Archive for January 2010

Time Travel

Posted: Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Whew!
Linda and I are finally back home after our abbreviated sojourn to Arizona. We were very fortunate to have excellent roads all the way..even into Iowa and South Dakota where dozens of vehicles were still sitting abandoned in the ditch and median after trying to negotiate blizzard conditions that existed only hours before.
 
The distance between Phoenix and Sioux Falls is exactly the same going and coming so why does the return trip seem to take twice as long?  I suppose it’s all about the anticipation and excitement factor of venturing off to new places as opposed to the reality of returning to familiar ones..but both of us were actually anxious to come home to friends and normality this time..even though our little corner of the world will never seem totally normal again without Dave Dedrick in it.
But no more dwelling on that. He packed a lot of living in his 81 years and treasured every breath and heartbeat he was given. As over 10 thousand people have stated on the “Friends of Captain 11” Facebook page, he was more than just some guy who was on TV for a long time, he was a cherished and unforgettable part of their childhood. What better legacy can one have than that?
 
Now it’s back to work.
Oh, wait..we’re retired.
That may be true but Linda and I both have a big job ahead of us; losing weight. It’s the same battle cry I shout every year but I sure would like to rid myself of a ton or two of extra baggage before we take our Holiday Vacations Inside Passage cruise to Alaska at the end of July.
Speaking of that tour, travel shows are going to be held all across South Dakota next week:
On Monday, February 1st in Rapid City at the Grand Gateway Hotel with shows at 10am and 1pm.
Tuesday February 2nd in Ft. Pierre at the Holiday Inn Express with shows at 10am and 1pm.                               
Wednesday, February 3rd in Watertown at the Holiday Inn Express with shows at 10am and 1pm.
Thursday, February 4th in Sioux Falls at Country Inn and Suites on east 8th at 10am and 1pm.
I’ll be attending the shows in Watertown and Sioux Falls. They’re really fun and informative and the free coffee ain’t bad either.
 
To find details of the actual tour just CLICK HERE. It will ask for a keyword..which is Keloland.
 
And, as long as I’m shamelessly promoting; the South Dakota Music Association Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum is finally open in the Washington Pavilion. It’s on the South end of the second floor and filled with items from South Dakota’s rock and roll music history. It’s really an impressive exhibit!
By the way, the second annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony and concert will be earlier this year and at a larger venue; the Ramkota Exhibit Hall. Judging from last May’s sell-out, you might want to get your tickets early. Information is available at the Music Association’s web site. CLICK HERE.
 Let’s see, anything else that needs plugging?
I don’t think so, but Linda tells me that the bathroom sink needs “Unplugging” so I better be attending to that while she takes down the Christmas decorations.

Dave Dedrick 1928-2010

Posted: Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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So long, pal.

Floods Of Feelings

Posted: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Build an Ark in Arizona?Noah, Noah,Who’d build an ark in Arizona?Brother Noah built the ark.
In came the animals two by two,A couple Gila monsters and a Javelina too.In came the animals three by three,a pair of rattle snakes and a Ky-oat-tee.
Yes, folks of Keloland..Arizona is in official panic mode after receiving a couple inches of rain with even more on the way.
As I watched it come down, I kept thinking about the movie Vacation in which the Griswold’s were hauling the recently expired Aunt Edna through Phoenix perched atop the Queen Family Truckster in a pouring rain to drop the body off at her son’s back door so Clark could continue their quest to Wallyworld.
TV news shows this morning were inundated with uber concerned reporters standing in front of flooded streets interviewing cops about the dangers of hydroplaning and police frustrations at having to fish fools out of lakes that were city streets yesterday.  It’s all very dramatic.
Even though it creates hassles for those here who aren’t used to such deluges and do stupid things like trying to drive on water, for the most part the rain is really welcome. It’s been unusually dry; even for a desert and it will be good to not feel so guilty about taking a shower or washing the car.
Unfortunately for me, while I was having that guilt-free shower this morning, Linda answered a call from one of my golf buddies saying today’s round has been called off on account of rain. “But it’s sunny out.” I said. “I know, but the course is too wet for carts.”  On the bright side, my cousin called. He and his wife are staying in Mesa this year and have a place right along Painted Mountain golf course and he’d like to get a round in.
As my old chum, Dave Dedrick always says, “life is good.”
Dave was moved to Sanford hospice Tuesday. My heart starts pounding everytime the phone rings. Please pray for comfort and peace for Dave and his family.  

