Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..August 16th

August 16th……….”DID YOU AND YOUR DOG, “SPOTTY”, HAVE QUIET TIMES TOGETHER ON YOUR FARM THERE NEAR KIESTER, MINNESOTA”??

In the vespertine gold gilding of the clouds above us, happy winds caused innumerable corn tassels to appear to be tickling the empyrean heavens themselves.

“Spotty” was a kisser!! 😉

The resulting laughter of the sky above our farm translated into the laughter of myself sitting in soft grass as “Spotty” (our Parson Russell Terrier) slathered me with dog kisses as I found repose at the end of our cornfield just west of the family’s treed windbreak. Not only was I diminutive, as a little farm boy, but I was held in awe to be engulfed in the marvelous magnificence above me of the golden sky that was ebbing these final moments of another farm day in wrappings made by God.

My ever-faithful little canine companion shadowed my every move on our farm in those days. Together we enjoyed these insouciant buddy/buddy moments of quiet reflection here next to the family cornfield that reached out far towards the west end of our boundary fences.

My chores had been completed for the evening milking and, being Friday, I had no worries for educational edification until the following Monday, so all was well in our world.

Earlier that previous spring, “Old Man Winter” had finally surrendered his grip upon the land and warm, brown earth was visible once again there at our farm located on the fertile soils of south central Minnesota. I recalled my first few naked foot steps of hesitant and pin-pricking sensations after freeing my feet from winter’s boots and socks to go barefoot once again. By daily repetitions, my “Ooocheee-OUCHeee” footsteps progressed from tender feet in spring to shoe-leather-thick calloused feet of now early September.

Elliott holds his gift of a coin bank from his paternal Aunt Doris Hawley. He could also take many of these happy farm life memories “to the bank”, as well!!! 😉

Rising from my supine soft setting, “Spotty” and I decided to relish these last rays of ambient sunlight by enjoying a little walk into the peaceful cornfield. As my tough, bare feet shuffled through soft, ebony soils, “Spotty” was joyfully filtering scents, with his little nose to the ground, in hopes of picking up a rabbit’s trail. I couldn’t help but enjoy the parallel kissing to my cheeks by cornstalk leaves that at least were drier that “Spotty’s” kisses had been a few minutes earlier. As the waning sunlight made our quiet cornfield walk visually more challenging, I reversed our course back towards the windbreak and followed along our field road that took us back towards the barn’s staccato chatter from the milking system vacuum motor that puttered out of the barn wall exhaust pipe.

As if on orchestrated cue, the “tah-pah-kitah, tah-pah-kitah” sounds of the vacuum pump went silent. Dad had shut down the system for the night as he finished milking our dairy herd and sanitized his “Surge” milkers for the next morning’s operation. Both “Spotty” and myself were in boy heaven and covered from head to paw in good old Minnesota dirt as Dad emerged from the barn and shut off the lights. I could tell from his glancing gaze, as he and I made our way in walking towards our home, that I was destined for the bathtub that evening while Mom finished bringing a delicious supper to our table. In the “pecking order of life”, I then told “Spotty” that he was in for a bath the following day. You could just see the “no way, not ME” look he gave to this Norwegian Farmer’s Son. 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..August 15th

August 15th………“WE WERE CURIOUS, GRANDPA, FOR CREATING YOUR STORIES HERE, DID YOU TAKE ANY COURSES IN WRITING IN HIGH SCHOOL OR COLLEGE“?

POEM – “A Wannabe Writer” created by N. Elliott Noorlun in 2014. Many of my learned readers out there can easily discern, from my many grammatical mistakes, that I barely escaped basic English classes in my school years. When it comes to knowing how to properly punctuate sentences, I trip over my own feet….A LOT! Nonetheless, I have greatly enjoyed TRYING to be a writer as I’ve shared my heart about growing up on our farm and the years beyond. Hope you enjoy my poem regarding this issue. 😉

A professional writer,

I’ll never be,

But, it’s still a lot,

Of fun to see,

What happens when paper,

Meets the pen,

To share what happened,

In the way back when.

