Author Archive - Doug Lund

Autumn Rising

Posted: Sunday, August 2, 2015 at 8:03 am
By: Doug Lund
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No matter how hard he tries, our old friend and long time Keloland TV anchor, Steve Hemmingsen, just can’t resist sitting down to the nearest keyboard to record his observations…his spin..on things. For years, people figured his vision was focused primarily on news of the day and politics but those of us who’ve known Steve a little more personally..well, as personally, as anybody can know him, have come to appreciate his take on music, art, humor and love of the language. So with Steve’s permission, I’m sharing a recent bit of prose he shared with his e-mail friends this past week.

I wax poetic about fall every year, probably because it’s my favorite season.

The boats and paraphernalia of summer are safely rolled up on the lawn or tucked away in the garage, immune from the occasional savage winds that surround the solstice and the ambiguous rise and fall of lake levels.

As an old farm boy on Public TV describes it, in our part of the country, all seasons are nothing but a build-up to winter survival.  My brother-in-law in the North Woods spends all summer chopping wood to burn all winter until next spring when the whole cycle starts again, the bracing for bracing for another winter in the recliner and 500 channels of mind-wrecking cable TV.

But, I’m ahead of myself.  None of these things have happened yet, except for the chopping of the wood.

I do think fall is ahead of itself this year.  As I write this, and let the record show that it’s July 29, I proclaim this the first day of fall.  It started last night when I noticed the sun fading at 9:30 instead of 10:30 as I read my Kindle on the deck.  And the sun seemed lower this morning, more at eye level. propelled through my windows by a brisk West Northwest wind.  I probably wouldn’t have noted any of the above except for the dry rustle of the cottonwood leaves; a crisp noise I swear wasn’t there yesterday even though we’ve had three inches of rain in the last few days.  At least not audible to the human ear.  Now, a dog’s ear is a different story.

I’m sure Cockleburr, my faithful black Lab (mostly) of 10 years, noticed all this way before I did.cocklebur

She’s been shedding windrows of hair for weeks…and just acting weird, although with her it’s difficult to differentiate between “normal” weird and “seasonal” weird.

Or maybe it’s just because I moved “her” couch to the garage.  Or maybe we are headed for an early fall and winter, but it might not be a bad winter since an El Nino is forming in the Pacific.

And you know what that means for us.  Wait a minute; what does it mean?  I think I’ll go with El Cockleburr and El Cottonwoods and guess at an early fall.

But, I say this every year.  I actually like the rattling of the now-mature leaves that,  just weeks ago, were mint-colored sprigs of spring, semaphoring the coming of our always-too-sort summers here on the 9,999th of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes, out here on Minnesota’s western frontier

Cecil And Desist

Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 4:01 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I’m not a hunter.

Oh, in my younger days I gave pheasant hunting a shot.(See what I did there?) But I was really lousy at it and of the few ringnecks I did bring down, most were only wounded which meant I had to wring their neck; a ghastly procedure of spinning the poor creature around in circles like a lariat until they were dead and vomit had formed in my mouth.

My dad, on the other hand, loved to hunt..and not just pheasants and waterfowl.

In his gun cabinet was a lever action 30-30 Winchester rifle he’d bring out whenever his big game hunting buddies would call to go after deer in the Wisconsin woods or Antelope in Western South Dakota.

We have home movies of the big buck the old man bagged on one of those Wisconsin outings. He was so proud that he spent money we probably couldn’t afford to have the head mounted and, I’m sure he planned to display it in the living room of our new house in Volga but that’s the one time I remember mom putting her foot down. No sir. Not by a jug full.” she said.

So, that mangy stag head wound up hanging just inches away from my nose on the wall next to the top bunk in our bedroom which I shared with my two brothers throughout our youth.

Now..I mention this to emphasize that while I don’t understand the joy people get out of hunting…I did love my dad and I do have a lot of good friends and family members who take part in what they consider to be sport.  I’ve always been okay with taking game for food but never understood the “thrill of the kill” or making the kill more challenging with more primitive weaponry.

Well, now, the shooting of an African Lion with a bow and arrow by a Minnesota Dentist on paid safari has..thanks to the internet..gotten people around the world in an absolute uproar calling for his head on a platter. Dr. Walt Palmer claims he had no idea that the lion named Cecil had apparently been lured off the national reserve by his guides and he’s really sorry.

But it’s too late for explanations and apologies, of course. People are in the mood for a hangin’.

Here are just a few LOCAL comments I copied from Facebook:

“He’s in MN somewhere. Let’s go torture him.”

“He needs to be hunted like the boss on 9 to 5.

“Everyone that does this for fun, should be hunted “for fun” by us. Bwahahaha”

“He should be mauled to death by cats, just sayin’”

And there are dozens and dozens more..all of which I find disturbing and so should you I would think.

As I said..I am among those who just don’t get guys like Dr. Palmer or Ted Nugent or Teddy Roosevelt for that matter.  But to wish them to die in the same manner as the animals they kill is beyond justifiable..and frankly, a bit scary.  An old friend and former colleague, Lee Swanson, offered this comment following a string of others openly threatening the dentist: “More than 600 lions are killed by hunters every year. Maybe if they all had names the outrage would be well-placed.”

When my wife and two little girls first moved to Sioux Falls in 1969, about the only entertainment we could afford was to go visit the city parks on Sundays and sometimes head over to West Sioux Hardware to see the amazing collection of exotic animals put on display by the store owner and big game hunter, Henry Brockhouse.

The great white hunter himself..Henry Brockhouse

The great white hunter himself..Henry Brockhouse

There must have been 150 animals of all sizes from all over the world that Brockhouse had not only paid to kill but to have mounted by some of the best taxidermists in the country.

