Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..August 6th

August 6th……….“WHAT GRADE SCHOOL EVENT REALLY IMPRESSED YOU AS A LITTLE FIRST GRADER WHILE ATTENDING KIESTER PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT #222”??

Fall’s carpet of leaves lent a pungent, pleasurable perfume that permeated my puny pug nose as my little First Grade boy energies happily ejected my body from Marie Meyer’s school bus!!

Like Moses and the Red Sea, these colorful, cumulonimbus clouds of deciduous leaves “parted” as, at top speed, I plowed through them and headed straight for the front door of my Grade School building on the campus of Kiester Public School District #222.

Elliott is front row, far left, in 1st Grade along with all the other “pretty pulpy paper people” that were created for the big Open House for parents in 1960-61 at Kiester School in Kiester, Minnesota.

Even though I was only “knee high to a grasshopper”, I felt like one of the big kids now, since I no longer took the basement stairs down to Mrs. Wigern’s Kindergarten half-day class anymore. And, as one older than Kindergarten now,…. me, myself and I got to grab ahold of the brass handle of the multi-paned glass windowed door of the front entrance of this fine edifice of education that was built in 1924.

Needless to say, I was one ebullient Elliott as my midget arms strained at the back pressure of the closure mechanism of that massive door till it finally opened and allowed me to zip on down that classic old school entry and hang a careening righthand turn into Mrs. Wiehr’s grandiose First Grade classroom. I use that sweeping word of description because, to a runt like me, everything was magnificus giganticus in that I saw what seemed like fifteen foot high ceilings with the parabolic-shaped, cream colored light fixtures that hung, in their amber glow, from the ceiling. And, ohhhh those “glass castle” windows had me in awe with tall, multi-paned sections of glass that let in all that marvelous Minnesota daylight.

Dear Mrs. Loretta Wiehr. 😉

Even a little rug-rat like me could discern a lovely lady with an even lovelier heart and that’s just what I thought of my most wunnerful First Grade teacher, Mrs. Loretta Wiehr!!

“Boys and girls”, said dear Mrs. Wiehr, “Now that we’ve been in school for a while during your First Grade year, we’d now like to invite your parents to come visit our classroom for something that’s called an Open House”. Mrs. Wiehr continued, “This will happen in the near future on a special night time event after your farm families have completed milking cows and done evening chores”. Ohhh myyy, I was just like the Walt Disney cartoon elephant character, “Dumbo”, cause I was “all ears” with everything that came out of the mouth of my beautiful teacher that I had been blessed with for my first year of formal education!!! 😉

Out from Mrs. Wiehr’s storage closet came this immensely large roll of what I guess was some sort of butcher paper. In turn, each of us little First Graders would lay down on the paper, looking at the ceiling and Mrs. Wiehr, while fellow students began tracing around the outlines of our bodies. It sure was ticklish fun for this farmer’s son as a team of tiny tikes cruised my body outlines with their crayons while I giggled profusely!!! Eventually, I was informed that a “new me” lay below where I had been on the floor.

For the next segment of this midget artistic endeavor, we took these full size facsimilies of ourselves back to our student desk and began coloring in, to the best of our minuscule talents, our face, clothes, shoes, etc. onto that pulpy paper person of us. Lastly, out came our scissors as we became “surgeons”, so to speak, and cut our new self away from all that extraneous whiteness that had kept our new potentially pretty paper person from looking more “human”.

With colored wax sticks ablazing, from our over-sized box of 8 Crayola crayons, we little ones created a whole entire extra classroom of US!!! 😉 All that was left now was to clean our students desks, organize our little First Grade textbooks and last, but definitely not least, take yardsticks (as backbones) and tape US to our individual student chairs.

Elliott, and sister, Candice, in the era of the Open House at his 1st Grade Classroom.

There is a whole new aura of childhood perception and reality when it came to returning that evening with my little sister, Candice, and my parents to the same First Grade classroom I had left just hours earlier that afternoon. My normal daylight world of elementary education had transpired in daylight hours, so that was my comfortable paradigm. But here, at night, everything around me was amplified by the nighttime in its height, color and overall WOW factor! With my hand in Dad’s and Candi’s hand in Mom’s we entered the enormity of that classroom where daylight had flooded earlier and now the darkness just outside those classroom windows brought out all the colored richness of those wooden frames.

