Norwegian Farmer’s Son…September 1st

September 1st…“SHARE SOME MEMORIES ABOUT YOUR FARMER FATHER’S BIRTHDAY.”

#918 Russell Noorlun Summer 1919
Elliott’s daddy, Russell, when he was about 1 year old in 1919 while getting a tub bath outdoors on their farm in northern Minnesota near the town of Mahnomen.

POEM – “Norwegian Birthday Boy”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

September 1st, 1918, The day of our father’s birth,

A third-born child, Of the northern wild, There on Minnesota’s earth.

#902 Russell Noorlun and family. Early 1930's
Elliott’s daddy, Russell, is front row in the white shirt.  Photo from the mid 1930’s.

He was one of eight, Five boys n three girls, It must’ve been a riot,

As families that size, Were known to be, Anything but quiet.

1Dad1
Elliott’s daddy is in dark cap, second from right.  Early 1930’s while playing at his school.

Born on or near, The Chippewa Tribe, Dad had many Indian friends,

As rowdy boys, With similar joys, Their laughter could bring on the bends!

As Daddy grew, Hard times he knew, So he launched out on life quite early,

Schooled up to 8th Grade, It was farm work that paid, As he proved his worth so surely.

1Dad12
Russell on the right, with new buddies in Iowa.

Hired farm work, Brought him south, To the northern Iowa line,

He worked for food, A place to sleep, And dollars in the pocket were fine.

#739 Dad n sister Doris 1945
Russell, and sister Doris (on right) were a bit tipsy (from too much alcohol) as they celebrated the ending of World War II in 1945.

As World War II, Came to a close, It was time to celebrate.

Brothers were home, No more to roam, So they partied rather late.

I’m told that Dad got “tipsy”, From partying with his sister,

But HEY, Why not?!, T’was a happy lot, That partied with our Mister.

1Dad4
Elliott’s handsome father, Russell, in the early 1960’s.

Father was born of a generation, That held a lot inside.

Maybe from quiet Norwegian parents?, Or preserving one’s own pride?

So many questions, I have for Dad, That long to be explored.

A silence dwells, For all the times, I had hoped to find a cord.

Therefore, in MY life, Whilst in victory or strife, I choose to share my story,

His answers I’ll find, As we both unwind, Someday in Heaven’s Glory.

So September 1st, Will always be, A time to stoke the embers,

Of memories gold, And his laughter bold, As this Norwegian Son remembers.

100th Birthday Card Printable 100th Birthday Chalkboard Poster Sign 100 Years Ago Back In 1918
Some interesting facts about the year Elliott’s father was born into the world.

 

Advertisements

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…August 31st

August 31st…“DO YOU HAVE A MEMORY INVOLVING AN OUTHOUSE WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG AND LIVING ON YOUR FARM IN MINNESOTA?”

NFS 8.31i
Clem got clobbered, dat’s fer shure!!   Hehehe 😉

Ohhhh, do you mean those cruddy, crass, crustation-covered crap castles?  Sure, we had one of those when we lived on our farm northwest of Kiester, Minnesota.  That domain of “doo-doo” looked like a tiny house and was located in the woods that made up our “windbreak” that surrounded our main home and buildings.  In case my young readers may be wondering how this little house came into being……..basically, a farmer would dig a deep hole in the ground and then would build a small house over the hole with one or two open-holed seats inside to sit down upon.  A roll of toilet paper (or old Sears catalogs) was then hung inside and you could swing the door shut for privacy and see about getting rid of the human waste that we all produced in daily life.

NFS 8.31a
Outdoor “Out House”.

 

 

 

Since this miniature, architectural creation resembled a house, and, since it was located outdoors in our woods, it was called the “Out House”.   On a summer’s day, if you ventured too close, you could hear someone “breaking wind” (farting) in the windbreak where the Out House was located.  Get it?  Breaking wind? ….in the windbreak?  Oh well……just a pun of a son, I guess 😉

NFS 8.31g
The “two beady eyes” didn’t want to bare all to the bears!! 😉

In my very early years of life, there on our farm, our parents had not yet installed a “plumbed-in” flushing toilet inside our bathroom.  Therefore, a person either had to use a “chamber pot” (bucket with a seat on top) or, make a trek outside to the “privvy” in the woods.  I seem to recall that our Out House was a two-seater, but I can’t imagine wanting to have someone “baring their all” and sitting right next to you in such a private moment…..YIKES!!

NFS 8.31d
Mr. PeeeYooo!!!