I have lots of memories from our many visits there. One in particular made me laugh. A guy with his son perched on his shoulders said to his toddler with a noticeable note of sarcasm while viewing the menagerie; “Brian..can you say dead as a door-nail?”

I also remember my own daughters being impressed by the ferocious looking big cats and bears but then asking why did the man have to kill the little deer or the giraffe or the ostrich? I didn’t have an answer other than to suppose Henry was just one of those thrill of the kill fellas who liked trophies.

The animals while still at West Sioux

The animals while still at West Sioux

Everybody was wondering what would become of the Brockhouse collection after he died in the late 70’s but that mystery was solved when it was purchased by his attorney, C.J. Delbridge for three quarters of a million dollars and given to the city on condition it be made part of the Great Plains Zoo and his name be attached.

So that’s how the whole Zoo revamping project began and when things really started to change and grow.

Delbridge Museum today.

Delbridge Museum today.

It’s probably safe to say that the Zoo owes much of its success to The Delbridge Museum of Natural History which features the same animals that Ol’ Henry shot on his many safaris years ago.

It’s the first thing you see when you go inside the front door.

I suppose you don’t have to look.

Just head for the door to your left  and enjoy those animals that aren’t dead as a door-nail.

A Not So Empty Nest

Posted: Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 4:24 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I have the curtains drawn in my man-cave window which is kind of a pain because I’m used to sitting here at the computer each morning with a clear view as I continue to look for a flash of red in the crab apple tree just outside. But I haven’t laid an eye on that bird in months.

Sadly, as I suspected, the excitement of seeing a cardinal appear on demand last August as a sign from my dead brother, has faded with the passage of time. The logical me is leaning now more towards coincidence than miracle.

But that’s not the reason I’ve chosen to darken my surroundings. It does, however,  have something to do with me and another of God’s fine feathered creatures.

First, some background.

We’re still paying the price for that ice storm that hit a year ago last April; fracturing so many fine trees in town including our two maples.  The one in our front yard was damaged so severely we probably should have just chopped it down. But we didn’t have the heart to see it go so instead, we paid a sizeable sum to have it trimmed to look as presentable as possible which isn’t much. In fact, the tree was so weakened by the storm we expect..and usually do…find a branch or two of various sizes on the front yard after every strong gust of wind.

Well, Miss Maple gave up a doozy the other night. It was all this old fat guy could do to drag it over to the drive-way where it needed to be cut into smaller pieces for the garbage man to accept.

Now, I have a garage full of useless tools including my dad’s old hand saw which is as dull as a set of dollar store steak knives. I also have a saw with a half-moon shaped blade bought at one of the marts for this very purpose. But the teeth are so ragged only a pumped-up lumber jack could muster the strength to just get a cut started much less saw all the way through.

So..what to do?  Our friend, Alona.. just up the street.. has a plug-in chain saw she’s been offering to let me use for years. Says it’s a piece of cake to operate..and she makes this statement knowing my history with most anything mechanical and penchant for turning easy jobs into hard ones; often inducing life and death situations. I.e.: screwdriver into live electrical outlet to remove broken plug pin.  But, I did agree to a quick lesson and headed home with her little buzz saw in the backseat ready to make chips fly where they may.

Alona did have one condition; Linda had to be present during its operation to call 911 in the not-so-remote possibility that I run the chain up my leg opening an important artery.

That didn’t happen and I made quick work of the fallen branch. Next it was on to a lilac tree that has gotten out of control with prickly little limbs low enough to make me duck and curse every time I mow.  I needed to round up enough power cords to make the saw reach but once there those gnarly sprigs were in a pile and no longer a threat to poke an eye out.

That left just one job yet to complete. The crab apple tree. It too has grown spiny branches straight downward that have become a pain to walk under and I was anxious to rid myself of them with this marvelous machine. But as I rounded the corner I let out an “aw s–t” under my breath. I had forgotten that one of the most offending branches contained a nest I’ve been watching this robin building for weeks and weeks.

It’s been quite entertaining to see her tirelessly bringing twigs and other stuff to the work site..cramming it into place..then heading off for more. There have been other birds up there too. I’m not sure if they’re helping or just a bunch of sidewalk superintendents.

I was curious one day last month and decided to try sneak a peek.


Needed a closer look.

Needed a closer look.

This was late June..empty.

This was late June..empty.

I sure don’t want to mess up all her hard work, I said to myself. But I sure want this tree trimmed.

I’ll just clip ahead of it.

Bad idea.

The wood of this tree is apparently a lot harder than the others because instead of a clean easy snip, the chain just churned against the branch shaking it violently. The next thing I know, the nest is on the ground.

Oh, great..what do I do now?

Well, I  managed to coax the saw through all of the other offending low limbs then returned to the fallen nest and wedged it back into the notch from whence it came..certain, of course, that the stories we’ve always heard are true about the how wild things will never return to something soiled by the scent and touch of man.

Well, I thought, I’m sorry to be a home wrecker just for my convenience but at least nobody had moved in yet.

The shortened branch and the nest replaced. I think securely but who knows?

The shortened branch and the nest replaced. I think securely but who knows?

Linda had been watering plants during all this drama and came over to check for any signs of blood on me and to help haul branches to the boulevard. That’s when she looked down and noticed what I hadn’t seen earlier.




As I was carrying the borrowed chainsaw back to the garage, I felt a pair of eyes on me from atop the neighbor’s roof and a mournful chirping sound aimed in my direction. robin 001

robin 006

It continued as she made the short flight to a wire just over my head until I went inside..sat down at my desk, pulled the shade and felt like sobbing.

Oh, come on Lund..what a wuss.  Do you know how few baby robins actually survive to Fall? Not many. You can look it up. You believe birds think? They’re bird brains. Good instincts..pretty to look at..but bird brains.

