Archive for August 2007

Playing Through The Pain

Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Kevin and Tina didn’t have to use a computer dating service to find out if they were right for each other, they knew as soon as they met a year and a half ago on the campus of South Dakota State University…probably at the fitness center.
Sports was their common denominator and both were already star athletes at SDSU..she in volleyball and he in baseball.
Amid all the demands of athletics and academics, Tina and Kevin found time for each other and fell in love.
They started seriously talking about the future and planning for a life together after college.
But it wasn’t to be.
On Sunday August 19th, Kevin decided to take his skateboard and and head over to Larson Park in Brookings.
Friends say he’d been known to fall off that thing occasionally but he’d always laugh and get right back up again.
This time, though, he’d fallen and didn’t get up. 
Arrangements were made to get him to Avera McKennan in Sioux Falls for treatment of a fractured skull.
When Tina found out, she rushed to the hospital to be by his side.
 Kristina Martin
Tina is captain on the highly ranked volleyball team and is on the verge of setting SDSU scoring records.
When it looked like Kevin’s condition had stabilized on Thursday, she decided to go ahead and fly out to Washington with her team to play in the first tournament of the season. But at the layover in Denver, she got a call saying that Kevin had taken a turn for the worse. She headed back on the next available flight home.
That’s when Tina learned that her grandmother in Wisconsin had died.
The SDSU volleyball players are a close-knit bunch both on and off the court and it was hard to concentrate on the game without their friend and star player there and knowing the grief she was going through.
When the team returned home from the tournament, the players all went to the hospital together in a show of support for Tina and to say goodbye to Kevin..who was their friend too.Kevin Morsching never regained consciousness and died early last Sunday morning.
Monday night was the Jackrabbits home opening game at Frost Arena in Brookings. Few expected Tina to show up much less play..but there she was ready to go.
After a group hug with her teammates, all Tina said was she wanted to dedicate the game and a victory to Kevin and her grandma.
Montana State didn’t have a chance. The Jacks swept the Bobcats 3-0.  Tina added 9 more kills in the victory and toward her pursuit of the school record.
 But even if Kristina Martin doesn’t end up with the most “kills, digs, assists or blocks” in SDSU volleyball history, she has already demonstrated the qualities that make up a true champion in the game of life.

