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

January 2nd…”WHAT WAS A SCARY, YET FUNNY MOMENT ON YOUR FARM NEAR KIESTER, MINNESOTA?”

 

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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.

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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.

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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!!! 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vol.2 Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 1st

January 1st…“WHAT WAS A PRACTICE OF HEALTHFUL LIVING, FOR YOUR GRANDMOTHER, IN THE OLD DAYS OF FARM FAMILY LIFE OF NORTH CENTRAL IOWA?”

POEM – “That Fair Clean Air”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

2NFS 1.1b
Grandma Amanda loved fresh air!!

Grandma loved clean air, And so she’d share,

Big helpings with family dear.

Cause that old farm house, She’d say to spouse,

Could hold bad germs, She’d fear.

NS#18=Bob S. on horse, circa 1925
Elliott’s Grandmother, Amanda Rogness Sletten, stands next to a pony with her two eldest children.  Elliott’s mother, Clarice (front) and brother Robert on pony.

So, every day, I’ll bet she’d say, “It’s time to air out the house!”,

Both windows and doors, On both farm floors,

Thrown open for germs to be doused!!!

Be it Winter or Spring, You could hear wind sing,

As it washed that farm house air clean.

The air may’ve been frigid, But her duty was rigid,

To germs she was downright mean!

Oh sure, she’d scrub, And rub a dub dub,

Every surface that was touched by “man”,

But any lingering harm, In that house on farm,

Was blown out by the wind like a fan!

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Grandma Amanda suffered with tuberculosis for a time.

For there was a time, In a different clime,

When Amanda caught a disease.

Tuberculosis was her plight,

Transferred by a possible sneeze.

She suffered so, And she had to go,

Far away from the ones she did cherish,

For if she’d stayed, They’d soon’ve displayed,

Her sickness and possibly perish.

#875 Clarice's 12th birthday by Judine and Nina's place north of Emmons - Clarice, Bob, Del, Freeman Ordean, and Ralph
Circa early 1930’s.  L to R…Elliott’s mother, Clarice, Uncle Robert Sletten and then young Del (Delmaine) Sletten play with Rogness cousins during the time their mother was quarantined to a sanitarium to heal from her tuberculosis.

When she finally healed, I’m sure she squealed,

With delight to be once again HOME!

So that fair clean air, Would always be there,

Refreshing all under that dome!

*****************************************************

NS#14=Amanda S. with Clarice on lap
Elliott’s maternal Grandmother Amanda, with Elliott’s mother, Clarice, on her lap.  Circa 1920.

The genesis of this poem is based on stories that my mother told me of how her mother, Amanda Rogness Sletten, would open all the windows and doors of their farm home, near Scarville, Iowa, daily.  Rain or shine, snow or drought, that farm house was opened for fresh air to “chase the germs out”.   Especially after Amanda had to suffer the ravages, and quarantine, of tuberculosis for almost two years (that she had to be far away from her children and husband in order to rest and heal).   As of this writing, in April of 2020, I find it interesting that, as our nation deals with the corona virus, we, too, would like to get some fresh air in our lives to heal and once again be whole and healthy.    So surmises this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volume One Completed

#17.1 Grandpa Edwin Noorlun, Dad Russell and Elliott

Dear Friends and Readers of Norwegian Farmer’s Son,

For those of you not on Facebook, I recently completed Volume One of my gentle adventures of growing up in southern Minnesota and then later on in Washington State.  I call these my
“gentle adventures” for the fact that I’m just a plain old everyday type person and no one of significance.  Besides, I’ve teased folks, over the years, that I am the antithesis of the 60’s rock song in that I was “born to be MILD, not wild!” 😉

For those of you who may have just stumbled on to my blog, the premise of my short stories and poems is built on the theoretical gathering of my children and grandchildren around me.  Each day of the year, they would ask me a different question about life in general, or how a certain event transpired in my life.  I then answer each question with either a short story or a poem.   So, as of today, there are 365 chapters for you all to browse through and enjoy.

With tax season approaching, I will be taking a sabbatical from writing and focus on getting taxes done.  Then, I hope to begin a Volume Two of my writings.   The next  “calendar-based” diary/autobiography will be composed of about three months of more questions and answers and then I will delve into my hundreds of poems and song lyrics that I’ve created over the years.   These poetical musings will mirror life itself, in that some will be silly, some serious and others thought provoking.   Hope you are able to stop by, from time to time, to enjoy my creations.

See you all in a month or two.  Until then, Lord bless! ><>

N. Elliott Noorlun……….the Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

#28.1=Dad on TV commercial for Purina Hog Feed, early 1960's
Elliott’s farmer father, Russell C. Noorlun.

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…December 31st

December 31st…“AS A LITTLE BOY, ON YOUR FARM, HOW DID YOU SWING INTO THE NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATIONS?”………in a SWING, of course! 😉

POEM – “The Best Way To Fly”   by N. Elliott Noorlun

NFS 5.20i
Similar to Elliott’s tire swing.

Any time of the year, Be it Winter or Spring,

The best way to fly, Was on our tire swing.

