Archive for December 2009

Driving Me Crazy

Posted: Thursday, December 31, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Hello from Gallup, New Mexico!
What a day it’s been; four states covered as we continue this year’s frazzled attempt to motor west to Phoenix.
A few miles out of Dodge City, this morning we suddenly encounter the remnants of an overnight snowfall that didn’t amount to more than three inches but literally put the skids on travel in states that don’t seem to have a clue about how to deal with it.
We spent most of the morning plogging along at 45 miles an hour on route 56 which was either snowpacked and slippery or wet and slushy..either way..just plain dangerous as several motorists discovered standing in the ditch talking on cell phones next to their overturned vehicles.
Like Wednesday, Linda and I hung on tight as we crept along that two lane road in our old Lincoln which was being baptized with road spray from every passing truck and vehicle in front.
It didn’t end until we finally reached Interstate 40 east of Albuquerque..which presented a whole new set of driving challenges. More about that in a second..but first it’s been a day of coincidences as well. At breakfast this morning we visited with a couple who were staying at the same hotel. “Where you from,?” I asked. “Sioux Falls,” came the reply with a smile. “Thought I recognized you from TV, Ken said. “ Put on a couple pounds since then eh?”
Then later this afternoon, we stopped at a little gas stop in Guymon, Oklahoma to buy a few snacks and more windshield washing liquid. As I’m going inside, a guy held the door for me. That guy turned out to be an old friend and broadcasting colleague, Dean Sorenson. We got together a couple times last year while in Fountain Hills and plan to again this month. He didn’t seem all that surprised to meet a fellow South Dakotan along some lonesome highway in Oklahoma. And, he’s right because a huge number of cars we managed to pass had license plates from the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska.
Geezers gettin’ our kicks near route 66.
As Linda and I were getting back in our car..who should pull up for gas but the Sioux Falls couple we’d had breakfast with.
We had a little chat about road conditions. “Ain’t usually this rough,” Ken said.
“How far you going tonight?” I asked.
I should have known it would be Gallup..same as us.
I was a little shocked they had chosen a different hotel this time, though.
Back to the interstate.
I don’t know what has happened to driver courtesy on the ol’ super slab..but it’s long gone.
Truckers who don’t have enough power to pass other trucks will signal and pull out anyway. It doesn’t matter if you are already approaching in the passing lane at 75 miles an hour forcing you to slam on the brakes so they can bully their way over.
So there we are following along behind at a snail’s pace while they duke it out side by side for miles and miles.
It’s not only the truckers who are so ill mannered. Motorists also pull out right in front of you rather than tap the brake..get out of cruise control and wait their turn. Plus it’s gotten to be fashionable, I guess, for people to drive in the passing lane..refusing to we get to gamble going around on the right wondering if they’ll turn into you.
But we’ve survived this far and should be in Sunny warm Phoenix on New Year’s Day..provided that stretch of road in the Sitgreaves National Forest hasn’t snowed shut again.
I wonder how much it would cost to fly Allegiant next year and rent a car for the month? Hmmmm.Oh, I snapped this photo last week of our desert daughter digging out a car in our driveway. Is it any wonder she was anxious to get back home to AZ?