I know that, of course, but it was my callous impatience that ended any shot this one ever had of taking wing, being the first someone spots to welcome spring or perhaps providing entertainment for some other old fart watching from his window.

Right On Target

Posted: Friday, July 10, 2015 at 5:06 pm
By: Doug Lund
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It’s another Lund Travelogue.

But instead of photos and descriptions from far off lands like the missus and I used to visit and post about when hosting tours, we are back to the real world of “Stay-cations” which, as you know, is a made-up word for not having the money for fancy schmancy globe trotting and keeping what you spend close to the vest and where you go close to home. In our case, this time, that was Minneapolis, St. Paul and Stillwater, Minnesota with lots of small town stops along the way and on our return. When I say “our” that means long time friends and traveling companions, Denny and Joanie.

Our usual excuse for these getaways is the close proximity of our anniversaries and Denny’s birthday but this time we had extra incentive. More on that in a bit.

First, of course, is what vehicle do we take..which translates to..whose going to drive?  I, being the baby of the group, feel most qualified being statistically the farthest away from onset dementia. (Ah, boy..I’m gonna catch it for that.)

Actually, I don’t mind driving if for no other reason than to see how far we can push Big Red. He’s 15 now..but doesn’t look it because Lincoln still makes similar models for limos. One reason is because the body style is timeless but the main thing I think, is because the trunk is so dadgummed big. That’s a big deal for us too; loads of room for the girl’s make-up bags (kidding)  our coolers (not kidding)  golf clubs and a few suit cases.

Denny loading up Big Red's big trunk with room to spare..including the spare.

Denny loading up Big Red’s big trunk with room to spare..including the spare which we have left at home before figuring nobody gets a flat tire these days and we need the space.

Big Red now has over 182 thousand miles and has performed admirably and flawlessly both to the Black Hills in June and the Cities this past week. Oh, he decided to blow out a power window motor to the tune of 300 dollars just before departure but it wasn’t quite the dollar figure my insurance company would consider for the vehicle to be totaled so repair him I did.

And..we're off.

And..we’re off.   (please don’t make comments about the 1-SR license plate. Thank god we get new ones next year. Maybe I’ll just go ahead and order those that say geezer.

It was our conversation with Denny and Joan about what a joy it was attending the Lund family reunion in the Black Hills that got us talking about the importance of keeping in touch with the family we have left.

Joan was an only child and Denny has just one brother; Ron..ten years younger who he hasn’t seen in about that many years. They talk by phone occasionally and get along great but just don’t get together. “We really should do something about that.” I said to Denny..with the loss of my own brother still fresh in my mind.  Within, minutes, we were on the phone talking with Ron and his lovely wife Rhonda making plans to head East.

Our first overnight destination was Red Wing. Well, actually, Treasure Island Casino a few miles north of Red Wing. I have no pictures of that place although we left a few pictures of dead presidents there so the tribe could add on another smoker’s wing to the hotel and maybe buy a new bike rack for the school.

Somehow during the night and without my noticing, it managed to rain between four and five inches. Still, we trudged on into Red Wing where we enjoyed a fantastic breakfast and a quick tour of this historic town known for it’s pottery and work boots and then headed for St. Paul.

It turned out, there was still quite a bit of rain left in the clouds above and it came down in rather frightening intermittent torrents until we reached what some consider to be the more civilized of the Twins. Minnesota trip denny and joan 2015 002

Minnesota trip denny and joan 2015 007

Our first stop was the Minnesota State Capitol building which, like our nation’s capitol, is surrounded in scaffolding for repair work.Minnesota trip denny and joan 2015 021

So we drove around the streets of St. Paul for a while and it’s nice. I loved seeing the Fitzgerald Theater where Garrison Keillor does so many “Prairie Home Companion” shows..and the real diner just down the street where a couple scenes from his movie were shot. Then it’s off to the tech heavy metropolitan sports lovin’ happin’ other Twin..Minneapolis where our plan was to see the downtown..find a place to stay..catch the light rail to Target Field for the 7pm game.  I’d heard that our old favorite Nye’s Polynesian Room restaurant and lounge had given in to pressure from customers and fans and decided to remain open until January of 2016 so I thought we’d cross the bridge and have a drink there. luck..closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. So as I was frustratingly headed north looking for a place to turn around we came across a place called “Legends Bar and Grill” where they make Bloody Mary drinks that…well, see for yourself.

Joanie came back from the Lady's room to discover about a quart size jar filled with a delicious Bloody Mary mix that included a rib of celery, a dill pickle a Slim Jim, two large olives, a big shrimp on a stick, celery salt on the rim and a pony beer chaser. We just had one..but boy was it gooood.

Joanie came back from the Lady’s room to discover about a quart size jar filled with a delicious Bloody Mary mix that included a rib of celery, a dill pickle a Slim Jim, two large olives, a big shrimp on a stick, celery salt on the rim and a pony beer chaser. We just had one..but boy was it gooood.

minnesota trip linda bm

Oh..there was a pepper in there too.  We also talked to a nice couple who lived in the area. We asked them for ideas about a place to stay. It turns out he was originally from Sioux Falls and recognized me from TeeVee and she was from Lake Hendricks. We decided their ideas were a little spendy so we stuck with our original plan and drove all the way out to the Mall of America where we got a Super 8 at a reasonable rate then headed over..parked the car and jumped aboard the train for the 40 minute light rail ride to the stadium. I absolutely loved it.


The train drops you just a short walk from the gate. For us..our seats were only a few steps away. In and out was a breeze.

The train drops you just a short walk from the gate. For us..our seats were only a few steps away. In and out was a breeze.