Elliott’s parent’s, Russell and Clarice Noorlun.

Of course there were cookies and Koolaid to celebrate our welcoming of moms and dads to this little child gala event.

Sweet Mom and Dad were dressed “to the nines” that night with Dad in his suit and Mom in a delightful dress. Next, on the evening agenda, it was my turn to be the little host in taking them down the row of our classroom and point out the “Paper Person of ME” sitting at my desk. It was all such a fun and impressive moment of elementary education for this little Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!

Elliott joyfully reunites here with his beloved First Grade teacher, Loretta Wiehr, around 2005 at the Farming of Yesteryear Threshing Festival east of his childhood hometown of Kiester, Minnesota. Mrs. Wiehr is alive and well, as of September 2021, and lives in Livingston, Texas. Elliott writes her a letter of love and appreciation each week, including sending her some of his blog’s stories. 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..August 5th

August 5th………“IN YOUR DAYS, AS HEAD CUSTODIAN AT GLENWOOD HEIGHTS PRIMARY SCHOOL, DID YOU HAVE A SENSE OF FAMILY AMONG STAFF AND STUDENTS”??

POEM – “Let’s Travel Back” by N. Elliott Noorlun. After graduating High School in May of 1972, I went to work as a custodian for my alma mater in the Battle Ground School District based in Battle Ground, Washington. I invested the greatest share of my 31 years of service at the most wonderful Glenwood Heights Primary School. Those magical years were truly a family experience between each other as staff members and our tremendous students that blessed us each year. Hope you enjoy this short poem of my heart thoughts of those years.

Elliott is pretty easy to spot. First row, center, in brown service uniform. He was a mere “kid” of 30 years old in 1984. 😉

Let’s travel back,

To 1984,

When youth was ours,

At Glenwood’s door.

Some of Glenwood’s wunnerful Cooks!! First row (L to R)…Leona Ward, Mary Brosius, Joyce Fadness. Back row (L to R)…Dena ?, Margie Jorgenson, Marianne Skaar, Wanda Uphoff, Connie Spellman. Absent are: Sandy Carner, Ellen Kytola and Bonnie Stradley.

A loving family,

We truly were,

E’en now as time,

Flies like a blurrrrr!

Our beloved Sylvia Wiser is on Playground Duty in a darling Duckie outfit she made from scratch!! The kids (and all of us) loved her dearly!!! She was truly the “Spirit Of Glenwood”!!

T’ween Readin’ and Writin’,

And Arithmetic,

We’d count on each other,

Through thin or thick!

Elliott enjoys singing to Mrs. Irene Holbrook’s class outside in the shaded “courtyard”. 😉

This old custodian garners,

A most golden joy,

To have known each teacher,

And “Cubby” girl n boy!!! 😉

Elliott’s making a “clean sweep of things” at dear old Glenwood Heights Primary School! 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..August 4th

August 4th………“WERE YOU EVER ENVIOUS, GRANDPA, OF SOMETHING A GRADE SCHOOL CLASSMATE HAD? WHAT WAS THE ITEM? WHERE DID HE GET IT”??

Elvis Presley and Mrs. Behr made music……….just not together, that is!! 😉

You see, Mrs. Dorothy Behr was my 3rd Grade Music teacher in my childhood years at Kiester Public School District #222 in good old Kiester, Minnesota. Mrs. Philip Behr was the classic, matronly-looking fluffy lady and could be easily mistaken for the twin sister of “Aunt Bea Taylor” from “The Andy Griffith Show”. She even wore the vintage, old lady Oxford-style shoes with the squat, stubby heels that made a clunking thud, due to her womanly weight, with every step that she made across the squeaky wooden floors of that aging, second story classroom.

Envious Elliott is second row, far left, and cool pen possessor was Danny Olson, second row, far right. This was the 1962-63 school year in a 3rd & 4th Grade split class led by dear Mrs. Mortenson (sp?).

