Archive for July 2012

Olav Pays A Visssit

Posted: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 11:12 am
By: Doug Lund
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It’s another beautiful day. Go on outside and look at your phone for a while.

 zombie phones

 

What a whirlwind week!

Linda and I managed to get re-routed home from South Carolina, and the Lund Brother’s family reunion, a day early after receiving news of her mother’s passing. But, of course, it was a lot more complicated than just calling Delta and transferring our tickets from Thursday to Wednesday. That would have cost us an additional $850 dollars per person which is about what the original round-trip fare was for BOTH of us. After pleading on the phone, even playing the death card, the living robot on the other end of the Delta help line finally managed to get us on a different flight for just 38 dollars more apiece routing us through Atlanta, Minneapolis and then home.  We didn’t have a long wait between flights but as we approached each gate it looked like everyone’s head was bowed in prayer. I thought, well that’s nice that so many people still ask the Lord to keep them safe when flying but upon closer inspection..they all had their nose buried in their I-phones. Now, we travel quite a bit but in the past couple years the number of people hypnotized by their phones..especially in airports.. has reached epidemic proportions. Especially disconcerting are those who can’t even put their phones down in the restroom where thumb scrolling and one handed peeing have become an art form.

Mary’s funeral was at St. Teresa’s Catholic Church in Beresford where she was a member for over sixty years. To this old Lutheran, it was actually two funerals; the Wake on Friday and the service Saturday morning.  Mary was such a sweet pious woman and always involved in church doings it was easy for the Priest to pile on the well-deserved praise during his sermons..or homilies or whatever it’s called between the lengthy liturgy.

After lunch at the church where everyone ate their fill of ham sandwiches, salads and bars..then extended the appropriate sympathies, it was time for the Trudeau clan to exhale, relax and share personal memories which we  did back in Alcester at the community room. I put on some of Mary’s favorite big band music and we feasted, imbibed, laughed and cried until early evening. She loved it when her kids all got together like this and never wanted the party to end..so, in her memory, we did our best to please.

On Sunday, I went to meet my cousin, Olav Bra from Trondheim, Norway who is visssiting his American kinfolk for a few days. It’s been great getting to know him face to face rather than through letters and e-mails. He gladly shared the story of how our common ancestor (My grandfather)  gave up his birthright (the oldest son taking over the family farm) in order to come to America.

L to R  Olav, me, Denny Lund, Bob Gruseth, Larry Gruseth

L to R Olav, me, Denny Lund, Bob Gruseth, Larry Gruseth

 Olav has done very well for himself in Norway; not only farming but also operating a lodge, of sorts, with banquet facilities, bars and meeting rooms all on the site of his family farm. He has three beautiful blonde daughters, a couple grandchildren and an open invitation for all of us to return to our native homeland which I’d love to do again someday.

We gave Olav the grand tour of Keloland on Monday which he found most impressive. I was impressed too. It’s been a while since I sat in the studio for a live newscast. The news and weather sets are beautiful with huge high definition monitors everywhere; a far cry from the old studio which had two monitors; one sitting atop a box with wheels so it could be rolled around the floor and another old black and white TV which sat on a high shelf by the side door.  Everybody (except Hemmingsen) smoked cigarettes and there was usually a blue haze hanging in the studio like fog over the Golden Gate Bridge. Dedrick, Burt and I would often take one last big drag just as the cameraman hollered “Stand By” forcing us to exhale quickly and flick the butts out on the studio floor. The camera guys hated that because not only did they run the risk of getting hit in the eye by one of those tobacco missiles but the butts would cling to the camera dolly wheels preventing them from rolling properly when they needed to change positions. Oh, well, that’s all a distant memory now, sort of like lines of people at the airport waiting to use  pay phones.