And when my grandkids,

Are grown and can read,

They can learn of the life,

Their grandpa did lead.

Elliott gets a fun ride from big sister, Rosemary, in those happy days gone by on their family farm three miles northwest of Kiester, Minnesota. 😉

And have a taste,

Of my daily joy,

That happened to a,

Once upon a time boy!!! 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..August 14th

August 14th…….“GRANDPA, AS A LITTLE BOY ON YOUR FARM IN MINNESOTA, DID YOU EVER HAVE BAD DAYS WHEN YOU FELT NO ONE LOVED YOU EXCEPT GOD”?

POEM – “When All’s Undone” created by N. Elliott Noorlun

I wonder if I’m, The only one,

Who has some days, When all’s undone?

Facing strife, From sun to sun,

Do you have days like those?

When no matter, What you do,

Other folk, Condemn anew,

It makes you feel, That friends are few,

When all you sense are foes.

On days like that, I would turn to flowers,

For with their quiet, Mystic powers,

I could find peace, That would flow in showers,

From my God who always knows.

For with each petal, Of tender color,

He’d remind me that, There is no other,

That He loves me deeper, Than a brother,

His faithful love……always shows!! ><> 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..August 13th

August 13th……….“WAS FARM LIFE DANGEROUS FOR CHILDREN AS WELL AS FOR ADULTS? SHARE A STORY WITH US, GRANDPA, ABOUT ONE OF YOUR SIBLINGS SUFFERING AN INJURY”.

Elliott’s wunnerful brother, Lowell, and little sister, Candi, a year or two before the time of her getting booted by that cow. They’re admired “Joker” the Shetland pony.

A cataclysmic, cow-created, cacophony of kid crying erupted in our family barn one late afternoon during the second milking of our Holstein dairy herd. Our little sister, Candice, had been attacked by the cloven, clobbering clout from one of our cows.

Usually, “The Girls” ambled into our barn, for the afternoon milking, in a placid pattern of nonchalantly walking to their specific stanchion stalls and settling in to eat and drink to their tummy’s delight while we washed their udders and began the milking process.

The Shetland pony, “Joker”, really lived up to his name!! 😉 Candi and Elliott see his ears back in anger, ready to bite!

The pristine jewel of that Minnesota morning had greeted us all as we stepped outside the back porch door of our farm home to view cawing crows “waving” at us with their wings from above the billowing green canopy of our treed windbreak surrounding our farm buildings.

With brother Lowell now home from the Air Force to assist our injured father on the farm, my sister, Candi, and myself enjoyed having some playtime that morning with big brother and our fairly new equine elf, “Joker”. That ornery Shetland colt was cute, at first, but, as time went on, “Joker” truly lived up to his name as he laughed at every attempt we made to try to “break” him for riding. Between our big brother’s help and that of our father’s, us two little farmer kiddos would jump aboard that stinker pony and hang on for dear life as that four-legged whirlwind would buck and spin and eventually deposit our butts to the grass below. Both Candi and I thought for sure we heard him give us a horse-laugh for being the victor once again. 😉

Elliott celebrates the 7th birthday of his sister, Candi, in October of 1962. The following summer she got cow clobbered! 😉

Our family, in a sense, were two families in one. Lowell and Rosemary had been born in the 1940’s and us two (Candice and myself) came into the fold in the middle 1950’s. As the wee ones, Sis and I adored big brother, Lowell, (and Rosie, too, of course) and always wanted to help out in his daily farm chores.

On this particular day, Candi wanted to be our elder brother’s shadow in the barn and was given the task of washing the udders (milk bags) of our cows while Lowell strapped on the vacuum-powered “Surge” milking machines to “harvest” the milk from our Holsteins. What a brave little soul she was! Candi was a mini-munchkin compared to those towering bovine bodies that had to be made to moooove over to let her in between them. She then would use her small bucket of soapy water and a rag to clean their teats from being out in the muddy pasture all day.

