Archive for August 2010

R.I.P. Morris Magnuson

Posted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 12:46 pm
By: Doug Lund
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morris orange shirt“We aren’t certain about the exact cause of Dad’s death,” said Lee Magnuson when I called this morning to express my sympathy over his father’s passing. “Even though he was 89, dad was so darn busy all the time people forgot that he had heart by-pass 23 years ago and wore a we figure his heart just gave out”  

It’s true.. Morris Magnuson was a dynamo all his life. After retiring from a long career in South Dakota education, he and his wife of 65 years, Edith, not only traveled the world but immersed themselves in helping others through their church, senior care programs and veterans affairs

When I first met Morris Magnuson, he was a teacher in Volga.  His son, Greg (Sioux Falls physician, Gregory Magnuson) was a year behind me in grade school and we chummed around together.   I remember somebody saying Mr. Magnuson had been a fighter pilot in the war and taken prisoner by the Nazi’s after being shot down.  I recall thinking that was pretty cool..but it wasn’t until years later that I learned the magnitude of Magnuson’s service to his country.

morris p-47

He enlisted shortly after Pearl Harbor with intentions of flying fighters..but it wasn’t until February of 1944 before his training in the P-47 Thunderbolt was complete and he was headed to Europe to join the fight.

As part of Keloland’s coverage of the World War Two Veterans Memorial dedication in Pierre a few years ago, I made arrangements to interview Morrie at his home. He answered the door wearing his Air Corps uniform which still fit like a glove . We chatted about his time in Volga and then I started asking questions about the war. His broad smile disappeared as he recalled some of those early missions; of looking down and seeing our men advancing on the beaches of Normandy into the teeth of Nazi bombs and machine gun fire. Of escorting B-17’s on their bombing runs into France and Germany..only to turn back and leave them vulnerable because the fighters didn’t have enough gas to escort them all the way. “Our assignment,” Morrie said, “was to bomb and strafe any suspected Nazi target we could find from bridges and railroads to convoys of enemy soldiers and equipment.”morris plane“There were times,” he said, “when I thought about the awful business of killing people. I was raised a church-going Lutheran and it dawned on me that many of those falling victim to my guns were probably Lutheran too. But, I soon realized that Hitler and the SS had to be stopped and it was my duty to do whatever was necessary to help bring that horrid war to an end.”

Morrie Magnuson’s war could have come to an end after he completed 60 missions..but a friend and fellow pilot talked him into signing up for 20 more so they could go home together.  It was on that last flight while on a second strafing run of a German airfield that his Thunderbolt took a direct hit. He pulled back on the stick and with the canopy filling with smoke headed west until the engine quit and he bailed out. He managed to dodge German patrols for six days before encountering a lone Nazi solider armed with a rifle.  Both hid behind trees and started firing at each other, Morrie with his .45 pistol managed to wing the Nazi after being struck, himself, by a glancing bullet to the leg. That evening, so close to the American Lines he could taste it, Magnuson ran straight into a group of German soldiers and was taken captive. The following days were a blur of marching to prison camp with stops along the way to fight fires or repair railroad tracks. His home for the next several months would be Stalag 7 in Germany where conditions were deplorable and food was scarce.

morris testamentThroughout his ordeal, Magnuson poured through the pages of the New Testament his mother had given him. She had to have a lot of faith too because back home in South Dakota the family had received a telegram that Morrie was missing in action. A day or two later, an Easter lily, which Morrie had ordered delivered home just prior to his final mission, arrived.  She believed it to be a sign that her boy was still alive and would survive.

Well, it turns out she was right because on April 29th, 1945 General Patton’s forces showed up to liberate Morris Magnuson and 70 thousand other P.O.W.’s from their Hell on earth that was Stalag 7.

It’s good to remember Capt. Magnuson as the war hero he was: recipient of the Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 13 Oak Leaf Clusters, European African Middle Eastern Service Medal with 5 Bronze Stars, two Presidential Unit citations and the French Legion of Honor.

morris medals

It’s also fitting that he remembered for 40 years focused on our children’s education as a teacher and school administrator.

But I’ll bet he’d be just as happy if your thoughts of him simply be as that nice guy from church who instructed the AARP safe driving course, drove the Project Car, helped people with their taxes, delivered  “Meals on Wheels” and was a faithful loving husband, father and grandfather. Yeah, I’m sure he would.

morrie1 (2)

(Thanks to Greg Latza for some of the photos.)

