The Other Lund Theater

Posted: Friday, November 20, 2015 at 8:57 am
By: Doug Lund

Do you have trouble falling asleep at night?
I have the answer; my dad’s home movies of Yellowstone National Park.
Trouble is, I haven’t figured out how to market them to all you insomniacs out there yet.

We made that family trip to Yellowstone in the summer of 1953, I believe.
I just remember being car-sick most of the time from riding in the backseat sandwiched between my two brothers. It was especially bad when we arrived in geyser country.Yellowstone sign
Now, there’s a place where the devil has provided people with  a little preview of what Hell will be like; hot gases boiling up from the bowels of the earth causing water to shoot high into the sky or just ooze to the surface creating little burps of slimy mud… like a thick spaghetti sauce bubbling on the stove.
The whole place stinks of Beelzebub too..a sulfuric stench not unlike rotten eggs.
One of Yellowstone’s million or so mud pots..pewwyellowstone steam
It didn’t seem to bother anyone else in the family but me.  So, while they explored this steaming wonderland on foot, I stayed in our ’53 Mercury..miserable from a combination of heat, car sickness and that awful odor.
I remember being afraid to cough or sneeze for fear that I would erupt like Old Faithful from both ends.

Waiting for Old Faithful to erupt.

Waiting for Old Faithful to erupt.

Anyway, that’s my memory of Yellowstone National Park.
But my Dad loved it there and took reel after reel of film..much of it while he was driving the car.
For some reason, he didn’t trust my mom or any of us boys with the camera.
So a lot of the footage is shot through the windshield and shows his left hand gripping the steering wheel with a Camel cigarette between his fingers.
After we got home, it wasn’t long before Dad had the film developed and spliced together on one big brown reel.

The Lunds about the time of our Yellowstone journey. (L to R)  Me, Mom, Tommy, Denny and Dad.

The Lunds about the time of our Yellowstone journey. (L to R) Me, Mom, Tommy, Denny and Dad.

My Mom was a great cook and she loved to have company come over for supper.
But those delicious meals usually came at a price; an after-dinner show that we should have called the “Wonders of Yellowstone” narrated by Harry Lund.
“You haven’t seen these have you?” he’d say to our well-fed guests. Before anyone could answer, though, the lights were shut off, the projector was switched on and..there we were…back at that hell hole he was so fond of.

But after a few minutes of watching Dad’s long rolling shots of mountain highways, trees and Yellowstone Falls, people’s heads around the living room would begin to bob backward and forward as if Mom had slipped a Mickey into their roast beef.
Children, including my normally hyperactive cousins, would crumple on the carpet and doze off out of boredom.

It never seemed to bother Dad, though. Showing those home movies always gave him great pleasure even without an attentive audience.

I think of my folks a lot during the month of November. Mom would have been 107 on the 13th, Dad 109 on the 27th. I would give anything to taste her fried chicken again and to sit in our darkened living room listening to the hum of that projector and hear Dad’s voice more time..the joys and dangers of feeding bears from right out of our car window and the unforgettable aroma of Yellowstone’s geysers.
I would stay awake this time.yellowstone bears

Another Grand Blog

Posted: Friday, November 13, 2015 at 10:15 am
By: Doug Lund

Do you realize how close we came to experiencing a major old fashioned school-closing travel-banning blizzard this past week?  Had the temperature been five or six degrees colder Wednesday, all that rain would have been all that snow pushed around by two days of 50 mile an hour window-rattling winds. Never sure whether or not to say wind..singular..or winds..plural. Trobec says winds, I believe, but there is only one wind right? Oh, wait what about that old folk song, “Four strong winds that blow lonely”? Does it matter? No it does not. The point is, I’m awfully glad not to be shoveling.

It was a grand week for Linda and me. (Or is it I?)  We attended daughter Suzan’s 50th birthday party in Lincoln and it was just marvelous. It wasn’t a surprise party but I was certainly surprised when we walked in..pleasantly surprised. Shocked really. Granddaughter, Zoey..who’s 14..has been involved in music for the last several years..choosing to play oboe and viola. It’s been so much fun to watch her progress on each. We’re always treated to a private concert whenever they come for a vist.  She has shown lots of promise..especially on the viola.

But getting back to the surprise.

As we entered the big party room, I heard music coming through the crowd ..sweet music with sweet young voices singing “Over the rainbow.”  As I made my way over to find who was responsible, this is what I saw.

grandpa blog zoey

It was Zoey and two of her school mates. Not only was she singing like Judy Garland, she was playing the ukulele. The UKULELE?  When in the heck did she learn to play that? And she was Good too..real good fingering and strumming complicated chords with ease. I was stunned to learn that she’d been taking lessons at school since Easter..the last time we’d seen her.  I couldn’t help but remember the little plastic ukulele I received for Christmas when I was about ten. After learning how to properly tune the four strings (My Dog Has Fleas) I practiced and practiced discovering a love for making music that changed my life and continues to this day.