Our little dynamic farm girl moved from one cow to the next in getting her job done for big brother. About halfway down the fifteen cow lineup, she pushed her tiny frame in between another two bulging bovine bodies and began washing the udder of, what turned out to be, a very volatile animal. It could have been a number of issues that brought the cloven kicking calamity. Maybe the cow had an injured teat which was sensitive to the touch, OR, the soapy wash water and little sister’s hands may have gotten too cold to the cow’s sensitive udder area.

In the blink of an eye, that cow began to kick and thrash our little sister repeatedly beneath her and with one final KAHPOW of her hoof, sent our sweet little sister flying across the manure gutter, thus landing on her face on the sidewalk behind the herd and hitting the wall of the barn.

Lowell came on a run from the other end of the barn and scooped poor crying Candi up in his arms as he ran with her from the barn and up to our farm house. “Oh Candi! Oh Candi! Oh Candi”!!!!, was all our brother could keep saying as his little sister, now bruised and bloody with cow mess all over her, kept crying from the fright she had just experienced.

Carrying his beloved little sister into the house, Lowell tenderly settled Candi into the arms and care of our mother Clarice. As anyone acquainted with farm life knows, the matriarch of a farm family is on duty 24/7 to be a first responder as to doctoring and kissing the boo boos of her entire family when there was a sickness or injury.

So, with his little sister now in the tender loving care of our mother, Lowell, still caught up in the highly emotional moment of his little sister’s injuries, went back to the barn and, before continuing milking the rest of the herd, he gave that ornery cow a good old-fashioned “spanking”. All in all, it was one exciting day on the farm of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!! 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..August 12th

August 12th………“GRANDPA, IS THERE A FAMILY PHOTO COLLECTION THAT WAS STARTED BY OUR GREAT GRANDMA CLARICE BACK IN THE EARLY DAYS? WHERE WAS IT KEPT”?

POEM – “I’m Coming Home To Hug You, Mom”!! created by N. Elliott Noorlun. September 30th, 2015. Since moving to Hawaii, in 2010, every spring it was our tradition to fly home for my mother’s birthday on March 30th. While we were home, it was also a joyous tradition to pull out the shoebox of family photos and reminisce about our early days in Minnesota and northern Iowa. This poem is based on those sweet times of sharing. Mom’s been Home in Heaven now since 2017, but I still love looking over our family photos and remembering those joys of yesteryear!! ><> 😉

Elliott enjoys a Viking snuggle with his Norwegian momma, Clarice Arlone Sletten Noorlun.

I’m coming home to hug you, Mom!

Dear one who gave me the gift of life!

For now’s the time to show you’re loved,

I’ll announce it gladly with drum and fife!

The Noorlun family photo treasures in an old shoebox held closed with a fabric ribbon.

Let’s sit and dig, Through the old shoebox,

Of family photos so sweet!

Filled with memories, Of days gone by,

As we snuggled near your feet.

While you read us Bible stories,

That pointed us to God,

So I’m coming home to hug you, Mom!

For your life I here do laud! 😉

Elliott is getting momma hugs at nine months of age in September of 1954. 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..August 11th

August 11th………..“IT’S BEEN SAID THAT FIRST-BORN CHILDREN ARE KNOWN FOR THEIR LOYALTY AND FAITHFULNESS. DID YOU SEE THAT HONORABLE TRAIT IN YOUR BIG BROTHER, LOWELL”??

Lowell Noorlun joined the United States Air Force in November of 1961.

My hero came home to “save the day” for our parents and our farm!!!

Mrs. Martha Throntveit was a blessing in helping baby Lowell come into the world during that February snowstorm of 1943.

The eldest of we four Norwegian siblings, our big brother, Lowell, entered the world’s stage during a howling blizzard in February of 1943. His “coming out party” was destined to be a home-birth within a small cottage on the Wally & Genevieve Mutschler farm northwest of Kiester, Minnesota. In those days, our parents were hired as farm workers for the Mutschler family (whom we love deeply to this very day) and the use of the cottage was part of their payment for their labor. Being their firstborn child, Russell, on behalf of his beloved, Clarice…….braved the frozen tempest of snow-clogged roads to travel the 27 mile round trip to Scarville, Iowa to fetch a wonderful midwife named Martha Throntveit to assure the blessed arrival of our brother into this new life.

