January 20th…“DID ANY RELATIVES EVER LIVE WITH YOU?”
Wrapped in childhood innocence and permeated with the gullibility of a tiny heart, I was only able to discern those things in life that I could perceive through the lens of a little boy’s eyes and ears. The how or why of adult family dynamics were beyond my scope of understanding when it came to “knowing the whole story” of how my cousin, Lyle J. Noorlun, came to live with us on our farm for about a year or so. What I DID surmise, was that he must have been impressed with the way of life in the country versus the big city life he had experienced up to that point in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. Lyle was somehow able to finagle his father (our Dad’s older brother, Ray) to allow his permission to live with us on the farm of “Uncle Russ” in Kiester, Minnesota.
From my juvenile observation, our handsome cousin may have been around seventeen years young when he came to be part of the “southern” Noorlun family farm. His dark, wavy hair framed a very handsome young face and was combed in the classic style of the late 1950’s. A few reckless curls of his dark tresses hung over his forehead for, what I reckon, was the added effect of luring young ladies to his side. And, I wouldn’t be surprised that he likely had more than a few “takers” while attending our local high school.
Cousin Lyle and I shared the smallest of two bedrooms that made up the second story of our almost century old farmhouse. The springs and mattress of our bed were so old and sunken, that the two of us often rolled into each other during the night as gravity would take it’s course. I guess we could have sang the old cowboy song, “Down In The Valley” when it came to THAT sleeping experience.
Being the impressionable little boy that I was, Cousin Lyle wowed me each morning as he’d climb outta that swayback bed and dropped to the floor for his regimen of pushups and situps. Repetitions would reach 50, or more, for each exercise and, as a result, that cousin of mine was one “buff” lookin’ guy in his slim and trim physique.
Big sister Rosemary and I counted it a delight to climb into the cab of our pickup when it came to going to school each morning. You see, when our father would give his permission, Cousin Lyle loved to sparkle up our vintage 1950 black Ford pickup truck. Like any youngster in love with the new passion of independence and a vehicle, Lyle would doll up the truck with big, colorful foam dice hanging from the rear view mirror. He even had an elaborate plastic spoon collection that was accrued from the tasty malts and shakes he consumed at our local “drive-in” eatery that resided just off of Highway 22 on the east side of our beloved hometown of Kiester, Minnesota. His spoon creation was tucked into and above the rear window frame of the truck in a fantail fashion with the tallest spoons to center and graduating down to the smaller spoons at the sides. Lyle’s method of truck decorating may have seemed strange to some, but then again, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.
Like the winds of family that brought Lyle to our farm, so also came a wind of change that whisked him back to his home in the “Twin Cities” of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. Whether good or bad, the future awaited new adventures for this cousin of a Norwegian Farmer’s Son.