But the evening held another musical surprise.

Zoey’s mom eventually asked her to bring out the viola.

Now, Suzan has sent me short clips of Zoey’s recital performances and it was fun to hear that she had advanced to more difficult pieces and started incorporating vibrato with her left hand on the strings. But I wasn’t prepared for what I heard next.

After  her last private concert in our living room Easter Sunday, I requested that she learn a favorite tune for grandpa; “Ashokan Farewell”..the hauntingly beautiful violin theme written by Jay Unger and Molly Mason used extensively throughout Ken Burns marvelous PBS documentary, “The Civil War.”  I even found the music on-line and sent it to her.

Well, I was enjoying (marveling really) at how good she had gotten in the past six months as she played a couple of complicated pieces. Then my jaw dropped. I knew from the first three notes what was coming. “Ashokan Farewell!”  I can’t tell you how amazing it was. As her bow crossed the strings and her left hand coaxed out every note perfectly, she swayed and her eyebrows lifted just like all great fiddlers do when they actually feel the music.

I was so delighted and proud at what I was hearing, I giggled and wept simultaneously.

She has kindly consented to playing that song again and again when they’re home for Christmas and thought it would be okay if grandpa accompanied her on guitar. So the pressure is on for me to learn the chords and adjust to the pain in my fingertips until calluses develop. It’ll be worth it, though and I can’t wait.

Move ahead a few days. We’re at the new Susan B. Anthony elementary school to see and hear great granddaughter, Ella perform in concert..both with the band (she’s just taken up tenor saxophone) and in the honor chorus. I remember when my own girls played and sang in those early school concerts and, like the band in “Music Man” parents have a way of filtering out any sour notes..hearing only the unbelievable talent of their own kids.  Such it was for Ella the other night as the band played their three or four two and three- note songs.

But there was no need for imagining when she joined her peers in song.

Best photo I could get with my dumb phone cam. Ella is in the center just right of the director's head.

Best photo I could get with my dumb phone cam. Ella is in the center just right of the director’s head.

They were just wonderful.

Seeing Ella up there singing “You’ve got a friend in me” from “Toy Story” I lost it again.

She is such a remarkable kid.  I can’t help bragging on her.

Finally, if you’ll indulge me for one more.

There was music surrounding our other great grandchild this past week. The birthday song for Jack..who turned a year old on Wednesday.

Jack realizing that he can take all the cake he wants and eat all he takes.

Jack realizing that he can take all the cake he wants and eat all he takes.

Both Linda and I are holding back tears here as well..not over the song but because he and his parents, Tucker and Julia, will be moving to Colorado soon.

Before leaving, though, they gave US a wonderful birthday present.

Jack was baptized during a special ceremony at Hartford Methodist Church.

Yay, God. I'm in.

Yay, God. I’m in.

A Perfect Storm Of Sports

Posted: Monday, November 2, 2015 at 1:47 pm
By: Doug Lund

One of the reasons that Linda and I have, what most people would consider, a secure stress-free  relationship ( for the most part) is because we’re a multi-TV couple.

I’m afraid if we had to watch the programs each of us like, there would be less harmony and more harrumphs.

As it is, with three flat screen TV’s at our disposal..( I know that seems extravagant but..) she can watch her Lifetime movies while I tune-in to some obscure program on the History or Discovery channel..maybe even a car auction on Velocity.  We do pair up for a few programs like Big Bang Theory, Antiques Roadshow or a Minnesota Vikings game.

Which brings me to this past weekend; a perfect storm of must see TV.

We both got caught up in horse racing a few years ago. Well, the Derby, Preakness and Belmont anyway. Like much of the country we made it a point to follow the exciting “California Chrome” nearly win it all last year and then, this season, we’ve made it a point to cheer on “American Pharaoh” all through his Triple Crown victories. Then on Saturday, Pharaoh lived up to everybody’s expectations and handily won his final race; the Breeder’s Cup in championship fashion.

American Pharaoh gallops to his final victory. One of the greatest thoroughbreds ever.

American Pharaoh gallops to his final victory. One of the greatest thoroughbreds ever.

I haven’t gotten that excited about horse racing since the amazing performances by “Secretariat” in 1973 when he won it all.

