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.

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