Powerball Dreams

Posted: Sunday, August 26, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Sometimes when I have a hard time falling asleep, I close my eyes and imagine that I had just won the Powerball Lottery Jackpot and 300 million dollars.
Oh, man…what would I do with all that money?
I know it’s not very Christian to have such fantasies, “the love of money being the root of all evil” and all that.Plus there’s the biblical warning about it being easier for “a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven.”But I can’t help it.
We may not want to be..and most churches say we shouldn’t be..but the majority of us are, by nature, materialistic and measure success  by the amount of “stuff” we have or the size of the amount in our checkbook.
My first thought when I saw someone had won the 314 million dollar Powerball Saturday night was..I suppose they’ll take the lump sum and after taxes only wind up with about a third of it. That just doesn’t seem fair.
Like they won’t be able to squeak by on 114 million.
Anyway, back to my fantasy. 
I’ve just won 300 million dollars.
Linda and I are jumping around in our now too small house screaming for joy.
“What’s the first thing we’ll do with our riches?”
“We’ll give 10 percent to the church.”
“Which church?”
“I don’t know pick one.”
“Don’t you suppose churches might have a problem receiving money that came from  gambling?”
“Not the Catholics..didn’t they invent bingo?”
“’ve always had a problem with my religion.”
“Okay, let’s forget that for now. How about the kids?., we’ll set them up financially for life, of course.”
“Who should get how much? Some need it more than they all get the same?” “Will there be hard feelings? What about inheritance taxes they’d have to pay?”
“I don’t know, we’ll work it out..stop fretting about it.”
“I’m not fretting, I just don’t want the kids to be hurt by our attempts at generousity.”
“Maybe we better call a lawyer."" How much will that cost? Won’t they try rip us off?" " I don’t know. Who cares? We’re loaded.”
“Well, I suppose we should probably build a mansion somewhere in town and fill it with the finest furniture, a pool and plasma TV’s for every room”.
“Yeah, like you don’t watch enough TV already!” “Sorry…I guess you’re right..we should get a nice new place but I wonder if our friends will think we’re just showing off and maybe not want to be our friends anymore?”
“Who cares..we’ll find new friends.”
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
“Cars..I want lots of cars. Oh, and motorcycles. I’ve always wanted a Harley. Now I can have as many as I like.”
“Why.. you can’t drive more than one vehicle at a time.
“You just don’t get it do you?” “Heck, we can even buy a private jet airplane and fly anywhere we want.”
“Who’s going to fly it?”
“We’ll hire a pilot.”
“Wouldn’t it be kind of stupid to hire a personal pilot that we’d probably only use a couple times a year?” Besides, where would we go?”
“I dunno..Europe, I suppose.” “We could buy a fully-staffed yacht and sail to all the fancy ports along the Mediterranean.”
“Oh sure, I can just see the two of us pasty-white overweight Midwesterners roaming around by ourselves on that big boat in our swimming suits”
“Besides, I’m scared of the water, caviar makes me gag, champagne is overreated  and I sure wouldn’t feel very comfortable being waited-on hand and foot by strangers in white pants.”
“Well, for cryin’ out loud, we’ve suddenly got this fortune and there’s nothing you want to spend it on.”
“You don’t have to yell.”
“Sorry..we have never argued about anything like this before.”
“I know. Everything was fine until we got all this money.”
“How would you feel about just giving it back?”
“Doug…Doug..wake up!”
“You were having that bad dream again weren’t you?”

It’s Only a Game..Only a Game

Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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It couldn’t have happened at a better time.
My kid brother, Tom, and his wife from New Jersey (ya gotta problem with that?) were coming back to South Dakota for 9 whole days. That would mean lots of time for lots of golf..and I was ready.
My older brother, Denny, is just starting to heal from a back injury, acquired from excessive golfing. He’d been bed-ridden for a week and would not likely be a factor in our annual “brothers battle on the links.”
I had just come off a week in which I had shot 8 birdies in two rounds while playing with my golf buddies at Brandon. It was the best I’d played in ten years.
The writing was on the wall, the planets were all aligned; my game was all together.
Doug was finally going to kick Denny and Tommy’s butts..leaving  them slack-jawed wondering what the heck hit ‘em.
The game of golf has always been a passion for us. It’s just that I was never as good at it as my brothers. They thrive on the competition and I’m usually not a factor in the games; more like ballast for the group; brought along to keep the pace of play at a reasonable rate.
Oh, I could sometimes pop through with a few good shots and they’d both give me these patronizing pats on the back and words of encouragement but when it came down to actually winning a round (and the skin game that could occasionally fetch a tidy sum) I’d collapse like a cheap lawn chair and at the end of the day have to ask if either of them took Visa.
This year, though, was going to be a different story.
It was crystal clear that I had been chosen by God to finally beat these birds..take their money..and become a viable force to be reckoned from now on.
Thank you Lord!
But then, the devil came to pay a call.
With the snap of his long red hot fingers and an evil grin on his hideous horned head he brought plague to my body.
I was suddenly struck down with the worst cold I’ve had in years.
Besides the high fever, my body ached all over from trying to cough-up something that was lodged down in my windpipe just below the belly button.
But, sick or not, I wasn’t about to let my destiny be denied and we all rendezvoused at Elmwood on a dreary..wet and miserable Wednesday morning.
My nephew, Jay, (the Hollywood actor) is home and joined our group.
Good, I thought, he can be the ballast this time.
It turns out, though, Jay has been playing a lot of golf in California and soon was able to join with his dad and uncle in offering pity for my performance.
It was clear from the beginning that the Lord had healed Denny’s back..guided Tom’s shots straight and true and given Jay the strength of a lion as he sent drives soaring into the stratosphere.
All I could do is flub around in the woods looking for errant hook shots and listen for the  familiar knock of golf ball against tree trunks after every swing..screaming under my breath..why Lord..why?
In the end the real competition of the day was between Jay and his dad in which the star of such films as “Crash” and the soon-to-be released, “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” came within a couple strokes of actually beating his father for the first time ever.
Tom, meanwhile, proceeded to shoot a 74..his lowest round of the year.
And me?
Well, my cold is getting better..the phlegm has moved up to chest level.. but Linda is mad at me now because she must have been standing too close when Satan was dispensing his diseases. So, she’s now coughing, sneezing and searching for more clean handkerchiefs.
Oh, yeah…we tee-it-up again this afternoon in Brookings.
Isn’t there a name for people like me who willingly subject themselves to mistreatment and humiliation?
Masochist comes to mind.

