A Hemmingsen Afternoon

Posted: Monday, August 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm
By: Doug Lund
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“Hey, Lund..why don’t we ever see you out and about on the weekends anymore?”

Some of my old musician pals often ask me that question. Linda does too, for that matter and it’s true, we used to go out on Friday or Saturday nights quite frequently to hear live bands but lately I just haven’t felt much like it.  I didn’t plan on becoming a recluse but, the truth is, since my retirement six years ago, it’s gotten tougher for me to live up to other people’s expectations. I’m fatter, grayer, wrinkleier and  more thin-skinned than I used to be. People..even well-meaning people..can’t  resist the urge and seem to delight in reminding me how much I’ve gone down-hill from my TV days. I’ve grown tired of smiling and reminding these clods that they probably don’t look like they did six years ago either.  I know, I know…I should  realize how lucky I am; how lots of folks in this world never had any time at all in the spotlight so just shaddap and quitchurbellyachen.

Saturday was our dear friend, Alona’s birthday. We usually take her out to dinner but this time she just wanted to mosey about downtown enjoying drinks outside and listening to music. Our first stop was at Stogies where a multi-talented old chum, Mike Hilson, was picking guitar on the patio with two other great players. The three of us were enjoying the music and the beautiful evening when a guy at the table next to us hollered, “Hey Doug..remember when we used to have sex together?” which brought loads of laughter from his table but left me furious with a burning desire to stand-up and try to punch his lights out before I ran out of breath or had a heart attack. I didn’t, of course, but I did comment on his crassness and within seconds he was in my face itchin’ for a fight. I invited him to take his best shot and then prepare to be sued for assault. Lord knows there were plenty of witnesses..many of whom probably wondered if there was any truth to his assinine comment.  He eventually apologized explaining he was drunk. The sideshow was over but so was our pleasant night on the town.

These idiots are a small minority of people who we encounter in public. Most are kind and complementary when mentioning their memories of my years on Keloland. I used to be better in dealing with the others but lately…not so much.

My old colleague and friend, Steve Hemmingsen, is pretty happy to be out of the public eye too. I decided to give him a call last week to see if he was going to be home. It was such a nice day, I thought I’d point the Camaro North for his villa at Lake Hendricks. Well, it turns out he was just pulling into Sioux Falls to have lunch with a friend and do some shopping so I invited him over to the house where we spent three hours gabbing and laughing and holding back a tear or two at the memory of his only son, Stevie, who died nearly two years ago. 

Steve Hemmingsen at his Lake Hendricks home.  Hendricks Pioneer photo

Steve Hemmingsen at his Lake Hendricks home. Hendricks Pioneer photo

Steve is doing pretty well. Like me, he fights a never-ending battle of the bulge and takes a daily regimen of drugs for everything from high blood pressure to attitude adjustment. Unlike me, he needs one of those CPAP masks at night to keep from suffocating in his sleep. Oh, yeah, Steve also has prostate cancer but it’s apparently the Don Imus variety in which surgery isn’t immediately necessary..he just needs to have regular exams and meds to keep it in check. Given a choice, I think I’d rather have my prostate removed than face the thought of dropping trou in the doc’s office every few months for a “digital” review.

Lund & Hemmingsen fully clothed

Lund & Hemmingsen fully clothed

For some reason, I mentioned that I’ve been having a recurring mysterious dream over the past few years in which we were both back at work except when it came time to go on the set, I sometimes didn’t have a jacket..or a tie..or, occasionally no shirt or (forgive the image) no pants! In my dream (nightmare really) I am always running late..or don’t have a script or can’t read the teleprompter because it’s so far away.

Steve says, “You’re kidding. I’ve been having the exact same dream.(Nightmare) Oh, my god..what do you suppose it means?  In all my years on the air I was never late for a newscast or without proper on-air attire.”  “Neither was I.. But there were times when I’d forget a necktie and actually went behind the Captain 11 time converter and pawed through the boxes of ties that had been sent in for Dave Dedrick’s “Ugly Tie” contest on the weather show. I’d find one that wasn’t too revolting and wear it on the news.”  I’ve never told that story before.

“We should write a book,” Steve said. “Yeah, I said.” But we never will.   It was a good day of reminiscing; one we promised to repeat on a regular basis…but probably won’t.