Saturday night we went to the VFW to hear the terrific “Chute Rooster” band but every few minutes I had to go check the bar TV for a World Series score.

I have two DVR’s at home  but Sunday that didn’t seem like enough.

It was our turn to serve refreshments after church so I had to record CBS Sunday Morning..then NFL football. Our Vikings played the Bears at the same time  the NASCAR  race was getting rolling in Martinsville. I hit the record button for that with lots of extended time in case there were lots of wrecks. (I can usually zap through a 4 hour race in half that time by fast forwarding through commercials and long cautions.)

Once again, Linda and I did everything within our power to avoid shouting unfortunate expletives at the TV but when you’re Vikings fans it’s a nearly impossible cross to bear. So, we could hardly believe it when,  like “American Pharaoh” Minnesota came through to win on the very last play.

After the game, Linda and I went to our separate lairs while I rewound and watched the NASCAR race which also ended in spectacular fashion with my favorite driver, Jeff Gordon, in his final season behind the wheel, taking home the checkered flag and increasing his odds of winning a fifth series championship in three weeks.

One of the good guys of racing, Jeff Gordon overjoyed at another win during his final year racing.

One of the good guys of racing, Jeff Gordon overjoyed at another win during his final year as a NASCAR driver.

That’s three major sporting events that went our way; rare, indeed for me.

Now could the Royals possibly make it four by winning the World Series and beat the Mets on their home turf?

But wait, that game is on at the same time as the Packers-Broncos. And that’s on at the same time as “The Good Wife” and “Madam Secretary.” And they’re all on at the same time as the PBS Masterpiece series, “Home Fires” that I’ve gotten hooked on.

My DVR’s had better not fail.

They did not.  It was early Monday morning by the time I got to celebrate the Royals come from behind victory.

Kansas City Royals World Series champions 2015

Kansas City Royals World Series champions 2015

Then  to see Payton Manning silence all the naysayers by taking it to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in a game of the unbeatens.

It was just the icing on an unbelievably satisfying and joyous weekend of sports television for me.  One in which everything went just as I’d hoped and will likely never happen again.

If I’d  had a third DVR I might have been able to record everything and gotten out to enjoy one of the last really nice days of the year. But Trobec shouldn’t forecast such lovely weather when there’s a Perfect Storm of sports and entertainment on the air.

Sports will be taking a back seat to other important matters next weekend, however, as daughter Suzan will be celebrating a milestone special birthday November 6th in Lincoln.

She is simply a remarkable daughter, wife, mother and loyal friend; wise, giving and compassionate, she is loved by all who really know her especially me.

Daddy's little girl.

Daddy’s little girl.

Happy Birthday Suzan Lund and may God bless you as you have blessed us all.

suzan europe  toast

Keeping The Home Fires Burning

Posted: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at 4:26 pm
By: Doug Lund

Well, it’s going to be interesting again over the next couple weeks trying to figure out which day our humungous backyard maple tree will decide to let its leaves turn from green to yellow and then drop them all at once like a clumsy waiter. It happens just that quickly as if our maple is showing off to the hundreds of other maples in the neighborhood that it can hold on to its leaves longer and shed them faster than all the rest.BURNING LEAVES

Seeing those leaves stack up each autumn always takes me back to the home town of my youth when leaf disposal was a whole lot different..and memorable. There was no having to cram them into expensive paper bags and pay admission to a  leaf drop-off site. You simply put a match to the pile and torched  ‘em. Soon, bright orange flames would appear and the air would be filled with blue smoke rising to the sky and a wonderfully sweet aroma like no other that makes this nostalgic old sap’s knees go weak just thinking about it.

Everyone in Volga during the fifties burned their leaves with the exception of a few who had figured out the value of them as mulch for their spring gardens. My mother gardened too but she wasn’t a mulcher. I remember her referring to those stacks of decaying leaves and other waste, which some people had in their back yards, as rodent apartments. My mom wasn’t afraid of much but she had a passionate dislike for mice.

The job of getting the leaves picked up fell to my big brother and me. We did not volunteer nor did we accept the assignment without considerable whining.  I was particularly reluctant because we had two rakes at home; one of those springy fan-shaped jobs and the other a heavy iron garden rake and there was no doubt as to who would be stuck with it.  That thing may have been fine for moving black dirt around…but was worthless for leaves. Every few swipes would require stopping to remove clogs of leaves that had become impaled on the tines.