Of course, for those of us “ancient kids” that had the human need to use such a structure as an Out House, we all knew that the “perfume” of what was down below, in the pit of the Out House, was of a negative, odoriferous organic pungency that was just a part of life, then, that all humans had to deal with.  But face it, folks, when you have the urge to purge, “any port in a storm is good for refuge and relief” (to coin an old sailor’s adage).  So, if your internal intestinal “storm” was urgent enough, you gladly headed for the putrid, peeeyoooo potty parlor!! 😉

NFS 8.31b
Elliott was scared of all the sounds outside the Out House.

Nighttime was the worst time for me to have to go out and use the Out House.  But, since “nature” was calling rather urgently one summer’s evening, I had no choice but to go out there so I could “go”.  I gingerly crept out out towards the Pooper Palace and was in the “process” ( of taking care of human needs) when sounds in the night overcame my super-hyper imagination.  Low hanging branches began to scrape the siding of the structure as the wind brought them “alive” with movement.  Owls were hooting in the darkness of the trees and Mourning Doves sang their sad tunes.  All of those incoming noises fired my already vivid imagination to the point that I thought the “Boogy Man” would grab me in the dark as I stepped out the door after “finishing my business”.   With my heart beating rapidly, after my “paper work” was done, I hooked up my bib overalls in record time.  Bursting out the door of the “privvy”, my bare toes dug in for traction as chunks of dirt and clover shot up behind me.  I ran like a rocket across the yard and back to the welcoming light of a single bulb fixture at the back door of our home and safety once again.

NFS 8.31k
Creative guy! 😉

Growing up, when we did, made for some funny, flatulent farm boy times for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

NFS 8.31e

 

 

 

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…August 30th

August 30th...”TELL OF AN INCIDENT WHEN ONE OF YOUR PARENTS WAS VERY ANGRY WITH YOU AND YOU NEEDED TO SPEAK THE TRUTH NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENED.”

NFS 8.30d
Elliott wanted and needed to speak the truth to his father.

POEM – “No Taller Than Truth”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

No man can stand, Any taller than truth, My father and God taught me well.

And when it came, To confessing sin, I knew what I should tell.

In my young days, With the wayward ways, That a child will tend to go,

My father shared, As his soul he bared, That this is what I should know.

#172.1=Russell Noorlun circa 1949
Elliott’s father, Russell.

“Son, I HATE a liar!, You can never trust that man”,

“With “stories” galore, He’s like the seashore, With shifting, faltering sand”.

“If you speak the truth, I’ll always show, The benefit of the doubt,”

“But lie to me, And you will see, The thunder of my shout!!!!”

pop016
Teenager Elliott had done something VERY wrong!!

So there came a day, In my teenage way, That I was guilty of major sin.

It tore at my heart, From the very start, Oh where would I begin?

To tell the truth?, Or fabricate?, A story that I had made?

Was I to lie?, To try to get by?, From foundations of truth that were laid?

The “jig” was up, For this teen pup, When confronted by my dad,

He was seething with anger, Till he shook, By the doings of his lad.

NFS 8.30e
Elliott knew what God would want him to do. ><>

From my Christian upbringings, I knew what was right, In the eyes of God and my father.

So I spoke the truth, In hopes I’d grow, Much closer to Dad, Not farther.

The moment was tense, As I bared my soul, E’en though his words were terse,

But Dad honored me, For choosing right, And from my father, There was no curse.

NFS 8.30i
Elliott’s father was very weak and dying from Pancreatic Cancer when he held him.

As my dad’s life, Drew to an end, From cancer raging within,

I was at peace, That truth had been, My choice in time of sin.

I held his frail body, In my arms, As I said, “I love you, Dad!”,

He said, “I love you, too, my son!”, That really made me glad!!

NFS 8.30m
So true! 😉  ><>

To know that I stood, As tall as truth, Though easy it was not,

As far as the east is, From the west, Those sins our God forgot!!

NFS 8.30h

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…August 29th

August 29th…“SHARE A STORY ABOUT A SPECIAL MOMENT WITH YOUR FATHER ON THE FARM THAT BECAME ALMOST MAGICAL.”

#18=Elliott(with Dad, June '56)
Elliott at the age when he saw the baby chicks.

 

 

Did you ever notice how the titles of Dad and God both have three letters in their spelling?  As a tiny lad, there on our family farm in southern Minnesota, I worshiped the ground my daddy walked on.  My miniature self wanted to walk like him, talk like him and act like him.  Our daddy was strong, wise and the handsomest dad this side of anywhere.  I longed to spend every minute of every day with him whenever the opportunities arose.  Even just to stand by his side, or ride next to him on the bench seat of our 1950 Ford pickup truck was a treat that couldn’t be beat for this lil farmer boy.

