Here is this week’s Rural Reflections Radio program, Letter to Dave
Here is this week’s Rural Reflections Radio program, Letter to Dave
I took this week off as my dad passed away earlier this week. Here is his obituary.
Victor Eugene Nelson, 90, of Thief River Falls, MN died November 25th
at Thief River Care Center. Funeral services will be 2 PM, Saturday
November 30th at Zion Lutheran Church in Viking, MN with Pastor John Wollenzien officiating.
Burial will follow at Landstad Cemetery of rural Thief River Falls.
Visitation will be held at Johnson Funeral Service Friday night from
5-8 PM with a prayer service at 7 PM.
Victor Eugene Nelson was born June 11th, 1923 to Tilda and Victor
Nelson in Malung, MN. The younger Victor was always referred to as Gene to
avoid confusion and that is how he will be referred to in this
memorial. Gene graduated from Lincoln High School in 1943 and farmed
all of his life. Gene met Alice Fern Zavoral at a youth dance in
the auditorium in Thief River Falls; they married on June 16, 1951.
They first rented a farm near Thief River Falls then later purchased
their farm near Viking in 1953. They later moved into Thief River Falls.
Gene was a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Viking. He was
relentless in his pursuit of any task and left no work unfinished or burdened anyone, even to his death. As a young man, Gene would walk 7 miles one way, then hitch his
horses and haul shocks of oats all day. After a days work, he would tend his horses then make the return trip again on foot. Young Gene also worked in the potato fields near
Grafton and would sleep in a barn in between shifts. He unloaded coal cars in town with
a shovel for extra money. Veterinarian Frank Hazard once told one of
Gene’s sons that he had never met a man who worked as hard as Gene.
Gene and wife Alice raised a family of five on 36 dairy cows and a
quarter of land and were featured in a 1970’s Thief River Falls
Times’ article for just that feat. Gene continued to milk cows well
into his seventies and was hauling hay just this summer before he
went to live at the Care Center. Gene left many awards from the Dairy
Herd Improvement Association behind and was proud to be a former
member of the Viking Township board, Zion Lutheran Church board and
Red Lake Electric Operation Round-up board.
We’d like to tell you about our dad, Gene Nelson. Dad worked so hard
to make sure we could attend the same activities as the town kids. He
would make sure to give us little heart boxes of candy at various holidays when we were
little. He expected really nothing from the world but a chance to
work and live his life which was all he required to be a happy man.
He taught us how when times get tough you have to “grit your teeth”
to bear your load and carry it to completion. Dad also had a great,
self-deprecating humor, like when he told of a sprained ankle he
earned by “sawing himself off a tree.” Dad could be tough as the times which
formed him but he also made sure every stray cat got
warm milk and dry food, even if he had to carry it to them upstairs
in the barn. Dad took his responsibilities as definition for his life, he lived simple and accepted each battle in life as though it was his due.
Gene Nelson is survived by daughter Deborah (Mike) Waterworth of
Thief River Falls, MN and sons; David (Mary) Nelson of Carrington,
North Dakota, Steve (Jeana) Nelson of Viking, MN, Darrel (Melanie)
Nelson of Argyle, MN and Grant (Lisa) Nelson of Thief River Falls, MN
9 grandchildren: Reed Waterworth, Ryan (Jessica) Nelson, Erin (Jeff)
Kummer , Sara (Dean) Pennington, Jamie (Amber Efta) Nelson, Andy (Bridget)
Anderson, Lynel (Brad) Svir, Danielle (Tony) Kuznia and Derik (Nan)
Nelson. 14 great-grandchildren; Cade Kuznia, Hale Gene Kuznia, Neve
Kuznia, Roan Kuznia, Peyton Nelson, Tyler Nelson, Casey Nelson, Clay
Nelson, Noah Kummer (who shares a birthday with Gene,) Madison Svir,
Nick Svir, Tevin Douglas, Aaron Douglas, and Justin Anderson, 3
sisters: Betty Olson, Phyllis (Wilbert) McGregor, Marian Finstad, a
brother in law, Orville Janzen and sister in-law Wilma Olson.
Gene was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Alice, whom he can now go dance with again in whatever auditorium is offered in Heaven, probably to a Schottishe. He was also preceded in death by son Douglas Nelson, great-grandson Grady Nelson, his parents, sisters June Scholin and Kathleen Flaten , brother John Nelson, sister in-law Gladys Jansen and brothers in-law Gordon Olson, Donald Olson, Vernon Scholin, Kermit Finstad and Gilmore Flaten.
Johnson Funeral Home is in charge of services. Please visit their website for any other information at johnsonfuneralservice.com
Young couples prepare for a new child with preparation; I do the same
for winter. We are both nesting although it manifests itself in
different ways. My favorite medium in which to express my nesting
instinct include Seafoam fuel additive and some simple organization.