Eventually, though, they all ended up in a huge stack on the gravel street at the end of our front walk.   Exhausted, my brother and I would both let ourselves fall backwards onto the soft yet crunchy pile and just lie there for a few minutes wishing, perhaps, that we could be so lucky as our two big elm trees and just shed all burdens till spring. But there wasn’t time for day dreaming. Before long, dad would be turning the corner in his old panel truck coming home to supper only to find a huge brown heap where his parking spot is supposed to be. Later, we’d all gather around that pile as the old man struck a match and ignited our very own bonfire. Then, mom would emerge from the house with a bag of marshmallows which we stuck on sticks and poked over the flames until the puffy white confection either came up golden brown or a black gob of char.  Either way, they were sticky, oozy, delicious and a memory forever etched in my brain.

I recall looking up the street and seeing the orange glow of many other fires with neighborhood families enjoying the same autumn ritual. No worries about destroying the ozone or inhaling cancer causing carcinogens or people complaining they couldn’t breathe from the smoke or setting the town ablaze. We were too dumb to know back then, I guess.

But I do feel sorry for my grandkids who’ve never gotten a whiff of the ambrosia that burning leaves provide. I have a Weber grill on the back patio, maybe I’ll take the grate out and stuff the thing with leaves then invite the young ones over for a lighting ceremony and a bit of aroma therapy.

I wonder if Linda has any marshmallows in the cupboard.

My great nephew, Torin applying his marshmallow roasting technique at the Lund Black Hills reunion bonfire last summer.

My great nephew, Torin applying his marshmallow roasting technique at the Lund Black Hills reunion bonfire last summer.

Admitting I Was Wrong

Posted: Thursday, October 15, 2015 at 1:14 pm
By: Doug Lund

“Raaarrrow.” (Meant to spell out what an angry cat sounds like.)

That’s the noise Linda often makes when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Not literally but when I turn into a certifiable grump for no apparent reason.

Her pointing out my surliness in such a playful way will usually do the trick and snap me out of it but she’s off gallivanting around California wine country with son James for a week. So I’m left here alone to deal with my crotchetiness.

What triggered my becoming a Crabby Appleton (rotten to the core) this time? (Anyone identify that reference without Googling?) Well, a combination of things..not the least of which is I stink at bachelorhood. I’m also on a diet that requires ridiculous amounts of water consumption and no booze. It also calls for exercising which I achieve by charging to the bathroom at desperate rates of speed several times an hour.Man talking on the phone on his car

Then Wednesday I wrote and had to scrap an entire blog about the Sioux Falls City Council proposal to ban drivers from using hand held cell phones in town. It was offered up by City Council member (Wyatt) Erpenbach who announced that studies show drivers talking on cell phones..even hands free cell phones..are as dangerous, or even more dangerous.. than motorists who are legally drunk.

What? You’re kidding right?

Now..just to be clear. I was, and am, front and center in the line to ban texting or any use of a hand-held communications device that requires your attention when you’re supposed to be watching where you’re going. Lord knows we’ve all encountered the abusers. Rarely do I travel our city streets without seeing somebody missing a red light, refusing to budge at a green light without a honk or weaving between lanes because they’ve got their eyes fixated on that little screen in their mitt.

But this business about simply talking on your phone being as hazardous as driving with a snoot full is just plain dumb.



The evidence from many, many studies..including a whole segment on the popular Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters” program shows otherwise.

See for yourself.

Now, anybody who reads my stuff knows that I am not a big fan of government bans.

I don’t support this one either, not because I question the science but one has to wonder when the next study will come along showing that talking to your passengers while driving is hazardous or having a radio or eating a doughnut. (god that sounds good.)

Plus, I think even the police realize how complicated such a ban would be to enforce. I recently read that in the three years of the ban on texting and driving, only 50 citations have been issued and we all know from personal experience violators could be pulled over that many times an hour.

Maybe the point in all this is just to try get people to wake- up to a serious situation that didn’t exist a few short years ago.

I hope that can be accomplished without turning me into a lawbreaker if I happen to be driving and answer the phone when my daughter calls to wish me a happy birthday.


I’ve written a whole other blog and I feel much better. You might say I’m feeling more like a glass-is-half-full kinda guy. Then I see that half-full water jug on my desk which must be consumed by sun-down and I’m feeling cantankerous again dadblameit.

The Best Part Of Waking Up

Posted: Monday, October 5, 2015 at 12:36 pm
By: Doug Lund

 coffee in coffee

(Coffee blog update:)

I love coffee. I love the aroma of a fresh pot brewing in the morning. I can hardly wait for that sound our Mr.Coffee pot makes when it’s nearly done. (Sort of like the noise from several people all at once trying to suck the last delicious drop of a milkshake through a straw.)