 In the meantime if there are any dream analyzers out there who can explain the puzzling parallel experiences of a couple of slumbering former anchormen we’d like to hear it. We could both use the rest.

42 Comments

  1. johnny mogen says:

    Doug, Did you invite Steve to return to the SD State Fair this Thursday? We had a great time visiting with our friends, Harvey and Ann Wollman, in between sets last year. (by the way, it’s the Freedom Stage for 2 and 6 p.m. shows, featuring Doug and our friend, Jim Woster)

  2. Jake Laate says:

    This really hit home with me Doug. I no longer “go out” weekends either. There’s just something about staying home with my best friend and wife of 35 years that has more appeal. And you’re right, avoiding the clods and idiots factors in as well.

    All the best to you old friend. (I mean that most sincerely).

    Jake

  3. Cam Lind says:

    Doug, the price of fame no matter how large or small is stupid seek to take you down to their level. Don’t fall for it, they will beat you with expertise at being stupid.
    I was talking to Red Skelton one night in Mitchell after his appearance at the Corn Palace. I saw him and the Roy Clark/Up With People show, we got to talking and we went to Chef Louie’s afterward and had a nice steak and about an hour and a half of conversation. I was actually smart enough to listen most of the time.
    His main advice was if you are doing comedy and have to swear while doing it, was that you have the wrong material and it is weak.
    Also as you mentioned hecklers and wanna be’s that get in your face, absolutely nothing can be gained by either getting a fight or even argument. When you are famous/semi famous, nobodies try to take you down. Hang in there, you are just fine the way you are.
    You friends do not abandon you when you get larger, slower and older, if some abandon you. So be it for they in fact were not truly friends. CL

  4. Edie says:

    It’s great to see a pic of Steve! I have missed his blog so much and think of him often. I like hearing your voice on KELO again as well. I think the two of you should do a pop in for the 6:00 News and do a couple of stories :) Maybe the two of you have a date that means something to you and it could be that day? Does Steve do any stories on-line that I could check out? I remember being in journalism at Whittier with Susan and she forgot her hot dogs and you brought them to her. Seeing you walk down the hallway was really something. I thought Susan was one of the luckiest girls in school to have you for a dad. Mind you I was in middle school and you were one of the town celebrities : )

  5. Donna Jensen says:

    Doug, don’t let anyone’s rudeness cause you to stay home. Try some place else for an evening out. Anyone who would be belligerent is just trying to drag you down to their level. All of your hometown people are so proud of you and what you have done with your life. You have accomplished having a great career, many friends, raising 2 beautiful daughters and finding the love of your life and holding on to her. You are great at putting your thoughts on paper, MCing any event, and singing. Your talents are many. Be proud of who you are-your friends are.

  6. Joanie says:

    Someone said to us many years ago, “you don’t have to explain anything to your friends, and your
    enimies would’nt understand anyway”

  7. Joanie says:

    And, oh by the way, we love you just the way you are!!!!

  8. Gary says:

    Doug, you were the best and still are.

  9. Larry Budahl says:

    Doug, you and Linda are two really great people, and I feel blessed to know you guys. Its hard dealing with the clods out there, thats one reason i dont go listen to music in the bars much. Love your blog, Keep writing!

  10. Doug Lund says:

    Well, in re-reading this I can see that it appears as though I’m inviting you all to a Lund pity party. That’s certainly not the case..just venting some frustrations, I suppose, over that unfortunate encounter Saturday evening. Believe me I’m more than aware of and thankful for the blessings I’ve had both past and present and quite comfortable in my ample skin. But thank you anyway for the boost up. Now, if somebody could only help me figure out why Hemmingsen and I unconsciously keep showing up late and unprepared (sans clothes) for a job we no longer have.

  11. Gary W says:

    The old anxiety dream. Quite common as I understand.Some speculate they are in response to whatever stress one may have on one’s daily life. Mine often involve having a playing gig and not having time to set up the equipment, not knowing the words to a song, not having my drumsticks (unusual since I played guitar the last 30 years) etc. And I still have occasional dreams about not being prepared for a college test, or having forgotten to go to class for most of a semester. That’s 40+ years behind me. Anyway, since you and Mr. H shared a career and common experience, similar dreams may not be unusual.

