Archive for June 2007

Boys up front..Girls in back

Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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On the road again, like a band of gypsies we go down the highway.We’re the best of friends, insisting that the world keeps turning our way.Willie Nelson
Big motel disappointment while on family vacation in the fifties….no indoor toilet.
 
Big motel disappointment while on family vacation in the sixties…no TV.
 
Big motel disappointment while on family vacation in the seventies..no air conditioning.
 
Big motel disappointment while on family vacation in the eighties..no color TV.
 
Big disappointment while on family vacation in the nineties..no TV remote.
 
Big disappointment while on family vacation today…no high speed wireless internet.
 
Life is tough out here on the highways and byways of Wisconsin and Michigan without getting on-line but I finally got hooked up to share a few words about our journey so far.
 
Linda and I are traveling with our good friends, Joan and Denny Graves.
You might wonder if we’re still good friends after spending a week together in the car. I think the answer is “yes” but you’d have to ask them.
 
For some people, I suppose, such close proximity over a period of time can result in tension or frayed feelings..but, so far, everybody is still laughing at most of my lame jokes. It’s the price they must pay in order for me to stop at some of the zillion Indian casinos in this part of the country. 
 
What’s really funny is how we’ve become like the geezers we used to laugh at when we were young. Denny and I now sit in the front seat and the girls instinctively crawl in the back.
I always figured that was a sure sign that couples had gotten bored with each other.
I’ve come to realize, though,  that it’s not faded love..it’s just that women “need” to talk to other women and having to holler between the front seat and back isn’t very convenient.  
But it’s more than that.
When the conversation gets down to a whisper, Denny and I know they’re talking about us two lumps up front but we don’t mind.
We’re perfectly content to let miles roll by without having to fill the quiet with conversation.
Now that’s friendship.
 
I’ll post a few photos of our wanderings when we get home.

Miracle on Center Avenue

Posted: Wednesday, June 20, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Do you believe in miracles?
 
Well, I’m here to tell you that Linda and I witnessed one first hand last night and we’re still reeling from the experience.
 
We don’t see our good friends, Dave and Marjean Dedrick as often as we should.
It’s always a fun time when we get together, especially in the summer when we can sit out on their front porch talking and laughing.
Dave quit drinking in 1978, but he still loves to play bartender and usually mixes them plenty strong..the way he’d like them if he ever fell off the wagon which..despite silly rumors to the contrary..he has never done.
 
We also used to love the outdoor visits at the Dedricks because everybody could smoke cigarettes without guilt.
Dave said he was happy for us when Linda and I quit nearly six years ago..but I think he was sort of disappointed too because we’d lost that bond that only smokers understand.
 
I’m constantly asked about Dave and how he’s doing 11 years after retiring from a 43 year career at Keloland.
Well, as he peeks over the edge towards 80, the answer is..Dave is doing fantastic.
He had a surgical procedure done several months ago to relieve back pain that he has endured for ages and now feels great.
His lovely wife, Marjean who honestly looks 30 years younger than she is, is also feeling better these days. A cough that’s been nagging her for years, seems to be disappreaing…which is part of the miracle I mentioned.
 
The Dedricks have been married three times..TO EACH OTHER!
 
The first wedding was performed by a judge because his folks had a problem with her being Catholic.
Eventually they got hitched again by a priest in the church..that’s two.
Then in the 70’s they got divorced….but didn’t care for that much…so after Dave gave up the booze..they married each other one last time.
 
While we were sitting on the porch last night and Dave was telling about his latest golf outing, I noticed something strange. His face was not obscured by a cloud of smoke.
That’s when he smiled and said, “seven weeks.”
Dave Dedrick, the last of the red hot power smokers..a legitimate three-pack-a-dayer, hasn’t had a cigarette in over two months!
Believe me or ask anyone who knows him, Dave was never going to quit. But he has..and that’s a miracle.
 
“Ahh, I said, It must be the 15 dollars a day that did it.”
Nope.
“Tired of having to go outside every public building to smoke?”
Nope.
“The doctor finally spotted something on your lung?”
Nope.
“What in the world, then, would ever get you to stop?”
That’s when Marjean spoke up. “He did it for me,” she said.
One doctor finally convinced Dave that his second-hand smoke was the likely cause of Marjean’s coughing.
And just like that, a 65 year habit was given up for the woman he loves so much he married her thrice.
 