I must have at least two cups of coffee each morning in order to function at all, but then so do 150 million other Americans over the age of 18. Coffee consumption in this country has soared in the last 25 years which, I suppose, can be traced back to specialty coffee shops, led by Starbucks, that began springing up everywhere offering espressos, lattes and cappuccinos as well as brewed coffees made from freshly roasted magic beans just in from South America, Hawaii or some other tropical climate country.

I’ve never gotten into the fancy foamy stuff but my taste buds have become a whole lot fussier since first sampling some of the exotic blends offered at those shops.  I’m a cheapskate, though, and cringe at the prices they charge so I’ve been on a quest for several years to come up with that rich coffee-shop flavor AT HOME for a fraction of the cost. I think I’ve found it but am open to suggestions. First, let me retrace my long journey.  I come from Scandinavian stock and Norskies are notorious for seemingly excessive coffee consumption. My mother was such a coffee junkie that she’d usually skip the electric percolator opting instead for a plain old coffee pot on top of the stove,  tossing  a few scoops of Hills Brothers right into the boiling water. She enjoyed chewing on the coffee grounds that wound up in the bottom of her cup..main-lining the caffeine right into her system.

I had no idea what it tasted like back then. You see, I was one of those who swore I’d never drink the stuff. It was an attitude that remained until I reached high school and got a part time job right across the street from our house washing bottles for a dairy testing lab set up in the basement. On Saturday’s, the lady of the house invited employees up to her kitchen for coffee..which meant a big plate of freshly baked frosting-covered cinnamon rolls the size of a Frisbee. To drink, she offered milk or coffee. Now, the bottles I had to wash contained milk samples from dairy herds across the area. If a box of samples sat around for more than a day or two, the contents turned all sorts of rotten; sometimes just a gelatinous glob that would burp a little as I dumped it down the drain. Other times it had turned to the consistency of a yellowish green moldy cheese with a Limburger essence. Anyway, after cleaning a few hundred of those I was in no mood for a glass of milk with my roll so that’s how and why I first became a coffee drinker.

At Keloland, my desk was just a few steps away from the coffee machine and I consumed it by the gallon. The only time it tasted worth a hoot, though, was in the first ten minutes after brewing and even then it suffered from flavor deprivation because the grounds were meted out in those stingy little pre-measured pillow packets. Never enough coffee in some people, while making a pot, would just toss that bundle into the basket not caring if it ended up wadded in a corner. The end result was a rust colored hot water concoction that some..not knowing the difference…would gleefully drink anyway.

Most church basement coffee is like that; pale and tasteless. I’ve also never had a good cup of coffee from the little machines in motel rooms..never. Yet, when we go down the hall for the free continental breakfasts the coffee out of the big brewer can be pretty good. I’ve also found that coffee at large banquets tends to be very good. I think it has to do with the time it steeps in those Thermos- pot-type carafes they put on your table.

A lot of restaurants, too, seem bent on saving money by serving up cheap bland coffee. Maybe they intend it that way so customers won’t loiter around all day and night taking up valuable booth space  gulping down free refills.

Anyway, as I was saying earlier, I’ve searched for years trying to come up with a consistently delicious cup of rich..never bitter..full bodied coffee that I can make at home without a lot of fuss. We have tried just about every commercial and exotic brand. We’ve ground our own beans, used distilled water, even unbleached filters but the results have been..well.. erratic and labor intensive..not to mention expensive.

coffee juanWe’ve finally decided that 100% Colombian coffee delivers most of what we’re looking for. It has the fewest number of quakers which in the world of coffee are those underdeveloped beans that make the brew bitter.   We also are more generous with the amount of grounds used in our Mr. Coffee machine: 3 heaping tablespoons per pot. (ten cups)

We have been using Folgers brand for some time but when the price jumped to 12 DOLLARS A CAN, I decided to try the HyVee brand of Colombian instead and save a few bucks. To be honest, we couldn’t  tell much difference but it was just enough for us to go back.  Now, I’ve been experimenting again since Folgers and other main line commercial brands have decided to put their 100% Colombian grinds in much smaller plastic cans..reducing the contents by at least a fourth. Oh, the price is a little lower but I’m feeling gouged and open to suggestion on other brands. (NOTE: I’m looking for convenience as well as good taste so if you think I’m a lost cause unless I grind the beans, use a French Press or crack eggs into the’re probably right because I’ve tried those things and found the result not stunning enough to justify the effort in our house.)

Linda is usually up before me and makes the coffee and it’s always fine. If I don’t like it the way she brews know what I can do. If I get up first, I make it the same way. If I were to fire up an electric bean grinder it would be the same as pull-starting a 30 horsepower Evinrude over the kitchen sink.  The steaming cup I bring to her bedside could have the aroma of an angel’s breath and taste of Valhalla mahogany creme but could never compensate for the stink eye I’d receive for disturbing my beloved’s slumber.