Thinkin’ Lincoln and Todd

Posted: Friday, August 27, 2010 at 7:51 am
By: Doug Lund
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I haven’t been hearing too much lately about newspapers around the country having to fold up operations under pressure from the internet.  It may still be happening, I just haven’t noticed. I’ve never really bought into the claims that newspapers and local TV newscasts would eventually be put out to pasture because people will be relying on their computers for news that’s available anytime..anywhere.  No, most of us, I think, still count on that morning ritual of opening the front door and searching around the steps and bushes for the paper then paging through it’s contents over coffee or in the porcelain library. When I was a reporter, the Argus Leader was required reading  to keep an eye on what the competition was up to. Now it’s just a habit which I look forward to most days….except Wednesday.  Why on God’s green earth do they feel it necessary to do this:

 Argus insert 002

Those half page fold-over ads drive me nuts. I suppose the intent is to force the reader to notice the ad but they’re as annoying as pop-ups on web sites or spam on e-mails and blogs. I intentionally avoid patronizing places that try get my business through the process of unavoidable irritation. (Okay, I did go to Lewis the other day..but still.)  Oh, and you can also do away with those stupid yellow sticker ads  glued to the front page.   But, generally speaking, I do like my paper especially when I read an article like the one by Sheri Levisay this week. It was about a man by the name of John Blair Smith Todd who was primarily responsible for pushing congress to approve Dakota as a territory in 1861 and served as its first representative in Washington where his cousin-in-law, Abraham Lincoln, had just been elected President of the United States. Todd, as I learned from the article, went from being a career military man to successful merchant, land speculator, lawyer and politician. He was also a tough ol’ bird and a bit of a scoundrel who got things done and wasn’t too fussy how he went about it.  Mary Todd Lincoln was his first cousin and he was at Ford’s Theatre on the evening Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and helped carry the mortally wounded President to the rooming house across the street.  Todd County South Dakota is named after him…all things I did not know.  Here’s a photo of him taken in 1861 or 62.

johnny toddWhen I first saw this image of Todd, I thought it looked real familiar. I got to thinking; isn’t there one of Lincoln in a very similar pose?  I began a search and sure enough, came across this 1861 photo of our 16th President taken by noted photographer, Mathew Brady in his Washington, D.C. studio.  Then, I noticed something else; look closely and you’ll see that not only are the poses similar..but both Lincoln and Todd are sitting in the very same studio. The chair, table, pedestal,(note the position of four nails at the base) and carpeting are identical. Brady even had both men place their top hats on the table in about the same place.

abe photo brady studioOf course I started making up stories in my mind about how Todd might have been visiting his cousins in Washington when Abe said, “John, I’ve gotta go over to Brady’s to have my picture want to tag along?”  “Why sure, fact, I’ve been meaning to get my photograph done too. Do you suppose Brady would have time to squeeze us both in?”  Then, I picture them heading back over to the White House where Mary had been standing over a hot stove all afternoon fixing supper for all her boys.

Okay, maybe that’s stretching the imagination a bit far.

Voice Of Keloland

Posted: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 5:29 am
By: Doug Lund
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Can’t sleep. It’s four o’clock in the morning and I’m as excited as a kid on Christmas Eve.

That’s because in less than an hour, I’m going to begin another chapter in my long association with Keloland Television.  The recorded voice you’ll be hearing from now on introducing all the news and weathercasts, as well as all of the station ID’s and various promotions, will be mine.

A few weeks ago, I got a call from Paul Farmer..Keloland’s director of marketing and creative services. It seems Deb Donahoe, who has been the long time “Voice of Keloland,” was moving out of town. He’d been auditioning people from all over the country to replace her and then thought of me…figuring viewers might like to hear a familiar voice. “Would you be interested in stopping down to record a few things?” Paul said.

Well, I couldn’t get there fast enough and a couple days later he called back to say that the job was mine if I wanted it.

voice of keloland dedrickSo, now I join the ranks of a privileged few who can lay claim to the title of station announcer for Keloland TV.

The first off-camera voice I heard on KELO was Dave Dedrick. I forget exactly what he said but it was something like; “First with the best in the upper Midwest, this is KELO Television, Sioux Falls.” Little did I realize then how often I would hear that voice in the years to come not only as a colleague but a dear friend. Oh, how I miss hearing it today.

Besides Dave, a guy named Murray Stewart shared the announcing duties in those early years…as did Bill Wigginton and Leo Hartig.  In fact, a lot of the personalities on KELO Radio did double duty voicing commercials and announcements for TV.  Back in the seventies, some of us in the newsroom, including Dedrick, Joe Cooper, Brian Bjerke and I took turns recording  “The Book” ..which was the daily log of commercial tags and other announcements. I remember a couple that used to give me fits; “Super City Shopping Center” rarely came out right the first time and, for some reason, I also got tongue-tied trying to say “Sony dealer in Onida.”