Place Of Mulberries

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm
By: Doug Lund
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Greetings from steamy South Carolinia and lovely lake Keowee..a 26 mile long man-made body of water which was designed for use to keep 3 reactors in the the nearby nuclear power plant cool. (And no, it’s not a concern.)The two dams on the lake also generate electricity the old fashioned way..using gravity to spin turbines. The big beneficial by-product, of course, is this vast deep pure water lake shaped sort of like a Christmas tree with coves and islands and nary an empty lot along its 300 miles of shoreline.

Easy to get lost if you're a stranger in a boat.

Easy to get lost if you're a stranger in a boat.

Keowee  is Cherokee for “place of mulberries” although I’ve yet to see a mulberry and, believe me, I’ve had plenty of opportunities since I spent most of our two days on the golf course well OFF the fairways and deep in the woods hunting for balls that went sailing off my driver into the tall trees.

This is, what might be called, a Lund Brothers reunion since everybody here ..all 31 of us..are direct descendants of the three Lund boys. I know it may sound crazy but  it has actually been a joy to be around all these little kids; ten of them under the age of ten; most belonging to Tom and Ilene’s three offspring and their spouses who’ve provided a new grandchild a year for the last 9 years..with one more due in October.  This gathering has provided an opportunity for many of these cousins, nieces, nephews, uncles and aunts to meet  for the first time. It’s been remarkable how quickly everybody got aquainted so quickly and are getting along just “swimmingly.”

Tom and Ilene have a terrific roomy house but not enough to accommodate this big bunch so half of us are camping out in the vacant luxury home next door..just a mulberry bush away. The generous offer came from the new owners of the place who have yet to move in. The only conditions are that we please refrain from using the brand new beds and kitchen furnishings that have yet to be slept in or cooked on.  So we have procured several air mattresses for everyone which, ironically, are set up right alongside those expensive memory foam beds that have yet to accomodate a single soul. It’s been tempting..especially when there is an air mattress deflation issue during the night..but so far we’ve all resisted.

I know that viewing other people’s family photos can be as exciting as shopping for wallpaper but since the news from here is all about  eating, drinking, boating, skiing, laughing and bonding..it’s pretty much what  I have to offer until we jet back home later in the week where more heat awaits..but without the option of charging through the front door into the “pristine waters of Keowee Lake to cool off.

The view from Tom and Ilene's place down to the shore where a big boat and jet ski await to entertain you.

The view from Tom and Ilene's place down to the shore where a big boat and jet ski await to entertain you.

 

Linda makes her way down the semi-steep path to the lakeshore..easier descending than ascending for this fluffy guy.

Linda makes her way down the semi-steep path to the lakeshore..easier descending than ascending for this fluffy guy.

I watched from the shade and others bobbed about in the tepid waters. That's my grandkids, Michael and Allison in the sun, great nephew Joey in the front and nephew Jayden on the right. Jay is our L.A. actor whose most recent appearance has been on HBO's True Blood.

I watched from the shade and others bobbed about in the tepid waters. That's my grandkids, Michael and Allison in the sun, great nephew Joey in the front and nephew Jayden on the right. Jay is our L.A. actor whose most recent appearance has been on HBO's True Blood.

Sort of looks like the closing scene from "Titanic" but, in this case, both the water and bodies are warm.

Sort of looks like the closing scene from "Titanic" but, in this case, both the water and bodies are warm.

Each of these kids are just too precious for words. Linda holds 3 year old Josie while Caroline pulls the "I've got your nose" gag on Gracy Kay whose celebrated her 7th birthday during our get-together.

Each of these kids are just too precious for words. Linda holds 3 year old Josie while Caroline pulls the "I've got your nose" gag on Gracy Kay who celebrated her 7th birthday during our get-together.

5 year old Addy just came in to see what I was dong and wondered if I was going to put in a picture of her...so, of course I am.

5 year old Addy just came in to see what I was doing and wondered if Uncle Doug was going to put in a picture of her...so, of course I am.