My 1962-63 class year was not only the opening of my 3rd Grade year of education, but was also the opening of the amazing “World’s Fair” (also known as the “Century 21 Exposition”) held in Seattle, Washington. From April 21st through October 21st of that year, nearly 10 million people came to experience the Fair’s motto, “Living In The Space Age”. An impressive 74 acres of land were devoted to and full of futuristic attractions provided by twenty four countries from around the world. The most impressive of those attractions were the space-age looking monorail system and the amazingly tall “Space Needle” observation tower with a restaurant at the tip top perched 605 feet high in the blue sky of the Pacific Northwest.

A tripartite in this story was the inclusion of three entities: fellow classmate Danny Olson, Elvis Presley and Mrs. Behr; with me tagging along in fourth as an observer.

You see, Elvis Presley made a movie, in 1962, called “It Happened At The World’s Fair”. And, of course, Elvis “The Pelvis”, being the star of the film, made music all over those fair grounds. Turns out, my new classmate, Danny Olson, and his family were also “all over those fairgrounds” on a wonderful summer vacation adventure at the same time there at the World’s Fair. Who knows, maybe Danny even saw the filming of that musical romantic comedy?

The magic “Space Needle” ink pen.

A little boy amalgamation came about from all these components on a fine Fall day in 1962. It was time for Music Class. Our 3rd & 4th Grade (split) class was shortly to be greeted by Mrs. Behr at our classroom door. “Good Morning children”! came the husky greeting from our music educator. “Good Morning, Mrs. Behr”! came our unison reply. “Follow me, children”, so, out from our beloved Mrs. Mortensen’s classroom door we obediently followed our rotund educator as she clomped down the hallway, wearing those heavy, stumpy-heeled oxfords, leading us eastward from our room and into her musical education domain.

I’m settling into my student desk for our elementary music lesson when I feel a tap, tap, tap to my shoulder. Pretty soon, that’s followed by a “Psssst, Pssssst”! calling sound. Sure enough, it’s Danny Olson and he’s got something to show me that is beyond cool to this here little eight year old farm boy.

Danny hands me his awesome possum, super dooper ink pen that he got as a souvenir when his family had driven all the way to Seattle, Washington that past summer to see the World’s Fair and the Space Needle. I was captured in a mesmerizing awe as Danny showed me how, if you tip the pen upside down, the little people elevator, in the center, floated to the top of the Space Needle. Then tip the pen upright, and the people elevator in the center of the pen floated, magically, back down to the base of that 605 foot marvel.

I was immediately “green with envy” and jealous of how Danny could have such a COOL toy to write with!! Here this little farm boy (ME) had never been west of my birth town of Blue Earth, Minnesota, yet Danny’s family could afford to drive all the way to the West Coast to see the thrilling sights of the World’s Fair (and, who knows, may have even seen Elvis filming his movie musical). It was then that Mrs. Behr brought both of us 8 year olds back to reality and scolded us for not paying attention to the musical education for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!!! 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..August 3rd

August 3rd……...”WHEN YOU AND YOUR SIBLINGS LIVED ON YOUR FARM NEAR KIESTER, MINNESOTA, DID YOU EVER PLAY COWBOYS N INDIANS AT THE FARM OR AT COUSIN’S HOMES”???

POEM – “Tiny Cowboys n Gals” created by N. Elliott Noorlun on 9/13/2018

Summer fun in 1951 saw cap-guns a blazin’ in Austin Minnesota!!! Elliott’s big sister, Rosemary(L), is in plaid dress and big brother, Lowell(R), is aiming over the shoulder of his cousin. 😉

Tiny cowboys n cowgals at play,

Beneath a Summer’s sun.

Chasin’ down bad guys, With pistols at hand,

And sending them on the run.

Thankfully raised, By God-fearing folk,

Who taught all respect for life.

So these little ones, In their formative years,

Would never cause anyone strife.

It’s always the best to make and keep peace by smoking the “peace pipe”!!! 😉

Unlike today, Where critics will say,

That a gun, In itself is all bad.