Eventually, Mark Johnson handled most of the audio recording responsibilities until Deb came aboard in 1998.

So, not only am I lucky enough to have this blog on but I now get to stop down to the station a couple times a week..say hi to all my old friends and then  pull up to the microphone again…without having to wear a tie.  

I now realize what Dave Dedrick meant when he was always saying, “Life is good, my cup runneth over.”

Here’s a short video clip from the recording booth:

Interviewing The Interviewer

Posted: Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 8:02 am
By: Doug Lund
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Another morning where the humidity is so high that our windows look like the bathroom mirror after a hot shower. I got up early to make coffee and found another earwig bug in the sink which I promptly dispatched. I thought Linda had successfully eliminated them from the planet several weeks ago with her strategic and abundant placement of powerful powders and sprays in and around the house..but obviously they’ve grown immune to the poison. These things plus cicadas making so much noise that it’s hard to carry on a conversation outside and, you might say, I’m ready for a good hard freeze to bring this odd soggy summer to a conclusion. But the hot wet conditions have been great for one thing: Linda’s patio plants absolutely love it and have exploded into great balls of color.

Linda's impatients on steroids

Linda's impatiens on steroids

Buddha flowers 005

 No doubt you noticed that there’s a guy with a video camera taking pictures of me taking pictures. Well, that’s veteran Keloland Photographer, Terry Kjergaard..better known as Buddha. He and reporter/anchor, Jon Wilson, were out to see me this week for a story Jon’s doing about what old anchormen do after retirement. In my case, blogging on the Keloland web site.

After years and years of interviewing people myself, it was very odd having a reporter stick a microphone in my own face and, just like those people I used to complain about, I wound up rambling on and on saying nothing terribly profound.  When Buddha asked Jon if he’d grab another camera battery, I realized it was time to get to the point and and wrap this thing up.

Anyway, I have no idea if and when Jon’s “Eye on Keloland” story will be on the air but he sure has his work cut out for him.

Jon and Buddha on assignment at my house.

Jon and Buddha on assignment at my house.

Speaking of Keloland..I am about to begin a brand new and exciting venture with my favorite TV station. I’ll tell you all about it next Tuesday.

Now, I have to go tell Linda about the creepy crawly discovery I made under the dish rag a few minutes ago. I expect that within the hour we’ll be making another run to ACE for an even more powerful bug killer.

The Civil War In Pipestone

Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 10:10 am
By: Doug Lund
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I have always been fascinated by The Civil War.

I’m not so much interested in the precise battle strategies or exact dates, times and locations of each engagement but rather in the mind set of those men who did the actual fighting. How could they be convinced to take up arms and fire upon a fellow American whose ancestors fought side by side with their own less than 90 years earlier?

I enjoy reading the letters and diaries of both Yankee and Confederate soldiers..most of whom seem more concerned about the weather, not getting sick and receiving letters from home than achieving glory in battle. But, when the time came to take the field and do their duty, they didn’t hesitate even though there was a very good chance an enemy bullet or shell would find their mark and rip them to pieces.

When my cousin, Grouse and I talked about attending Civil War Days in Pipestone last Saturday I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. To be honest, I suspected those who partake in these reenactments are mostly guys who like to dress up in uniforms and play war games just like we all did as kids. Instead, we found a lot of dedicated enthusiasts from all over the country who take pride and pleasure in preserving that era of American history in a very realistic way for both entertainment and education.

Why Pipestone?  No Civil War battles were ever fought in Minnesota but after the war lots of veterans settled in Pipestone and in 1886 it was the site of an encampment of the Southwest Minnesota Grand Army of the Republic that lasted for several days and drew ten thousand visitors to the area.

Although the state was just three years old when the Civil War broke out, Minnesotans were among the first to volunteer for service and paid an enormous price in preserving the union through their gallantry and sacrifice at places like Bull Run, Chancellorsville, Fredricksburg, Antietam and Gettysburg where 262 men of the First Minnesota Volunteers were ordered to charge a much larger rebel force in order to buy time for the Union to bring up reinforcements. The suicide charge, as it came to be known, resulted in 82 percent casualties: the largest loss by any unit in any war then or since.

Artist depiction of the suicide charge at Gettysburg ordered by General Hancock. He asked the Minnesota boys to buy him five minutes to bring up reenforcements. They gave him ten but at a terrible cost.

Artist depiction of the suicide charge at Gettysburg ordered by General Hancock. He asked the Minnesota boys to buy him five minutes to bring up reenforcements. They gave him ten but at a terrible cost.