Get Outta Dodge

Posted: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Well, here we are in Dodge City.
Marshall Dillon, Miss Kitty and Festus are no where to be found, though.
Linda and I feel like a couple of drovers who’ve been rode hard and put up wet after following the suggestion of my golf buddies to take the short cut through Kansas on our trip to Phoenix this year. What we found were too many trucks and too many snowbirds driving pokey RV’s on too many two lane highways in freezing drizzle that turned tires into big ol’ squirt guns shooting great clouds of brown spray onto my windshield.
(That reminds another gallon or two of washer fluid before heading to Albuquerque tomorrow.)
We’ve settled in to a Comfort Inn that sits empty amid a deserted island surrounded by  street construction. I’m not much of a wheeler dealer but when the young tattooed lady clerk quoted me the full rate price for a room I pointed out that we’re the only people here!
“Well, I can call the manager to see what she can do,” she said.
“Well, we can go down the road to Super 8 which doesn’t have any business tonight either and might be more wing to deal,”  I replied. “I’ll give you 65 bucks.”
“Okay, but I’ll still have to charge you tax.”
Front Street, Dodge City, Kansas the way it looked in the 1870’sEven though it’s 40 degrees here in Dodge City and there is no snow on the ground, we probably won’t be venturing down to  Front Street to check out the Longbranch Saloon or Boot Hill. Both looked a little touristy to us when we drove by…and as empty as this hotel.
Front Street in Dodge today. You can hardly tell the difference.I think my little traveling partner and I will probably order something from the Wyatt Earp Palace of Pizza…then snuggle under the covers and watch the Nebraska Cornhuskers kick some butt down in San Diego in the “Oh, my gosh we get to play in a bowl” bowl.
Well, so long until maybe tomorrow evening from who knows where?
Happy New year from Linda, Me, Matt, Kitty, Doc, Wyatt, Batt  and all the other characters who have spent a little time here in Dodge..

Al Schock R.I.P.

Posted: Monday, December 28, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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When I read in the paper this morning that Al Schock had died I nearly fell off the toilet.
Now, Al would have liked that joke although he may have considered it a bit too risqué for inclusion in any of his joke or toastmaster books.
I’m not surprised he made it to age 89. He’s always been too busy to be bothered by things that might kill him; be it a chunk of shrapnel from a Nazi shell in Normandy during World War II , working crazy long hours in order to make his dairy businesses successful, family tragedies or even cancer..although that last one finally did get him but, I’m guessing, not without a tough fight.
I’ll leave it to others to list all of Al Schock’s many accomplishments in business, public service and philanthropy.
What I CAN tell you is if they listed them all in the funeral bulletin it would probably be as thick as one of his books.
So, I’m just offering a few lines here to share a couple personal remembrances.
When I first moved to Sioux Falls in 1969, there were a few people considered to be the real movers and shakers around town; people like Joe Floyd, Max Pasley, Henry Billion, Mort Henkin and Al Schock.
Al stood well over six feet tall and used his height to great advantage when he wanted to get something done. For some reason he took a likin’ to me..saying he thought I seemed to be a pretty straight shooter on television. Truth is, he probably figured me for a push-over..but that’s okay.
He would occasionally stop down to the station and ask to see me.
There he’d be waiting in the lobby wearing his trademark Panama hat and leather jacket.
“Doug,” he’d say, “I’ve written this book about Ozzie and Me.
All the proceeds are going to charity so I think it would be a good idea for you to do a story on it don’t you?”
I’d be there looking up at him intimidated as can be and say something like,“Ah, yeah, sure Al..when’s a good time for you?”
He was a take-charge guy to be sure. When the hog market dropped so low that they weren’t worth the cost of feeding them, Al gave me a call and told me he was going out to a farmer’s place and personally buying up all of his pigs at a price that was many times the current market rate. “The public has to know what a terrible situation these farmers are in and I want you and a cameraman to come out there with me and do a story.”
Again, you don’t say no to Al least I didn’t.  Before long, the hog market did improve. Maybe that little publicity stunt had something to do with it. I sure know it lifted one farmer’s spirits that day
A couple years later, I was doing a story on people in the area who were self-made millionaires.
I wanted them to share the secrets of success. Al was reluctant to do an interview at first but, perhaps out of guilt for all those stare-downs with me, he agreed.
“There aren’t any real secrets to acquiring wealth” he said. “It’s just a matter of setting goals, sticking to them and plain old hard work. Money is just a tool to get things done. Just don’t forget to keep your nose clean, your priorities straight and give back to those who made your success possible.”
He was quite a guy..and quite a character the likes of which we don’t see much of anymore..but should.