 

maryPS. Linda’s mom..our beloved “Mother Mary”…doesn’t have long for this world. She’s in Hospice care at the nursing home in Alcester..her hometown for all of her 88 years. It’s been tough for Linda being so far away during this difficult time but she’s been such a trooper making sure her anxiety doesn’t show  as we celebrate this Lund reunion with frivolity, food and foolishness.

PSS: Tuesday July 24th: Just received news that Mother Mary passed away during the night. We’ve changed our flight schedule and will be heading for South Dakota early Wednesday morning. As you know, Linda figures prominently in my writings here. She wanted me to thank all of you..friends and strangers alike..who have always expressed support for her wheather it’s for just putting up with a lug like me or during times of anxiety and grief like now. Bless you.

My Cool Friends

Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012 at 11:07 am
By: Doug Lund
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Sorry it’s been awhile since my last entry. Just too hot to write. Wait..why would you have to go outside to put a few words together for a blog? Oh, alright..that’s just an excuse. It’s  laziness plain and simple plus a total lack of anything happening in my life that’s worthy of sharing.

earwigThe heat is good for one thing; those annoying earwig bugs which had started to find their way back into our house, prefer wet and cool. I haven’t spotted one for a while. I hope the next one I see is dead on the sidewalk fried to a crisp.

I actually had a blog completely written and ready to post on Saturday. It was a rant about the ease at which county commissioners opted out of the property tax freeze again and socked us with a 4 million dollar plus bill (More than what was requested but since it would be inconvenient for commissioners to have to take up the issue again next year..they figured, what the hell, let’s aim high.) I also commented on the need for this increase which is primarily to cover the costs of a crowded jail and court system. How long has it been since the new jail was built to cover our population needs well into the future? I also went on about these federally funded crackdowns on local crime (“100 days of heat” or some such nonsense) especially those traffic checkpoints where a bunch of cops with red lights flashing gather together on a busy street or highway stopping everyone in sight even if they’ve done nothing wrong. If they’re not drunk, they may get nailed for not wearing a seatbelt or some other high crime or misdemeanor.  There’s just something to me that seems un-American about motorists needing to prove their innocence. Besides, if the jail is full, why go in search of more patrons on the roadways? Wouldn’t time be better spent cruising those dubious neighborhoods in town where the odds of nabbing someone for illegal activity are much greater rather than those questionable highway flock shoots?

 Anyway, as I was posting the blog I accidentally erased it. I concluded it just might have been a divine intervention; the good Lord trying to protect me from another public outcry in the comments section; instead of vicious dogs it would be ridiculous claims I’m somehow in favor of drunk driving.

I did spend Tuesday and Wednesday bonding with my golf pals as we took our show on the road to play both courses in Mitchell and the McCook Country Club in Salem. Six of us made the trip; the three smokers in Bob’s vehicle Denny, Digger and me in the other. Our first stop was in Montrose  because Gary and Jerry had stopped there for  breakfast at the Irish Pub before and said it was great. Since both pride themselves on their cooking prowess, we took them at their word.

Not Dublin..Main Street Montrose

Not Dublin..Main Street Montrose

 I’m afraid we sort of overwhelmed the morning café staff but eventually the food arrived and met with everybody’s approval. 

A bit blurry but left to right are" Denny Graves, Jerry Backer, Bob Miller, Gary Hockenstad (next to Bob) and Denny Will (Digger)

A bit blurry but left to right are" Denny Graves, Jerry Backer, Bob Miller, Gary Hockenstad (next to Bob) and Denny Will (Digger)

 

Brennan Yeo

Brennan Yeo

After playing 9 holes at Salem we headed for Alexandria.

During hunting season, Gary is the chef at Granite Springs Lodge just outside of town. He managed to convince operator, Brennan Yeo and his wife Jen to put us up for the night at a great rate that included kitchen privileges.

