January 29th…“HAVE YOU EVER BEEN KNOCKED OUT COLD (i.e. UNCONSCIOUS)?”
In those dear days of the long ago, I excitedly looked forward to Saturday evenings in our village of Kiester like kids of today look forward to the latest video games. But contrary to the youth of today, my buddies and I didn’t sit around like body lumps staring into tiny phone screens with just our thumbs moving for some form of exercise.
After arriving in town and climbing out of our parents’ car, I’d quickly locate my schoolmates and off we’d go on a run for adventure and exploring all around the village while parents did their shopping and visited with friends. Many of our quaint store buildings had narrow gaps between them that were just skinny enough for us rambunctious boys to shimmy sideways along from the back of the store siding to the front and back onto Main Street. As was true for most Midwest towns, there were “service alley” lanes that followed along behind the stores and paralleled Main Street. There, in that rear utilitarian domain, we kiddos could check out every nook and cranny behind the stores. Imagination ruled supreme in our fun from playing “Kick The Can” to how far one could fling a rock down that long back alley.
With the Summer’s sun sliding gracefully into the farmland horizon, our youthful energies often escalated to playing “Hide N Seek” in the shadows of the village buildings or challenging one another to see how fast we could run to outdo a pal who was chasing and trying to catch you.
Those “Catch Me If You Can” races took my feet flying in front of one of our grocery stores that evening. Whizzing along like a Minnesota wind gust, I was racing my little legs down the sidewalk in front of Field’s Supermarket. I looked over my shoulder to see if my pal was catching up to me, and when I did, my toe caught in a raised bit of sidewalk.
Eyes wide open with shock, I remember seeing the sidewalk “coming up to meet me” as I fell down. That’s all I recall, cause I then blacked out from the fall, cracking my head on that solid cement sidewalk.
As my eyelids began to open, I realized that I’m now horizontal and looking up at the ceiling of a grocery store while laying on top of the store’s check out where the cashier person stands. A small crowd of townspeople were gathered around to observe when this little “racer” would “come back to life”. Being the fine community of caring folk that our town was known for, the store owner (Mr. Laverle Field) had scooped up my limp little body from the sidewalk and carried me into the store to take care of me. Other than a big lump on my forehead from “kissing the cement”, I seemed to be alive to thrive yet another day of childhood. Good neighbors had found and summoned my parents from nearby and they, in turn, sincerely thanked Mr. Field for his kindness in coming to the rescue of a tiny, unconscious Norwegian Farmer’s Son.