Merry Christmas Anyway

Posted: Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Well, it sure took its sweet time getting here but the Christmas spirit finally showed up at my door Wednesday night.
I’ve been more grumpy than usual lately.
It’s more than the minute by minute reminders of the big blizzard that’s keeping so many families apart, including mine, this year.
I woke up Monday morning with pain in my back that’s made me a pain in the a__ for those around me. It’s hard to be full of good cheer when you’re hurting and look like a question mark when you walk. The title of my last blog said it all, “Bah Humbug.”
But I watched A Christmas Carol last night, with Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame, playing Scrooge. I still love old Ebenezer’s reaction when he awakes after a night of revealing hauntings, to discover that he had been given another chance to stop being such a Scrooge and do right by others on Christmas and all year long.
I also found a couple photographs from my youth that flooded my soul with positive Christmas memories…and, as it turns out, the Christmas spirit too.
My back feels a lot better this morning and soon, the kitchen will have an amazing aroma of holiday ham cooking away in the oven and even though there will be a few empty chairs around the table, I’ll give thanks to God during grace that they’re sheltered from the storm. But most importantly, we’ll all give thanks that on a starry-starry night in Bethlehem 2000 years ago, he chose to reveal Himself through the humble birth of a child named Jesus, who would bring the promise of life everlasting to us all.If that doesn’t lift your spirits I don’t know what will.(above) THAT’S ME ON THE LEFT, MY LITTLE BROTHER, TOM IN THE MIDDLE AND MY FRIEND, DIXON HOBERG ON THE RIGHT. THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN THE YEAR I GOT MY CHEMISTRY SET FOR CHRISTMAS WHICH WAS TO ME WHAT THAT BB GUN WAS TO RALPHIE IN "A CHRISTMAS STORY"(below) THIS IS A FEW YEARS EARLIER AND THE ONLY CHRISTMAS PHOTO I REMEMBER MY MOM EVER SENDING OUT. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THAT COWBOY SHIRT WITH THE FRINGE..JUST LIKE ROY ROGERS. MY DAD HAD THE KIND OF MOUSTACHE I’M TRYING TO GROW EXCEPT HIS WAS BLACK. I’M PRETTY SURE THE JESUS PICTURE, STRATEGICALLY PLACED BETWEEN US WAS NO ACCIDENT.

Bah Humbug

Posted: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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This is going to be a quickie..but Oh, My Gosh I just realized that all I need is one more entry to post my 300th Lund at Large blog.
I need to get it on line before Hemmingsen..who is one post shy of an amazing 800!
I’m so grateful to Keloland for this opportunity to “stay in the game” so to speak; sharing stories, observations and memories. I really appreciate you for reading my ramblings over the past three years and hope to continue for many more.
Such an occasion should be marked by something more meaningful than an “I told you so” rant about Brett Favre and the Vikings familiar failings; how we allowed ourselves to be sucked in by this team’s early success only to have our hopes sacked like old number 4 himself on a third and long.  Here we are at a time when the team desperately needs to intensify its focus..but instead, we have the distraction of a feud between the professor and the redneck over who’s really running the show. AWWRRGG!
It also doesn’t make much sense to talk about the weather; a three day Christmas blizzard that is going to freeze us in our tracks and screw up so many plans that only those who are naturally good natured or heavily medicated will get through it without going nuts.
I was one of those crowding into the grocery store last night loading up on milk and booze for the siege ahead.
Our warm weather kids from Arizona and California managed to get here after harrowing flights filled with horribly crowded airports, weather delays and icy landings. But the rest of our family, scheduled to arrive from Nebraska on Christmas Day, will likely be waiting out the storm at the “other” grandpa and grandma’s house in Norfolk.
Our college granddaughter planned on driving back to Lincoln on the 25th so she can board a bus with her University of Nebraska marching bandmates for the trip to San Diego where the Huskers are playing in some consolation bowl game. A big Midwest blizzard will likely mean nobody’s going no place.  
The annual Christmas Day dinner gathering with Linda’s mom, sisters and brothers in Alcester probably won’t happen either unless Trobec can do like Pat Robertson and pray the storm in a different direction.
Grandma Mary, who is now in her mid 80’s, lives for these family get-togethers and, even though she’s a sweet Christian woman, will likely utter a few uncharacteristic expletives if she winds up sitting out the holiday alone in her little house listening to Burl Ives on the radio singing about a holly jolly Christmas.
Oh oh..the phone just rang. It’s daughter Brenda. The front wheel on her car came off as she was driving to work sending her within a few inches of a light pole on Kiwannis avenue. She called from the tow truck sounding like a Bond martini..both shaken and stirred.
Ho Ho Ho.
I realize, of course, there’s  not a blasted thing any of us can do about it and we must try make the best of a bad situation…but if you’d care to vent a little bit about how the weather is screwing up your own Holiday plans..feel free to do so with a comment below.
Oh, yeah..please try do it without using any of Grandma’s expletives.