 

 

The lodge is only a few years old and just a lovely setting with a lake full of fish out the back door and thousands of acres of prime pheasant hunting at its disposal.

golf outing lodge two

 

We unloaded and made our way the 12 miles to Mitchell and Wild Oak golf course. The temperature at tee-off was 92. We’d already played 9  holes earlier in the day at Salem and the odds of me surviving another 18 weren’t good. But, thanks to plenty of water (which we had to purchase at a dollar a bottle..there was NO water available on the goofily laid-out course) and a nice breeze..all of us breezed through; urged on, no doubt, by the thought of good food and beverages waiting back at the lodge. Well, not exactly waiting; we’d brought along all the food for the three cooking experts to prepare. They’d made up so many appetizers that I hardly had any appetite left for the main course of burgers, sweet corn, potato salad, baked beans, scalloped corn, peach pie and pecan pie. It was nearly 11 before we drifted off to our rooms as stuffed as the mushrooms we’d devoured earlier on the horsd’oeuvres table.

I’m afraid by the next morning, it had turned pretty chilly. Not the temperature but my chums toward me when I didn’t emerge from my boudoir until 9:30 a.m. They’d all been up since sunrise, already enjoyed a big breakfast consisting of French toast, eggs, hash browns, bacon, biscuits and gravy. The place had been cleaned up, the cars were loaded. They’d been ready to go for hours.  

Digger is finally elected to get my arse out of bed

Digger is finally elected to get my arse out of bed

There was a cup of coffee and a Styrofoam box with some food in it for me but not a lot of conversation as we headed back to Mitchell and 18 holes of golf at Lakeview.  

Names of wildlife instead of numbers on each room. I was staying in Bass. My friends, frustrated by my extended slumber wanted to add four more letters to that name.

Names of wildlife instead of numbers on each room. I was staying in Bass. My friends, frustrated by my extended slumber, wanted to add four more letters to that name.

I’ve always liked playing Lakeview even though there are no actual views of nearby Lake Mitchell. It also plays a little longer than it used to since geezerhood has caused our shots (and everything else) to be shorter. I was actually surprised to see the thermometer on Digger’s Lexus read 96 degrees when we pulled out of the parking lot and headed for home. I’d somehow managed to dodge another heat stroke bullet thanks to lots of ice cold beer and, perhaps, the residual effects of those icy stares from earlier in the day.

Hog Heaven

Posted: Saturday, July 7, 2012 at 10:31 am
By: Doug Lund
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I sure hope Heaven is my final destination because I couldn’t take the heat of Hell.

It felt like Hell on the golf course Tuesday as I tried to tuff it out through the constantly rising temperatures. The same valley, from which this lovely lay-out was carved and helps to shelter players from the full fury of hurricane-force winds like we’ve been having lately, unfortunately also concentrates and magnifies the Sun’s intensity on calm steamy hot days which can be potentially lethal for fluffy guys like me. It’s too bad too because I felt great at the beginning of the round; striking the ball cleanly and making a few pars on the early holes. But by # 6 I noticed that after placing my ball on the tee and rising up quickly to give it a rap with the driver, my world started spinning like I’d just stepped off a school Merry-Go-Round. I backed away from the ball and somehow managed to force the whirling sensation to cease but my pulse rate had picked up the pace quite a bit.  I have been in this situation a few times before and in spite of the fact that I’d been drinking plenty of water and keeping a wet towel around my neck, it was clear I was experiencing the warning signs of heat stroke. Now, anybody who plays golf knows that to have any success at the game requires a certain amount of concentration. Unfortunately, all I could think about was the very real possibility that the Lord might decide to call me home right then and there if I didn’t stop this foolishness and retreat to the air conditioned safety of the club house bar which He hath provided. But I chose to ignore the symptoms, addressed the ball and gave a mighty swing launching it straight up in the air advancing  maybe twenty yards. I managed to stumble through the next few holes finally confessing to my playmates that the heat was too much and I sheepishly pointed my golf cart up the hill for the parking lot and home.  