I love everything about Target field from the cleverly hidden lights to the old timey feel of the place where you’re not overwhelmed. It’s just great..even if the cost of refreshments is as high as Dozier’s walk-off home run.IMG_20150706_220006_229



Tuesday, it was off to Stillwater; Minnesota’s oldest city(okay arguably)  located on the shores of the St. Croix River. It’s a beautiful little town filled with “quaintness”… antique shops, cafes, etc which draws summer tourists like mosquitoes but can make less patient people than me slightly aggravated trying to negotiate traffic or parking. Thankfully, Denny’s brother, Ron lives on a beautiful acreage outside of town and was waiting with open arms when we pulled in.  What a joy to see these two..who look alike, talk alike and have nearly identical mannerisms..reconnect before our very eyes. Then Rhonda came home from her job at 3M where she’s worked for some 35 years..which is about how old she looks. Anyway, it was just perfect and so was the evening meal at The Docks in town.

Brothers Ron and Denny Graves. Joan and Rhonda Graves.

Brothers Ron and Denny Graves. Joan and Rhonda Graves.

Ron and Rhonda treated us to some delicious dining at the Docks along the gentle St. Croix.

Ron and Rhonda treated us to some delicious dining at the Docks along the gentle St. Croix.

You won't find a finer gentleman than my longtime pal, Denny Graves.

You won’t find a finer gentleman than my longtime pal, Denny Graves.

As we were finishing our meals, several hot air balloons took off from the Wisconsin side of the river.  Later on the way home..all packed into Ron’s SUV as he was showing us where the famous Stillwater prisons were located..we saw a shadow pass over and several of those balloons were coming in for a landing right next to us. Everybody said wasn’t that something..but nobody thought to take a picture.

Heading home via the backroads on Wednesday, we came across this old truck which once hauled cargo near and dear to the hearts of my cousin Grouse and old friend, Grant Peterson. According to Google, Mike’s Lutefisk sold out to Olsen’s Fish Co. about ten years ago. I do not share their enthusiasm for this traditional Scandinavian cod and even though one probably hadn’t ridden in this truck for many years I wasn’t about to get anywhere close to the truck knowing the offensive effluvia that still might linger from previous seepage.Minnesota trip denny and joan 2015 028Speaking of old friends, we were too close to Hendricks, Minnesota not to pay a call on Steve Hemmingsen. Actually, I had called him early enough so he could run some Bon Ami through the toilet. We arrived shortly after four and Steve was just finishing up the yard aboard his red riding hood mower. I’m not sure of the brand but it looked powerful. It was fun, especially for the girls, to see the results of Steve’s woodworking skills..from furniture to furnishings in and around the house he’s built himself along the lake shore over the last four decades.

Steve's latest chair project.

Steve’s latest chair project.

Then it was off for a ride around the lake aboard the pontoon christened “Stevie” with Captain Hemmingsen at the helm. Oh, what fun.Minnesota trip denny and joan 2015 033

Minnesota trip denny and joan 2015 034The only thing that could make the day or our little staycation any better was a meal at Cedrics on Main..owned by another former Volga guy, Jonathan Lengkeek.  Not only has he created a fine drinking and dining establishment..he’s transformed the upstairs of the building..which was once the Opera House..into his personal living quarters.  Steve asked if he’d give us the tour after dinner and..well..take a look.

That's Jon at his dining room table which sits on the old dance floor or seating area of the theater. The stage is off to his right. It's now where his hi tech kitchen resides.

That’s Jon at his dining room table which sits on the old dance floor or seating area of the theater. The stage is off to his right. Yes, Lawrence Welk did play on that very stage. It’s now where his  modern hi tech kitchen resides.

This is looking the other way. I took a lot of pictures but you'd have to see it for yourself.

This is looking the other way. The dance floor is now divided by this bar and cabinet  I took a lot of pictures but you’d have to see it for yourself.

And so, we’re home. Linda has the bags unpacked and I have a few days trying to sort through the photos taken from my phone and new camera then try figure out how to put them all onto the computer.. download onto a flash drive..or e-mail them in a group.

I’ll tell ya, there’s just no rest for us retired guys.

Fragrance Of The Fourth

Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2015 at 9:09 am
By: Doug Lund
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Back by popular request (my own) I’m sharing a favorite blog first written five years ago. Yes, another summer re-run but offered with sincere hopes that you have a grand holiday and a request to be careful out there in your celebrating.

I see that the fireworks stands are open for business again. It’s a pretty short season for those guys to sell their inventories and make a few bucks and I hope they have a bang up year but I’m afraid I won’t be one of their customers. I’ve already seen too much of my money go up in smoke on the stock market.

As a kid, though, I couldn’t wait for this day so I could blow any money I could scrape together on firecrackers.. often by whining to my mother and making promises I wouldn’t keep.

firecracker zebra

I’d peddle my bike up to the Skelly station right across Highway 14 which had laid in a  nifty supply of Roman candles, fountains, rockets, smoke bombs, black snakes, sparklers, lady fingers and fire crackers; LOTS of firecrackers. I can still see them now; piles of colorful packages with bright labels from exotic mysterious China. They came in various sizes and lots of different brand names: Thunder Bomb, Red Devil, Zebra, Wolf Pack and, of course, the more reliable but also more expensive, Black Cats.

I think what I remember most about those days leading up to and including the 4th were the smells.

After the guy at Skelly’s put my purchases, which also included one box each of sparklers and black snakes into a brown paper bag along with a couple free punks, I got my first whiff of black powder compressed into each little tube.

“Don’t you be setting those off anywhere near the building,” the Skelly’s guy said, “This is a gas station. The whole place could go up.”

Mom gave me pretty much the same warning when I got home but I headed straight for the gas stove, turned on a burner and held a punk in the flame until wisps of smoke arose and the aroma of burnt cork filled the kitchen. A couple of quick blows on the end to make sure it was properly lit, then I grabbed my paper bag filled with explosives and out the front door to make some noise.