#966 Genevieve and Wally Mutschler..our 3rd grandparents
These sweethearts were Elliott’s “other grandparents” and were loved dearly by his entire family!!

“Green Gables” was the elegant acreage of the farm to the north of our place that housed our most beloved neighbors, Wally and Genevieve Mutschler.  These precious souls, and their wonderful family, were like another set of loving grandparents for we Noorlun kids and also played the parts of another “dad and mom” for our own parents.   Matter of fact, it was through the blessed benevolence of Wally and Genevieve’s generous hearts that our parents could actually make a start of farming from animals that were shared to them from the Mutschlers.

NFS 8.29i
Ohhh boy!!! Time with Dad! 😉

 

 

In my tiny life, there came a day when Dad asked if I’d like to ride along with him to the Mutschler farm.  I was ecstatic with happiness and ready to roll!  As the gravel dust billowed behind our pickup truck, Dad shifted down to a lower gear as we made a left banking turn into the farmyard of our dear neighbors.  True to the farm’s name, there were handsome green gables on the house, barn and outbuildings.  Sweet old Wally, replete in his bib overalls, met us at our truck as he and Dad exchanged pleasantries while we made our way into their beautiful, two-story home.  The Mutschler home, to me, was like a castle and I relished every minute inside their stylish kitchen while my father enjoyed a cup of coffee and some visiting with these fellow farmers.

NFS 8.29g
The word “brood” refers to a gathering of young chickens.  Therefore the name of this type of structure is called a “Brooder House”.

During the visit with Wally and Genevieve, Dad had heard that the Mutschlers had been blessed with a giant batch of baby chicks in their Brooder House, so, at the end of the visit, Dad and I headed that way for a look.  It was a sweet moment because it was just Dad and I that took a gentle walk through the green, dappling shade of the treed windbreak until we came to that Brooder House of baby chickens.  Always in the shadow of my daddy’s legs, I stopped when he stopped by the doorway of this little building.  I remember him squatting down to my minuscule height so he could impress upon me what he was about to say.  “Son, I’m going to allow you to come inside this Brooder House with me and see something VERY special!  There are hundreds of beautiful baby chicks inside here.  In order to see them, though, you have to promise me that you will be silent and move very slowly in silence.  The reason for being quiet is this…..if those tiny chicks get spooked (scared), they’ll be frightened and will run away from us into a corner of the room.  Sadly, in that corner, they would pile up on top of each other and cause those chicks on the bottom of the pile to be trampled and smothered to death.”

NFS 8.29d
Elliott was enthralled by the hundreds of fluffy joy that surrounded him in this quietness.

Deeply impressed with what my father just shared, he ever so quietly opened the door of this little chicken house and the two of us floated inside on gossamer wings.  The only light, in that dark quietness, was from heat lamps that cast a golden glow upon a literal moving carpet of fluffy baby chickens.  Their tiny peeping voices were like music to my farmer boy ears!  True to my daddy’s instructions, I hardly moved a muscle as this precious “carpet of golden life” moved with an innocent marvel around our lower human appendages.  It was as if we were standing on a farmer’s version of “holy ground”.

NFS 8.29c
Peeping cuteness in abundance.

Life was a triple treat for me that day!!  Why?  Well, for #1…I had been obedient to my father’s instructions and had garnered his smile and appreciation for being his “big boy”.  Then, #2…I had the joy of visiting my “other grandparents” at Green Gables Farm.  And, #3…I had witnessed a moving carpet of golden softness in the form and beauty of God’s creation in those darling little baby chicks.   What a GREAT day it was to be a Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!! 😉

NFS 8.29e
Elliott’s heart will always be in love with farming.  😉

 

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…August 28th

August 28th…“TELL ABOUT A UNIQUE PERSON WHO LIVED IN YOUR HOMETOWN WHEN YOU WERE A LITTLE BOY GROWING UP IN SOUTHERN MINNESOTA.”

#827 Lightning (Beryl Lark) in the KHS HomeComing Parade
Beryl “Lightning” Lark liked to “dress up” for local parades to advertise his “Toy Factory”.  This photo is from our Kiester High School “Rambler” school yearbook from the early 1960’s.

He may have rolled into town inside one of the many railway freight cars that stopped at our village in southern Minnesota.  Or, he may have been a son from a local farm family.  Either way, Beryl “Lightning” Lark was a colorful character that found our small town of Kiester, Minnesota to his liking and called it home for the most part of his adult days.

Cartoon old man with one tooth. Isolated
“Lightning” had a wide-open grin with only a few teeth for chewing his food.