So, I’m interested in your comments about coffee. Do you have any tips on making a really good brew? Contrary to what I had thought, In Hawaii, they say darker roast is not’s burnt. Do you prefer light, medium or dark? Have you ever found a truly rich tasting  decaf coffee?  Right now all this coffee talk has me feeling the need for caffeine.

“Linda, I’m finishing up a blog here. Would you mind putting a pot on? Thanks, hon. You’re a peach.”


coffee lady three

I’ll Give You A Ring Sometime

Posted: Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 3:03 pm
By: Doug Lund


It’s the color of money..envy..Ireland..Kremit THE frog..Robin Hood’s face during a cruise without Dramamine AND the waters of Lake Hendricks 90% of the time.ring lake

Okay Okay..the locals might dispute that..but it’s been my experience and an important reason for making what I’m about to report even more incredible.  But, let’s begin at the beginning.

As most of you know, Steve Hemmingsen is a longtime resident of Hendricks, Minnesota having built his own cabin along the North Shore back in the 80’s which he’s been adding on to ever since.

Much like Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, Randolph Hearst and Marian Davies..Steve and Betty Hemmingsen were quite well known for the summer lakeside parties they threw for celebrities.

Well, okay people who worked at Keloland TV.  An invitation to one of these soirees was considered rather special coming from the top dog Anchorman/News Director so everybody fortunate enough to receive one showed up with food, booze, bathing suits and a party attitude.

It was toward the conclusion of just such a party involving plenty of carousing on land and in the water that Jaine Andrews noticed something missing from the left hand of her husband, Gary. A circle of white skin now surrounded the tanned finger where five years ago she had placed a gold and diamond  wedding band. “ Honey..where’s your ring?” she shrieked. His poor jaw dropped and a pathetic posse was rounded up.

All, who could still navigate in the twilight, joined in the futile search of Hendricks’ murky waters but the only clear water that night was running down the cheeks of the young couple. It could have slipped off anywhere…swimming..water skiing..running around on the beach. But it was a foregone conclusion that it was gone forever and they both knew why. Gary had been battling a troublesome appendix which led to surgery. He’d lost a lot of weight. The wedding ring had gotten pretty loose. He meant to take it off. Forgot. Damn..Dog House.

Oh yeah..Green.

Hendricks residents don’t like you to talk about it..but most of the time the lake that bears the town’s name is just That’s one of the reasons residents are fighting so hard to keep a big cattle operation from being built upstream from the lake in Brookings County; aggravating an already annoying problem.

But it’s not ALWAYS green and on Labor Day, Darice Huber..who lives right next door to Hemmingsen.. was taking advantage of the beautiful weather and wading with her grandson  in the crystal clear waters of the lake when she looked down and saw what gold miners used to call a “flash in the pan.”  Glistening about 8 inches below the surface was a gold ring. She snatched it up wondering who it could belong to. She decided to wait until Hemmingsen returned home to help in the investigation.

Darice Huber  who found the ring.

Darice Huber who found the ring.


The beach area where the ring was found. That's Steve Hemmingsen's place just visible on the far right.

The beach area where the ring was found. That’s Steve Hemmingsen’s place just visible on the far right.

“It was the craziest thing when Steve first said he didn’t know of anybody except..maybe 25 years or so ago, a co-worker lost a ring at a party here.” Darice Huber told me. “ I asked Steve if he’d do some checking.  “I mean, what are the odds of it turning up right here on the shore after so long?” Huber said.”

After Steve sent Jaine an e-mail photo of the ring, she had to think a bit trying to remember what the band looked like.  “There was an engraving inside..did you find an engraving?”  Jaine asked.   Sure enough when Steve and Darice checked with a magnifying glass there it was;  the couple’s initials and wedding date etched by the jeweler way back when.

“Steve and I were flabbergasted,” Huber said.

And here it is after a quarter century underwater being scraped around by ice, sand and time. No wonder gold is so precious.

And here it is after a quarter century underwater being scraped around by ice, sand and time. No wonder gold is so precious.

It takes quite a bit to impress my old curmudgeon pal Hemmingsen but when we talked he had to admit what an “Incredible long shot” this was. “When you consider how every spring the ice shoves the shoreline all over the place. I have to have a guy with a skid loader come in most years to straighten it out.  There’s just no way that ring hasn’t been on a long journey and to end up just a few feet from my place in plain sight. Well,  God works in mysterious ways.” No, Steve never mentioned God but he was every bit as astounded as Darice and Jaine who, by the way has long since forgiven Gary for losing the original. In fact,  Jaine actually did buy Gary a new band a few years later and another on their 25th anniversary. Now he has three.