A  short digression here:

I know it’s a silly hypothetical but I’ll bet we’ve all asked ourselves if we had to choose between being blind or deaf which would we pick? Me? I’m sure I’m in the minority on this,but I think I’d go with blindness because I couldn’t bear the frightening loneliness of being unable to hear. Here’s another; maybe more realistic question; which would you prefer; living in Phoenix in the summer or Fairbanks in the winter? I’ll bet most of you, including my wife, Linda,  would head for the desert. Not me, I’ll be going “North to Alaska”and hope she gives me a call from the poolside now and again.

Nope, don’t do heat well. In fact, I’ve been riding my HOG a lot more this summer; (HOG is a nickname for my motorcycle which is not a Harley Davidson at all; it’s just a joke so don’t you members of the Harley Owners Group get your snouts out of joint and come after me.) in part to save money on gas but mostly to cool off from mowing or some other rare form of physical activity. I’ve mentioned my motorcycle background here before.

It all began when I was 13 and got my first hummer.

Now, wait a minute fellas, before you start thinking what’s the big deal about that?…I’m talkin’ about a 1951 Harley Davidson 125 Hummer. I bought it from my older cousin who’d outgrown the thing.

Me around 1960 atop my Harley Hummer; a plump Marlon Brando wannabe surrounded by jealous pals.

Me around 1960 atop my Harley Hummer; a plump Marlon Brando wannabe surrounded by jealous pals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was at a time long before motorcycles or scooters were common sites on the    road so I was quite the novelty act buzzing up and down the streets of Volga until that fateful day when..blocked by a hedge..I crashed head-on into a car causing embarrassing injuries to my groinal area and irreparable damage to my Hummer. (That may sound redundant but again this  Hummer was a Harley.)

It wasn’t until the mid eighties, when passing by a gas station, I spotted a used small engine Kawasaki for sale and got the motorcycle bug again. I even convinced Linda that, for a hundred and fifty bucks, it would be great fun to zip around on..which is exactly what we did.  Then it developed a problem and I had that motorcycle repair shop on West 12th (now gone) come pick it up and haul it off to the shop to be fixed. Several weeks passed without any word..finally, after numerous calls, I went down there to pick it up and my little Kaw was gone. They had no idea what happened to it. I, of course, voiced my extreme displeasure; even threatened to sue but I think they knew it wasn’t worth going to court over and they were right so the bike bug disappeared again until a couple years later when I heard about all the used motorcycles on sale at Inter Lakes Sports Center in Madison. That’s where I found the bike I still have; a 1980 Kawasaki KZ-1000 Shaft Drive..just like the ones Ponch and Jon drove on CHiPS only this was black and didn’t have any flashing red lights.  It was by far the biggest and most powerful motorcycle I’d ever driven and as fast as any Harley which led Linda and I to facetiously dub it the HOG.

Me 52 years later trying to look tough next to the HOG. A difficult task when your HOG has a ferring and a trunk.

Me 52 years later still chubby trying to look tough next to the HOG. A difficult task when your HOG has a ferring and a trunk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 We rode it quite a bit early on; even to the Black Hills one summer weekend. (Not the Stugis Rally. Even I’m not stupid enough to bring a Japanese bike to mingle amongst all that American Iron. Besides, Linda likes to keep her shirt on in public, thank you.)  We had great fun tooling around curvy highways stopping at all the touristy places until we arrived at Custer State Park and the Wildlife Loop. Those buffalo and burros are a lot more intimidating when you’re fully exposed instead of in the safe confines of an enclosed vehicle. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

I’ve gone years without firing up the HOG but with a good charge or a new battery, its never failed to start.  It’s always been inside the garage and cleans up real nice, has new tires.. plus fewer than 20 thousand miles on the ticker.  Wait a minute, this sounds like a For Sale ad. I hadn’t thought about selling it until just now. 2 thousand bucks and she’s yours.

I’ve had my eye on this used Harley.

It sure would be nice to stop living a lie.