May 10th………..“WHEN OUR GREAT GRANDPA RUSSELL NEEDED APPLIANCES FOR YOUR HOME AND EVEN TOOLS TO FIX THINGS ON YOUR FARM, WHAT STORES DID HE USUALLY GO TO IN KIESTER TO GET THOSE SUPPLIES”?
I had just cleared the glass entrance door as I stepped inside of “Gambles” Hardware store in my hometown of Kiester, Minnesota. When Pete Bruckhoff caught sight of my young self, I knew I was in for some humorous moments ahead. Pete, that fun man, possessed a smile at least a mile wide and it got even larger when he could add a wink and a pun aimed at this farmer’s son.
“Well, welllllll!!! Hey Jim, look at this!! Davey Crockett just walked in! Kilt ya a barrr lately with that BB gun”?? he said with a wink and a one-sided grin. Pete knew eggzackatakally what I was shopping for. Under his gaze, I could feel the warmth building all over the skin of my face which was a sure give-away that I was blushing, and at the same moment, flashing a reciprocal smile reflecting in Pete’s direction. Approaching from the paint section of the hardware store came Jim Hanson who was the store’s proprietor; he was a happy-hearted barrel of monkeys too. For those readers too young to remember this era, not only was Davey Crockett a real-life person from American history, but, during the mid 1950’s and farther, the Crockett character was enhanced and promoted by the famous Walt Disney Studios via movies and massive marketing campaigns that sold everything having to do with Davey Crockett from coonskin caps to rifles and buckskin costumes. Pete Bruckhoff’s earlier comments had to do with the very popular song of the movie theme that sung out the phrasing, “He kilt him a barrr when he was only three! Davey, Davey Crockett, King of the wild frontier”!!! 😉
In the not too distant past, my big brother hero, Lowell, had bought us a Daisy Model 102 Cub BB air rifle which I “loved” to shoot as often as I could. But, like most rough n tough frontiersmen, I dun did rund outta ammo!!! To refill my rifle, there was a twist-open hole at the front of the barrel where you’d pour in your next load of BB shot, then twist the load point “door” closed and you’d be on your way to huntin’ more bad guys or anything else a wild child, imaginative boy could contrive for fun!!
On this crisp, Indian Summer day, my goal was to resupply my need for Daisy Brand Golden Bullseye BB shot. They usually came in 350 shot or 500 shot cylindrical hardboard tubes with black slide caps on the end. This joy-filled scene from my boyhood was enhanced by the fact that Mr. Bruckhoff and Mr. Hanson were like a dynamic duo in that store and made shopping fun for anyone, but especially fun for this happy-go-lucky farm boy who enjoyed his Daisy BB air rifle immensely.
Since I had the millions, o.k. so it was quarters, in my pockets that day, I’d gladly enjoy the teasing by the guys and then buy as many tubes of BBs as I could. Then, it was time to head home to the farm to go target shooting out in our windbreak woods that surrounded our main farm yard of home and buildings. Another kid adventure was when brother and myself would attach a magnetic flashlight onboard the barrel of the BB rifle and go hunting pigeons at night in neighbor farmer’s barns. The strong point of light from the flashlight blinded the birds and PLINK, PLINK…….one or a dozen less birds were eliminated who broke barn windows or messed on that farmer’s hay.
From my humble perspective, our small town’s success, during those family-dominated days of small farms, came right out of the independent, self-sufficient culture of our American ancestors. There was no need to shop in the big city when all of our basic needs were gladly supplied right there in our beloved Main Street stores. From groceries, to clothing and from tools to horse tack, it was all there in this village that was more like family……..and it was called, Kiester!!
At the north end of Main Street was another place of tooling around business called Kiester Hardware Company. Mr. Leon Ellis, and his fine staff, could supply everything from Maytag washing machines, Monarch stoves and even Admiral refrigerators. AND, you never had to worry about repair, because Kiester Hardware Company always proclaimed, “We service all we sell”. If beautifying your home or farm was on a “to-do list”, you could sparkle up your home or barn with “Gilt Edge” paints. By golly gee, you could even build a home with the plethora of tools and gadgets upon the walls and in the bins of that store that could meet any repair or construction need. Kiester Hardware Company even promoted that their “hardware was always ready for some HARD WEAR”!!! 😉 Those attributes suited our father fine, for like any farmer, “time was money” and he didn’t have to worry about long drives to Albert Lea or Blue Earth for tools and materials when he could get his farm’s needs met right there in good old Kiester.
Of course, I would be remiss in this story if I allowed you to think that this Daisy Model 102 Cub BB air rifle was toted about by this little farmer angel boy. Cause, if you think that, you’ve got another thing coming.
All of us, especially when young, get a little “too big for our britches”; also known as “cruisin’ for a bruisin’ “. That happened to me and my BB air rifle one day when my little sister, Candi, and I got into an argument out in the middle of the farm yard between our house and the barn. At the end of the growling between us, she went walking off in a huff and I thought, “I’ll show you who’s boss”!!! She was about 30 yards or so away from me when I cocked and hip-shot fired a BB at her; hitting her in her little gluteus maximus (posterior motives). Little sister was more horrified by indignation than actually hurt by the little projectile that was about spent in speed at that distance. Nonetheless, she marched right on down to the barn and told our dad, Russell. I was now a quivering pile of melting butter as Dad stormed straight at me and yanked that BB rifle out of my hands and drug me along to his shop building. He tossed the rifle way up in the rafters and gave me a, well-deserved, “tongue lashing” for such a lacking of respect for my little sister and her safety. With a volcanic admonishment he then laid down the law to NEVER, EVER point that rifle at anyone, EVER!!! “That BB gun is going to STAY up in those rafters for a LONG, LONG time while you THINK about what you did“!!! “If you EVER take it down before I say so, you’ll get a spanking like you’ve NEVER had before”!!!! “Yes SIR, yes SIR”!!! said this, now much wiser, Norwegian Farmer’s Son!! 😉