They get lost in their fears, While back in these years,

We were taught the RIGHT ways, And we’re GLAD!!! 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..August 2nd

August 2nd………“WHAT WERE THE SCHOOL LUNCHES LIKE IN YOUR GRADE SCHOOL DAYS AT KIESTER PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT #222”?

Wedding day for Marcellete (Parks) and Orvall Yonkey on February 7th, 1934.

It’s the year 1912 and cuddled in the curving canyons of Custer, South Dakota, tiny Marcellete Fern Parks is born. I’m sure that her parents were beyond elation to be gifted with this new little life in the town named after The US Army Cavalry’s Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer.

Marcellete (pronounced: MAR-sell-eet) was the fruitage of a fine heritage. Her dear father, Allan, had been born in 1879 on the virgin soils which were once grasslands for Indian ponies near Kiester, Minnesota. Allan Parks was a teenager of 14 years, in 1893, when he witnessed the first of the new Kiester town’s buildings begin to “come alive” with their construction on the prairie near the current intersection of Minnesota Highway 22 and West State Street. Just to the south of the new Post Office/General Store and the Creamery rolled the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad that brought a life-giving supply vein to our new hamlet and those like it throughout the newly forming towns of the Midwest.

Brand new beginnings, in 1893, of Kiester, Minnesota show the first Creamery business (L) and a Post Office/General Store (R).

Even Marcellete’s paternal grandfather decorated an honored family heritage as a Corporal in the Union Army during the Civil War; serving in Company H of the 16th Wisconsin Infantry.

One can only present a conjecture as to why Allan Parks and his wife, Faith, made the pilgrimage west into the Black Hills of South Dakota. Maybe they were drawn to the hopes of still coming across the “mother lode” of gold that Colonel Custer had first discovered there in 1874. Or, it may have been family that drew Minnesota-born Allan and his young wife westward. Either way, it was here that Marcellete started life and was nine years old when the Parks family made the decision to return to Allan’s roots in south central Minnesota and found themselves living on a lovely parcel of land just to the west of town that was even blessed with an artesian well as the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad tracks went rumbling past their farmland on its way to Kiester.

Mrs. Marcellete (Parks) Yonkey….teacher extraordinaire at Mansfield School to the northeast of Kiester, Minnesota.

Marcellete must’ve had some amazingly inspiring teachers along her educational journey of a local country school and then graduating from Wells, Minnesota High School and Teacher’s Training School. Our smart young lady aimed for and achieved her goal of becoming a teacher as a career and taught in both Freeborn and Faribault counties for the next coming years.

Orvall Yonkey stepped into this lovely young girl’s life and swept up Marcellete to be his bride on a chilly February 7th of 1934. Like any fine husband, Orvall supported his bride as she began a teaching career that eventually brought her back to her hometown of Kiester to teach youngsters in 4th, 5th and 6th Grades at the Mansfield, Minnesota campus which was in association with Kiester Public School District #222.

I muse upon the concept that perhaps when Mrs. Yonkey became a mother, maybe, just maybe, she saw that the long hours of teaching, grading student papers, visiting parents, attending school board meetings, etc. would take away from her grandiose love and desires of spending more time with her daughters and husband. Thus, Marcellete Yonkey changed her avenue of career from being an educator in a classroom to being an education assistant and smile maker in our local School Cafeteria. For the following 21 years, she was manager and team member of the great cooks that saw to the nutritional needs of myself and thousands of other boys and girls by making fantastic meals in the Cafeteria at Kiester School.

This, always hungry, little boy often sat upstairs in my Grade School classroom salivating from the inviting and entrancing aromas of fried chicken and French fries that floated up the stairwell and advertised to us kids better than any TV commercial could ever do in making us youngsters WANT what our good cooks had to SELL!!! 😉

Marcellete, and her gracious culinary partners, were like the fabled “Pied Piper of Hamelin” as we students followed the “music” of pots-n-pans, utensils-n-cans that brought forth such yummy school lunch delicacies.