Confederate encampment. No motels for these folks..they stay in the tents.

Confederate encampment. No motels for these folks..they stay in the tents.

civil war days 011

Reenactors answer questions and demonstrate the rebel yell.

Reenactors answer questions and demonstrate the rebel yell.

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Pipestone radio personality, Mylan Ray, has been a part of Civil War Days since the first one in 1989. He cuts a fine figure as a Union officer.

Pipestone radio personality, Mylan Ray, has been a part of Civil War Days since the first one in 1989. He cuts a fine figure as a Union officer.

I had the honor of meeting President Abraham Lincoln aka Max Daniels voted best Lincoln impersonator in the country

I had the honor of meeting President Abraham Lincoln aka Max Daniels who was once voted best Lincoln impersonator in the country

The battle staged just South of the Hiawatha pageant amphatheater is very realistic.

The battle staged just South of the Hiawatha pageant amphatheater is very realistic.

And, when all three cannon are blasting away..very very loud.

And, when all three cannon are blasting away..very very loud.

It's not only men who dress up in period clothing for the two day event.

It's not only men who dress up in period clothing for the two day event.

Pipestone’s next Civil War Days won’t be until 2012 and you can bet I’ll be back.  I might even wear an appropriate costume  for the occasion. I wonder if I can find a uniform in size three X.

Which House Candidate Looks Best To You?

Posted: Friday, August 13, 2010 at 2:27 pm
By: Doug Lund
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Geeze, am I  becoming one of “those guys?”

You know, a typical man who has reached the age where we feel we can say or do outlandish things and don’t give a hoot what anybody thinks about it?

Well, maybe.,.because I’m afraid, as I follow the U.S. House of Representatives race..I have a hard time concentrating on what the two major candidates..Democrat, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Republican, Kristi Noem..are saying.

Stephanie VS Kristi

Stephanie VS Kristi

Mostly, what I think about is how physically attractive they both are and how ashamed of myself I should be for being such a shallow schlub and living  down to the expectations of my friend and Keloland News Director, Beth Fuller Jensen, who usually just shakes her head in disbelief and laughs when I utter such apparent sexist remarks.

But, sorry…if anybody wants to take me to court over comments I make that both of these most able and qualified candidates are also real good lookin’ then..have at it.

I have a hunch that before the November election, the national press is going to put the spotlight on both candidates as well..and not just for their stand on the economy or healthcare.

Oh, and just to be fair..New York magazine recently had an article on the possibility of Republican South Dakota Senator, John Thune’s run for president titled, “Will voters be able to resist John Thune’s perfect sexy face in 2012?

Come on..what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Actually, such superficial comments aren’t good at all, I suppose, but it’s the reality of politics and has been ever since Lincoln grew a beard to improve his public perception.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy lost the first ever televised presidential debate to Richard least  according to those who listened on RADIO..but for those watching on TV, Kennedy, looking young, handsome and virile, won, hands down, against the vice president who appeared anemic and disheveled with puddles of nervous sweat on his upper lip.

Anyway, I’m not endorsing either House candidate…just stating the obvious that both are real easy on the eye and wonder if their messages will get through in spite of that fact or whether they’ll be consulting with make-up and clothing experts to outdo each other enhancing their already exquisite features in order to win votes from chauvinist slugs like me .

I look forward to your comments of condemnation.

Brothers Of The Sea

Posted: Monday, August 9, 2010 at 11:24 am
By: Doug Lund
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I come from a long line of seafaring folks.

Well, you have to go pretty far back in my lineage to find them but I AM full blown Norwegian so it seems only logical that my ancestors spent a good amount of time on the water whether it be floating down a fjord fishing for cod or sailing the high seas with the likes of Eric the Red or his boy Leif Ericson exploring for new worlds and finding them like North America 500 years before Columbus.  Cousin Thor Heyerdahl (I’m almost sure he’s a sixth cousin on my father’s side twice removed.) has been named the most famous Norwegian of the 20th century for building a balsa-wood raft in 1947 which he called “Kon-Tiki” and sailing it from Peru to Polynesia to prove that the Polynesians originally came from South America.

So, how come I don’t have a boat?  It turns out that I’m now the only one of the three Lund brothers who doesn’t.  

 It took a lot of years, but the call of the sea that’s imprinted in our Norse DNA has now been answered by my siblings; Tom has a nice new house by a big South Carolina lake called Keowee and a fancy boat to go with it. During our visit last June, he proudly piloted us around in that craft with a knowledge and confidence that appeared instinctive.

Brother Tom..the star of his Starcraft..confidently guides us around the potentially treacherous waters of Lake Keowee S.C.