Somehow, over the years, Beryl was tagged with the nickname, “Lightning”.  And, from my childhood recall, it likely did NOT pertain to him being speedy on his feet by any means.   When it came to physical attributes, that literally poor man had to merely open his mouth to show that there weren’t many real teeth in attendance, per se, but only a vacant dental cave with a single stalagmite and stalactite here and there in his cavernous smile.

NFS 8.28f
“Lightning” always seemed to have plenty to eat by the looks of his tummy.

 

 

 

One thing for sure, “Lightning” never looked like he was starving.  Through his various means of garnering some sort of income, Mr. Lark became one very roley poley man.  That fact became seam-splitting obvious when he’d try to fit into a lady’s dress while riding one of his bikes through various parades in our town over the years.

NFS 4.13c
That unique character was always trying to advertise his “Toy Factory”.  Beryl managed to pay for this advertising spot in the school’s annual yearbook year after year.

Amongst the various parade entries of marching band, fancy decorated floats and sparkling cars……….there’d come old “Lightning” on a bike, pulling a child’s wagon and throwing candy to the kids in the crowd along the way.  With about a six month supply of dirt all over his body, he was quite the sight wearing a lady’s frilly hat with a matching dress on that very soiled body.  His burgeoning belly had burst out the side seam of that dress that was wayyy too small and revealed sections of his “personal landscape” as he wiggled n jiggled by.

NFS 8.28d
Mr. Lark would sometimes come to Elliott’s farm and earn money helping a business that ground up corn for the Noorlun’s cows and other animals to eat.

Our farmer parents, on occasion, would hire one of the local businesses to come out to our farm with their special machinery to grind field corn, which we then, in turn, would feed that more easily chewable food to our cows and other livestock.   Good old “Lightning” had been given the opportunity, by the business owner, to earn a few dollars as one of the crew of the grinding service that day.

#362=Clarice N's birthday@Kiester farm; March 30, 1958
Our blessed mother, Clarice, showed her Christian love to others in many ways.  When it came to showing love to “Lightning”, it was in the form of an invitation to have supper with us.

Other feed grinding workers on the crew, that late afternoon, had already gone home to their families, but not “Lightning”.    With no family to rush home to, “Lightning” meandered up to our mother’s kitchen and engaged her in conversation while she prepared our savory family supper that evening.

NFS 8.28c
A tiny shack in or near the town’s junkyard was “Lightning’s” home.

Since Mr. Lark was a bachelor with a microscopic source of income, he was limited to taking up residence in an itty bitty shack that was either near or actually IN the town’s junkyard.  So you see, as a man who had to fend for himself in the food department of life……he was in no hurry, whatsoever, to want to leave the tantalizing aroma’s of our mother’s delicious cooking and that warm, cozy kitchen of ours.  Being the generous soul she always was, it didn’t take Mom long to realize that this long-winded talker was hoping for an invitation to stay for supper with our family.

NFS 8.28e
Mr. Lark was the guest of honor that night.

From Mom’s kind heart came these words, “Lightning, would you like to stay and have supper with us?”   Spoken through his toothless mouth and with an accompanying speech impediment, his classic response to Mom’s invitation has become a staple in our family ever since his utterance of ……“Well, thince ya twithed mah arm, SURE!  I’ll thtay fer thupper!!”  

#340=Russ &amp; Clarice N.@Pihl's Park NW of Kiester, MN; Summer 1953
Elliott’s smiling parents, Russell and Clarice, at Pihl’s Park north of our hometown.

Mom had to squelch a giggle in reacting to “Lightning’s” quick response to her invitation.  When Dad had finished milking the cows, he arrived upon the sweet aromatic scene of supper on the table and our guest of honor for that evening…….Mr. Beryl Lark.  Generous were the pleasant portions, that evening, of food, friendship and fellowship with “Lightning” that made for a pleasant moment to remember for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

#827 Lightning (Beryl Lark) in the KHS HomeComing Parade

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…August 27th

August 27th…“DID YOUR FATHER EVER DO SOMETHING THAT YOU THOUGHT WOULD GET YOU BOTH INTO TROUBLE?”

NFS 8.27a
Elliott thought “Local Alarm”, on this Pull Station, meant to the local Fire Department.

I guess if there’s a category for the “GULLIBLE GUS AWARD”, I’d be an Olympic Contender!!!  Such was the case in the late summer of 1967.  Our former farmer father had just been hired on to the staff of the Battle Ground School District and was assigned as the Head Custodian at Glenwood Heights Elementary School.

NFS 8.27b
Instead of buzzers and strobe lights (like in today’s schools), these large, and piercingly LOUD sirens seemed to rip your ears right off your head with their screaming blast!!!