The First Mourning of School

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Alarm clocks that had sat silent since late last May, suddenly rang to life early this morning jarring kids out of a deep slumber and forcing them to face the reality that their three month period of hibernation has ended
It’s back to pencils, books and teacher’s dirty looks.
In a few homes, the start of another school year is a joyous occasion..and not just for the parents. My second oldest granddaughter, Allison, for example, loves school and is looking forward to the start of her senior year at Washington.
Grandsons, Michael and Tucker are just starting high school and, I imagine, excited about the prospects of meeting high school girls who suddenly became more interesting over the summer..about the same time as when their voices mysteriously dropped a couple octaves from soprano to baritone.
But there were mixed emotions in the Lincoln, Nebraska home of daughter Suzan and her husband Joe, this morning.
Here’s an excerpt from an e-mail she sent.
Hi! We successfully navigated our first morning of kindergarten!!  Zoey was excited and not much concerned, after all, she’s been heading off to "school" for awhile now.  She’s blissfully oblivious to the milestone it is for Mom & Dad – especially Mom!  She headed into school with her friend Makenna without even a hug or wave to her somewhat anxious parents.  She later waved as we peeked into her classroom…no, we were not the only parents doing this with cameras out recording the momentous occasion.  I only shed a few tears and not in front of the grown up girl sitting at her spot with her soon-to-be good friends.  I spent the next 30+ minutes in the parent area with other kindergarten parents asking all kinds of questions, but mostly just absorbing the shock of starting our babies on the journey of school.  How did this happen so fast?!
Perhaps some of you are asking that same question today having reluctantly let go of  your little ones hand so they can scamper off to school leaving you in the dust with tears in your eyes.
 It’s just the first of many life journeys they’ll now be taking without you there to guide and protect them.
I wish I could tell you it gets easier to let go when they get older but…well, you’ll find out when the time comes.Zoey Josephine Moser age five going on 18 