A highlight for his farmer boy was the first step in the process of getting lunch each day. Standing in the “lunch line”, I’d pick up a glass and choose between regular white milk (which I drank by the gallons at our own farm), OR, to press my glass into the magic milk dispenser trigger system that began to lavishly fill my cup with wunnerful and delightfully sweet chocolate milk!!! What a tasty treat THAT was!! 😉

The majority of the family farms that populated south central Minnesota were made up of dominantly Scandinavian heritages who came from Norway, Germany, Sweden, etc.. Marcellete and her white-uniformed fellow cooks were sensitive to those taste bud needs and often created ethnic menus such as sauerkraut with bratwurst links and even traditional German cooked cabbage with butter beans and sausages.

Being a simple boy, I loved the menus when meatloaf and mashed potatoes, with melting sweet cream butter, were lovingly dished up onto my round, three-sectioned lunch plate. I’d give all the cooks a big smile and an even bigger “THANK YOU”!!! before heading over to a nearby table to munch n crunch with my bunch of buddies who also enjoyed the great meals prepared by Marcellete Yonkey (and her sweet lady crew) for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

This scene is similar to Elliott’s “Lunch Line” in that food was served on round, three compartment plates at his Grade School in Kiester, MInnesota. And, they actually used glass/plastic cups for milk; no formed milk cartons in those days.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..August 1st

August 1st…..“WHEN YOUR FATHER WAS DONE WITH FARM CHORES FOR THE DAY, DID HE WATCH THE EVENING NEWS SHOWS ON YOUR OLD BLACK N WHITE TELEVISION”???

Elliott’s dad, Russell, sits in his favorite chair holding his nephew from Alaska. Russell’s sister, Ileen, and brother, Erwin, are nearby. The family TV, where Russ watched the CBS News, was located diagonally from Russell in the corner across their family Living Room.

Our dear Norwegian daddy would be washed up and ready for supper, after a long day’s work on the farm. Then, our father Russell often plopped down into in his favorite chair, next to the furnace, and watched Mr. Walter Cronkite share of the latest world events on the CBS Evening News. Our world, and its version of reporting events, has changed dramatically since those sweet days on our farm near Kiester, Minnesota. And, in my humble opinion (worth two cents), NEWS broadcasting today has declined in its ways of portraying events to the point of being 99% of depressing exasperation with barely 1% of sugar inspiration (some nice little story) at the end of each evening’s broadcast to send you off on your way. Thus, today I share my philosophical poem called N.E.W.S.

POEM – “N.E.W.S.” created by N. Elliott Noorlun on October 12th, 2017

N..othing E..ver W..orth S..haring,

That’s how I describe the word NEWS.

And to think folks willingly turn it on,

Their senses to abuse!!

The slime and grime, With tons of crime,

Are thrown at us each night.

No need to go to a horror flick,

It’s there in your Living Room’s light!

Who was the guy, Or gaggle of gooks,

That invented this here stuff??

That causes stress, And angst, no less,

As we watch the gruff and tough!!

Then there’s the glitzy reporters,

All dolled up to a “T”,

Beware as they spew, Their comments to,

Poor “ignorant” you and me!

What is it about us humans,

That seem to want to know,

Of just how bad, And to see how sad,

The rest of the world can go?

Then, at the end of the broadcast,

As they follow Director’s cues,

They throw us a tiny sugar cube,

Of what they call “good” news.

“A little kitty was rescued”,

“From yonder big oak tree”,

Somehow that balances all the bad?,

And fills our heart with glee?

Somehow I just don’t buy it,

Cause I see good every day.

People don’t mind, To be ever so kind,

In the things they do and say.

I may be alone, But I’ll sharpen and hone,

Every chance to share GOOD news!

I’m promoting hearts, That are off the charts,

As they share life’s kindest views!

It’s a better investment, Of my time,

“To be innocent of what is evil”.

Rather than dwell on bad, That this here lad,

Feels only brings upheaval.

For me, I’ll invest those NEWS hours spent,

In the study of His Word,

For that will always, Be the best,

“GOOD NEWS” man’s ever heard!!! ><> 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..July 31st

July 31st………“AS A YOUNG FARM BOY, ON YOUR FARM NEAR KIESTER, MINNESOTA, DID YOU SENSE A CLOSE BOND BETWEEN YOUR FATHER AND HIS FATHER? WHY”??