“You be careful,” mom said, “remember what happened to Denny.”

My older brother had tried to blow his fingers off by holding a Silver Salute too long. It went off about six inches from his hand which caused poor mom to nearly faint when he came home and she saw it wrapped in a blood soaked rag. He sill bears the scars of his foolish bravado.

I sat on the steps opening the first of four firecracker packs; carefully unwinding the strand that weaves around the fuses holding the whole bunch together. I grab one, set it on the sidewalk then touch the punk’s glowing tip to the fuse. Oh, the excitement when it ignites with a hissing sound then eats it’s way back to the business end of the explosive and BANG it  goes off with a report loud enough to draw the attention of neighbor kids who come running over to watch the show.

As my audience grows, I become braver with each firecracker until I hardly run away at all. But then, as quickly as it began, it’s over. All that remain are a few duds so I lay each cylinder flat on the cement, snap them in half until a little powder falls out and light the middle. Sometimes they ignite and twirl around like a runaway water hose and if you slam the heel of your shoe on them just right they still give off a little pop. Most of the time, though, it’s just a fizzle.

I once took one of those duds apart and was amazed to discover that the insides of firecrackers were made from shreds of Chinese newspapers. What an odd thing to see ..printing in a language that uses drawings instead of letters.

fireworks snakeI tried to keep the neighborhood kids interested by setting off a few black snakes that start out looking like a rabbit pellet but when extreme heat is applied will erupt into snaky coils of  carbon that emit a pungent burning tar-like odor. They also leave big black circles on the sidewalk which riled my mother too.

But after dark, I do remember her sitting on the front step watching with delight as my brothers and I lit sparkers that burned so brightly they left a trail of light when we’d swing them around making big circles or writing our names.sparklers

Funny, as I think about it now, she worried about firecrackers but didn’t bat an eye at our holding on to welding rods throwing a shower of red hot sparks inches from our little noses.

I do recall that an ice cube and one of her kisses was a pretty good remedy for the pain of a burned finger.

Reunited And It Feels So Good

Posted: Friday, June 26, 2015 at 12:16 pm
By: Doug Lund
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After the recently completed Lund Family Reunion at Palmer Gulch in South Dakota’s Black Hills, I now know what it would REALLY be like to go back and live in the “good” old days..and it is both wonderful and extremely frustrating.

First, the wonderful part; all the direct descendants of Harry and Gladys Lund (my parents) and extended three grandkids..were there. An amazing accomplishment since travel arrangements from Hawaii, Arizona, California, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and eastern South Dakota were..shall we say.. interesting and complicated which only delights me to think how determined everyone was to make it.

Great Faces Great Places

Great Faces Great Places

The accommodations didn’t quite measure up to the expectations promised but they were clean and..after agreeing to make the best of it, everybody made do and kept the joy up throughout our stay..rain or shine..which included a little of both all four days.  It was every family for themselves during the day; traveling to all the tourist destinations..but in the early evening, we’d rendezvous back at our circle of cabins where easy meals had been planned and prepared ahead of time followed by conversations, a bon fire with smores, adult beverages and songs.  Oh what joy!

Daughter Patty and Mom Linda

Daughter Patty and Mom Linda

Even Uncle Jay joined some of the kids climbing the rock in our back yard.  He was also looking for a phone signal and found one.

Even Uncle Jay joined some of the kids climbing the rock in our back yard. He was also looking for a phone signal and found one.

Daddy Tucker Smith holds great grandson, Jack..the youngest reunion attendee.

Daddy Tucker Smith holds great grandson, Jack..the youngest reunion attendee.

Everything came together like I hoped and prayed it would; especially seeing all the kid cousins just connecting and laughing and climbing the rocks and laughing and running and playing and laughing. It was worth it all. Then having Linda’s Brenda, James and Christy make the effort to be be real Lund’s for a week along with Tucker, Julia and great grandson Jack staying with us. I just can’t thank them enough.

Uncle Jay was like a magnet to the kids.

Uncle Jay was like a magnet to the kids.

James, Christy and Suzan with Linda and sister in law, Ilene in background

James, Christy and Suzan with Linda and sister in law, Ilene in background

Niece Kimberly's husband, Ryan turned out to be fine campfire guitarist. Niece Erin's husband, Tate a fine singer..but we were all fine singers after a while. What fun.

Niece Kimberly’s husband, Ryan turned out to be fine campfire guitarist. Niece Erin’s husband, Tate a fine singer..but we were all fine singers after a while. What fun.

So, mentioned frustrating??

Well, Palmer Gulch doesn’t really advertise that if you need to make a phone call, you have to drive to Hill City..same with getting reliable WiFi service. Oh, I know the purpose of staying at a Black Hills resort is getting away from it all but when you have so many people whose business depends on their keeping in touch, vacation or not,  and phone calls that are expected to be made and received, it’s just not terribly realistic to be isolated in the 21st century.

Even for a blogger who promised to send some pictures.

This joyful week wouldn’t have happened without the persistence of my sister-in-law, Judy Lund and, while there were several tearful toasts offered up to her husband, my brother, Denny, who died last August. There were even more stories told about his unbelievable life that brought laughs so hard the tears rolled too. Thanks Judy.

Matriarch, Judy Lund..the organizer..who also hand made beautiful necklaces for all the grown-up girls.

Matriarch, Judy Lund..the organizer..who also hand made beautiful necklaces for all the grown-up girls.

It’s up to the grandkids to plan the next one.

I can’t wait.

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Lund’s

Posted: Saturday, June 13, 2015 at 12:10 am
By: Doug Lund
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Look out Black Hills..thar’s a whole herd a Lund’s a headin’ your way and we’re fixin’ to do up all the touristy things you can put in front of us.