Curious George

Posted: Friday, August 17, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Aside from being from South Dakota, what does former senator, George McGovern have in common with Pat O’Brien, Cheryl Ladd, Catherine Bach, Mary Hart, Tom Brokaw and Captain 11?
Give up?
Well, hold onto your hats folks, McGovern is soon to be immortalized as a bobblehead.
On Wednesday evening at the Sioux Falls Canaries baseball game, McGovern bobblehead figures will be handed out to the first 1 thousand people who pass through the gates. 
I guess the honoree is actually going to be there in person so if you miss out on getting one of the dolls you can bring along your home movie camera and ask the one-time Democratic nominee for President of the United States to pose with you and nod his head back and forth..uffdah.I understand it’s meant to be flattering..and a tribute to South Dakotans who’ve made good but it just seems out of character for this esteemed statesman, McGovern, who was the first person I ever voted for in a general election.
Those who know me are now saying to yourselves, “wait a minute, conservative Lund is a closet liberal and once supported the head-dove in a flock of left wingers?”
Well, I guess I did.
Like a lot of people back then, I didn’t think so much about left or right, liberal or conservative. I just admired McGovern’s intellect, the fact that he was a World War II hero, and how he applied a common sense approach to complicated issues. I was proud that he was a fellow South Dakotan and had a lot of respect among his political peers in Washington.
I think a lot of the real George McGovern got lost in his 1972 presidential campaign. He listened to advice he maybe shouldn’t have like dumping Thomas Eagleton from the ticket when he said he wouldn’t. It made him look indecisive.
Embracing the endorsements of Hollywood liberals like Shirley MacLaine, Dennis Weaver and Warren Beatty distracted from his wholesome Midwestern image.
Plus to appreciate George McGovern, you have to hear him speak at length on issues which very few people did on the night he accepted the presidential nomination. Because of a lot of confusion among the delegates, his speech didn’t start until 2 AM..not exactly prime time.
Some people, me included, will always have a problem with McGovern’s idealistic view of the world which doesn’t always seem terribly realistic.
But, I’ve interviewed him a lot of times over the years and he always makes a lot of sense when you hear him out.
In a recent interview with “The American Conservative” McGovern was asked about his view on the current administration and the war in Iraq.
He said he likes conservatives..citing Bob Dole and Barry Goldwater. (in another interview he admitted voting for Gerald Ford in 1974)
“But I don’t like these neoconservatives worth a damn. They have this view that we are so much more powerful than any other country in the world that we need to run the world..none of this business of coexistence.”
It’s stuff like that that makes McGovern a much-in-demand speaker. Plus he is constantly on the go traveling all over the globe trying to raise awareness and money for programs to fight world hunger..something he’s been doing since the old “Food for Peace” days in the Kennedy administration.
At age 85, George McGovern has aged gracefully but it’s been a rough go since January after his beloved wife, Eleanor, died after nearly 64 years of marriage.
She did live to see last year’s dedication of the George and Eleanor McGovern Library and Center for Leadership at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell.
 That, to me, seems the more appropriate way to honor this American statesman than a bobblehead doll.
But hey, maybe I’m just jealous.

Party Animal

Posted: Monday, August 13, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Well, maybe not “animal”..but I have been spent the last couple weekends on the party circuit.  
Pretty tame ones, though, no loud music or heavy drinking and most everybody kept all of their clothes on.
The first was the annual Phil and Roberta Trooien lawn party at their farm a few miles west of Hendricks, Minnesota. It was nice to be invited as the Trooiens are a sweet couple and really go all out to provide a day of fun and entertainment for all their guests.
Double (triple?)chin photo with Trooien family band in background by Steve HemmingsenThe Trooiens are a real musical family with Phil on fiddle, Roberta on mandolin. Their grown children play a variety of instruments and they all sing.
The stage is a well decorated flat bed trailer with a swell sound system and even a piano.
The audience is invited to sit in their lawn chairs and enjoy the show..but encouraged to actually take part in the proceedings.
The Trooien grandkids sang a couple songs, some folks got up and gave humorous or poety readings.
My old Keloland colleague, Steve Hemmingsen and Brookings radio personality, Grant Peterson talked about the differences in broadcasting they’ve experienced over the years.
One guy talked about his hobby of piloting model airplanes and showed off one of his latest radio controlled flying creations.
I even got out my old guitar..mostly as a prop..and got up on stage to tell a couple jokes and share a story about an embarrassing episode from my reporting days when a cow with diarrhea gave me a bovine baptism from its south end.
Then somebody hollered out.. do you actually play that thing?” And before I knew it I was on stage again chording along to a few gospel tunes.
A perfect day with some perfectly wonderful people.
I was so pumped up about playing guitar again that I wrote a song and brought it along to perform for my cousin Grouse’s surprise 60th birthday party in Sioux Falls.  It “was” a surprise too since his actual birthday was last November.
He and his wife, Sandy recently moved back to South Dakota after years of living down South and they’ve really been missing actual family being around for things like milestone birthdays so this was sort of a welcome home affair too.
The party also provided me a chance to spend time with a few of my other cousins whose company I really enjoy but don’t see very Marty Erickson.  
Marty, along with Donny and Arlene are “double cousins.”
(My mom and their dad were sister and brother. Their mom and my dad were sister and brother.)
Marty lives on a farm near Elk Point where her husband was pastor of a rural Lutheran Church until he died 7 years ago. Eric was a chaplain in the Air Force for 20 years and they traveled and lived all over the world.
Marty has always been involved and outspoken..not only in family and church affairs but in politics and world events.
She is really up in arms over the so-called Gorilla project…that huge oil refinery proposed for, literally, her backyard. She’s campaigning hard against it.
Usually we can kid around with Marty about things she’s passionate about but not this..and, perhaps for good reason.
Not only does she have environmental concerns but, ever the preacher’s wife, worries what the project has already done to her rural neighborhood.
She carries along a map that shows which property owners have signed agreements to sell their land to the refinery people and those who refuse to, what they figure to be, do a deal with the devil. It can make sitting in the same pew at church a little uncomfortable in more ways than one.
Bottom line is that lifetime friends and neighbors have become enemies and Marty figures things may never be the same even if the refinery doesn’t come.
As the evening drew to a close, Grouse and I sat sipping wine (that he buys in boxes) and talked about how nice it is to be surrounded by family and friends we hadn’t seen for ages and how we must do this again soon.
Let’s see he’ll be 65 in just four years and three months.
Gee, I wonder where the party is this weekend.