Brother Tom..the star of his Starcraft..confidently guides us around the potentially treacherous waters of Lake Keowee S.C.

Then, this past week, we all finally got to climb aboard my brother Denny’s huge cuddy cabin cruiser that he and wife, Judy, have been refurbishing for the past couple years and actually live on during summer weekends. 

A fine looking craft that serves as a summer home.

A fine looking craft that serves as a summer home.

 Denny, too, seems right at home at the helm of this vessel as he navigates the waters of the mighty Missouri River.

Captain Lund and his first mate, Judy

Captain Lund and his first mate, Judy

Captain Tom and his first mate, Ilene, are impressed with Captain Denny's yacht-like features which include a galley, head and roomy bed in the bow that sleeps two.

Captain Tom and his first mate, Ilene, are impressed with the boat of Captain Denny and it's yacht-like features which include a galley, head and roomy bed in the bow that sleeps two.

My mate Linda, on the right, doesn't swim and doesn't feel the need for me to follow my brother's watery leadings.

My mate Linda, on the right, doesn't swim and doesn't feel the need for me to follow my brother's watery leadings.

Views like this of a full-to-the-brim again Missouri River are beckoning, though.

Views like this of a full-to-the-brim again Missouri River are beckoning, though.

Enjoying an occasional ride is enough to scratch my mariner's itch.

Enjoying an occasional ride is enough to scratch my mariner's itch.

So why do I  feel none of these nautical nudgings? Could it be my brother was right when, as kids, he teased me about being adopted? Nah, I look too much like dad for that to be true.  Maybe it’s just that I’m more like my ancestor, “Trygve The Wise”, who liked the water okay but was smart enough to let his brothers actually buy the boats and then invite him along for rides.

You Were My Sunshine, My Only Sunshine

Posted: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 10:16 am
By: Doug Lund
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sunshine foodsI’ve been shopping at Sunshine on east 10th ever since my daughters were young enough to still want a ride on the rocking horse machine inside every store entrance. “Daddy, let’s go to the store with the horsy.”

Back in the early 70’s, my cousin, Grouse, wrote a TV sunshine horsecommercial for Sunshine featuring that kiddie ride. It opened with the William Tell overture (The Lone Ranger theme) and me in a booming voice saying, “A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty hi yo Sunshine” all the while showing happy little kids aboard the mighty coin operated Sunshine steed. I don’t recall how successful that advertisement campaign turned out to be but it sure was clever.

I’ve lived on the East side of Sioux Falls ever since moving to town in 1969 and suppose the reason I started buying groceries at Sunshine was because of its proximity to my house. But even when other super markets started popping up, my loyalty only wavered occasionally.

 Hy Vee likes to claim having a “helpful smile in every aisle” but the employees at Sunshine actually know me and the other regulars when we come through the door and seem to generally appreciate our business; no forced smiles. Plus, I know where everything is located in the store. And if there was ever some item I wanted that they didn’t carry, all I had to do was mention it to Brian or any of the managers and it would be on the shelf within a few days. When I asked, this Spring, if Sunshine would help us sell tickets for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert, the answer was “Sure, Doug, glad to help out.” No checking for an okay from corporate headquarters in another asking for a cut..just a friendly “you bet” right on the spot.

I’m going to miss all of the people at Sunshine that I’ve gotten to know over the years and hope they’re not left out in the cold by this deal with HyVee which closes my store this month. I don’t like it for a lot of reasons but mostly because food shopping in a city this size shouldn’t be monopolized by just two operations, HyVee and Wal-Mart.

In isn’t.  There are still a few family owned grocery stores in town that don’t get a lot of publicity but where, like Cheers, everyone knows your name. Andy’s at 18th and Cleveland is a neat little four aisle neighborhood market that obviously doesn’t have room to stock all those specialty items you find in a Sam’s Club but it’s run by nice people and carries most things you need and gets rave reviews for the freshness and quality of it’s meats. Omar’s way up on the North Phillips hill has been around for ages. It, too, stocks most of the basic food items and has a reputation for really good meat and getting robbed a lot.

Franklin-Market-History-10Franklin Food Market on third and Cliff is the largest of the independents. It’s been owned and operated by the Haggar family since 1949. You’ve got to be doing something right to stay in business for 61 years and customers say it’s the excellent meat department and old fashioned friendly atmosphere.

I realize, of course, that when family budgets are tight, it’s hard to resist the deals offered by the super dooper mega plex food stores with their outdoor tents full of bargain soda and plants or carnival rides set up on the parking lot but it’s still going to be a sad day when that Sunshine horsy gallops off into the sunset.