Fragrant Lilacs kissed the pre-dawn Minnesota breeze as Russ stepped out from the farm house and welcomed the gift of their aromatic blessings to his senses. These delicious blossoms, a relative of the olive family, compliment and harmonize with their green, heart-shaped leaves in being a harbinger of love and spirituality in many cultures of the world.

Elliott (L), his father, Russell (R) and Grandfather Edwin (standing). Circa 1957.

Whether our farmer father was cognizant of all that, we don’t know. But, what I did perceive, in my little boy heart, was that our indefatigable patriarch had a deep and abiding love for his own farmer father and following in the same life-calling of the career lifestyle of his predecessor. Within that loving framework, of father and son, there was an agricultural welding of hearts that resulted in a closely knit bond of Russell and his Norwegian progenitor. The marriage of Edwin Noorlun and Marie (Tollefson) Noorlun had been blessed with five sons (and three daughters), but, our family leader was the only son, out of those five boys, that followed his father’s love and heart into pursuing the down-to-earth agrarian lifestyle.

The shy morning sunrise had yet to find its confidence in peeking over the soybean fields that belonged to the Charlie Heitzeg family to our east. So, in the “O’Dark Thirty” of morning’s gentle peace, Russell snapped secure the last shoulder strap of his bib overalls as he sauntered beneath the single yard light and towards the double top/bottom “Dutch doors” of our family barn.

A new “moo perfume” greeted our dad as he propped open those barn doors and flipped on the electric lights of this “cow castle”. Our Holstein named “Angel”, and her 14 sisters, greeted their master caretaker with a rather strepitous trumpeting of their “Mooooos”!!, but Dad, in his love for those bovines, knew their language and, out of a caring heart, began meeting their feeding needs for this new day.

Our vastly large clowder of kitty cats came trotting from multiple directions that morning and towards the amber light that spilled from our barn’s open doorway and illuminated the early dawn darkness as they peered inside. They had been busy at work for us during the night in the granary building and corn cribs hunting rodents of large and small, now deceased, varieties. These fine, furry felines were well aware that their owner, working within those barn walls, was soon to reward them with a massive bowl of fresh milk each morning and night. All Dad had to do, when he had a “Surge” milker full, was yell, “HERE KITTY, KITTY, KITTY”!!! and a happy, manifold mass of fur bodies lined the circumference of that big bowl for a milky feast.

Memories of his own farming childhood must’ve floated through the musings in the mind of our hard-working farmer dad as he followed his morning (and evening) routines to lovingly take care of and milk this herd of Holstein cows. This particular breed of bovine was known in some circles as “The Farmer’s Cow” because of the large quantities of “white gold” that a Holstein-Friesian could yield twice a day. The more gallons gleaned meant more of a sellable commodity that brought income to our farm family.

Elliott’s beautiful Aunt Lillian (his dad’s sister) stands next to the Pump House where milk cans chilled overnight before going to the Creamery the next morning in Kiester. Big brother Lowell is in the distance.

In the earlier days of our milking operations, before a bulk milk tank was installed, Dad filled up numerous 10 gallon galvanized metal milk cans from the fecund udders of our black-n-white “ladies”. Those full, eighty pound milk cans were then transported over to a small building we called “The Pump House”. Each milk can was hefted up and into a large stock tank that was kept full of ice-cold water that kept the milk chilled overnight. The following morning, those milk cans were loaded into our dear old 1950 Ford pickup and taken into our village of Kiester and “sold” to The Kiester Co-op Creamery.

Elliott’s Grandfather Edwin Noorlun (1888 – 1964). A fellow farmer like his son, Russell.

The quiet, reciprocal affection of our elder grandfather and his son was highlighted in the days when Grandfather Edwin was still able to drive his yellow 1949 Ford. That old golden chariot would roll into the south driveway and come to a gentle stop near the house. Our daddy’s visage brightened to see his dear father arrive to share some time with this son who loved the land as much as Edwin had in his own farming days of yore.