I have put in way too much fuel additive into each engine on the
place after which I plug a battery maintainer into each electric
system. This gives me such a warm, satisfied feeling so strong that I
can scarce express it. I have also cleaned and organized my little
shop. I had neither cleaned nor organized in the past chronological
year and so it was a fair amount of work. Perhaps the effort is best
expressed in large dust pans of dirt (about 20) and garbage can loads
By the time you get this letter, I will have already participated in
the Marshall County Central high school science fair in Newfolden. I
expect the young folks will feel quite good about their own
intellects as they discover their superiority to my own as my
strength is English and not science. We are using conference judging
on Friday, something in which I did participate in 4-H as a
youngster, so will do my best. I am mainly excited to see what young
people are thinking about and exploring nowadays. If I had to pick
from youthful enthusiasm or my own earned experience, I was choose
experience. However, even very young children are exposed to
technologies which did not exist even a few years ago so I like to
see how they build upon that body of knowledge.
We are still harvesting here in Northwest Minnesota, Dave. I believe
mostly just corn and at a pace derived by how quickly each bushel can
be dried. Each passing day dries the corn a little more so hopefully
everyone can end with a grand flourish but most likely it will be
just to get it done and store it with hope of better prices. I wonder
if all that expensive land purchased and tiny shelter-belts removed
the last few years is worth under four dollar corn. I always have a
nostalgic need to re-visit my youth and lately it has happened as
farming has begun to feel a little like the early eighties.
Finally Dave, a little news about our family; Deb is raising chickens
for eggs. She brought Lisa and me a really nice-looking dozen just
this week. Debbie is kind and gentle and will do well with chickens.
I have never known someone with a personality more in line with the
title “Chicken Lady.” Darrel and I plan to take a trip to look at a
different pick-up for me. I no longer say “new” pick-up as my
vehicles are rarely new. I’ll let you know how the trip went and how
the first omelet tastes.
you’re little bro
Here is this week’s Rural Reflections Radio program, RU Ready for some Football
I was a child once, and familiar with every professional football
player. The Minnesota Vikings broke my heart once too often and I was
no longer that child. In the last few years, I have redeveloped a
childish interest in professional football and have found the Vikings
to still be heart-breakers. I decided to try something new, fantasy
I checked the NFL , Wikipedia and a fantasy football websites and
found that fantasy football started in the sixties on a very small
scale. It was then called the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin
Prognosticators League and was a intensive labor of love as it was
done on paper and required the league commissioner to gather
statistics each week. The game later progressed into more of a game
to draw patrons to their local bar. In 1997 the first free, online
fantasy football league was begun by CBS television which dropped the
plow on fantasy football and it’s worldwide explosion. In fantasy
football, you choose real players for your league and their
accomplishments on the football field count as points for your
imaginary team. The logistics of statistic-gathering were streamlined
greatly with the advent of online fantasy football which made it
easier, more immediate and therefore more exciting.
I really like fantasy football because I am very competitive. I
really hate fantasy football because I am very competitive. The highs
and lows feel very real however they do not last very long, which is
good, because I am currently in eighth place on a ten-league team. I
recently lost to a co-worker and then saw him the next day. I told
him that it was still too-soon for us to have real-world contact and
that I would need time.
The points my team scores and the points other teams score against me
are kept on an accrual basis and no one has has more points scored
again them than me. In other words, teams play great when they play
me-always fun to beat-up on the new guy. I score plenty of points but
so do the other guys.
My team is named “Captain Nordic” which is in homage to my team
mascot days. My record is currently 4-6 and we have only three weeks
left until the playoffs. I play the ninth place team this week and I
can clinch a spot in the play-offs with a win (I think.) I feel like
I have been improving each week even though it was a steep learning
curve and will do well in the play-offs. The only sad aspect of this
is that if I enter the play-offs in eighth place then I will have to
play my bud, Andy, in the first game and he will be the recipient of
my post-season momentum. This will result in Andy’s early-exit from
the play-offs. Andy is soft-hearted and cries easily so my eventual
win will be bittersweet, at best.
It is my first year at fantasy football so I’m not even sure I know
of what I speak. It has been very enjoyable and kept me involved in
games that would otherwise probably lose out to paid infomercials
about the “Shopsmith Mark V” on a Sunday afternoon. Still, it just
isn’t the same as watching the Minnesota Vikings on a fall afternoon,
it is better.
Here is this week’s Rural Reflections Radio program, Halloween Prank
I like Halloween. I don’t celebrate Halloween but I like to play
pranks and surprise people so Halloween is the one time when these
sorts of actions are universally acceptable. I played a good prank
this past Halloween.
I grew up scaring my brother’s and being scared by them. Steve once
reached down from the hay mow and grabbed my hat while I was feeding
the cows and gave me a little mini heart attack. He also once reached
out from under the entry to a trailer house and grabbed my leg as I
tied my shoe. I will invest long periods of time, uncomfortably
hunched over just to jump out and said, “BOO!” It is childish but it
is also wonderful and apparently part of my DNA.