Drive-In Memories

Posted: Tuesday, August 7, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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What is it hey? Why it’s Buttercup..popcorn.Add sweet cream butter to hot popcornmix it up, wrap it up, buttercup is born.It’s delicious, so nutritious, it’s a taste delightIt’s so munchy, crisp and crunchy, you’ll enjoy each bite.Eat Butter drenched Buttercup, popcorn at its bestServed in a king sized cup.It beats all the rest.Okay, anybody else remember that little ditty?
It takes me back to the 50’s and going to the drive-in movie with my dad, mom and two brothers.
It meant that intermission had started and time for brother, Denny and me to race to the snack bar and load up on food and refreshments before the feature movie started. We only had ten minutes and could watch the time ticking away on the big outdoor screen as they ran a film of a clock counting backwards to zero and showtime.
 Besides Buttercup popcorn, there were hot dogs or barbeque beef sandwiches served in a tin foil type of wrapper. There was some god-awful chocolate drink in a can called “Toddy” which I only tried once. There were all kinds of ice cream treats, candy and soda. Plus if the mosquitoes were bad you could buy a PIC insect repellent coil. It looked like a small burner on an electric stove. It came in a metal tray which you’d set on the car dashboard and light with a match.
Little wisps of purfumey smoke would bad it made us gag.
It too was a one-time experiment. I don’t remember if it actually kept the bugs away or not.
I remember we’d have to do a balancing act trying to carry food and drinks for the whole family back to the car on those flimsy cardboard trays hoping we’d get there before the outdoor lights were turned off and we’d be lost forever amid a sea of automobiles.
When the Sioux Drive-In opened South of Brookings in the early 50’s my dad and mom just loved the novelty of it and we hardly ever missed a show.
The theater gave out movie schedules for each month during the summer and mom kept it scotch taped to the kitchen cabinet so we could plan which ones we were going to see.
We’d arrive early to get a good spot..hang the speaker on the window and people-watch  until the previews began at dusk.
There were rest rooms at the snack bar building but mom always brought along an empty Folgers coffee can for us boys to use so we wouldn’t be roaming around in the dark or have to miss any of Ma and Pa Kettle or Francis the Talking Mule movies.
As entertaining as it was, though, it was hard sometimes for us to stay awake crowded in the back seat and in a rare gesture of brotherly love, there was usually no objection if one laid his head on the other’s shoulder.
South Dakota once had 31 drive-in theaters. At last count there were six left.
For a little nostalgia, Linda and I went to the Verne-Drive-In just outside Luverne, Minnesota.
It wasn’t quite the same.
I’d forgotten that a majority of people don’t drive cars’s those high profile pick-ups and SUVs. The theater manager was constantly yelling at people to park in the back rows so those in smaller vehicles could see the screen.
There are no speakers to hook on the window anymore.
The theater transmits the sound to a frequency on your car radio.
Trouble is, those speaker poles used to keep the vehicles properly spaced apart. Now, it’s sort of like festival seating at a rock concert.
Before daylight saving time came about, shows at the drive-in would start at a decent hour.
Now, it’s almost ten o’clock… when a lot of us are thinking about bedtime.
Some things are still the same, though, and I admit to feeling a little rebellious when I joined in with the chorus of honking horns as we tried to humiliate the projectionist to start the darned movie already.
I had thought about throwing an empty coffee can in the car for old time’s sake..but Linda said no.