If you’d care to offer some words of encouragement as Dave continues to wean himself off nicotine, I’m sure he’d love an e-mail 
Captain11D@aol.com
 

Dad

Posted: Sunday, June 17, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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He wasn’t daddy or papa or pop or father..just Dad.
 
Harry Lund would have been 101 this year and it’s 30 years since he died but I still think of him every day and see his face every morning in the mirror.
 
Like most boys of his era, Dad left school after the 8th grade to help out on the family farm. And even though he eventually bought a farm of his own, I don’t think his heart was in it and he developed his skills as a builder into a full time career in carpentry.  He is responsible for constructing many of the houses in Volga, including the one I grew up in.
Years and years of hard work from hoisting rafters and pounding nails all day, made him about the toughest guy I ever knew.
His body eventually gave in to my mother’s good cooking but in his younger days, he cut quite a handsome figure. I thought the old man..with his moustache..looked a lot like Clark Gable.
 
A tender moment with Dad and yours truly in 1946 with brother Denny playing in the dirtHe, like others of his generation, felt that mothers could afford to coddle the children. It was the father’s job to make the money, lay down the law and carry out the punishment if any of us broke that law.
Looking back, though, his bark was worse than his bite because..despite threats of beatings with a belt or a kick in the pants with his Red Wing boot, I don’t ever remember him hitting any of us.
 
Although he didn’t make a lot of money he could be full of surprises..like buying me a motorcycle when I was 13 and an electric guitar a few years later.
Dad also made sure to save enough for our annual road trip to far off places. Each summer we’d all pile into the Queen Family Truckster and head out to the Seattle Worlds Fair, Chicago, Lake Louise in Canada or around Lake Superior.
We never missed a day at the State Fair in Huron including a stop at the go-cart track on the way home.
 
Aside from an occasional beer or cocktail during pheasant hunting season, I never saw my old man drunk. His idea of having fun was in using his God-given skills as a craftsman.
After retiring, he restored two Model T  automobiles, collected antiques and built nearly 20 grandfather clocks in his workshop.
 
But those good times were marred by a lifetime of smoking Camel straights which led to sleepless nights from coughing, oxygen tanks, breathing machines and hospital stays.
 
It was when the family was trying to convince him to go to the hospital one more time that I finally blurted out, “Dad, we don’t want to lose you. We love you.”
It was the first and only time I’d ever said that.
 
I wish I could have said one more thing before he took his final labored breath that evening in 1977…
“Thanks for everything, Dad!”

The Wizard of Ahhs

Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Mention the word "wizard" today and kids automatically think of Harry Potter and his magic wand-toting pals at Hogwarts.But in my generation there was only one Mr.Wizard and he made Saturday morning television magical in millions of homes across America in the 50′s and 60′s.Don Herbert was born in Waconia, Minnesota but went to college in LaCrosse, Wisconsin where he studied acting and science. Both of which he would put to good use in his life.He volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps and flew 56 bombing missions in Europe during World War II.  Herbert wound up in Chicago working in theater and on the radio. Then when TV came along, he came up with an idea for a science show aimed at kids. NBC loved it and "Watch Mr. Wizard" began a 14 year run..39 shows a year..all done live.The premise was simple. An actor kid named Rita or Buzz or somebody would come over to Mr. Wizard’s house to be amazed at the experiments he had set up to demonstrate that science was interesting and fun.I’ll never forget some of them..like when Rita’s hair stood straight up after placing her hand on this silver sphere full of static electricity. Or when Mr. Wizard showed Buzz how to make a mini-volcano out of baking soda and vinegar.Oh it was great TV. I still have the Gilbert chemistry set I got for Christmas so I could do experiments like Mr. Wizard.I don’t suppose kids today would sit still for such a slow moving program that actually took the time to teach and explain things like how to make a hot air balloon out of a dry cleaning bag. But we were spellbound.Mr. Wizard did make a comeback with a similar show on Nickelodeon during the 80′s but then he pretty much retired and disappeared from the public eye.Now, he’s gone forever. Don Herbert has died just a few days short of his 90th birthday and I feel like I’ve lost one of my favorite teachers. 

The Cycle of Life

Posted: Monday, June 11, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Hindsight really is 20-20…or maybe 20-60. But the fact is, I see things about my growing up years a whole lot clearer now than when I lived them.
 