Lund family vacation 1948. (L-R) Grandpa Ole Lund, Grandma Bertha Lund, Mom Gladys. Brother Denny and Me down front 1948 I think. Dad Harry would be taking the photo.

Lund family vacation 1948. (L-R) Grandpa Ole Lund, Grandma Bertha Lund, Mom Gladys. Brother Denny and Me and me down front.  Dad Harry would be taking the photo. Brother Tommy wasn’t born yet.

As I write this, it’s late on Friday night June 12th and I’m supposed to have Big Red’s trunk all packed and ready to go so Linda, our granddaughter, Ella, and me can be headed West by 7 in the morning. We need to be in Rapid City to meet up with Desert Daughter Christy who flew in to Rapid from Arizona and son, James from Oakland, California last evening.

Also on the road in the morning will be daughter Suzan, husband Joe and granddaughter Zoey from Lincoln in one car along with daughter Patty, granddaughter, Allison and grandson Michael of Sioux Falls in another. Daughter Brenda and her beau Bob of Crooks will be in their RV and bringing the Harley. Grandson, Tucker, Julia and great grandson Jack are heading West too. We’ll all be rendezvousing at Palmer Gulch resort where my kid brother from South Carolina, Tom Lund, his wife, Ilene their three kids, Kim from Hawaii with her husband Ryan and three youngen’s. Bradley from Atlanta with wife Susan and three daughters and Erin from Chattanooga with her husband Tate and three beautiful little ones arrived Thursday so should have a good start on the reunion.

Also hitting the road Saturday are my sister-in-law, Judy of Sioux Falls along with son, Mitch, wife Jody and three of their kids, Joey, Nichole, and Tyler. Plus Denny and Judy’s other boy, Jayden Lund from Hollywood rounds out the group.


I know that listing all those names and lineages sounds like the beginning of the Bible with all the boring begats..but I wanted to give you a sense of how getting this thing to actually come to fruition has been sort of miraculous.

It’s not the first time we’ve done this.

For many years, whenever the three Lund brothers and our wives have talked during  quick trips home, the discussion always came around to how sad it was so many of our kids and grandkids live so far apart they’ve really not had a chance to get to know their aunts, uncles and cousins. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could arrange a Lund family reunion?

Well, it finally happened 3 years ago, when Tom and Ilene invited everybody to their new lake home in the beautiful woods of South Carolina. Somehow we all managed to round up enough money for the flight to Greenville and had one of the most memorable few days of our lives.

Two new kids will be added this time.

Two new kids will be added this time.

Linda and I had never met any of Tom and Ilene’s grandkids. When it was time to return home, it was like saying goodbye to our own.

Tom, Denny Doug

Tom, Denny Doug

Everyone agreed that we must do this again and it wasn’t long before Judy and Denny were making plans for the gathering to which we now go.

As long as everybody wanted to visit the Hills, I suggested we look into leasing a bus and having Denny the bus driver do the honors behind the wheel. We laughed at the idea but didn’t totally rule it out either.

Then, Denny’s heart arrhythmia started giving him fits again; losing energy losing weight.

We all talked like everything was still a go for the reunion but the way my brother appeared to be wasting away, I think we all were wondering if he’d be up for the trip.

Well, as most of you know, he didn’t make it. The patriarch of the Lund family did have a reunion of sorts last August as so many of us gathered around his hospital bedside..made roomier after the nurse, at his request, disconnected all the noisy machines; rolling them to the side..leaving only the morphine drip that would soon send him painlessly off to his maker. “I love you all” was what he said bringing sobs from those of us unable to comprehend life without him.

I initially thought that Denny’s death would put the kibosh on this Black Hills assembly but on the contrary, everybody was 100% in favor of going forward. In fact, it’s become like a quest and a tribute to his memory.

The forecast is calling for rain Monday and Tuesday. No matter, I’m just anxious to see all those loveable Lund’s sharing lots of memories, loads of laughs and maybe a few tears but most of all just the joy of sitting back to watch and listen as the next generation of kids get to know each other and, hopefully learn the importance of family forever.

I’ll likely be close to a WiFi and will post a few pictures of this it mayhem or monumental so check back soon.

A League Of Her Own

Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 4:17 pm
By: Doug Lund
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Well, I’ll be doggoned.

As I write this, the Minnesota Twins..given little or no chance of being anything but an also-ran..kind of embarrassing..Major League team again this season, has caused fan’s jaws to drop as new Skipper and former Twins’ player, Paul Molitor, has lived up to his old nickname “The Ignitor” and lit a fire on the early slumping team to where they now have the best record in the American League and top of their division.

Of course, I and all Twins’ fans know they’re likely to crumble into obscurity before long..but we can dream can’t we? Dream  that God will smile down upon us with another miracle season and World Series Championship like 1987 and  1991.

Nay..Methinks the prayerful pleadings from Chicagoland  are much too strong and wouldst there be another Divine intervention it would surly fall down upon the field of Wrigley before re-Targeting the land of ten thousand lakes.

Speaking of baseball.

Isn’t there something in the rule book about uniform uniformity?

Let’s start with baseball caps.

On the left..that is wrong. On the right..that is right. Questions?

On the left..that is wrong.
On the right..that is right.

For heaven’s sake; the baseball diamond is a place for players to represent their TEAM..not to express their individuality with a personal fashion statement.

Stop it, I say.

Put your cap on straight. Bend the bill like God intended and find those colored stirrups to go with the pants half or all the way up the calf.

This is the correct way to wear baseball pants and socks.

This is the correct way to wear baseball pants and socks.

This is as if you have something to a police ankle bracelet.

This is as if you have something to a police ankle bracelet.


Here endeth the lesson

Now just a minute..I’ll be right back, there are some kids on the yard that need a talking to.

I did lots of stories on baseball during my time at Keloland TV.