Mother Mary is Going Home!

Posted: Friday, August 3, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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“How’s my miracle lady today?”
That’s been the cheery greeting from the doctor this week as she enters my Mother-in-Law’s hospital room at Avera Mckennan ..a room that  Mother Mary will be vacating later today.
That’s right! Two weeks after the family had been called together in the intensive care unit to consider options for continuing life support, she’s being sent home!
For those who haven’t been following her saga here, Mary had a seizure July 15th at her house in Alcester. She was airlifted to Sioux Falls where her condition was grave. She was suffering from a combination of things..especially low sodium.
That’s when the love and prayers started flowing from her huge family..her many friends..and from total strangers here on this blog.
Miraculously, after being unconscious for nearly a week, she started to wake up and has been rapidly recovering ever since.
I can’t tell you how great it is to have this wonderful lady back from the brink.
Her ability to lay a little guilt on the family to get what she wants has been fully restored..but nobody’s complaining..not too much anyway.
And nobody is complaining about Mary’s care either. It has been stellar. The entire staff at McKennan has been remarkable in their medical skills and concerns.
I know a lot of them, along with all of us, believe they had some divine guidance along the way.
My own mom died..geeze, 12 years ago now. All my aunts and uncles are gone.
At times I feel pretty darned old and disconnected.
Mother Mary has been  a living link to the generation that I miss so much and she always makes Linda and I feel young again whenever she calls us “kids.”
Thanks again to all of you from all of Mary Trudeau’s family.
We’ve been given the gift of more time with this lovely lady.
Believe me, it’s time we’ll cherish.

What About Other Bridges?

Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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It was one of those surreal moments when I first saw the breaking news from Minneapolis last evening of the I-35 W. bridge collapse.
It’s so close to home and a structure most of us have been over hundreds of times.
Knowing how busy that highway is, especially at rush hour, my first thought was how many people must have been on the bridge at the time and wondering how many died.
The next thoughts were how could such a thing happen and could it possibly be terrorism?
Investigators are looking to answer those questions but apparently have pretty much ruled out sabotage.
This may sound terrible, but I almost wish it was.
Then we’d have somebody to blame for this terrible tragedy. We could focus our rage.
Instead, I fear, we may not know the cause for weeks..or months..or maybe never.
People are already wondering how a bridge that has passed regular inspections could just fall down. Does this mean every interstate overpass in the country is now suspect?
How long will it take to inspect them all?
What good are inspections if the bridge that now lies in the Mississippi River, got a clean bill of health just last year?
I foresee a lot of bridges being torn down and replaced simply because they’re over 30 years old and we apparently can no longer be certain about whether or not they’ve dangerously deteriorated..and we can’t take any chances.
Of course I’d rather be safe than sorry but I can just imagine how this tragic incident is going to affect the already congested flow of traffic not only in the Twin Cities but anywhere interstate bridges exist.