Volume One Completed

#17.1 Grandpa Edwin Noorlun, Dad Russell and Elliott

Dear Friends and Readers of Norwegian Farmer’s Son,

For those of you not on Facebook, I recently completed Volume One of my gentle adventures of growing up in southern Minnesota and then later on in Washington State.  I call these my
“gentle adventures” for the fact that I’m just a plain old everyday type person and no one of significance.  Besides, I’ve teased folks, over the years, that I am the antithesis of the 60’s rock song in that I was “born to be MILD, not wild!” 😉

For those of you who may have just stumbled on to my blog, the premise of my short stories and poems is built on the theoretical gathering of my children and grandchildren around me.  Each day of the year, they would ask me a different question about life in general, or how a certain event transpired in my life.  I then answer each question with either a short story or a poem.   So, as of today, there are 365 chapters for you all to browse through and enjoy.

With tax season approaching, I will be taking a sabbatical from writing and focus on getting taxes done.  Then, I hope to begin a Volume Two of my writings.   The next  “calendar-based” diary/autobiography will be composed of about three months of more questions and answers and then I will delve into my hundreds of poems and song lyrics that I’ve created over the years.   These poetical musings will mirror life itself, in that some will be silly, some serious and others thought provoking.   Hope you are able to stop by, from time to time, to enjoy my creations.

See you all in a month or two.  Until then, Lord bless! ><>

N. Elliott Noorlun……….the Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

#28.1=Dad on TV commercial for Purina Hog Feed, early 1960's
Elliott’s farmer father, Russell C. Noorlun.

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…December 31st

December 31st…“AS A LITTLE BOY, ON YOUR FARM, HOW DID YOU SWING INTO THE NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATIONS?”………in a SWING, of course! 😉

POEM – “The Best Way To Fly”   by N. Elliott Noorlun

NFS 5.20i
Similar to Elliott’s tire swing.

Any time of the year, Be it Winter or Spring,

The best way to fly, Was on our tire swing.

A gift to our dad, From old Uncle Doren,

If flew for millions, Of miles unworn.

First, thousands of miles, On Uncle’s plane,

But when its use, Began to wane,

Dad cut out a seat, Ropes o’er the tree,

For all of us kids, To experience glee.

#103=Elliott in tree swing with Rosemary; Aug. 31, 1954
Tiny Elliott on the tire swing with Sis, Rosie.

My sister, Rosie, First placed me aboard,

The magical ship, On which I soared,

To heights that seemed, To touch the sky,

This farmer’s son, Sure could fly!!! 😉

NFS 5.20f
The tree with the big slingshot “Y” was Elliott’s swing tree.  Up, and to the left side of the “Y”, you can see an outcropping to the left.  That’s where Elliott’s father, Russell, tied the fun airplane tire swing.  It was a fun gathering place for the four Noorlun children over the years.

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…December 30th

December 30th…“WAS GETTING FROM YOUR FARM TO SCHOOL DIFFICULT IN THOSE MINNESOTA WINTERS?”

NFS 12.30g
Elliott wanted to stay under those nice, warm quilts his mom made.

Trying to rouse a little school boy from his warm cocoon of thick quilts was no easy task for our dear mother back in our frigid Minnesota winter mornings.  It was SO cold in our unheated, upstairs bedrooms, that the single-pane, multi-paneled glass window of my upstairs bedroom was encrusted on the inside with frost.  So much frost; I could scratch my initials in the layers of frozen morning brrrrrrrr!  One thing for sure, once I DID force my boy body out of bed and into the arctic abyss of my icy bedroom, I could easily beat any speed record in getting dressed so as to minimize the goose pimples that began to emanate and rise up all over my body from the atmospheric shock, even with my winter longjohns on.  With clothing now covering my corpuscles, I looked back, longingly, at the cozy repose of my now cooling bed……as if saying, “See ya tonight, cozy quilts!” 😉

NFS 12.30i
An icicle lollipop for Elliott.