This was Jaine and Gary's wedding day. You can tell they took photos before the ceremony rings yet.

This was Jaine and Gary’s wedding day. You can tell they took photos before the ceremony rings yet.

So what’s to become of this miracle ring that has returned from the depths in time for their 30th anniversary?

“I don’t know” she says. “I’m sure it won’t fit anymore but after all the trouble it’s gone to getting home we better have it enlarged so Gary can wear it on his right ring finger.

Jaine Andrews Goldade models Gary's long lost wedding band.

Jaine Andrews Goldade models Gary’s long lost wedding band.

“But you know there’s another bonus to all this. It’s been way too long since we’ve had a Kelo party at Hemmingsen’s cabin and high time for another.”

We’ll just either leave the rings home or stay on the deck and sip wine all evening. The water’s probably too green anyway.

Bye Bye Becky

Posted: Friday, September 4, 2015 at 1:19 pm
By: Doug Lund

becky in front of poster


Becky Otto is retiring from Keloland Television after 43 years of faithful service and I, for one, am not quite sure how the place is going to get along  without her.

In fact, if you were to talk to every Keloland General Manager she’s been Administrative Assistant to over the years, you’d be surprised to see that they’re not all missing a limb because I guarantee each will say that Becky Otto was their right arm.

It’s hard to say what Becky’s specific duties have entailed..but whoever inherits her rolodex will find entries from the U.S. Capitol, the Governor’s mansion, the finest eateries to the nearest flower shop and discover that she’s on a first name basis with everybody on the list.

Current G.M., Jay Huizenga told me that when his predecessor, Mark Antonitis, first took over the reins, he was wondering aloud how to get in touch with the Senate Minority leader for something. Becky said, “I’ll give Tom (Daschle) a call.”  And, she did..on his private line..which she had. After that, Mark  knew he was in good and capable hands.

In our conversation, Jay told me how Becky has been so indispensable to the operation of Keloland..especially  during his stint as GM over the past 7 years. “I consider myself the luckiest of all. I don’t know what I’d have done without her there in the beginning.”  “Her institutional knowledge, easy going style and love of our legacy has helped make this station the success it is today.” He said.

“Oh, come on Jay,” I said. “You must have seen Becky lose her temper a time or two.”


“She will disagree..and speak her mind..but smile while  doing it.  Plus, she’s my count-to-ten barometer.

I’ve been known to lose my temper and be ready to lash out in person or via e-mail when Becky basically prescribes a chill pill and snuffs out the flames. A good thing.”

I was curious why Becky Otto, with all her administrative skills, never sought to be the “executive” instead of the “assistant.”

“I think,” Jay told me, “Becky has always loved her role of helping to organize things here and then go home and be a wife and mom. But, don’t kid yourself; Becky has excelled at representing this station at an executive level on several occasions.”


I have no idea why..but over the thirty some years we worked together, Becky always called me “Mr. Lund.”   I think she’s just kidding around  because I’ve never sought and certainly would never expect such formality. I think she did it with Hemmingsen too. (Maybe a respect for your elder’s thing.)

Our relationship has certainly been anything but formal. Don’t get me wrong..Becky worked for the boss, toed the company line and everybody knew that but she was always so doggone cheery and approachable.

She has not only assisted those on the executive wing to keep their ducks in a row, whenever the rest of us needed anything from help with a confusing form..something to be to an event..a guaranteed laugh at the latest joke…advice on how to approach management..or even a shoulder to cry on after an ass chewin’ Becky’s was the office door you knocked on.


So, how do you find a replacement for someone like Becky?

You give the job to Becky.

After going through at least 50 applications, she has found Sheila.

Becky tells me that, after a few weeks of training, Sheila is more than up to the task.

Of course Becky would say that.

I’ve never heard her speak ill of anyone ever.

I  hope she feels more ready to go than some of us are to let her go.

No doubt her husband, Sonny..along with her son..daughter and soon-to-be third grandchild will see to it.

Becky large




Jesus And The Jackalope

Posted: Monday, August 24, 2015 at 1:21 pm
By: Doug Lund

I’ll admit that I’m a pretty poor excuse for a Christian. My faith tends to run hot and cool depending on which family member or friend is sick.

But even though a hypocrite I may be..and openly profess my doubt about “all the things that you’re liable to read in the Bible” not being necessarily so..I would never have the nerve to openly deny Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world.

That’s pushin’ it bub.

