June 27th………..”GRANDPA, TELL US ABOUT ONE OF YOUR IMAGINATION PLAYTIMES ON THE FARM. WHAT INSPIRED YOU AND WHERE DID YOU PLAY OUT YOUR ADVENTURES”???
The reverberating, 45 caliber echoes of Sergeant “Chip” Saunder’s Thompson submachine gun signaled the end for the Germans caught on a run up against the walls of a French town. This loudly dramatic scene was set in World War II, not long after the D-Day Invasion of France in June 1944.
With the muzzle of his Tommy Gun still smoking, another episode of the television drama series called, “Combat” rolled to a climactic conclusion. My 8 year old heartbeat, in 1962, was still pounding along with my sweaty palms as I sat on the edge of our Living Room couch…..all excited!!!!!!
Now, across the screen of our black & white Zenith TV, came time for the happy bear dancing on a floating log for another “Hamm’s Beer” commercial. Along with the cartoon bear was the famous, Indian-sounding song jingle ………(Indian drums beating in the background) “From the land of sky blue water (echoing “water”), From the land of pines, Lofty balsams, Comes the beer refreshing. Hamm’s, the beer refreshing!” 😉
I’m sure Dad enjoyed that commercial, cause he savored a nice cold beer, occasionally, after a hard day’s work on our farm. For me? I couldn’t wait to get back to the “Combat'” show’s final conclusion and revealing to us scenes for next week before they rolled the credits and the theme music flowed. Even the military style of the theme music had my 8 year old feet marching right out of the Living Room and into the bathroom to brush my teeth in time for bed.
All night, well…….till I fell asleep, that is, my cranial kingdom of kid imagination couldn’t wait for tomorrow and my make-believe army to attack the Nazi’s out in our wooded windbreak area of our farm. Pretty soon, my little boy snores imitated a Thompson 45 caliber submachine gun in my dreams!!! 😉
At dawn, my young eyes cracked open, there upon my pillow, to see a glorious Minnesota morning streaming through my second-story bedroom window. What a great day for a “Combat” battle with my imaginary battalion under the command of General Norski………ME!!! 😉
Priorities being what they were, I first had to be obedient to my daily farm chores with Dad down in the barn and help with feeding cows, calves and sometimes haul grain to our hog house for the pigs. Next came a scrumptious breakfast by our amazing Mom, but, after that, the day was mine to “carry out the mission” that I had watched the previous evening on “Combat”!!
If there was one thing I learned from Sergeant “Chip”, it was to always stay low to make myself less of a target for those sneaky “Krauts” (a slang term in those days for a German soldier). My “men” and I slithered through the underbrush of our tree-filled windbreak as we scouted out the enemy positions for our attack and conquer plan.
Since only rich kids could afford the fancy, plastic machine gun toys, I had to get creative as I scrounged through our woods until I found just the right broken branch that at least resembled a Tommy Gun like Sergeant “Chip” carried.
On the edge of our farm’s windbreak, I gazed out over our field to the west of our property and “saw” the Germans trying to outflank my men and I. Commanding all my mortars, bazookas and artillery to open fire all at once, I made all kinds of wild mouth sounds of guns firing and bomb explosions as we were successful in saving the day with the invisible battalion of this “Combat” TV-inspired Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!! 😉