Cloudy Skies And Cloudy Moods

Posted: Monday, January 18, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Well, we knew it couldn’t be sunshine and 70 degrees everyday out here in the Arizona desert..and this morning the heavens opened with a rather meaningful rain: a rain that just might hang around all week; bad for my golfing plans but the locals are grateful for any moisture that falls if for no other reason than to  settle the dust. But for those of us who are used to what Dave Dedrick used to call “flat rock” rains..this is nothin’.Speaking of Dave, I’m afraid this dark gloomy day reflects my mood.  The strongest antibiotics have failed to squelch the infections that continue to ravage his body so doctors have given up further efforts and he’s being moved into hospice and being made as comfortable as possibleBut he’s a tough ol’ marine and his daughter, Sunshine, tells me that he actually had some bacon and eggs this morning; the first solid food he’s consumed for a few days and they enjoyed a coherent conversation.I’ve also been in a sour mood since receiving a letter from the Star Valley Magistrate Court in Payson, Arizona claiming I violated their speed limit and offered up a not-so-flattering  photo in themail of yours truly behind the wheel of Big Red to prove it; racing through their community at the breakneck speed of 56 miles an hour when the posted limit is 45.Linda said she saw a camera flash and I said well, they can’t be after us. I’m slowing down and there are a couple cars ahead of us.These modern day thieves aren’t all that different from outlaws of the old west who got rich robbing passengers aboard passing stage coaches.  They have a legal license to steal..placing their trap cameras within a few hundred yards of the reduce speed sign. The cost of my infraction: 190 dollars! It’s a good thing I borrowed extra money from savings for this trip; the service engine soon light is back on the car..plus the neighbor noticed big red is leaking antifreeze. So it’s back to the shop tomorrow. I better call the bank and tell them to expect another big withdrawl..provided there’s any left to take out after this trip.But hey, the Vikings won!

Desert Musings: Doves, Ties & Vets

Posted: Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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It’s so quiet in our neighborhood here in Fountain Hills that a MOURNING DOVE woke me up today.
Actually it was a whole flock of mourning doves perched outside my window singing that mournful rhythmic woo..woo, woo-woo-woo song.I used to be able to configure my hands in such a way that all I had to do was blow between my thumbs and out came a pan flute sound; a perfect dove impersonation.It never failed to impress friends and family but, alas, for some reason I can’t any more.(Where did that extra flab between my thumb and forefinger come from?) Anyway, it’s a sound that reminds me of spring back home.However our South Dakota mourning doves are much more courteous. They usually politely wait until another dove has completed his woo woo song before blurting out their own.
Not here,  Instead of pretty perfectly-pitched solos, about 20 of them start wooing  in unison at the top of their little lungs which sounds like a concert performed by the tone deaf chorale.
I tried to take a picture of them but as soon as I pointed my camera in their direction, all but one, scattered like Tiger Woods’ golf sponsors.
In the west, they’re sometimes called Turtle Doves. Maybe that’s why this one was so slow to skee-daddle.
 
Today Linda and I have decided to be lazy. She has books to read and I have been neglecting my writing duties. Okay, you’re right, declaring a lazy day isn’t much of a stretch for us but since the car is running okay now, we have been scurrying off on adventures to places we haven’t been to in years or at all.
The other day we drove over to Pinnacle Peak..an area about twenty miles or so from us that is quickly filling with wealthy retirees who love big houses with grand views and lots of golf courses. It also has a pretty unique spot called the Pinnacle Peak Patio which has been waging war against vegetarianism for over fifty years. The place is huge..able to seat three thousand people or more inside or outside and serve them giant slabs of red meat grilled over several mesquite fires.
The Patio..as it’s called.. was empty the afternoon we showed up and smelled like a half century of sawdust, dead smoke and spilled beer. But the most noticeable features are the thousands of neckties hanging from the ceilings and business cards stapled to every square inch of wall space.
We sauntered up and ordered a drink and, even though he’s told the story of the neckties a thousand times to tourists, our friendly barkeep was more than willing to share it one more time for us.
It turns out that in 1957, the owner wanted a steak house that was different from those high falootin’ places down in Phoenix..so he instituted a no necktie policy for patrons and promptly (so the story goes) cut off the tie an unsuspecting customer and, to make his point, hung it on a rafter for all to see. Well, the customer was a good sport about the whole thing and even gave the owner his business card to hang up their beside his bisected neckwear. That was 1.1 million ties ago..which also may account for part of the odd aroma inside.
 
I’m back playing golf on Wednesdays with a bunch of guys I met 4 years ago at the American Legion Club in Fountain Hills. I was a guest of our daughter’s neighbor who introduced me around. Because it’s a fraternal club, it’s immune from the statewide ban on smoking and these vets and their wives and girlfriends LOVE to smoke.
It doesn’t take long inside for me to feel like I’ve started again without taking a single drag. I do bring along a little Black & Mild cigar on occasion just so I feel like part of the group.
But who cares? These veterans earned the right to smoke in their own club if they want to.
On the golf course yesterday, one of those vets..a giant of a man by the name of Lee who wears a USMC cap and chews on an 8 inch long cigar all day..was on the tee box when two helicopters flew over. Lee turned to his pal and fellow Vietnam Veteran, Mike, and said, “That sure brings back a few memories eh pal?”
 