Tiny Lowell is “center stage” on the family picnic table in the summer of 1943. His father, Russell, supports him from behind.

That coming summer, Dad steadied his tiny baby boy on top of the Sletten family picnic table so Mom could record the moment with her 1931 Kodak box camera. Little did they know then, that twenty years later, this itty bitty baby boy would, in a sense, don a “Superman’s Cape” to “save the day” on our farm.

Elliott is in his hero’s arms. Circa 1958 on their family farm northwest of Kiester, Minnesota.

Even though I was a full eleven years younger than my brother, my human perceptions of life around me were just as keen, from a tiny perspective, as any adult as I drank in our daily farm and family life around me.

All the key ingredients of hero worship were manifested in my elder brother. Big brother was handsome, strong, made me laugh, showed his great generosity, sacrificed and thought of others before himself, even going the extra mile when inter-family dynamics were not always in his favor. And what mattered the most……….Lowell invested precious amounts of his time in my little boy life and gave me the sense of having value. I saw him as my “young father”.

In the blink of an eye, the years flew by and soon my hero brother was out of High School and itching to see the world. To energize that adventure, Lowell joined the United States Air Force. November of 1961 was bittersweet for my family and especially for my little sister, Candi, and myself as we watched Lowell climb aboard that Greyhound Bus in Blue Earth, Minnesota. He was now in the hands of “Uncle Sam” as his next destination was for Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

Elliott was thrilled to receive his very own “dog tag” as a gift from his big brother, Lowell, while in the Air Force. “Axtel 4-3415” was the family farm’s phone number at the time.

Although we missed big brother deeply, he was always reaching out to us in gifts that he’d send back home from his travels as he rendered service to our nation. The Air Force was very good to our brother. Lowell was thrilled to travel, meet new friends, get his food, lodging, clothes and even money in his pocket!! 😉 With such a mutual admiration happening between our brother and military service……Lowell was actually looking forward to making it his career choice……..until. A fateful day, in July of 1963, saw our farmer father badly injured and sent to the hospital in critical condition. Even when Dad was finally released to go home, there was to be a lengthy period ahead needed to convalesce for full healing to take place. Who was going to help our mother keep the farm going now? Lowell was stationed way up in Alaska, at the time.

“Uncle Sam” took Lowell TO the Air Force on a Greyhound Bus and brought him BACK home to their farm on a Greyhound Bus. Via Blue Earth, Minnesota, that is. 😉

Here’s where the first-born loyalty and faithfulness of our brother came to shine. When Dad and Mom communicated the gravity of their needs to our eldest sibling, it was an open and shut case and Lowell was mature enough to know that family came first. Together, they would seek and secure an honorable “family hardship” discharge so our brother could come home in our time of need for his young muscle and energies. Even though Lowell was thoroughly enjoying his life in the Air Force, his love of family and farm superseded all else. Pretty soon, our brother was boarding an air tanker flight from Alaska to Minot, North Dakota. From there, “Uncle Sam” sent him by train to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota and from there, a Greyhound Bus brought him back to Blue Earth, Minnesota (where he had first left us) and home to our farm to “save the day”. Truly, my big brother, to this very day, is a hero to this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!!

Elliott (R) enjoys the fellowship of his hero brother, Lowell, in 2017.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..August 10th

August 10th……….“WHAT WAS A GIFT, GIVEN TO YOU AS A LITTLE BOY ON YOUR FARM, THAT YOU STILL HAVE AND USE ALMOST SIXTY YEARS LATER”?

POEM – “Uncle Gene’s Gift” created by N. Elliott Noorlun on September 27th, 2014

Elliott’s Uncle Gene Greenspun was a toy manufacturer in New York City. A very kind, handsome and intelligent man!!

To you this may not seem like much,

But to me, It opened a world,

Of tiny wonders around me,

That this “looking glass” unfurled!!!

Elliott’s gift from around 1961-62. A jeweler’s loupe (magnifying lens) with wire head band.