  12. fred says:

    I hope it means your both going to be on the air again even though you may be senile.

  13. Doug Lund says:

    Thanks, Gary W. Your anxiety dream theory makes sense. Hey, I remember when you played the drums at that little triangle shaped bar below the viaduct and it seems like only yesterday.

  14. grouse says:

    If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, always make sure that the musicians you’re listening to were never associated with the Trashmen! I’m betting that one of those musicians either worked with the band, or has positive genetic markers. Did the walking talking rectum apologize just to you or to the whole crowd. Hopefully you got his name. Sue the bastard. Your ship has come in.

  15. Hemmingsen says:

    First of all, as for being on the air again, we’re too old for KELO and too young for 60 Minutes.
    An old friend with whom I started in TV in Austin, Minnesota, when Spam was a canned meat instead of a computer plague, tells me he has the same dream as do several other of his former co-horts. Must be aliens. The worst part of mine is that…even in the dream…I know I’m retired and don’t know why the hell I’m still doing the news. Usually, toward the end, I tell off the manager and walk out, with or without my pants or tie.

  16. Paul says:

    Every old DJ has the dream of the record ending and the next record is not cued up.

  17. Suzan says:

    Actor’s nightmare…that’s what we call it in theatre. Mine is always about going back to college or some other theatre experience I had LONG ago, and there’s a performance reunion of some sort. Everyone but me knows exactly what’s going on and none of them understand how unprepared and terrified I am. I’m almost always in the wings just about to go onstage, but I have no clue what show or part I’m going to be doing. I wake up in a cold sweat!

  18. Harvey says:

    Doug, You and Steve are and always will be icons in the minds of thousands that you never see or even know personally. You can be and should be proud of your time on the air as you were genuine not ordinary but extraordinary in everything you did. I know what its like to be let down by events in life but in the balance what a time we had. Keep your spirits up, life is short, make the most of every day. Thats what I try to do. See you at the fair, hope we can spend a few moments. Harvey Wollman

  19. Jean (Knutson) Hetlet says:

    Hi Doug!! About being late in your dreams, here is what it means. No matter how old or out of shape or whatever we are or get, your being late in your dreams is telling you that your trip to the Great Heaven will also be LATER!!! So you see that your may as well just sit back and enjoy your life. Just take joy in knowing that your time will come, BUT you will be late (and maybe naked like you were when you got here!!).

    Love your blogs!!!
    Jean

  20. Dee Dee says:

    You should have asked that “guy” if that was back in the good old days when he used to be a female! We too find ourselves staying in more & more on weekends. Better company.

  21. Sweeps says:

    Hemmingsen says you’re too old for KELO and too young for 60 Minutes. Personally, I really REALLY wish KELO would find more seasoned newscasters. There’s two or three that are really good, there’s more than that who haven’t learned how to wing it, can’t read the teleprompter, and just don’t have a very pleasant voice. Now the weathercasters? That’s an entirely different story. They’re top notch, as far as I’m concerned!

  22. marilyn says:

    Good Morning Doug and Linda, Enjoyed your blog, also great to see Steve on the blog also. Take good care of yourself and always remember the good things our parents taught to us. Enjoyed seeing your picture of your dad on facebook. Imagine raising three boys!! Blessings and friendship!!

  23. Will Prines says:

    Doug, Sorry to hear about your brush with the ignoramus downtown. Maybe I should say, that ignor-anus! I hope you know that there are far more people who like and respect you than might have been in evidence that night. You’re one of the good guys. Jerks like that guy – just fahgeddaboutem. Hope you and Linda are doing well, otherwise, my friend. :)

  24. Ann says:

    You and Steve are too young for 60 Minutes, but how about renting an RV for a few months and traveling/doing stories ala Kuralt? Wouldn’t that be fun? Put together 10-13 episodes, sell it as a mid-season replacement and sit back and enjoy the benefits. You could probably find enough characters in the tri-state area so you wouldn’t have to be gone long. :) If the network wouldn’t buy it, KELO certainly should!

    BTW, my anxiety dream (which, thankfully I haven’t had in a while, knock on wood) is forgetting the combination to my junior high locker and not being able to retrieve my books and notes for a test. YIKES!