So, let ‘em smoke and drink and cuss if they feel like it.
These guys have worn the uniform and served  this country with honor and I’m honored they let me hang out with them!

Good Sports

Posted: Monday, January 11, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Sunday was another magnificent day here in the desert; a few low clouds and about 70 degrees outside yet I spent most of it INSIDE.
We had daughter Christy over to the condo to share a delicious dinner Linda had prepared then we all plopped down on the couch to digest and watch the NFL  playoffs.
“You know how lucky you are, don’t you, that that the women in your life don’t mind watching football?” Christy said.
I do realize it, of course, but neither of them is all that interested unless it’s Minnesota or Arizona playing.
As exciting as the Packers-Cardinals game was, both Linda and Christy had to take several breaks from the game to sit out on the patio to enjoy their wine.
Christy and Linda enjoy a few moments away from the football game.That’s our little home away from home in the back.We won’t be straying too far from our place today either.
I drove my sputtering ol’ red Lincoln to the garage early this morning and left her in the hands of strangers wearing mechanic’s coveralls. I now am completely at their mercy and feeling incredibly vulnerable.
“Yeah, Mr. Lund..this is Stiffy over at Mike’s Repair. We ran the computer codes on that car of yours and it looks like you’ve got a busted exhaust linkage and a faulty valve train dispenser. We put it up on the sky hook and found an oil leak from the transmission differential case. You’re probably looking at 18 hundred bucks and a couple days. Would you like us to go ahead and fix those things?”
 
“You’ll just have to believe that they’re honest people,” my naïve little, always optimistic, ever trusting wifey says.”
 
But what does she know about cars and the ethics of mechanics who, like doctors, possess the god-like power to heal and you don’t?
 
I often tell the story of when Linda had car trouble one day. She managed to limp into a garage and told the guy that it just keeps killing on her.
“Go ahead and have a cup of coffee at the café next door,” he said. “I’ll check out what’s wrong and let you know.”
Before she had finished her second cup..the mechanic walked in.
“Well, what’s the story?” Linda said.
“Ah, no big deal,” he said. “Just crap in the carburetor.”
“Oh really?” Linda said.
“How often do I have to do that?”
 
“I’ve told that joke quite a few times, often when Linda is in the audience, and she always laughs along.
I’m a lucky guy.
I just hope Ol’ Red’s problem is as simple as crap in the carburetor.
Oh, wait..it doesn’t have a carburetor.
 

It Was So Cold That….

Posted: Friday, January 8, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Received the above from a friend in Sioux Falls this morning which made me laugh out loud.
Yes, we are counting our blessings at missing the record snow and cold back home while our biggest concern here is whether or not we need to take a jacket to the golf course.
Well, that’s not entirely true.
The same friend that sent the cartoon is keeping an eye on our house and says there’s a huge snow drift in the driveway.
I’d made arrangements with my neighbors who have snowblowers to keep our sidewalks clear and the city’s snow watchdogs at bay..but our driveway is huge and difficult to plow. It would be really pushing the limits of good-neighborliness to ask them to tackle that difficult task in our absence.
Before leaving for the desert, we told the guy across the street that he could use our driveway for his pickup while we were gone. Of course that would mean keeping it plowed out. But I think he realized what a pain that’s going to be and has decided to take his chances leaving it parked on the street.
This afternoon, I have to find a place to fix the big old red Lincoln..which apparently didn’t like the last tank of gas I bought because it began missing, spitting and sputtering the day after we arrived. I’ve since filled her with high octane, put in some STP octane boost and fuel injector cleaner fluid but nothing has helped.
So now, even though I spent nearly a thousand dollars at the garage before we left to make sure she was in good shape for the trip…she barely runs. I’m hoping it’s something as simple as a fuel filter, faulty injector or the oxygen sensor and not something deep in the old girl’s bowels that will force a major decision.
It has me rethinking the idea of flying out here next time and renting a car.
But then that might mean I’d have to essentially pose naked in one of those new ultra revealing airport security machines which give TSA screeners the power of Superman to see the color of Lois Lane’s panties.
Yes, I know, in our world it’s better to inconvenience and humiliate “everyone” rather than make a few people mad by profiling.
Thank you terrorists, with your shoe bombs and exploding underpants, for making air travel as big a pain in the butt as a 30 degree below zero day on the Great Plains.
 