Thanks For The Ride

Posted: Friday, December 18, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I’m saying goodbye to an old friend today.
“White Lightning,” our 1990 Lincoln Town Car has finally grown tired of being resuscitated and forced me into pulling the plug so she can drift off to wherever big ol’ gas guzzling clunkers go when the cost of filling the empty fuel tank exceeds the appraised value of the whole car.
I sure remember the day I brought her home from Frankmans in 1992. She was two years old and had about 46 thousand miles..but was gleaming white, classy looking and a joy to drive..and drive her we did; all over the country without so much as a flat tire. Eventually, though,  the car started developing problems; a transmission failure, starter motor and  a bit of rust cropping up here and there. When we bought our newer used Lincoln and gave it the old girl’s spot in the garage, she clearly resented being relagated to sitting out there in the driveway naked to the elements and the threat of vandals.It was the beginning of the end.   
Oh, she gave me a few more rides this past summer even though the air conditioner no longer gushed out the frigid breeze like the old days. I probably could have recharged it with Freon..but that might have been illegal and, for sure, too expensive. So, I just opened all the windows on the ride between the house and the golf course. It was a bit breezy but fine. In September, the driver’s side window went down and refused to come up again. (We’ve all been there, eh, fellas?)  Somehow, Linda and I managed to get the darn thing closed..but, again, too expensive to repair the power window motor.
Then, the heater, which used to blast us out..decided to get moody and wouldn’t work unless you slid the temperature bar just right..and even then there was a good chance it would turn off as fast as it came on; replaced by the cold air that you had wished for last August.
The coup de grace finally happened during our recent cold snap. As usual, the old girl didn’t bat an eye at 8 degrees below zero and fired right up. Only this time, the rear air suspension..which has been leaking for a couple years now but would always pump up once the engine was running, refused to re-inflate to the normal riding position. So now the car just lays there like a crippled dog.
“Probably 900 bucks to replace,” said my trustworthy mechanic, Tom, at Airway service. “Couldn’t we just put some duct tape on the rubber boot to plug the leak?” I asked desperately.
“Don’t think so, Doug, I’m afraid she’s a goner.”
So, I’m going to call the diabetes people who used to have some kind of car donation deal going. If they don’t want it, I see in the Shopper’s News that Ron’s Auto is sill buying cars..running or not..for anywhere from 50 to 250 bucks.
White Lightning still runs like a champ so I hope she will bring the high end when she’s driven away..slung low in the rear.
 Maybe he can fix her up so somebody else can squeeze out a few more miles.
That would sure make me feel better than sending her off to the crusher.I get too attached to my cars.

Hair Today..Gone Tomorrow?

Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I’m growing a moustache..or at least attempting to.
Now, wait..before you all race to make comments like, good grief Lund don’t you know they went out in the 80’s? Only porn stars and cops wear moustaches anymore…..hear me out.
I’ve never been able to grow facial hair worth a darn. A few patches here and there but even into my fifties I could still go a day or two without shaving and nobody would notice.
It always bothered me knowing that had I been born a few centuries earlier, my Viking ancestors who equated a full beard as a mark of manhood, would have left me and my naked face behind with the village women learning rosemaling, hardanger and hut decorating while they sailed off in their long boats to do some manly pillaging.
I missed out on the glory days of sideburns and moustaches in the 70’s. 
Oh, yeah..the Ron Burgandy look. Alas, I could not grow a beauty like this for real..but you can see how great it would have looked.By the time I’d get a little soup strainer going to the point where it was visible, my two week vacation would be over..
 I couldn’t go on the air with a little growth of peach fuzz on my upper off it all went.
One year, I took THREE weeks off and really had a nice lip hedge started only to be daydreaming in the shower on day 20 and without thinking, dragged  the razor right through one side of it.
“Oh fudge,” I yelled as soapy water and tears washed tiny little hairs down the drain…only I didn’t say fudge.
I kind of wanted to be like my old pal, George Calcagno, a dashing Italian, for whom shaving was like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. By the time he finished both sides of his face, it was time to start all over from the beginning. He tried to tell me I was the lucky one and shaving was such a drudgery but I was still jealous. 
Silly and juvenile, I know, but here’s how some of us would have looked if we grew facial hair to fit personalities.I’ve wanted a moustache long before I got into TV. Way back in 1970, I decided if I couldn’t grow one..I’d BUY one.
It took a few weeks to arrive at my barber’s shop where we used ample amounts of spirit gum to attach the thing to my upper lip.
I only wore it once..playing drums on a dance job with a country music band. It must not have looked very real because people kept coming up to me pointing, laughing and saying stuff like,“How ya doin’, there Tex?”
They were right, it didn’t look very legit; silly, really.
“Yeah, but you can grow hair on top of your head like a silverback gorilla” my prematurely follicley-challenged friend, Vernon Brown..who started losing his hair in the 2nd grade, used to tell me.
I know..but I still want a little cookie duster of my very own and now, as I get older, my body seems to be saying “Okay Doug,  it’s HAIR time!” A follicle free-for-all is taking place. Not only are whiskers showing up on my face like never before but in my nose and ears too.
I would have Andy Rooney eyebrows if my barber didn’t mow the rogue hairs down once a month.
So, we’ll see how long I can endure the humiliation and criticism of friends and family who think my moustache (I’m going for the Clark Gable look) is just stupid. I’ll bet they’re planning an intervention over Christmas to get me shaving again. But they don’t seem to understand that, like another famous and determined mustachioed man once said, “I have a dream.”