With Mom’s bountiful breakfast in my tummy, and bundled to face the elements of Winter. The goal of my little sister and I was to head outdoors to wait and catch the school bus that passed our farm each day on its way to Kiester Public School in our dear hometown of Kiester, Minnesota.  With the freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw cycle of life in Winter, long icicles would form and hang from the roof edges of most of the buildings around our yard.  On the way out to the gravel road, I’d sometimes stop by a lower building roof-line and snap off an “icicle lollipop” to suck on while waiting for that long, metal school “banana” to arrive.  Being the ruff n tuff little cream puff I was , I didn’t care that the water that made up that “Popsicle” contained dust and bird doo-doo from the nasty roofs.  Although our father, Russell, spoke of himself walking three miles to his school in Winter, we had the modern pleasure of a classic yellow school bus chariot to take my sister and I to our elementary school.

NFS 12.30d
Elliott’s school bus driver, Marie, is sitting next to her husband, Manville Meyer

The out-going lady who was the charioteer of our powerful school bus was quite a personality all her own.  Marie Meyer was her name, and I readily admired and enjoyed her “larger than life” persona.

NFS 12.30j
Yayyyy, Marie!!!! 😉

Marie had the knack to make a little schoolboy, like myself, feel welcome and safe on her bus.  On the other hand, Marie also had the innate personal power to scowl down a raucous High School bully and reduce him to a quivering puddle of Jello if he had the unmitigated gall to act disrespectfully to her within her yellow-metaled domain of student transportation.  Marie’s husband, Manville Meyer, was co-owner of the fleet of buses that serviced, not only our school district, but any community-wide need for transportation.

NFS 12.30a
“HANG ON KIDS!!!”

Daily, as a kid, I never had to pay a nickel for a rock-n-rollin’ ride to school that had all the ear-markings of a wild and woolly carnival attraction.  This day was to be no exception.  Our Minnesota countryside, that morning, was enveloped in a full out blizzard.  Blowing snow, across the graveled roads, made for some large snowdrifts that required Marie to bulldoze her bus through them in order for her to, eventually, deliver us young riders to Kiester and the pending educational process of school.  With the whiteness of Winter, those massive dual tires on the back of Marie’s bus sported impressive link chains for better traction in this Winter wonderland.  I can still see us rolling along in the blizzard that morning.  We were bouncing along the rough roads southwest of Kiester when Marie saw a massive snowdrift across the roadway, almost fully blocking our path and about three feet or more high.  Marie got on the “public address” speaker of the bus and told us, “HANG ON KIDS!!  BIG SNOWDRIFT AHEAD!!!”   

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Just like Marie’s bus that day of the giant snowdrift.

We all became cheerleaders as Marie revved up that International Harvester school bus engine.   With her “pedal to the metal”, Marie launched that beast of a bus at full speed as it plowed into the mighty snowdrift.  Like a war between yellow and white, you could hear the snowdrift drag against the bus belly beneath us as those chained, rear dual tires ground and growled at trying to chew up and conquer that snowdrift.   But, “the white” won out that morning and our bus was high-centered in that capturing snow.  We were stuck.  Usually, our Marie was the winner against those mini-mountains of white, but not today, the “mother of all snowdrifts” had won.  Even our bus snow-chains were no match against that thick, arresting white mass of frozen water crystals.

NFS 12.30l
Marie’s two-way radio saved the day.

Thanks to modern technology, in 1960’s, of CB (Citizen’s Band) radios, Marie had a Plan B already in operation.  She pressed the talk button on the radio and called into the bus barn (shop) in Kiester to let them know we were stuck.  Plan B called for another bus to come towards us from the south.  For those too young to know, there were no street signs in the farming regions, back in those days, so, Marie just radioed to her dispatcher the family name of the nearest farm to our place of being stuck.  Being a small community, everyone knew where everyone else’s farm was, so it was easy for our rescuers to find this stranded bus of ours!

NFS 12.30m
Through the snowstorm came the rescue bus.