Sixty years, Or so ago,

My uncle gave me this,

And for all the joy, It brought this boy,

His gift was like a kiss!

Elliott now thrilled at the tiny world around him using his jeweler’s loupe

From rocks and leaves, To bugs on a crawl,

To watching my blood veins bulge.

The magic of, That mini-world,

I did happily indulge.

Now here in, My latter years,

With failing eyes and sight.

My uncle’s gift still blesses me,

To see with memories bright!!! 😉

Elliott’s lovely Aunt Lillian, (his dad’s youngest sister) who was a model in New York!! She, along with her husband, Gene Greenspun, gave Elliott the little, but GIANT, gift of the jeweler’s loupe that opened up worlds to him on the farm and even helps his aging eyes to this very day!! 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..August 9th

August 9th………..“CAN YOU TELL US, GRANDPA, IN THE EVENINGS, ON YOUR FARM NEAR KIESTER, MINNESOTA, WAS IT USUALLY PEACEFUL IN THE BARN AND FARM YARD AS YOU SHUT OFF LIGHTS AND HEADED FOR YOUR HOUSE”??

POEM – “A Barn Goodnight” by N. Elliott Noorlun

The moon is glowing,

The chores are done,

Tis the nighttime now,

After setting sun.

The cows are lowing,

We hear rustling of straw,

As our bovine “family”,

With nary a flaw,

Settle to slumber,

As Dad turns out the light,

Another day on the land,

Ends with delight.

As we walk towards the house,

Mourning Doves sing our way,

We rejoice for this farm,

Blessed with another day.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..August 8th

August 8th………..“SHARE WITH US, GRANDPA, ABOUT A NEIGHBOR THAT YOU REALLY ADMIRED THERE IN YOUR NEW HOMETOWN OF BATTLE GROUND, WASHINGTON”.

“OOWWwwwww!!! You broke my toe”!!!! hollered Walter Yost in accusation!! That explosive exclamation came right after this teenager had stepped on his foot during the skirmish of our neighborhood touch-football game. Facetiously, I retorted back at him, “Yaahhh RIGHT, Walt!! Not buyin’ that!! We know your dry Swiss sense of humor!!! Come on, get back in the game”!! In the misty dusk of that late Fall afternoon, Walt limped off towards the amber porch light that illuminated the front steps of their handsome brick home on what was then called Hawthorne Street in Battle Ground, Washington.

“Hmmmm”!!??, thought I, maybe he IS on the level. Calling a “time out”, I excused myself from our gang and trotted off of the extra lot the Yost family owned in front of their house, and went to see if that “master teaser” really WAS hurt after all. Sure enough, poor Walter was just pulling off his rubber boot as I arrived on scene and I witnessed that the end of his sock was soaked in blood!!! It turns out, that during that football play, I had landed on and twisted my foot on top of the soft uppers of the rubber boot that Walt was wearing and had, inadvertently ripped off his big toenail!!! I guess he wasn’t foolin’ after all!! 😉

Battle Ground Baptist Church, in 1967, when Elliott and his family first met Walter and Dorothy Yost and their family Louan, John and Marie.

Walter and Dorothy Yost were just two of many new friends our family met when we moved to Battle Ground in August of 1967 and began family worship at Battle Ground Baptist Church. Even the Yost’s daughter was in 8th Grade at our local school district, like myself.

Mr. Walter Yost had been faithfully employed in the leadership of First Independent Bank (of Vancouver, Washington) for many decades and showed himself, along with his beloved Dorothy, to be a great steward of God’s gifts over the years.

The lovely Yost home in Battle Ground, Washington.

I’ve heard that, around 1963, Walter and Dorothy Yost were blessed with their beautiful brick home in a new area of town known as “Scotton’s Addition”. The new street was, in those days, called Hawthorne Street because it was the hope of builders Richard and Harvey Dunning to have lovely Hawthorne trees planted for effect in front of every new home they were building.