As a kid, I remember thinking how my parents, dad especially, seemed to favor my two brothers over me.
I was the middle son..not the first-born or the baby so, in my mind,  I was always being short changed on things.
“Here, Doug, you can wear Denny’s old parka for one more winter or, let Tommy have the last doughnut, he’s the youngest.”
 
But, while looking through some old photo albums recently, I was reminded of a day in 1959 when my dad made me the most popular kid in Volga by buying me a Harley Davidson motorcycle!
 
It had belonged to my older cousin, Allen who used to give us kids rides on it when we’d visit their farm near Sinai. He even let me drive it once. But now he was headed off to college and decided to sell it.
 
I had no idea what my old man was up to when we drove out to their place that day but before long he and my uncle had agreed on a price and that two-wheeled red beauty was going home with us.
“Think you can handle that thing?” he asked.
“Yes, I can,” was my reply..made quickly so he’d believe it even though I wasn’t that sure myself.
Mom, on the other hand, wasn’t so enthusiastic. She was mad.
She was convinced that dad had just provided the means for me to kill myself.
 
Me and my Harley surrounded by jealous palsNow, let me explain a bit about this motorcycle.
It was not one of those big V-Twin engine Harleys like the ones you see roaring around Sturgis every August. 
After World War II, The Harley Davidson company wanted a light-weight bike to compete with Cushman and All-State scooters so it came up with the 125cc, one cylinder mini-motorcycle with a whopping 5 horsepower and a top speed of 50 miles an hour.. if the wind was at your back.
It was “kid size” and about the coolest thing a kid could have unless you were a worrying mother who saw it as the devil come to claim her child.
 
Oh, that was a great summer!
My friend, Donny Tucker, whose old man had more money than mine, got a blue Harley 125 and together we’d ride the streets of Volga like we were James Dean and Marlon Brando.
Nobody had motorcycles back then so we really got people’s attention.
Our friends were jealous. It was great.
But then, mechanical problems I hadn’t counted on started showing up.
Gas, which I had to pay for with money from lawn-mowing and bale-hauling, began to leak from the carburetor which kept me off the streets until cash could be raised to pay the guy down at the co-op to fix it. Then the battery went dead and I had to convince my mom to help me buy a new one which cost about 20 bucks. It had to be ordered and took about six weeks to show up.
 
It was a hot day in July that my mother’s worst fears were realized.
We were getting set to go on a family car trip to Canada . (In those pre-air conditioning times, Dad liked to leave in the evening and drive through the cool of the night.)
Mom wanted some letters mailed so I put them in my pocket, jumped on my motorcycle and headed uptown to the post office six blocks away.
I never made it.
People had been asking the Hobergs..who lived on the corner..to trim their hedge a bit so drivers could see traffic coming from the left.
I never gave it much thought until I made the turn and slammed, head-on into Duane Sterud in his Dad’s Buick.
I was only 14 but what little life I’d lived went flashing before my eyes as I somersaulted over the handlebars with my helmetless head landing a few inches from the sidewalk.
Somewhat dazed, I lay there taking inventory of my body. Nothing broken.
Sterud’s Buick was undamaged except for a black smudge from my front tire on the bumper.
My Harley what about my Harley?
When I picked the bike up, it was a lot shorter than a few moments before. The front fork had been shoved back about six inches.
I was so worried about how I was going to explain things to my folks that I didn’t notice the pain until I was pushing my crippled Harley home.
When I got there I headed to the bathroom for a closer inspection. I was black and blue from my stomach to my knees..including the most sensitive area.
 
Fearing it may keep us from going on vacation, I didn’t say anything until somewhere in Montana the next morning when mom insisted on seeing the cause of my wincing each time we hit a bump. She was mortified at the site of my bruised body but it was too late to turn back and I got better each day..which is more than I can say for my Harley.
Dad took it to the Jacobson Brothers welding shop and they managed to straighten it back up but it never rode the same and I didn’t feel much like riding anymore anyway.
I spent a long time wondering and worrying about what possible long term physical damage I may have done in that accident…concerns that only disappeared when the first of my children was conceived some years later.
Eventually, I even got another motorcycle which I ride occasionallly.
But I try to avoid streets with hedges.

