and to enable all of you to express your sympathy to my wife Barb, who will have to eventually put up with my hanging around the house more, and to Byron, as my successor. He needs all the sympathy that he can get, so pour it on.
The kind words that all of  you expressed were very much appreciated!

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While on the subject of the Open House, many of you inquired just what I was going to do to keep busy. I really don’t think that will be a problem — with my ham radio hobby, messing with the computer, plus I really enjoy reading. In addition to all of that, Barb always has numerous projects, of which she at times needs a hand with.
For example, a couple of years ago I gave her a chain saw as a gift and it is quite a challenge to follow behind and pick up the branches. She loves that saw.
Another project that I have been considering doing, this one was suggested to me some time ago by our former “erstwhile” pharmacist, Harold Schwartz.
He mentioned that it would be quite an accomplishment

to be able to read bar codes, and now with my retirement, I may have time to “take on” that project.
I have always thought that it would be pretty neat to go into Finnegan’s Super Valu, grab an item off the shelf, and see in an instant just what the item would cost, it’s inventory number, how many of that particular item they have in stock, where it was manufactured, etc.
Wouldn’t that be neat? Imagine how impressed other customers in the aisles would be!
And, to carry the idea further, imagine the career opportunities. I can see a job just over the horizion, maybe at our local college, teaching a class in 101 Elementary Bar Code Reading.
The opportunities and possibilities are just endless!

 
Music takes me back in time PDF Print E-mail

By Byron Higgin, Publisher

The melody came sweeping toward me like an old friend who’d come to visit.
It led me inside a tent at the Lyon County Fair. I kept walking until I was standing in front of a group called, “Route 68 Big Band.”
The tune, “Woodchopper’s Ball” by Woody Herman wailed from the horn section and as the lady singer dropped the words on me and I found my subconciousness suddenly awakened.
Suddenly I was no longer in a big tent in Marshall, Minnesota at the 2009 Lyon County Fair.
I was sitting in my mother and father’s living room, watching them dance together, a smile as big as all outdoors on their faces.
They twirled and spinned and every once in a while dad would land a soft kiss on my mother’s face.
I was only a young teenager at the time and while somewhat embarrased by my parent’s candid nature in front of their children, I also felt very good about being part of such a wonderful, happy, fun-loving family.
My sisters Beth and Caryn were younger than I and they’d get up and dance to the tunes as well. A little prodding even got me to dance along.
We danced and we laughed and we enjoyed each other because the music kept right on coming.
It may have been the Lawrence Welk Champagne bubbles or the sounds of “Woodchopper’s Ball” by Woody Herman that got us going.
And I recall Mitch Miller urging us to all, “Follow the bouncing ball,” as we sang along with his orchestra.
Those were happy times.
Suddenly I was reminded I was under the tent in 2009 as the music ended and I came back to reality.
But the sounds of the “Route 68 Big Band” didn’t quit. They came on with Glenn Miller’s sound of String of Pearls, and the intoxicating tune of “An Orange Colored Sky”.
When the director said it was time for a ballad, the lady singer launched into “When I Fall In Love,” ... and once again I was lost in the land of “yesteryear.”
We sat around the TV on those days in the 1960’s and we couldn’t wait for the Ed Sullivan show to come on TV and show us the latest magical acts or the sounds of the latest music.
We laughed at Lucille Ball during The Lucy Show, thought Jack Benny was a riot and adored Red Skelton.
All this, and more passed through my mind as I listened to the music of the Route 68 Big Band on this warm afternoon in Marshall, Minnesota.
For a moment I looked over to the right side of the tent and there was a lady, who appeared to be a grandmother, with two young ladies that looked like granddaughters, and all three were sitting together, pounding their hands together as they enjoyed the music.
I could tell the grandmother person was also lost in the “sounds of yesterday.”
She was enjoying it along with the two younger ladies.
As it ended, I felt sad to leave this momentary”blast into the past.”
I began to wonder what happened to that wonderful music  and to families who loved to spend time together to laugh and dance and maybe even eat dinner together.
No doubt those were simpler times.
In my life, they were happy times that I don’t ever want to forget. Every time I need a little pick-me-up, the thought of mom and dad dancing together, laughing and twirling, makes it a much better day.
Thank you Route 68 Big Band!