One of our friends has kept his work vehicle at our home for the last
several months. Over this time, we have developed a relationship with
him along with the trust gained in a friendship. A good prank is most
often played on someone whose habits you know and whose trust you
enjoy. A good prank is a betrayal of that trust, a slight betrayal.
Kris keeps his work-vehicle in our shed. Kris left that night for
work after which I went to work. He works for good, that night I
worked for my own needs.
I went to work on my prank that night in our shed. I took some sheets
and wrapped them inside another sheet then zip-tied the whole bundle
into what closely resembled a ghost. I hung the “ghost” from the
rafters of the shop at a height which would be equal to that of a
scared human’s face. I then tied light fishing line to the ghost,
strung the line through the rafters and pulled it up into the area
above the door. I am afraid of heights and so I considered the lack
of reasonable sense in standing on a 12 foot step ladder, in my
snowmobile boots, in my shorts just to play a prank. I tied the end
to the door and carefully left the building after my trap was set.
I slept so good that night, there is something so satisfying about
making plans and hoping they work. Kris and I had made light-hearted
conversation earlier that day so I felt he would suspect nothing. I
went to bed knowing this frightening die had been cast and bedtime
was like falling asleep with mama in her kerchief and I in my cap to
await an October 31st version of Santa Claus and his scary gifts.
This is what happened when Kris returned to our farm that night. He
opened the door which broke the fishing line that suspended the
ghost. The ghost free-fell about ten feet and landed on our brave
victim’s head. Our brave victim then became our scared victim for a
bit. I had considered filming the prank for later viewing but decided
better of it. You see, only one party has to enjoy the prank for it
to be successful. This fact can leave one party temporarily
displeased with the party who has enjoyed the prank. I stayed safely
inside, snug with my dreams of a prank well-planned and well-played.
I don’t carve pumpkins or eat candy at Halloween so my only
involvement is in the trick or prank. It’s too bad the prank had to
happen to such a nice guy but isn’t that the classic victim in any
scary Halloween tale? Please forgive me Kris, but I really ask for so
little-I truly needed this.
Here is this week’s Rural Reflections Radio program, Bugs Bunny and the Roadrunner
I recall a morning I once knew quite well, cold and dark. A morning
punctuated by the “ant races” created by a television screen without
programming which to receive, eventually replaced by a picture of
little concentric circles with a Native Chief emblazoned in the
bottom corner. It was the exciting time, just prior to Saturday
I see some cartoons today, mostly by mistake. Lisa and I always see
the tail end of one cartoon as it is on before the “Sunday Show” on
CBS. Cartoons today seem to me like sit-coms of the 1990′s as they
are formulaic, uniform and simple. The quality of the video also
seems jerky and cheap. Worst of all, they aren’t funny unless you
watch “the Simpsons” or “Modern Guy” which really aren’t cartoons but
shows that use the cartoon format because they can get more content
past the censors, the production costs are more consistent and the
cartoon actors never age, like Bart Simpson.
I awoke those early mornings of television because I knew those ant
races preceded “The Bugs Bunny and Road Runner Show.” These cartoon
shorts were actually created by Warner Brothers for movie theaters,
which explains the high production values. In other words Bugs walks
smoothly and his mouth moves in time with his words. The separate
cartoons were linked into a seamless show with new introductions and
segues by the host, Bugs Bunny with help from Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd,
Foghorn Leghorn and others.
I read in “Readers Digest” once, that the “Bugs and Road Runner Show”
was used as teaching tool in some colleges and often discussed as a
production with many layers of comedy. Physical comedy is easily
understood by children while more sophisticated humor and some irony
gave the adults something to watch. I believe much of my own sense of
humor mirrors Bugs Bunny although I borrow from Daffy Duck and
Yosemite Sam, on occasion.
“This is it” was the tune that began each show. I never realized it
until recently, but I learned much classical music from Bugs. They
used orchestral music during production and even went so far as to
create their own opera. Even today I will sometimes hear some music
and think to myself, “oh, Bugs Bunny music” when in reality the music
is several hundred years old and from a genre more sophisticated than
the one I occupy.
1969 was the year and a farm outside Viking was the place. My brother
and I would grab the blankets from our bed and hustle downstairs;
sometimes there was the smell of percolator coffee. Darrel knew how
to manipulate the worn on/off switch on the television which meant he
was a wizard as that switch was a mystery to me. The ant races made
the room seem colder while the test pattern with the Indian Chief
gave me hope. Then it happened, an announcer boldly stated “and now
the Bugs Bunny and Road Runner show!” Bugs marched on from stage
right with hat and cane followed by the carefully drawn cast and
crew. It was a rocket sled ride of comedy, the irony I didn’t
understand and the delicious self-satisfaction of a place where the
rabbit was the smartest guy in the room and the road runner never
became the coyote’s dinner. Man, those were good times-do they ever
get any better?
Here is this week’s Rural Reflections Radio program, Animals Animals! ANIMALS!