July 15th……..“DID YOUR CHILDHOOD HOMETOWN IN MINNESOTA HAVE A POLICE FORCE? WHO WERE THEY AND WHAT WERE THEY LIKE?
Radial spikes of late afternoon amber sunlight speared their way through cloud openings; as if God, Himself, was peeking upon the remnants of this lovely Minnesota day that was on the wane.
Orville Thorson, our village “Peacemaker”, was on patrol and coasting down the “Kiester Hills” on Highway 22 as he passed “Fairview Cemetery” on his way back into town. Between he and the early evening sunset, numerous headstones of our town’s pioneer heritage stood in somber silhouette against that golden glow to mark the resting place of some of the fine citizens that had made their life among the fecund farmland that surrounded their current repose. Truly it was a “fairview” for families to have placed their loved ones here as prairie winds animated the leaves of surrounding cornfields that sang a rasping song of tribute to these dear loved ones of the past.
With our town’s distant water tower aloft of the city tree-line, like a beacon in sight, our dear “Officer Of The Peace” rolled up behind a Ford with a young couple inside. With their hood up, beckoning for help, it was obvious that these young lovebirds were in need of some compassion in a mechanical revival of their Ford. No firearm did he carry and with only a police service cap and a badge on a plain shirt making up his “uniform”, Orville pulled up behind this immobile vehicle and took a quiet walk up alongside to peer in the driver’s window. “Evening folks! Any way I can help out”? , said gentle-hearted Orville. To which the young groom responded, “Thanks for stopping, Officer! This old car has lived up to its acronym of a Ford…..Found On Road Dead“!!!! Upon hearing the young man’s response, the three of them had a fun chuckle together, cementing a new friendship immediately. These young folks, just starting out in life together, needed some help in more ways than one…..mechanically and also a safe place to stay. Since our town’s old hotel was no more, Mr. Thorson easily took compassion upon this young duo and invited them to his own home for a night or two, giving them the blessings of his own master bedroom……to the raised eyebrows of his beloved wife, Bessie! 😉
Life in our berg of Kiester was enriched by the presence of Orville Thorson and his Deputy Rodney Halverson, Sr.. Our precious “Chief Of Police” owned a smile and a strong, sincere gentleness that appealed to young and old alike. I can recall many a balmy “Lucky Bucks” Saturday evening in town as Orville mingled happily among farmers, businessmen and their families who filled the sidewalks and stores of our village in fellowship while waiting for the 9pm Fire Siren to call all into a nearby store to have the merchant read off the name of that week’s “Lucky Bucks” money giveaway. Our favorite policeman rejoiced right along with the rest of us if the lucky farmer “hit the jackpot” that evening.
The New Testament Book of Matthew Chapter 5 and Verse 9 come into my ponderings as I revel in the truth that the tenets of the Christian faith were very strong in our community relating to this godly verse. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” With the high percentage of our farming culture, in those days, being Christian, it was only natural that each man, woman and child was inculcated with godly, Biblical principles of honoring the law of our land because we purposefully chose to honor the Law Giver Himself, first………….our Lord Jesus Christ. As a result of each man’s self-governing his life in a righteous manner, Orville Thorson, as a pleasant result, only had to write out about three violation tickets in his years in Kiester. Most of the time, when a youngster acted up in a negative mannerism, Orville, like a father, would just “chew out” young offenders with the admonishment, “Don’t do that again, or I’ll tell your parents”!!! Later in life, our beloved Mr. Thorson received letters of thanks from those same youngsters who gave him credit and honor for sending them down the “Good Road” of life.
Our very own “Andy Griffith-type” Sheriff saw to it that our little community’s only jail was empty and lonely since it never contained a prisoner during Orville’s tenure as our Law Officer. What a peaceful testament to his loving overseeing of our community’s needs over the years.
Matter of fact, since our little town couldn’t afford the capitol expense, Orville drove his own family car while on patrol and only carried his pistol on night patrol……..just in case. I’d say he had the same life motto as our dear mother who’d drill into us Noorlun kids with………“It’s better to HAVE it and not NEED it, rather than to NEED it and not HAVE it”!! 😉
Community service did not end with putting down his police badge and service cap in the evenings, Mr. Thorson often donned the cap of Kiester’s Water Commissioner, Road Repairman and even, in Winter’s onslaught, drove a snowplow to help keep our village streets cleared and also the nearby highways leading into town.
How blessed we all were to have this excellent, integral man amongst the loved ones of our little village!! Mr. & Mrs. Thorson raised a fine family together who, like the rest of us, lived within a godly era where small farms and small towns, guided by the Holy Spirit’s guidance of our familial Christian upbringing, respected The Law Giver and therefore, respected his local “Peacemaker” who wore no gun and just a service cap and badge. Blessings to the memory of Orville N. Thorson (and his family) from this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!! 😉 ><>