These were Battle Ground’s early years, in that north end of town, and, in those times, Walt and Dorothy’s home was the only house on that side of the street with nothing but open fields running west for at least a quarter mile or more. I’ve heard that Walter had a single engine plane in those days and, after enjoying a fun flight, could land on that long strip of open land, taxi right up to the house, spin his plane around, shut ‘er down and walk on inside for dinner. I’ve always thought that was pretty darn neat!!! 😉

Faithful neighbors and faithful Christians……Dorothy and Walter Yost.

The Yosts shared their love and wisdom with so many of us in our local church body over the years, including myself. This quiet dynamic duo easily fit the mold of another dear saint of our local church, Burgess Shockley, who once stood up in a business meeting and said, “I’ve seen the mountains, and I’ve seen the valleys of this congregation………and I’ve stayed”!!! Our church family could always count on the sound financial wisdom of Walter’s many years as a professional in the banking trade. Walt, like the good-guy cowboys of old, was always a straight shooter in his advice for our church leadership and congregation. Matter of fact, his wisdom on money matters was evident in what he told his own children when they desired something that cost their family some dollars. “Well, we can afford it, but we can’t afford it”!!!, was a common quote from their dad’s lips. I’m sure, at first, that phrase must’ve made them scratch their heads until his wisdom would sink in………..do we really just WANT something? Or do we really NEED something. 😉

Elliott’s “Black Beauty” Guild guitar that God gifted to him through Walter and Dorothy Yost’s generous gift.

My one-of-a-kind, handmade guitar had been stolen from my car in the mid 1980’s. I was heartbroken in its loss and even more distraught when my insurance company failed me in not recognizing its “Stradivarius” worth in being a handmade and beautifully crafted musical instrument that had cost me $600 at the time of purchase. “Nope”, said the cold-faced insurance agent, “It’s JUST a guitar and we’ll give you $200 insurance money for it”!!! Well, I wasn’t going to settle for the insurance company’s guitar idea of just a box with strings on it. So, I decided that I would just have to slowly save up the $1,000 that I needed for a black “Guild” jumbo-body acoustic guitar.

Elliott, on right, plays the handmade “Oaks Brothers” guitar that was stolen from his car in the mid 1980’s.

After the theft, it had been a long time since I had played guitar and sang in church, so, on one Sunday, Walter Yost asked me why and I told him the story. “Can you come over to our house tonight for a visit”??, asked my good neighbor. “Sure, happy to”!! I told him. That evening, in the Yost’s lovely Living Room, Walter asked me what the dollar difference was between my insurance money, that I had received, and what would be needed to purchase that “Guild” guitar. “Well, Walt, I’d need another $800 to make that purchase”, said I. What happened next still brings me to tears as I remember the moment. Walter said, “Elliott, I’m going to write you a check for $800 so you can buy that “Guild” guitar……..I just can not visualize you without a guitar in your hands”!!! Tears of deep gratitude began to flood my eyes as I thanked both Walter and Dorothy Yost profusely for their amazing love and generosity to me!!!! I praise God for both of these great people who truly “WALK THE TALK” of their Christian love and faith to all within their reach and I especially have all praise for the love they’ve shown to this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!!

Truly a “Dynamic Duo” is Walter & Dorothy Yost……..together, the epitome of faithfulness and loving others.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..August 7th

August 7th…………“GRANDPA, WHEN YOUR FAMILY MOVED FROM MINNESOTA TO WASHINGTON STATE, IN 1967, DID YOU EVER TRAVEL TO THE COAST TO SEE LIGHTHOUSES? WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE?

POEM – “Tillamook Light, So Special To Me”. Created by N. Elliott Noorlun on November 5th, 2015.

A seagull’s song, Welcomes me,

Back to these shores, Where I can see,

Tillamook Light, Who in shrouds of mist,

Still stands her ground, That time has kissed.

Relentless storms, And pounding surf,

Have tried since when, Her light gave birth,

To rip her beacon, Back down to earth,

Yet still she stands, In all her worth.

Thousands of seamen, Since days of sail,

That if not for her light, Death shrieks would wail!

Ohhh Tillamook Light, So special to me,

For dear memories only, My heart can see.