D-Day and Uncle Ray

Posted: Wednesday, June 6, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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At the age of 35, my uncle, Private  1st Class Raymond Lund, would have been considered the old man of his outfit, Company C. of the 357th infantry.
Most of the soldiers who climbed over the side of their ship and down the rope ladder to waiting landing craft below on D-Day, were 10 to 15 years younger than he was.
 
I wonder if those scared boys, huddled together in their battle gear, looked to him for reassurance as the diesel-powered boat moved agonizingly slow towards the beaches of Normandy that June 6th morning in 1944.
 
Was he saying the Lord’s Prayer in Norwegian, like he’d been taught as a child, while German shells exploded all around and bullets from machine guns made a loud clanging noise as they slammed into the still closed ramp?
D-Day June 6th, 1944What went through his mind when that ramp was lowered and his comrades were cut down as they tried to advance toward shore through a hail of fire?
 
Uncle Ray survived what’s been called “The Longest Day” only to have his hand nearly blown off in combat a month later.
Ray’s war was over.
After receiving a Purple Heart in a field hospital, he was sent home to spend the next 15 months recuperating from his wounds.
 
Uncle Ray LundLike so many other veterans of battle, Uncle Ray never talked about it.
As a kid I couldn’t help but stare at his scarred-up hand with the missing little finger but of course I’d never dare ask details about how it happened.
And now it’s too late.
Ray took his memories and nightmares of the war to his grave in 1986.
 
On this 63rd anniversary of D-day I’m wishing I knew the answers to so many questions about my quiet, self-effacing uncle and the role he played in the invasion but, like many other World War II vets, his service record was lost in a fire at the National Personnel Records Center in 1973. All we know is what’s on his discharge papers.
I’m also curious as to why he "enlisted" when he was nearly 34 leaving a pretty young wife stateside to worry?
 
Patriotic fervor?
 
There’s no one left who knows for sure..but one thing I do know is how proud our family is of Uncle Ray and his service and sacrifice for these United States of America.
 
 
 
 

Notes from a Jailbird

Posted: Friday, June 1, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I can see the headline now..
 
“Former Keloland News anchor, Doug Lund, jailed for watering violation.”
 
“I couldn’t figure out how to program the dumb automatic sprinkler controls,” Lund was quoted as saying as he was being lead off across his beautiful green lawn in handcuffs early Saturday morning.
“He’ll have plenty of time to study the operating manual now,” chuckled police chief, Doug Barthel.
 
Okay, so the above account may be fiction, at least for now. but I’m a worrier and afraid there will come a knock on my door..or perhaps a SWAT (stop water abusers today) team blasting through my front door and hauling me away as the neighbors..who called 911 when my sprinklers went off on an odd day at my even numbered house, stand on their front porches in their PJ’s shouting obscenities at me for blatantly thumbing my nose at the city’s latest water law.
 
In our 23 years here, we’ve never been able to have a very nice lawn because it was such a hassle to run sprinklers and hoses around our corner lot.
So, Linda and I managed to save enough money to have an automatic sprinkler system installed.  We had the installer set it up go off at 4 AM every other day.
We even did the proper thing by adding a rain sensor that prevents watering during and after a rainfall.
But now, there’s a problem.
I have no idea how to set the thing up to only sprinkle on even days because the city- approved rain sensor doesn’t know about the city’s new law and will kick in again when it gets dry..perhaps on an odd day..whoops.
Plus, the months with 31 days throw the odd-even arrangement out of whack.
 
I’m not about to get up at 4 O’clock in the morning every “even” day to turn the thing on manually so I guess I’m just going to have to take my chances and hope that early rising neighbors..who are being encouraged to tattle..only see my sprinklers sprinkling during the appropriate days.
 
So why is the city doing this in the first place?
Apparently it’s the old supply and demand thing again..plus the wear and tear that demand places on water pipes and pumps and  cost of repairing them and blah, blah, blah.
 
I wonder if and when the Lewis and Clark water pipeline ever comes on-line it will solve these shortages once and for all or if, like the temporary penny sales taxes that mysteriously become permanent, we’ll be on these same watering restrictions every spring and summer indefinitely.
 
It seems to me that the thing we should really be worrying about is the 75 million we have invested in that pipeline and whether there will be enough water left in the Missouri River to tap into when the time comes.
 
Oh well, I guess everybody knows what they’re doing and like three dollar gasoline, there’s not a heck of a lot I can do about it.
 
I wonder if you can only shower on odd\even days in jail.