A gift to our dad, From old Uncle Doren,

If flew for millions, Of miles unworn.

First, thousands of miles, On Uncle’s plane,

But when its use, Began to wane,

Dad cut out a seat, Ropes o’er the tree,

For all of us kids, To experience glee.

#103=Elliott in tree swing with Rosemary; Aug. 31, 1954
Tiny Elliott on the tire swing with Sis, Rosie.

My sister, Rosie, First placed me aboard,

The magical ship, On which I soared,

To heights that seemed, To touch the sky,

This farmer’s son, Sure could fly!!! 😉

NFS 5.20f
The tree with the big slingshot “Y” was Elliott’s swing tree.  Up, and to the left side of the “Y”, you can see an outcropping to the left.  That’s where Elliott’s father, Russell, tied the fun airplane tire swing.  It was a fun gathering place for the four Noorlun children over the years.

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…December 30th

December 30th…“WAS GETTING FROM YOUR FARM TO SCHOOL DIFFICULT IN THOSE MINNESOTA WINTERS?”

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Elliott wanted to stay under those nice, warm quilts his mom made.

Trying to rouse a little school boy from his warm cocoon of thick quilts was no easy task for our dear mother back in our frigid Minnesota winter mornings. It was SO cold in our unheated, upstairs bedrooms, that the single-pane, multi-paneled glass window of my upstairs bedroom was encrusted on the inside with frost. So much frost; I could scratch my initials in the layers of frozen morning brrrrrrrr! One thing for sure, once I DID force my boy body out of bed and into the arctic abyss of my icy bedroom, I could easily beat any speed record in getting dressed so as to minimize the goose pimples that began to emanate and rise up all over my body from the atmospheric shock, even with my winter longjohns on. With clothing now covering my corpuscles, I looked back, longingly, at the cozy repose of my now cooling bed……as if saying, “See ya tonight, cozy quilts!” 😉

NFS 12.30i
An icicle lollipop for Elliott.

With Mom’s bountiful breakfast in my tummy, and bundled to face the elements of Winter, the goal of my little sister and I was to head outdoors to wait and catch the school bus that passed our farm each day on its way to Kiester Public School in our dear hometown of Kiester, Minnesota. With the freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw cycle of life in Winter, long icicles would form and hang from the roof edges of most of the buildings around our yard. On the way out to the gravel road, I’d sometimes stop by a lower building roof-line and snap off an “icicle lollipop” to suck on while waiting for that long, metal school “banana” to arrive. Being the ruff n tuff little cream puff I was , I didn’t care that the water that made up that “Popsicle” contained dust and bird doo-doo from the nasty roofs. Although our father, Russell, spoke of himself walking three miles to his school in Winter, we had the modern pleasure of a classic yellow school bus chariot to take my sister and I to our elementary school.

NFS 12.30d
Elliott’s school bus driver, Marie, is sitting next to her husband, Manville Meyer

The out-going lady who was the charioteer of our powerful school bus was quite a personality all her own. Marie Meyer was her name, and I readily admired and enjoyed her “larger than life” persona.

NFS 12.30j
Yayyyy, Marie!!!! 😉

Marie had the knack to make a little schoolboy, like myself, feel welcome and safe on her bus. On the other hand, Marie also had the innate personal power to scowl down a raucous High School bully and reduce him to a quivering puddle of Jello if he had the unmitigated gall to act disrespectfully to her within her yellow-metaled domain of student transportation. Marie’s husband, Manville Meyer, was co-owner of the fleet of buses that serviced, not only our school district, but any community-wide need for transportation.

NFS 12.30a
“HANG ON KIDS!!!”

Daily, as a kid, I never had to pay a nickel for a rock-n-rollin’ ride to school that had all the ear-markings of a wild and woolly carnival attraction. This day was to be no exception. Our Minnesota countryside, that morning, was enveloped in a full out blizzard. Blowing snow, across the graveled roads, made for some large snowdrifts that required Marie to bulldoze her bus through them in order for her to, eventually, deliver us young riders to Kiester and the pending educational process of school. With the whiteness of Winter, those massive dual tires on the back of Marie’s bus sported impressive link chains for better traction in this Winter wonderland. I can still see us rolling along in the blizzard that morning. We were bouncing along the rough roads southwest of Kiester when Marie saw a massive snowdrift across the roadway, almost fully blocking our path and about three feet or more high. Marie got on the “public address” speaker of the bus and told us, “HANG ON KIDS!! BIG SNOWDRIFT AHEAD!!!”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Just like Marie’s bus that day of the giant snowdrift.

We all became cheerleaders as Marie revved up that International Harvester school bus engine. With her “pedal to the metal”, Marie launched that beast of a bus at full speed as it plowed into the mighty snowdrift. Like a war between yellow and white, you could hear the snowdrift drag against the bus belly beneath us as those chained, rear dual tires ground and growled at trying to chew up and conquer that snowdrift. But, “the white” won out that morning and our bus was high-centered in that capturing snow. We were stuck. Usually, our Marie was the winner against those mini-mountains of white, but not today, the “mother of all snowdrifts” had won. Even our bus snow-chains were no match against that thick, arresting white mass of frozen water crystals.