In that sweet positivity of youth, my fellow bus riders, and myself, saw this as more of a happy adventure than anything remotely dangerous.  Besides, we were having more fun being stuck in a snowstorm than being in an old boring schoolroom any day! 😉

Our blizzard-induced euphoria was gently brought back to reality as we could, in the distant haze of the snowstorm, see our rescue bus making its approach along the country roads towards us.  Marie, like a kindly army general, gave us, her little troopers, the command to disembark and jump into the snowdrifts from her stranded, yellow troop carrier and make our way over and into the rescue bus.  With his bus heater running full blast, our rescue driver (Marie’s husband, Manville) welcomed us into the warm comfort for the rest of the ride to school.  Those blustery, blizzard blowing breezes were actually one heck of a fun adventure for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son

he3 9 r68
An old-timer school bus in Elliott’s hometown of Kiester, Minnesota.  Going to guess that this was from the era of the mid to late 1940’s.  A time before Elliott was even born.

 

 

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…December 29th

December 29th…”SHARE SOME POSITIVE ATTRIBUTES REGARDING YOUR LITTLE SISTER.”

POEM – “Candi Wings”   by N. Elliott Noorlun

#26=Candi &amp; Elliott Noorlun(1959)
Elliott’s little sister, Candice, on the left in red dress.

You may not have noticed, Yet they are there,

The angel wings, My sister does wear.

For since her youth, Heart tender and rare,

You’ll see her giving love, And offering care.

NFS 12.29a

With agape love, Beyond her own,

Though body be weary, And tired prone,

With compassion n memory, Her energies strive,

To celebrate birthdays, Whether ninety or five.

#250=Noorlun kids; December 1960
Elliott on top, Candice below.

With quiet resolve, She has often stood,

In defense of those, Who knew she would,

Come to their aid, Sharing love and home,

Refuge and peace, No more need they roam.

“Candi”, Sweet is my sister’s name,

An angel on earth, In human frame.

NFS 12.29c
Candice Lynn Noorlun Ehrich…..The sweetest angel of a sister Elliott could ever ask for!! ><>

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…December 28th

December 28th…“WHILE ATTENDING KIESTER, MINNESOTA PUBLIC SCHOOL, DID YOU TRY TO LEARN AN INSTRUMENT FOR THEIR BAND?”

POEM – “My Trombone, Was A Twilight Zone”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

#1053.b KHS Band 1967 300
The Honorable Mr. Milton Glende leads the 1966-67 Kiester High School Marching Band down the Main Street of Elliott’s hometown of Kiester, Minnesota.

It likely happened, When they’d pass,

I’d see that sparkling, Flashing brass,

And want one for, My very own,

A golden sounding, Slide trombone.

NFS 12.28b
Elliott dreamed of being in the band.

In my dreams, I’d be the best,

With handsome horn, And sharply dressed,

To follow in, My sister’s ways,

As a band member in, Her high school days.

#1022 MIlton Glende KHS Band Director
The Respected Mr. Milton Glende.

So timidly, I knocked on the door,

Of our great educator, Who knew the score,

Of many a show, And many a song,

Under his care, I just couldn’t go wrong.

NFS 12.28f
Oldie but a goodie was Elliott’s horn.

Mr. Glende, Took me aside,

And issued me horn, That could play and slide.

He said, “The more you practice, The more you play”,

“Will make me smile, And wanna say YAY!”

NFS 12.28e
Elliott WAS bad!

At first, I blew, That horn every day,

It’d even make cows, Look up from their hay,

But then, I’d forget, Or be too busy,

Or make up excuse, That it made me dizzy.

Man standing with his fingers plugging his ears
Poor Mr. Glende’s ears!

So when it came time, For lesson in town,

Poor Mr. Glende, Could only frown.

For the sorry excuse, For notes from my horn,

Just brought me to shame, And well-deserved scorn.

My trombone became, Like a twilight zone,

To the point I was scared to play,

For fear of what, Mr. Glende would say,

As I came on my lesson day.

NFS 12.28c
“Bone Head” for Elliott meant “bad”!

“It’s obvious, Elliott, You’ve not found the time”,

“To make your trombone, Sound sublime”.

“Thank you for trying, Now have a good day,”

Said dear Mr. Glende, As I went my way.

NFS 12.28i
A wise saying.

So if there is something, That challenges you,

Remember that there is, A payment due.

“Practice makes perfect”, And every day,

You’ll get closer to beauty, In every way.