My favorite, I think, was when the movie “A League Of Their Own” came out in 1992 about a league of women professional baseball players formed to take up the slack when so many Major League men players got called up to World War II. The film starred Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Rosey O’Donnell and directed by Penny Marshall. I thought it was very good except for the whiny younger sister to Davis’ character. Lord she was annoying.aggie league of own

Anyway, it came to my attention that a woman who played in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League was living in Sioux Falls.

And that’s how I met Agnes Allen.

Agnes Allen holding an official All American Girls Professional Baseball league ball during our interview in 1992.

Agnes Allen holding an official All American Girls Professional Baseball league ball during our interview in 1992.

Aggie grew up on an Alvord, Iowa farm..just a few miles east of the South Dakota border.  Sadly, her mother died when Aggie was just 11 so she was greatly influenced by her dad and older brothers who were baseball players. It turns out Aggie was a natural. She had a blistering fast ball and wicked curve. Her dad spent hours and hours teaching her the basics of the game but when Aggie turned 19 in 1950, and they heard about the All American Girl’s Professional Baseball League tryouts in Rockford, Illinois, he had reservations about letting his little girl go. He finally relented..deciding the experience would be a positive one and urged his daughter to calm her nerves..even providing a “Hoosiers” like pep talk with a reminder that the game is the same; it’s all about throwing and hitting and catching..nothing she’s not used to.  It turns out he was right. After screening about 100 players, the scouts were impressed enough with Aggie’s arm during the three day tryout and she was called up to play for the “Springfield Sallies.”  aggie in uniform use this Although, Aggie held her own on the ball field, she recalled feeling inferior to the other girls when the games were over.

Here's Aggie (top left) after she joined the Kalamazoo Lassies were she spent most of her four year career.

Here’s Aggie (top left) after she joined the Kalamazoo Lassies were she spent most of her four year career.

I was pretty shy, not very worldly and certainly not much to look at, she said. But, it turns out the other players were having pretty much the same feelings..especially being homesick. It wasn’t long before they made the most of those long grueling bus rides from town to town by singing songs and enjoying the fix they all shared.

No doubt the biggest thrill of Aggie’s professional baseball career was the chance to play a three inning exhibition game against the Chicago Colleens at Yankee Stadium in New York to help promote the league.   Can you imagine, this Northwest, Iowa farm girl strutting out to the mound of the most famous Major League ball park in the country to pitch in actual competition?   She confessed to me that she was so nervous she hardly remembers the experience. Especially disconcerting was the fact she was going to have to throw five and a half feet farther..the difference from the rubber to home plate in a Major League park.  But she settled in and even though the Colleens won the game, she got to meet the likes of Casey Stengel, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio and a bunch of other New York Yankees who she remembered as being, “really nice.”

Aggie later signed with the Kalamazoo Lassies where she stayed for most of the next three seasons..including her best in 1953 when she went 10 and 9 with a 3.7 earned run average.

Aggie (far left middle row) in her final year with the Lassies and the league.

Aggie (far left middle row) in her final year with the Lassies and the league.

But she could see the future of the league wasn’t looking too bright which is why she’d been going to college during the off seasons and by the time she’d hung up her cleats for the last time at the end of ’53, she had enough credits to start teaching physical education and later a life long career in physical therapy; retiring at the age of 69.vlcsnap-2015-06-01-13h11m55s176

It was clear that Agnes Allen was tickled to be giving interviews in connection with the movie “A League Of Their Own” not so much for her own glorification but to share how the experience brought her and so many other post war young women out of their shell; giving them a can-do attitude..a life filled with the desire to push their limits, face all kinds of challenges, enjoy the rewards and just plain have fun..without a man.

Aggie Allen Died in 2012 at the age of 81.

aggie tomb stone

Too bad there’s no mention of her baseball career on her headstone at Alvord’s St. Mary’s Cemetery.

There IS, however, a pretty nice tribute at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Bull Session

Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 11:00 am
By: Doug Lund
6 Comments | Trackback Bookmark and Share

I’m not proud of it, but it appears that with advancing age, my attention span is becoming shorter and shorter. (No pun intended..oh wait, that was the last blog)

I’ll sit down to this keyboard with every intention of writing something interesting and on schedule only to get hopelessly distracted searching the web for more information about some trivial item that I figure will enhance the project. Next thing I know, several hours have passed. My butt is tired, my eyelids are heavy and the man-cave daybed is only a few steps away. Tomorrow.

I’ll concentrate better tomorrow and finish what I’ve started then.


Here’s how this week’s endeavor morphed into whatever follows.

Somebody brought up the blog I did on Neal Wanless..the big time Powerball Lottery winner who lives a secluded life on his Western South Dakota ranch whom I saw on TV buying a car at the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in Scottsdale for an ungodly amount of money.

He’s always reminded me of another South Dakota kid I did a story on back in the early 90’s who, like Wanless, loved rodeo and the idea of being a cowboy; only my guy lived on a Brookings County farm and was the son of a high school classmate, Dale Swartos.

So enthusiastic was this kid about rodeo-ing, that his dad found and purchased a used mechanical bull and set it up in the barn so the kid could practice night and day.

Well, I couldn’t remember the kid’s name but it only took one Facebook message to his cousin Tim Swartos to put me in touch with Kevin..the teen age cowboy from Sinai determined to be the next world champion bull rider. (The following four images are from our 1993 interview)vlcsnap-2015-05-19-08h15m09s204



I remember Kevin Swartos as the strong silent type who had already mastered all that mechanical bull had to matter how high the speed or degree of difficulty was cranked. He made it look easy and it was suggested I give it a go..which I immediately nixed with no possibility of exception after which I’m pretty sure I heard photographer, Kevin Kjergaard quietly making bwwaaak bwwaaak chicken sounds from behind his Keloland camera.