Channel Surfing

Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Linda and I have a pretty laid back life in our retirement. She loves to read and I love to be on the computer and watch TV.  A perfect marriage.
Last night, we had a dinner date…. without leaving our cozy little house.
She fixed a couple steaks and we snuggled up on the couch to watch the pay-per-view movie, Julia and Julie. It’s a terrific film
Meryl Streep just continues to amaze.
Her portrayal of Julia Child, “The French Chef,” is absolutely spot on.
A wonderfully entertaining two hours without one explosion or act of violence.
Speaking of cooking, I like watching the Food Network but hate the direction its taking; following the reality show fad with contests, lots of screaming by angry chefs and buckets of tears from humiliated and disappointed contestants. Just cook, already.
I like Paula Deen..but even “I” know that as good as butter tastes..the amount she uses is going to eventually wad up in an artery and, bang, no more “Y’ alls” from her sweet lips. Today, her show featured breakfast in bed recipes and showed her and Michael..her furry husband, in the sack together.  
I might have enjoyed a show like that done by other Food Network stars, like Sandra Lee, Giada De Laurentiis  or, heck, even Rachael Ray..but Paula Deen? Thanks but no thanks, y’all.
My daughter got me hooked on all the CSI-type shows a couple years ago. Is it just me or have they gotten a lot more graphic lately?  There’s always been a certain amount of gross-out images on the shows but do we really need to see victims on the slab split open like a big red book of guts?  To me it’s become gratuitous gore that distracts from what are usually some pretty good story lines.
I like the fact that Public Television has added a couple channels, especially “Create”..which is where a lot of the how-to and travel shows have wound up. The problem is that “Create” is not in high definition and, according to somebody I talked to at SDPB, will not be in high def anytime soon.
Too bad..especially for fans of Rick Steves and Rudy what’s his name?
Both of those travel programs as well as “History Detectives” and others were in glorious HD before the phhhtt..their gone with a picture worse than the old analog signal used to be.
On Midco cable, we get SDPB on two HD channels 608 and 611. Same stuff on both except 611 is not high def.
Seems like a wasted channel to me.
Ah, let’s see, millions of families will be getting new HDTV sets for Christmas. I think its here to stay.
SDPB…you should be adding “more” HD shows rather than shuffling them elsewhere.
I read somewhere that ratings for Jay Leno’s new show at 9pm were up slightly..but still abysmally below NBC’s expectations. I like Leno but have zero interest in his latest effort.  After seeing the first show, I haven’t been back.
I still say the funniest guy on television is Craig Ferguson whose Late Late Show on CBS usually comes on too late-late for I, like millions of others, record it and watch the next day.
All other talk show hosts have opening monologues that are pretty much alike..topical jokes with a set-up and punchline. Pretty boring, actually and rarely funny.
Ferguson’s monologue, on the other hand, is mostly al lib..and always hilarious. A couple years ago, the network required that he come on the air for two  minutes right out of Letterman to promote the upcoming show and then go to commercials. 
He hated it at first but has since embraced that awkward time and turned it into some of the funniest moments on the tube; often using a menagerie of hand puppets and goofy production numbers to do the job.
I sense that Ferguson a native of Scotland who recently became an American, is growing weary and frustrated with his situation, though, and may be moving on soon. I hope that’s not the case.
What would I do without my mid-morning laugh?

Toy Story

Posted: Monday, December 7, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Let’s be honest, shall we?  Christmas to a child is all about the toys. 
Oh, I know..your kids are different because you’ve made darn sure that they understand and appreciate the true reason for the season and all that, but once they see those  brightly wrapped boxes under the tree with their name on it..well, it’s goodbye Jesus and hello Santa…at least until they’re all opened. 
By the way, do people still wrap presents in colorful paper anymore or have most of you switched to the convenience of using bags with a picture of Santa on the outside and some red tissue on top concealing the contents?  Not as messy, of course, but watching children tear  into a scotch-taped package sending the paper flying in every direction was part of the fun and a tradition that’s fading fast.
We want so much for our kids and grandkids to be thrilled by the gifts we and Santa give but on Christmas morning, some of them turn into greedy little grinches checking to make sure nobody else got more presents than they did and upset if they don’t get everything they were expecting and jealous of those who did.
Well, this Christmas, millions of little kids are expecting Santa to bring them Zhu Zhu Pets; the season’s hottest new toy…and millions are going to be disappointed because most every store is sold out of them.The popularity of these little robotic hamsters, that squeak and laugh and roll around the floor, is puzzling. They cost about ten bucks a piece but kids want all all the accessories..which can run the bill up to well over a hundred bucks. Not surprisingly Bernie Madoff-types have been taking advantage of the situation buying up Zhu Zhu pets and re-selling them on e-bay for exorbitant sums.
When I was a kid, back in the dark ages, toy makers were just starting to realize the power of television as a marketing tool for influencing young minds; creating a huge demand for their stuff.  Today they’ve got it down to a science.
Here’s a chart that might jog some memories of you driving a hundred miles in search of that Cabbage Patch doll or Pong game that all the stores were out of. These are rated as the top toys over the last five decades.
One of my favorite memories was when my mom got tired of listening to her grandkids fighting over each others toys and not sharing. She sat them down at the table and brought out a bag of empty thread spools she kept in the buffet drawer. She said, “let’s see who can stack these the highest without them falling over.”
Before long, all of us came in from the other parts of the house to see what all the laughter and excitement was about.
Mom would be pleased to know that those very same spools are still working their magic with her great, great granddaughter, Ella.
Too bad she didn’t mass market them on TV..she’d would of made a killin’.

