Vol.2 Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 2nd



NFS 2.24f
Brush Creek, looking east towards Kiester, Minnesota.  Elmer Simonson barn to left in distance.

Languorously lumbering along, like a liquid locomotive, was Brush Creek during a Spring-time thaw season.   Tons of water that had been suspended on the fields in frozen white, over the Winter, were now being released by the radiance of a hot Minnesota sunshine overhead.

Inevitable as the march of time, that once frozen water now had to go somewhere in the thaw, and Brush Creek became a turgid transport of that now river as it traversed its way east and eventually to the mighty Mississippi River.  Our farm was blessed to have its southern border run right along Brush Creek.  Our hard-working father, Russell, saw to it that a large acreage of pasture land was fenced off so our herd of Holstein dairy cows could graze away to their heart’s content and drink as much of that clear, liquid nourishment as they needed while it floated by, cool and refreshing.

2NFS 1.2g
Elliott loved mud.

During the Summer season, Brush Creek was your normal, quiet, babbling brook as it meandered its way past our property.  Crawdads and tadpoles frequented the shadows of the Brush Creek Bridge as I played barefoot in the oooey-goooey mud along its banks.  Mud n me added to the glee in those hazy, crazy, lazy days of Summer.  But, here in the Spring-time, Brush Creek was anything but placid.  Water levels, from the robust melting of snows, were at, or over the banks of the creek, at times.  Even a youngster, like myself, knew that to play too close to the edge of that creek could spell danger, and/or death from drowning if one fell in along those precariously unstable soils along its edge.

#466=Marc&Ilena Sletten, Dec. 25, 1954
Elliott’s cousin, Marc Sletten, in the arms of his mother, Illena.

As I popped into the world scene, in January of 1954, I grew up in the surrounds of agriculture, farming and the outdoors.  Our cousin, Marc, on the other hand, came into this world towards the end of 1954, and was raised as (with pleasant teasing) a “city slicker” in the city of Albert Lea, Minnesota.  Our beloved mother, Clarice, had just as high a standard of cleanliness for her children as any good mother does.  However, she knew farm life could get down-right dirty, at times, so she took into stride the usual muddy clothes and skinned knees on my blue jeans, when she saw me returning from a boy adventure.

2NFS 1.2h
Buick Electra

To the other end of life’s spectrum, whenever our Uncle Del brought their Buick Electra to a stop in our farmyard, I can still hear Aunt Illena pre-scold her three boys, “Now don’t you boys dare get those clothes dirty!! Hear me?”  Maybe this mindset, on her part, was because of her parents owning a laundry business in Albert Lea?  Whatever her reasons, she laid down the law even before those poor kids climbed out of the back seat!……..jeeeesh!!  😉

2NFS 1.2c
There went Marc!!!

With 120 acres of farm land to explore, we kids (and guest cousins) seldom had to worry about boredom.  It was during one of those beautiful Spring Day visits, by my three cousins, that we ended up hiking to the south end of our property and were exploring the burgeoning flow of Brush Creek as it faithfully carried out the disgorgement of the uncountable amounts of snow-melt waters.   I cautioned our dear cousins of the dangers of getting too close to the creek’s edge.  Even while standing there, we could witness the rapid erosion of soil embankments that slumped off, from the strong water flow, and were disappearing into the murky waters.   For whatever reason, Cousin Marc decided to investigate the edge of the creek a bit too closely when, all of a sudden, the ground gave way under him!!  Down he went, up to his neck, and he was now clawing the grassy embankment for his dear life!   As a team, the rest of us kids were able to grab his hands and haul him in to safety.

2NFS 1.2a
Marc was mud from neck to toes.

In all the ruckus of “reeling him in”, our poor cousin was pulled through all the oooo n gooo and was now slimy mud from neck to toes.

In an ironic twist of humor, I couldn’t help but smile as I observed the next scenario.  Here Marc was inches from drowning;  yet, as he stood there dripping with mud……walking all the way back to our farmyard, Marc kept lamenting, “Mom’s gonna kill me!!  I got dirty!  And Mom’s gonna kill me!!!”   You think he’d be thrilled to just be ALIVE!!!!   It was truly a scary, yet funny moment for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!! 😉









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