Together, these two Norwegian men strolled side by side around our farm enjoying a camaraderie that bordered on being more like brothers than father and son. Even as a child, I was keenly aware of the high respect and care that was bestowed upon the honored elder of the father of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..July 30th

July 30th……….“DID YOUR MOTHER KNOW HOW TO MAKE PICKLES ON YOUR FARM THERE IN SOUTHERN MINNESOTA? DID YOU LIKE HER VARIOUS PICKLE RECIPES”???

POEM – “I’m Pickle Ole Pete” created by N. Elliott Noorlun

My sweet Momma always called me,

Her “Pickle Ole Pete”,

Whatever she’d “can”, This hungry lil’ man,

Was thrilled to taste and eat.

Be they sweet or dill,

Or watermelon rind,

When you heard tasty crunch,

I was easy to find.

Slurpin’ n burpin’,

Next to Mason glass jar,

When it came to makin’ pickles,

Our Momma was a STAR!!! 😉

Elliott (alias “Pickle Ole Pete”) with his mother, Clarice, in late Summer of 1954. About nine months old at the time.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..July 29th

July 29th………….“WHAT WAS ONE OF THE WAYS, ON YOUR MINNESOTA FARM, TO HAVE FUN AND WORK AT THE SAME TIME”??

Brothers Doren (L) and Russell (R) Noorlun created a “Jeep”.

A blasting, blistering, blue-flame blew, from Uncle Doren’s torch nozzle, as it cut into the framework of an old dilapidated Ford Model A chassis. Protected behind the dark blue/green glass of welding helmets, Doren, along with his brother, Russell Noorlun, had plans to shorten the length of this old classic vehicle and create their own farm version of the World War II utility vehicle known as a “Jeep”/jalopy.

Russ having fun with the family jalopy to the broad smiles of his sister-in-law, Pat Noorlun.

Sparks flew and grindings threw their metal dust to the floor of Doren’s welding business on the south-sloping end of Main Street in our grand little hometown of Kiester, Minnesota.

In this mechanical “surgery”, so to speak, the “patient” had no anesthetic, so the old Ford cried out in metallic agony as sounds of sheet metal skrunched and skronked while the upper body assembly of the Model A was cut away and lifted off to be taken over to Elmer Simonson’s Junk Yard later.

Eldest brother, Lowell (center), was a big fan of the farm “Jeep”. He’s enjoying cousins and his sister, Rosemary (leaning towards camera) circa 1956.

After shortening the frame and drive-train, what was birthed that day was a short-framed, “Jeep” jalopy with a flat bed behind the makeshift driver’s seat. That “driver’s seat” usually consisted of anything handy, like a wooden fruit box or Dad’s big metal tool box. The “flat bed” was ideal for a farmer’s needs. It could hold fencing supplies and any other gizmos or whatchamacallits that needed to be buzzed around our farm yard or property.

“HAALP!! HAALP”!!! called the Heitzeg family’s peacocks in the distance that day.

Lowell, being the eldest of this Norwegian farm family, was coming of age (barely 12 or 13 years) and was thrilled to see how fun the new “Jeep” jalopy was to drive. Not only did he ride with Dad on fencing projects, but he witnessed how seemingly indestructible this little former Ford could be. A hefty set of tire chains on the back wheels were excellent to get a grip on almost any terrain around the farm. One day, down in our cow pasture along Brush Creek, our Norwegian farmer father drove down a slope and right INTO the creek. What transpired was pure FUN as this father and son enjoyed life’s antics while they literally drove and splashed the length of Brush Creek in the late Summer’s low ebb of water.

There’d be an ouchee “song to sing” later on with Lowell’s uncle while riding along in the jalopy.