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Marie’s two-way radio saved the day.

Thanks to modern technology, in 1960’s, of CB (Citizen’s Band) radios, Marie had a Plan B already in operation. She pressed the talk button on the radio and called into the bus barn (shop) in Kiester to let them know we were stuck. Plan B called for another bus to come towards us from the south. For those too young to know, there were no street signs in the farming regions, back in those days, so, Marie just radioed to her dispatcher the family name of the nearest farm to our place of being stuck. Being a small community, everyone knew where everyone else’s farm was, so it was easy for our rescuers to find this stranded bus of ours!

NFS 12.30m
Through the snowstorm came the rescue bus.

In that sweet positivity of youth, my fellow bus riders, and myself, saw this as more of a happy adventure than anything remotely dangerous. Besides, we were having more fun being stuck in a snowstorm than being in an old boring schoolroom any day! 😉

Our blizzard-induced euphoria was gently brought back to reality as we could, in the distant haze of the snowstorm, see our rescue bus making its approach along the country roads towards us. Marie, like a kindly army general, gave us, her little troopers, the command to disembark and jump into the snowdrifts from her stranded, yellow troop carrier and make our way over and into the rescue bus. With his bus heater running full blast, our rescue driver (Marie’s husband, Manville) welcomed us into the warm comfort for the rest of the ride to school. Those blustery, blizzard blowing breezes were actually one heck of a fun adventure for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son

he3 9 r68
An old-timer school bus in Elliott’s hometown of Kiester, Minnesota. Going to guess that this was from the era of the mid to late 1940’s. A time before Elliott was even born.

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…December 29th

December 29th…”SHARE SOME POSITIVE ATTRIBUTES REGARDING YOUR LITTLE SISTER.”

POEM – “Candi Wings”   by N. Elliott Noorlun

#26=Candi &amp; Elliott Noorlun(1959)
Elliott’s little sister, Candice, on the left in red dress.

You may not have noticed, Yet they are there,

The angel wings, My sister does wear.

For since her youth, Heart tender and rare,

You’ll see her giving love, And offering care.

NFS 12.29a

With agape love, Beyond her own,

Though body be weary, And tired prone,

With compassion n memory, Her energies strive,

To celebrate birthdays, Whether ninety or five.

#250=Noorlun kids; December 1960
Elliott on top, Candice below.

With quiet resolve, She has often stood,

In defense of those, Who knew she would,

Come to their aid, Sharing love and home,

Refuge and peace, No more need they roam.

“Candi”, Sweet is my sister’s name,

An angel on earth, In human frame.

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Candice Lynn Noorlun Ehrich…..The sweetest angel of a sister Elliott could ever ask for!! ><>

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…December 28th

December 28th…“WHILE ATTENDING KIESTER, MINNESOTA PUBLIC SCHOOL, DID YOU TRY TO LEARN AN INSTRUMENT FOR THEIR BAND?”

POEM – “My Trombone, Was A Twilight Zone”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

#1053.b KHS Band 1967 300
The Honorable Mr. Milton Glende leads the 1966-67 Kiester High School Marching Band down the Main Street of Elliott’s hometown of Kiester, Minnesota.

It likely happened, When they’d pass,

I’d see that sparkling, Flashing brass,

And want one for, My very own,

A golden sounding, Slide trombone.

NFS 12.28b
Elliott dreamed of being in the band.

In my dreams, I’d be the best,

With handsome horn, And sharply dressed,

To follow in, My sister’s ways,

As a band member in, Her high school days.

#1022 MIlton Glende KHS Band Director
The Respected Mr. Milton Glende.

So timidly, I knocked on the door,

Of our great educator, Who knew the score,

Of many a show, And many a song,

Under his care, I just couldn’t go wrong.

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Oldie but a goodie was Elliott’s horn.

Mr. Glende, Took me aside,

And issued me horn, That could play and slide.

He said, “The more you practice, The more you play”,

“Will make me smile, And wanna say YAY!”

NFS 12.28e
Elliott WAS bad!

At first, I blew, That horn every day,

It’d even make cows, Look up from their hay,

But then, I’d forget, Or be too busy,

Or make up excuse, That it made me dizzy.

Man standing with his fingers plugging his ears
Poor Mr. Glende’s ears!

So when it came time, For lesson in town,

Poor Mr. Glende, Could only frown.

For the sorry excuse, For notes from my horn,

Just brought me to shame, And well-deserved scorn.

My trombone became, Like a twilight zone,

To the point I was scared to play,

For fear of what, Mr. Glende would say,

As I came on my lesson day.

NFS 12.28c
“Bone Head” for Elliott meant “bad”!

“It’s obvious, Elliott, You’ve not found the time”,

“To make your trombone, Sound sublime”.

“Thank you for trying, Now have a good day,”

Said dear Mr. Glende, As I went my way.

NFS 12.28i
A wise saying.

So if there is something, That challenges you,

Remember that there is, A payment due.

“Practice makes perfect”, And every day,

You’ll get closer to beauty, In every way.

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