  25. George says:

    Keep the blogs coming Doug! I look forward to reading of your adventures and the interesting and not so interesting people that cross your path. Now if you can convince KELO to bring Steve’s blogs back that would be great. I miss hearing his views and adventures!

  26. Ed says:

    Doug:

    You and Steve, Jim, and Dave,were an amazing team for KELO. In my opinion they will never have a team like that again.

    I really look forward to your blogs. As a former Alcester resident, your family ties have brought back a flood of memories over the past months. Keep the blogs coming, and don’t let a few people ruin an enjoyable evening.

  27. Patches says:

    You’re active and growing old gracefully Doug which i know from experience is hard to do as gravity sucks. Great to see the pic of Steve, glad you got to have a nice visit. I wish you two would write a book! How about you two doing an occasional tv show about human interest stories, the kindness of others, volunteerism, and stuff like that? Pay it forward and Good begets good … (most of the time.)

  28. Hemmingsen says:

    Speaking for myself, Patches, I’m too lazy.

  29. howsitgoinn says:

    I am glad I clicked on this story, thanks for sharing it.
    life is good.

  30. GMAX9 says:

    Loved Dee Dee’s comeback to the ‘walking talking rectum’. How come people think drunkenness excuses all sorts of bad behavior? I’ve always thought that if you behave that way drunk you probably don’t behave much better sober.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, keep on being who you’ve always been. Especially keep on writing this blog – would really miss it if it disappeared.

  31. Charlie Smith says:

    My Anxiety dream: It’s almost end of semester and there was one class I forgot to ever attend.

  32. grouse says:

    I have that same dream Charlie. It happens about once a year and classes are over. Someone tells me about the upcoming test at the student union center…I pull out the long forgotten text book and attempt to cram. It’s only 15 minutes until test time. Then I wake up. Then I usually have to pee. By the time that’s over, the dream is forgotten until the next time the dream surfaces.

  33. Bonnie says:

    Doug and Steve (if you read the comments)

    I miss both of you on KELO, those were the days. And as for going out and having some stupid confrontation, to H with that. Several years ago, I was sick and lost a bunch of weight. I didn’t want to, it just happened. Well, I got some rather nasty comments about being so thin!!! Can’t please everybody. I’ve gained most of it back and don’t hear a word!

    I do need to relate a story Doug. Years ago (and I mean years!) you dropped in to the Turkey Raffle in neighboring town to Volga and ended up helping calling bingo numbers. I wasn’t there but my mother was. She LOVED it!! She talked about it often, she passed away in 1989 and I wish I could have her tell the story one more time. Take care.

  34. Mary C Der Hagopian says:

    Steve, please don’t call yourself lazy. I, too, lost a son and it takes a LOT more energy to just do ordinary things, because a lot of the joys in life die when one loses a child. Be kind to yourself.

  35. Hemmingsen says:

    No, Mary. I’m just lazy.

  36. Emma says:

    Steve – gotta love your honesty!

  37. Paula B says:

    I’ve always believed that people who try to ridicule, or put others down, do it out of their own insecurities. And that’s what that guy was doing!! And that is a sad way for people to live their lives. You were always great on KELO and we still love hearing your voice today. No matter the subject about which you are talking, just hearing your voice makes me smile!!! Best to you and Linda!

  38. Jeni says:

    I tell people that I have not seen in a while that I am a S.O.G.s

    S.lower, O.lder, G.rayer, and a little s.horter.

    Doug, there is one great thing about being a SOGs, we have reached the point in our lives that if people don’t like us by now, they never will, and those who don’t like us, well, it just doesn’t matter.

  39. Hemmingsen says:

    Are you still writing? This one’s been soaking longer than a Bering Sea crab trap during a storm.

  40. Carrie Ackerman-Rice says:

    go fishing..both of you…..it refreshes the soul.

  41. Hemmingsen says:

    I don’t have a soul. I’m sure if I did, I would be taking pills for it…just like the heart I didn’t know I had.

  42. Tom Lawrence says:

    Mickey Mantle often spoke of having a similar dream after he retired, of being late for a game and unable to get on the field.
    It is about anxiety and a sense of loss, both of job and sense of self.
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1189583-mickey-mantles-recurring-bad-dream-that-never-ended
    Frankly, i often look forward to retirement, when dreams pester me but deadlines do not. Then i wake up and head to work …

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