Well..young Kevin Swartos did alright for himself on the amateur rodeo circuit, riding bulls in about fifty of them. His best was his Junior year in High School when he won a third of the 15 events entered.vlcsnap-2015-05-19-11h50m35s158

I remember Kevin telling me during the interview way back when he was 19, that he preferred bull riding because he didn’t have to trailer a horse around to everybody loved watching the bull riders because of the danger and he kind of enjoyed the doubt from the ladies

As if it was necessary to further prove his toughness, Swartos joined the Marine Corps during which he took part in the Military Rodeo Association..which has since folded.swartos marine corps

Even though bull riding is the most dangerous event in rodeo by far, Swartos told me he was really lucky. “I escaped serious injury. I got stepped on a few times. Once the hoof ripped my pants off just inches away from turning me into a steer. “

He doesn’t think all those hours on the mechanical bull were that close to the real thing but better than nothing.swartos rodeo twoswartos rodeo

These days, Swartos, now 41, is a happily married father of four who lives on the family farm and works at a nearby ethanol plant.swartos wedding 2013

Rodeo is no longer part of his life.

Well, that’s not entirely true. He’s married to Kelly Jo Scofield..who grew up in a rodeo family whose brother,  Justin Scofield, is a tie down rodeo champion. As a result, Kevin’s kids all love the sport too but even though their dad was fearless in life..the military..and the bull’s their uncle Justin the kids idolize.

The Swartos kids with their rodeo  hero, Uncle Justin Scofield

The Swartos kids with their rodeo
hero, Uncle Justin Scofield

Kevin told me, “The kids think uncle Justin walks on water and that’s okay with me”. I was never good with a rope. Participating in calf roping and other timed events is a whole lot safer and, thanks to Justin, the kids are good at it.”

Nothing like a family to mellow a legitimate tough guy who wasn’t afraid to put his life on the line for his country..or a few bucks and an 8 second thrill ride in the rodeo arena.

Kevin Swartos with son Cole.

Kevin Swartos with son Cole.

Ain’t That The Berries

Posted: Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 1:36 pm
By: Doug Lund
18 Comments | Trackback Bookmark and Share




Ha.. never thought I’d ever feel obliged to post a disclaimer on my scribblings here ..but then again, I don’t wish to alienate any of you good folks by publically discussing, without a heads up, (pun intended)  a subject that most would consider to be rather sensitive…err..umm..

Erectile  Dysfunction. E.D.

But, then if you watch network television these days, including  “60 Minutes” which comes on the air at what used to be considered “family viewing time”, you’ve already been exposed to it without any advanced warning so I don’t know why I bother..but it has to do with advertizing certain products  that have to do with ..errr..umm Sex.  More specifically, intimate relations between people of advanced age (40 to dead)  who are discovering that over time,  attempts to satisfy their desires are coming up short, (pun intended) embarrassingly disappointing or downright painful.

In recent years, our lord in his mercy, has seen fit to hear those cries of despair and frustration coming from the bedrooms of empty nesters around the world and empowered pharmaceutical  researchers with the knowledge to create medications to lift men’s spirits (pun intended) and ease women’s suffering.

All Hail PFIZER!

At first, these miracle medications were discreetly publicized..and then prescribed by a physician only after reluctantly confessing your most private shortcomings. (pun intended.)

It wasn’t long, though, (no pun intended) before Pfizer began a campaign to make ED part of our national lexicon. Nothing to be embarrassed about the ads suggested. Heck, they even got one of the toughest men of NASCAR, Mark Martin, to drive a race car with their logo plastered all over it.viagra mark martin

Mark retired a couple years ago. Sadly, he never won a championship but everyone who follows the sport knows he should have because no driver in the sport ever tried harder. (pun intended.)

In recent years, the product has been well publicized on television with those washed-out color commercials of  macho men getting their pickup stuck in the mud or putting water in the radiator of an overheated muscle car. The announcer did all the talking and the only suggestive part was the sweaty guy arriving home where he presumably popped  a little blue pill he’d picked up at the drug store in town, grabbed a long shower (30 minutes to an hour)  and then headed for bed where this time he would rise to the occasion (pun intended) much to her relief and satisfaction. Well, now for the first time, we’re seeing this lovely lady clad in her negligee looking all alluring telling us in TV land..including the entire 60 Minutes audience..that she’d much rather curl up with a man than a book and there’s no shame for a fella to not be able to finish what he started. Half the guys over 40 have problems in that area. (if ya know what I mean..heh heh) So, why don’t ya load up on Viagra and come over and see me sometime. Now back to Leslie Stahl on preschool education.


UNLESS, of course, the experience is too painful due to post menopausal dryness.

Yup.. that’s the other commercial I saw on “60 Minutes” shortly after the “cougar” lady promoting  blue pills to help her man finish what he started.

Man, that one made this old prude glad there weren’t any grandkids in the room to ask questions.viagra good one

I’m not unsympathetic to the problem of vaginal discomfort for women past a certain age whose significant other still has longings (pun intended) or recently discovered the power of blue, but frank discussions of creams and application techniques, make me squirm almost as much as if I were to discuss the pros and cons of circumcision at the dinner table.

I used to wonder how I’d know when my time of relevance on this earth was drawing to a close..and it’s showing up every day folks..mostly with how we’re expected to accept stuff that just seems it in television, politics or the bedroom.

Which reminds me of how Ole and Lena were sagging (pun intended) in that department so Ole went to town and purchased the item promising to make him more manlike again. He started taking it as directed but when he failed to measure up (pun intended) he finally explained to Lena that the doggon stuff  just don’t work and showed her the package. She said, “Ole, you dumb ting. This  is Vigoro..not Viagra..Vigoro is plant food.”

“Oh, Vell,” said Ole, “That would explain the berries then.”