NFS 12.28j

 

 

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…December 27th

December 27th…“TELL US ABOUT THE 25TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY OF YOUR PARENTS THERE ON YOUR FARM IN SOUTHERN MINNESOTA.”

#23=R.Noorlun Wedding Party (June 21st,'41)
Elliott’s parents, the wedding couple, on left, and their witnesses, on right. June 1941.

Time-worn love letters from our handsome father, Russell, given in confidence to our cherished mother, Clarice, had been protected in the hallowed halls of Mom’s heart for over 70 years. Now, although brittle they were with time’s passage, those lines of love remained still tender in their power to move our mother’s emotions as she relayed their contents to us in her latter days. Back in our farm days, near Kiester, Minnesota, I can recall rummaging through the angled, pitched ceiling of an upstairs closet and finding these annals of admiration and courtship that eventually drew our parents to the church altar on June 21st of 1941. With a world around them in absolute turmoil, and on the verge of the global conflict of World War II, these letters, and their contents, had to have given our mother the assurance that love would conquer all. In my pre-teen archaeological find that day, I can still see that big bundle of love letters (still in their envelopes), now turning amber with the passage of years and being held together by a couple large rubber bands. Curiosity “killing the cat”, I snatched up my find and scampered down the creaking wooden stairs to find our mother fixing “Dinner” (which is what Midwest folk call the midday meal) for our farmer dad in our quaint kitchen.

NFS 12.27c
Letters of love.

“Say Mom, look what I found upstairs in the closet. What are these? They seem to have your name on the envelopes.” Mom’s eyes lit up as if I had just discovered the Hope Diamond, or something of similar value. “Ohhh my goodness!” she said, “Those are letters from your dad to me and they’re for my eyes only. Please put them back in the attic closet where you found them.” In acknowledging obedience, I honored mother and placed those romantic writings safely back where they rightfully belonged.

#897 Russell & Clarice Noorlun 25th Wedding Anniversary 6.21
Russell and Clarice’s 25th Silver Wedding Anniversary. Dad’s “Best Man”, Uncle Robert Sletten, and Mom’s “Maid Of Honor”, Dorothy Ulve Leegard, recreated their wedding day photo from June of 1941.

A quarter of a century of marriage had passed for those two Norwegian parents of ours, and the time is now June of 1966. Our good Lord had blessed our parents with four healthy children, 120 acres of bountiful Minnesota farmland, their first granddaughter, and a myriad of other joys that they were truly thankful for. Our eldest sister, Rosemary, along with our brother’s new wife, Lynn, had conceived and carried out this gala gathering and had called the clan from near and far to come celebrate the Silver Wedding Anniversary of Russell and Clarice Noorlun.

NFS 12.27d
Norwegians are known for their teasing humor.

Thanks to our expansive farm acreage, we had plenty of parking for cars of all the many family and friends that gathered on that perfect June day to help our folks celebrate. Now, Norwegians are known for their teasing humor, and to have a platform for that fun stuff, there was created a mythical married couple in Norwegian joke books called “Ole & Lena”. Very likely, amongst the men in attendance at our farm that day, this joke may have been shared for a laugh, ……..Lars asks Ole, “Vat yew gonna dew tew celebrate yer Vedding Anniversay vit Lena? Mehbee go out und kill a shicken fer Supper?” Ole responds by saying, “Nay, nay, I don’t tink so…A shicken shooodn’t hafta soofer fer vat happened 25 yeers agoo!!” 😉

#744 Russ n Marie
Elliott’s paternal grandmother, Marie, being hugged by his father, Russell.

Tucked away, in my gene pool baggage compartment, were some odoriferous, oinkeristic ornery genes. For some reason, I surmise that my paternal grandmother, Marie Tollefson Noorlun may have dealt them to me as the cards of life were shuffled. From stories I heard, she could be a real stinker, herself. Those audacious attributes of mine chose to come to the surface there on our parent’s Silver Wedding Anniversary. Maybe it was too many adults everywhere in the house or yard, or, maybe there weren’t very many kids my age to play with that day; but whatever the extenuating circumstances, social conditions were just too much for this mini-hermit and I decided to vacate the house and farmyard vicinity in lieu of some reclusive enjoyment down at Brush Creek. Away I went to the creek. While getting knee deep in water and mud, I had fun chasing tadpoles and crawdads in the creek while getting thoroughly mud-plastered along the way.