Estelline’s Portal To The Past

Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Ever since H.G. Wells wrote about it, people have been fascinated by the concept of time travel. I, too have dreamed about stepping through a portal to the past to experience first hand what life was really like untainted by faulty memories and flattering recollections..
Well, I’m here to tell you such a place “does” exist and there’s no magic involved to visit.
Hoffelt Drug Store in Estelline is today pretty much the same as it was on the day it opened in 1911. People who’ve lived in this Hamlin County community all their lives probably don’t pay much attention to the old store on Main Street. It’s just always been there. But inside, it’s filled with things that would make an Antiques Road Show appraiser drool. The store has remained virtually unchanged through three generations of Hoffelt ownership. In fact when it finally closed in 1998, the family kept the heat and electricity on hoping to find someone who cared as much about the place as they did to buy it. They found that someone in Harvey Donley. Although he works with and repairs high-tech computers, Donley, just 38, has a real passion for historic preservation instilled by his father. It was for that reason that Gary Hoffelt, dying of cancer, turned down higher offers for the family business. Donley says, “He told me he’d sell it to me. I told him I was going to make a museum out of it.” And over the last five years, that’s just what he’s done. Harvey Donnely inside the amazing Hoffelt Drug that hasn’t changed in nearly a century.Donley spent every free moment cleaning the original marble floors and tin ceiling and the biggest challenge of all was getting  the 3 and a half ton solid marble and stainless steel soda fountain restored to working order. It was a promise he’d made to the ailing Gary Hoffelt who got to enjoy a soda with his son at the newly refurbished fountain three days before he died. To say this is a museum is an understatement.  The old drug store has things that were never sold in display cases that are original, old cameras that were never used still for sale, clocks and even men’s and ladies hats in original boxes some probably 70 years old. Donley says the Hoffelts never threw anything away.  “Every time we open a box we find something that’s a treasure,” he says. “The store was open for over 90 years and they sold products all that time so in one box you might find an item from the 80’s and at the bottom of that box you might find something interesting from 1911 or even earlier.”
“This is one of those places that you just can’t mess up. You’ve got to make sure you take it slow and research everything you do.” Helping with that research is S.D.S.U. Archivist, James Borchert who likens the store to a time capsule. But instead of a few relics in a box, everything here is a relic. A collectors Shangri La. “The antiques that are in here are in such pristine condition that it makes my job as caretaker of antiques easy,” Borchert says. Donley says he’s had several offers of over a million dollars for the store’s contents..but can’t bring himself to do it.
“It’s become a money pit, I suppose,” he says. “But the real value of this place is the way it is with everything here. To sell off any part of it would break up the set..and break the promise I made to Gary.”
The old Hoffelt Drug Store is all decked out with 13 thousand lights for a Christmas open house  Saturday December 5th from10am to 1:30pm.
Believe me, its well worth the trip to Estelline. Just take the Estelline exit off I-29 North of Brookings.
In the Summer, the store is open on Thursday evenings when the Farmer’s Market is taking place or you can arrange for a guided group tour by calling Donley at (605)692-2040.
I should mention that I got the photos from the web site of Chuck Cecil..a fellow pundit, historian and author who has written several books on local history. Click Here.