As a teenager of just 13 years, I spent a lot of time with Dad as he learned his new trade of being a custodian during those August weeks before school started session again for the new class year.  One day, we were all by ourselves in the school building and walking down the long, echoing hallway.  Dad noticed one of the fire alarm pull stations on the wall.  He said, “Hmmmm, I wonder what would happen if I pull this fire alarm handle?”  In earnest, I replied, “NO, DAD!!!  It says its a local alarm and it MIGHT be hooked up to the nearby Fire Department!!  We might get arrested for turning in a false alarm!!”   With a twinkle in his mischievous Norwegian eye, that stinker of a dad pulled open that fire alarm station box anyway and set off the enormous fire siren that was right over our heads.

NFS 8.27c
Being so close……Ohhhhhh, how that screaming siren HURT Elliott’s ears!!!

The screaming decibel level of that fire siren just about peeled our ears from off of our heads!!!  “GULLIBLE GUS” (alias yours truly) is freaking out as I run down the hall to see if fire trucks are pulling into the parking lot, yet.  Ohhh my goodness, Ohhh my worry warts, Ohhh ragelsnats boogers!!!

NFS 8.27d
“Heyyy YOU!!  Whaddaya think yer doin’ there with that fire alarm??”

I could, with my overly healthy imagination, envision angry firemen yelling at us both for interrupting their day with a false alarm.  Heck, who knows, maybe the police will show up, then Dad and I’d BOTH be hauled off to jail for toying with such a serious infraction of public safety.

#1014 Russell Noorlun, Glenwood Custodian
Elliott’s “cool as a cucumber” custodian daddy, Russell.

Well, that dear old dad of ours was as “cool as a cucumber” in all of my fire alarm frenzy.   All the while that siren is screaming over our heads, he looked the over the surfaces of the alarm box and noticed that there was a set screw at the top of the red box with a “cabinet (flat) blade” screw head used to open the hinged alarm box.  Dad calmly pulled out his screwdriver and gave that set screw a twist.  Sure enough, the alarm box popped right open on its hinge and revealed a simple toggle switch inside.  Dad gave that toggle switch a snap in the opposite direction and killed that siren above our heads.  By this time, both of our ears were ringing loudly as the siren began to recede in decibels, returning the hallway to its original peaceful condition.

NFS 8.27e
Elliott thought, for sure, that he and his dad would be arrested for false alarm.

As usual, Dad had the last laugh as he teased me real good about what had just happened!!  And, we also learned that “LOCAL ALARM” was just that, it occurred ONLY inside our own LOCAL building and nowhere else.  It was an embarrassing, funny and learning moment for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

#684 Glenwood

 

 

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…August 26th

August 26th…“WHAT WERE TELEPHONES LIKE WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG?”

NFS 7.18a
The only “Smart” on this phone was the gray matter between the ears of the user 😉

POEM – “Box On The Wall, To Talk, That’s All!”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

What’s that you say?, A box on the wall?

And all you can do, Is talk, that’s all?

And what’s that wheel, With plastic holes?

As if attacked, By plastic moles.

NFS 8.26a
Talking only on this invention.

And what’s that cord, On a two speaker thing?

You say the sound, Went ring a ding ding?

How archaic!, And simply gaudy!

With this you talked, To old Aunt Maudy?

Yup, grandchildren, When I was a kid,

We thought these were modern, Our phones we did!

NFS 7.18k
Playful “party lines”.

Of course there was, A “party line”,

Where two, or more, Could talk just fine.

But if another, Wanted to talk,

You’d have to wait, Or grumble n balk.

Until the first parties, Cleared the wires,

After putting out, Their social fires.

NFS 7.18l
Speed dial spinning.

The only “Speed Dial”, Was to see how fast,

You could spin your numbers, Round that plexi-wheel glass.

Now there weren’t no thing, Like answering machine,

You just had to hope, That the king or queen,

Of the house you called, Would be at home,

To answer your call, Before they’d roam.

NFS 7.18m
Wanting to talk alone with your love.

If you called your lover, On that old phone,

And you really wanted, To be alone,

You could only go, Far as cord could reach,

To talk to your darling, Sweetie peach.

At best, you could maybe, Step outside,

As patio door, Behind you would slide,

To be able to talk, In tones of hush,

As you shared that lovey,  Dovey mush.

NFS 7.18i
Bells a ringin’!

Even so, there was something, Sweet about phones,

That inhabited all of our, Childhood zones.

Maybe they weren’t “smart”, Nor could music play,

But we thought they were fine, In the “talk only” day!!! 😉

NFS 8.26b