#247=Rosie's Confirmation photo, I think; circa 1963
Elliott’s elder sister, Rosie.

From down in the creek bottom, I could hear car tires coming my way and rumbling against the gravel road above me on the bridge over Brush Creek. The car stopped and shut off it’s engine. It was my elder sister, Rosemary. Rosie leaned over the bridge railing and called to me in the creek waters below, “Heyyy Elliott!! Mom and Dad want all us kids to be at the house for a family photo together. Come home, clean up, change clothes and get ready for that photograph.” It could have been the bossy authoritarian tone of her voice, but my twelve year old ornery self replied, “Heck no!! I don’t wanna!!! I’m havin’ fun down here and there’s no way I’m gonna go to all that fuss for a silly photograph!” Ohhh, myyy, goodness!! My big sister went classically ballistic from her bellowing bridge barrages against me!! Whooodawgies was she mad as a wet hen when I flat refused!!! She stormed over to her car, fired up the engine and spun so much gravel with her tires that some of it flew over the bridge’s edge and down to the creek waters near me. Needless to say, I was worth less than two loogies in a spittoon in my sister’s eyes for quite some time after that.

#355=Russ&Clarice Silver Anniversary; June 21, 1966
A marriage totaling 38 years and almost 8 months.

Aside from my act of selfish immaturity, after that wonderful day of the Silver Anniversay celebration came to an end, our dear parents went on to experience another thirteen years and eight months together until Dad surrendered to pancreatic cancer and left us for Heaven’s Shores in February of 1980. Russell and Clarice didn’t have a perfect marriage, they experienced their highs and lows like every married couple. But, what they DID have has always stayed with me……they never gave up on each other!!! I see their long marriage summed up in a wise saying that goes like this, “A perfect marriage is just two IMperfect people that refuse to give up on each other”. Another muse on the subject of long marriage comes from the New Testament in Ephesians Chapter 5 and Verse 25…..”Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” I am so grateful for our parents says this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

#21.2 Russell & Clarice Noorlun Wedding Day 6.21.41

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…December 26th

December 26th…“ON YOUR FARM, IN MINNESOTA, AT WHAT AGE DID YOU START TO REALIZE THAT LIFE COULD BE DANGEROUS?”

POEM – “Pobody’s Nerfect”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

#109=Elliott on front step of Kiester farm; Spring 1958
Elliott, in 1958, is “Mr. Accident” waiting to happen throughout life 😉

Pobody’s Nerfect, Especially me!

Been this way, Since I’d say three.

It’s a minor miracle, That I’m still here,

Considering the courses, I did steer.

There were many times, Back on the farm,

When my given name, Should’ve been “Harm”.

You’d be amazed, At the stunts I’d pull,

Like blood-poisoned feet, Or shootin’ the bull.

Mean bull breakout
Elliott almost got squashed!!!

Now the bull t’weren’t happy, With what I did,

You see, I was a mean, Widdo kid.

Had my BB rifle, Aimed just right,

In a place that made bull, Wanna fight!

If it weren’t for the solid, Fence back home,

I wouldn’t be here, A writin’ this poem.

NFS 12.26c
Elliott learned the OUCH way!

Then there’s the mower, With which I played tag,

Except my fingers, It decided to snag.

NFS 12.26d
Mr. CRASH BANG Elliott!!!

I’ve fallen from haymows, And cracked my head,

It’s amazin’ that this kid, Ain’t yet DEAD!

Once while tripping, Over my toes,

I went the way, That gravity goes.

Twas in the school gymnasium,

That I busted wide, my cranium…..(just a figure of speech, folks)

NFS 12.26b
Less than a cat brain!  Meow!!!

The Doc said, “One more blow like that”,

“Will make him less, Than dog or cat!”.

So just be thankful, You’re as good as you are,

Cause I’m amazed, I’ve got this far!!! 😉

NFS 12.26a
There goes “Mr. Accident” Elliott again!