As Hemmingsen and I sat together on the Big News set, he would occasionally say some outlandish things during commercial breaks regarding religion. I would jokingly slide my chair back away saying I didn’t wish to be caught up as collateral damage from the bolt of lightening that was about to strike him down.

I’ve always been a “I’ll believe what I want to do the same..or don’t believe in anything at all and leave it at that” kind of guy.   But then I saw this big billboard up at Russell and Minnesota in Sioux Falls, paid for..I the atheists to promote their convention in town.jackalope be honest, the sight of seeing Jesus holding a jackalope caught me off guard and a guilty chuckle came over me. But then, so did the thought that hey, that’s not really fair.

That’s my guy up there and you’re suggesting he’s as mythological as a jackrabbit with antlers. He never existed and if He did, certainly never rose from the dead after the Romans had the good sense to torture and kill Him for causing such a stir.

This Man whose short life on earth was devoted to others offering healing and hope has left an eternal legacy that now encompasses 2.2 Billion of the world’s population.

Surly not all 2.2 billion of them have been duped into Christendom by contriving church leaders throughout history, fear mongering Bible beaters, money grubbing televangelists or phony faith healers. Certainly a lot of them have made intelligent decisions regarding their Christian faith and found it to be as fulfilling, rewarding, comforting and inspiring as promised.

Well, you’re never going to convince the atheists, of course. But, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked.” (Atheists love it when you throw a little scripture at ‘em. That’s Gal. the way.)

I don’t even know why they have conventions unless it’s just to walk around patting each other on the back saying how smart they are not to fall for all of that God is Love sh*t.  I see they have quite a line-up of speakers with every diversity..cultural and otherwise..well represented.

I suppose you might think I could be  promoting the event simply by mentioning it here.  Nah. It’s been sold out for a while.

Cory Heidelberger, who’s married to a Lutheran minister, has been promoting the event on his blog.

Boy they must have some interesting conversations around the dinner table.


The Cost Of Curing Cancer

Posted: Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 1:36 pm
By: Doug Lund


Would somebody somewhere just come up with a cure already?

Two more people I know and admire were diagnosed in the last couple days. Cam Lind and Pastor, Dave Ellingson.

Two others..including my nephew’s wife, Jodi Lund.. who  undergoes a double mastectomy this week. Her breast cancer came back after eleven years. And  popular Sioux Falls radio D.J. “Cade” who will have surgery next week for a recently discovered brain tumor.

I’ll bet everyone reading this also knows of someone going through the same gut wrenching worry and fear after receiving a diagnosis.

I wonder. What’s it going to take?


Is finding a cure for cancer a problem that can be solved by throwing money at it?

Seems like that’s what Jerry Lewis and the Muscular Dystrophy Association have been trying to tell us for decades but there’s still no cure after all those telethons that hinted over and over that we were “this” close.

Maybe there will never be a cure for cancer. It’s like doctors and pharmaceutical companies say there is no one cancer to wage war against. It attacks in so many forms and the success of treatment varies from person to person.

Radiation, Chemotherapy and outrageously expensive cancer drugs appear to be the only effective way to deal with the multi-faceted disease other than a basic regimen of personal good-health and exercise.

Oh, wait..there’s “Immunotherapy” ..said to be the biggest breakthrough since chemotherapy..aimed at stimulating the body’s own immune system to fight invading cancer cells. They’ve even got the guy who plays Cam from “Modern Family” as a spokesman to raise money for

But why do they need celebrities to shill for funds if this is really the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for in the fight against cancer?  Where are you Bill Gates..Warren Buffet..Koch Brothers..Walton Clan? Why not step up with your billions and lets do this thing?

Or how about our own government? Could the cost of a couple battleships or Phantom Jet Fighters be keeping us from eradicating this vile disease?

How about this for a presidential campaign slogan ala J.F.K in 1962 only substitute cancer for moon.  “I choose to find a cure for cancer before my term is out. Not because it’s easy but because it’s hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are not willing to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”

I don’t know about you but I could relate to a campaign promise like that instead of the same old prattle.

Now there are, of course, conspiracy theorists out there convinced that doctors and drug companies are all in cahoots and opposed to anything that would kill the golden goose.

Lord knows programs like 60 Minutes and other investigative news programs have certainly exposed lots of rotten apples in both those fields but even I don’t believe there’s an organized effort to squash efforts at finding a cure for cancer.

Perhaps it’s my personal frustrations that has brought about this blog..but I do believe more could and should be done besides a cancer society fun run or bake sale.

A higher priority needs to be set by this and other civilized countries to make cancer as distant a memory to our grandchildren as polio is to us.