By the way, the coldest I’ve ever been was in Williston, North Dakota in 1967 when the temperature plunged to minus 46.
Oh, there was that other time when I gave the wrong answer to Linda when she asked, “do these pants make me look fat?”
It remember it was REAL cold that night too.

Good News/Bad News

Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Even though we’re supposedly on vacation, I can’t resist firing up the computer each morning to check out the web sites of Keloland and the Argus to find out what’s going on in our absence back home; and the news just isn’t very good is it?
Not only are you facing another round of snow and snot-freezing cold..but now the Sioux Falls city budget is falling far short of expectations in part because of snow removal..but mostly because a sales tax put in place for streets hasn’t generated anywhere near the revenue projected.
Makes you wonder how in the bloody blazes another sales tax increase will raise the mega millions needed to build an unnecessary events center doesn’t it?
 
Another headline caught my eye, “Grandma threatens to shoot daughter.”
Good grief!
And I was uncomfortable when two of our grown kids exchanged a few angry words over a card game at Christmas.
The first murder of the New Year has apparently taken place; a 19 year old whose body was found in his car at the fairgrounds.
Oh, and how about this one; “Americans increasingly unhappy in their work.”
It’s bad enough that around ten percent of the population is OUT of work. But, according to some research group that’s been studying such things for 22 years, only 45 percent of Americans like the job they do have. That’s down from 61% in 1987. The deep recession gets part of the blame, because it’s become harder for some people to find challenging and suitable employment.
It makes me realize just how fortunate I was to have had a career that, while it didn’t make me rich, challenged, satisfied and fulfilled.
 
One of the most often asked questions I heard throughout that career was “Why don’t you guys ever report any good news?”
The truth is, we report on good news all the time..whether it’s a bunch of farmers rallying together to bring in the crop of a fallen neighbor or homecoming celebrations for our troops..or a local kid winning a national spelling bee.
But..it’s also true that most news headlines aren’t a very positive reflection of society..just the opposite.
I used to hem and haw for an appropriate answer to the question and finally got one from my old pal, Keloland colleague and fellow Volga-ite, Brian Bjerke.
He said, “I always tell them that news is..by definition.. the reporting of things that are out of the ordinary. If we ever get to the point where good news is so rare that it’s considered extraordinary enough to make headlines..we’re all in trouble.”
 
I do have some good news for those who thought that moustache I was trying to grow looked kinda silly. After 3 weeks, so did I and shaved it off somewhere in New Mexico.
Another personal update; I haven’t eaten any Nutri-System food since our trip to Canada last summer. Any weight lost has since been found and then some..so I’m preparing to get back at it upon our return in February and lose as much as Marie Osmond in time for our next little journey to Alaska in late July.
Now that would be “good news” worth a great big headline.

Wish You Were Here..Really!

Posted: Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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A couple weeks ago, I sort of scolded a Facebook friend who was born and raised in my South Dakota hometown, but now lives in Tampa. He was going on and on about how great the weather was there in Florida and how he’d been spending lazy days swimming in the ocean or the pool at home; bombing around  in his wife’s new Corvette or soaring the soft blue skies in the Cessna he’s learning to fly.  I’m sure Tim worked hard to get where he is but it’s a bitter pill to swallow hearing such things at a time when we in the Midwest have had to tunnel our way through the snow to get a to the general store and lay in a few provisions before we starve. Or not daring to step out the door for fear of having our nostrils freeze shut and suffocate.
So, please don’t consider it gloating when I tell you that Linda and I have survived the challenging trek to Arizona; arriving safely on New Year’s Day in time to help our desert daughter celebrate her birthday. I must say I looked a bit sillier than usual in my all black Johnny Cash outfit; heavy jacket and sweat pants..while the other snowbird guys, who’ve been down here a few days already are wearing Bermuda shorts,  sandals and socks, brightly colored shirts and sunglasses while the classy grey haired ladies are donning silver and gold jackets with shoes and a big purse to match. Yes, all of us are here now..meeting every morning for coffee and conversation at Starbucks right down the street..and then getting together for late afternoon cocktails featuring a huge variety of crackers, chips, cheeses, salsa and 20 different kinds of dips.
We’ll end up talking about home..our real home in the Midwest.. from which we have temporarily escaped in order to warm our old weary bones.
So please understand that I’m not gloating..but actually thinking of you all.. when I say the temperature here is a bit above normal for this time of year; low 70’s.
We’re not sorry to have missed the record low of minus 30 and genuinely ARE sorry you must endure such torture.
Well, I must close. We’re heading over to the place we’ll be calling home for the next four weeks. I must also make sure the car’s air conditioning is working..then it’s off to friends for drinks, crackers and cheese and making tee times for next week.
Wish you were here..honestly I do.