Norwegian Farmer’s Son…May 11th


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“Angel”, our Holstein cow.

“Angel” was in love with the singer, Andy Williams.  Well, o.k., she didn’t exactly tell me that in her bovine tongue, but it was too obvious when one of his songs played on our barn radio.  You see, “Angel” was my favorite Holstein dairy cuddly cow cutie and resided at Stanchion #15 in our barn there on our farm in southern Minnesota.  Her stanchion may have been at the “end of the line” in our herd lineup, but she was #1 in my book for gentleness.  There were horizontal pipe railings that bordered her last stall and “Angel” didn’t mind at all when I’d climb up those railings and up onto her back while Dad milked her and the rest of our herd of bovine beauties.

#68=barn in kiester, mn...looking sw
Just inside that corner door was the home of “Angel” the happy-hearted Holstein.

One would naturally think that a barn and music would be the antithesis of each other; polar opposites that would be repellent of each other, right?  Yet, as any working person can tell you, we all spend a lion’s share of each day “at the office”.  Well, our farmer father’s “office” was the barn where he milked and cared for fifteen Holstein dairy cows (and other young livestock) twice a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.  So, in city life, as many offices have music playing to sooth the stress of business transactions, our farmer father had music playing to sooth the cows.

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Similar to the Noorlun’s barn radio.

As I’ve shared in earlier stories, centered in the barn and resting on a dust covered shelf, above the cow’s heads, sat our old yellowed plastic barn radio.  Dad believed that, not only were the radio broadcasts entertainment for him as he passed the long hours working in that bovine domicile; he also held that the music also tended to relax the cows and therefore they’d “let down” their milk for a higher yield of gallons to be sold at the local creamery.

music notes
The “seeds” of that Andy Williams song floated past “Angel” with Elliott on her back.

As the winds blew across our farmlands, they blew dandelion seeds past our barn.  At the same time, within those wooden barn walls, that dear old plastic radio blew the “seeds of music” past our ears and minds.  I have found that, secreted in the mundane blandness of everyday life are moments of elevated wonder just waiting to happen.  For me, that wonder was in the wistful song that came across the barn radio one evening while I was laying forward and resting on the bony back of my favorite cow, “Angel”.

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Elliott was taken by Andy William’s sumptuous, syncopated song.

The famous singer, Andy Williams, debuted a new song in March of 1963 called, “Can’t Get Used To Losing You”.   There I was that evening, laying forward upon the back of “Angel”, as that magical melody filled the barn.  I was transfixed by the unique syncopated prelude of the song.  Then, that unmistakable voice of Andy Williams wove the words together in that signature sound that was all his own.  With my ear resting against “Angel’s” back , I thought I heard a gentle lowing (soft moo) from her, as if she’d heard the tune also and appreciated that human voice coming into her bovine ears, just like I enjoyed it in my human ears.  I suppose a realist would say, “Well, heck, she’s just enjoying her meal in front of her!”……be that as it may, the romanticist in me says she liked what she heard across that human radio 😉

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Barn stanchions where cows stood while being milked.

Even after “Angel”, and the rest of our farm animals, left us in the farm sale of 1967, I found that, from that magic moment, I enjoyed “Can’t Get Used To Losing You” more and more each time it played on a radio over the years.  In 1963, when it first hit the airwaves, that great song climbed to the Number 2 position on the national popular music charts both here in America AND in England, as well.  Ahhhhhh, yes, the mesmerizing magic of music for a young nine year old boy known as the Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

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Thank you, “Angel”, my bovine beauty buddy of MOOOving musical memories!! 😉



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