A remarkable young lady
Young people can surprise you.
I was knocked off by a very surprising young lady named Brittany Moorse of Minneota.
This young lady not only has done very well with her cattle at the fairs and through her 4-H experience, but she hasn’t been content to show them, then wander off into the world and try something else.
She’s basically used her experience in the dairy industry to launch her own career.
She owns her own cattle, buys, sells, plans every detail herself and in the process, promotes the dairy industry with every breath.
“It was a great honor to receive all the great awards I did,” she said.
It was special to her to get “overall champion,” with an animal. I choose which father I wanted her to have and I made all the decisions with her and it’s really an honor and it’s special to me. Her daughter’s here and her granddaughter’s here,” Moorse said of her line of special show animals.
Her story of how her dairy cow “Fairy” was born at the fair and will return there to show her stuff is remarkable.
It’s so great to see young people who put all they have into something.
Way to go Brittany.

Laugh a little:
Three guys went on a game show to see who was smartest.
“Complete the sentence and SPELL the word,” said the host. “Old McDonald had a ....” the host said.
The first guy said, “RANCH ... r a n c h,”. The other two laughed and the second guy said, “Pasture ... p a s t u r e.”
The third guy laughed and said, that’s easy ... Old McDonald had a FARM . . . E I E I O.

Thought for the Week: As my old pappy used to say, “I’ve lost a lot of things in my life. But when you lose your mind, well, all is lost. So hang onto it.”

 
Some weather we’re having PDF Print E-mail
Some weather we’re having
Sunday night I turned on the television and at the bottom of the screen it said, “A severe thunderstorm warning for 14 miles north of Marshall.”
That was stunning because that would be us.
I got outside in time to see a marvelous lightning show in progress. The night was all lit up. But the real storm never  happened.
Just last Thursday I was driving toward Ghent when it rained so hard I had to pull off the road. But there was little or no rain in Minneota.
All of this reminded me of that crazy day in 1992 when a tornado slammed into Clarkfield, not once, but twice.
It was the craziest day and night of my life.
In the afternoon a tornado swept through the area and did a lot of damage.
But the most improbable event of the day was seen by hundreds of folks just outside of town. To the west of Clarkfield the tornado took a two-story house, tipped it upside down and sat it right back down on the basement frame, almost perfectly.
When we visited later, there it was, with toilet and tub hanging from the ceiling.
“We simply called it the upside down house.” And people drove by for hours as they took a look at what not only seemed improbable, but impossible.
But it did happen.
That night, we thought the tornado was all over when my wife and I settled in to watch the Minnesota Twins on TV.
Suddenly the sirens began to wail and we heard the loud wind outside. My wife yelled,, “Get downstairs.” When I asked about our dog she said, “Forget the dog, get downstairs.” We did, and so did the dog.
Then another peculiar tornado struck. I thought for sure the house was gone because I could smell soot from the chimney in our basement. But when I crawled upstairs, it was still there, but the windows were mostly broken.
Later, we’d discover the tornado “hopped” from one area to another. It destroyed my garage, and the neighbors and mine were piled in a heap in my back yard.
Then it skipped over my house and right into the city park, where it destroyed all the trees. It seemed to “skip” that way all through town.
I couldn’t believe what we saw later. An upside down wagon was on top of the garage pile in my backyard and the wheels were spinning freely.
There were branches all over and many buildings were badly damaged. I even found a tree branch that penetrated the wooden door of my other garage. All the car windows were broken.
That night we walked through the community and couldn’t believe the damage.
The next day I took my wife to a hospital for some pre-arranged surgery. When I arrived home that late afternoon the pile of debris in my back yard was gone. My friends had taken care of it, the way friends do in an emergency.
The funny thing is later I moved to Grantsburg, Wisconsin and watched a tornado skip over Grantsburg, then destroy everything in its path. Siren, WI was a mess and later my friends from Siren blamed me for moving to the area. “Tornados must follow you,” they said.
So Sunday night when I heard we were in a storm’s path,  I got a bit alarmed. I guess maybe you can understand why.

A little chuckle
Three men were in a boat fishing when they got lost. Suddenly a bottle drifted by so they grabbed it, rubbed it and a genie popped out. “You each get one wish,” the genie said. The first man said, “I wish I were home.” Poof, he was gone. The second man said, “I wish I were home.” Poof, he was gone. The third man looked around and said, “It sure is lonely around here, I wish the other two guys were back.”
Poof!

Thought for the Week
As my Old Pappy used to say, “There are two seasons in Minnesota. The Fourth of July and Road Construction.”
 
Out & About PDF Print E-mail

The Minneota Area Chamber of Commerce /American Legion gathering on Saturday, March 21st, was an excellent way for our community to come together for a time to celebrate the troops who are deploying in April. It gave me a very good feeling to see the waves of people coming in to the Legion building that day.


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