There came the day, though, while Lowell was burning trash in the open clearing of our treed windbreak, that he could distinctly hear the piercing calls of Charlie Heitzeg’s peacocks on their neighboring farm. These gorgeous Indian fowl had a unique trumpeting (heard for miles) that almost sounded like a human crying for, “HAALP!!! HAALP”!!! Big brother was gonna need some that day………HELP, that is. Jumping on board the “Jeep”, Lowell brought that old former Ford to life and headed off to the south from our farm yard to the pasture that bordered Brush Creek. Figuring to himself, “Well, gee, if Dad can drive this thing right along the creek bottom, I should at least be able to cross the creek”!! Right? Aiming to go straight across the creek, our big brother got bogged down by the steep terrain of the far side of the creek bank and with every punch to the gas pedal, the “help” he got that day was from the strong tire chains on the back wheels that churned in the mud and water making geysers of mud brown spray that covered Lowell and his little “buggy”. But, with numerous angles and attacks, that old jalopy finally climbed to the far bank.

Elliott’s father, Russell, gives rides on the farm family’s “Jeep” jalopy to (L to R) sister Rosemary, brother Lowell and cousin Pauline Bidne on their farm three miles northwest of Kiester, Minnesota.

With a growing sense of confidence in his driving skills, Lowell was now ready to show off his “Jeep” prowess when another of our paternal uncles arrived at our farm for a visit.

Big brother, Lowell, was the “young pup” behind the wheel of the old, modified Ford Model A runabout vehicle on their farm.

“Come on Uncle!! Hop on and I’ll show you how good I can drive this thing”!!??!! Ready for the challenge, our uncle piled aboard this little hotrod and planted his buns on a wooden apple box for his passenger experience. With his “young pup” of a nephew in command, our uncle must’ve remembered riding many an Army jeep during World War II, so…….here goes!! Down to the end of our south driveway, Lowell brought the spunky jalopy to a pause as he checked for cars coming. With his young eyesight sensing an “all clear”, Lowell hammered that old girl into gear and revved up the engine and popped the clutch. Those tire chains on the back end chewed up the road gravel and shot it behind them like a machine gun barrage!!! Away they flew to the south and crossed the bridge over Brush Creek. Two heads of hair were wildly flying that day, just like the old jalopy!! Lowell made the corner that sent them up the gravel road that ran up to the Clayton Kephart farm. Along the way, big brother was gonna try to do a U-turn in the gravel road when he misjudged the turning radius and ended up rolling down into the shallow ditch and right through a barbed wire fence!!! YOWSA!!!

Prickly pause!

Poor uncle!!! He must’ve thought he was back in the War as the two of them had to untangle themselves from that barbed wire mess before Lowell could, once again, drive back out of that ditch and head them back home to our farm.

Sometimes, a little humble pie is the food needed for all of us to learn, laugh and enjoy life on the farm of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..September 1st

September 1st…………..“WHEN WAS YOUR DAD’S BIRTHDAY, GRANDPA? WHAT YEAR WAS HE BORN AND HOW OLD WOULD HE BE TODAY IN 2021”??

POEM – “What A Handsome Man He Was”. Created by N. Elliott Noorlun on September 1st, 2021……the 103rd birthday of our late father, Russell Conrad Noorlun…….September 1st, 1918 till February 19th, 1980. My dad was sixty-one years old at the time of his death from Pancreatic Cancer.

Elliott’s father, Russell, is on the right in this early photo with big sister, Ileen. Circa 1921.

Today Dad would’ve been 103,

What a handsome man he was.

Hard work and laughter, Were just two of his traits,

And I share this just because…….

Tiny Russell has found himself a squash on their family farm in northern Minnesota.

I’m thankful for, The life he lived,

Though imperfect like any mortal.

In his tenacious fight, For all that’s right,

Was his goal till Heaven’s portal,

Handsome young Russell (center), in the late 1930’s, with a couple of buddies.

Opened to grant, Our Norwegian dad,

Into God’s sweet Heavenly rest,

By our loving God, And our farmer of sod,

We as a family were blessed.

Together again in Heaven……Russell and Clarice.

It’s been 41 years, And we love you still,

Since you left for Heaven’s Shore,

And now you have, Dear Mother there,

To celebrate even more!

So give her a hug, As your glowing cake,

Floats by on a featherweight cloud,

Until the day, When God’s trumpet will play,

Then we’ll celebrate good and loud!!!

June of 1959 finds Elliott with his handsome farmer daddy, Russell.