Norwegian Farmer’s Son…July 14th


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Elliott was Mr. Mini-muscles.

“Well boy, at least ya SMELL strong!!!”.….That was the ribbing I’d get from my dad as he squatted next to the cow and the milking machine that was removing her milk to sell at our local creamery in Kiester, Minnesota.  Dad was referring to how I’d climb a ways up the wall ladder in our barn and then leap over to the ceiling-level, metal railing of the manure removal system.  From that hanging position, I’d then grunt and try to complete at least ONE “chin-up” repetition, but was usually too weak to pull my chin up and over the railing bar.  Only being able to hang for so long, I’d drop back down to the barn floor in defeat.  On another day’s attempt to make a chin-up, Dad would also tease me by saying, “Yup, it’s pretty bad when ya can’t even pick YOURSELF up!!!”  His counter-inspiration spurred me to prove him wrong someday…..and I did!

Elliott’s muscles were so tiny, he couldn’t tell them from the goose bumps on his arm.  😉

Ohhhh to have big , bursting, bruiser biceps that would be rippling in veined glory and rampaging power!  Well, at least that’s what I always dreamed about after watching enough movies of my strong action heroes that thought nothing of lifting a giant boulder off of their darling maiden fair.  Or, if she were in the clutches of a dastardly villain, our bounteous bicep boy wonder would crush that filthy creature into submission by heroic unbounded energy.  😉

#1023 Lyle J. Noorlun
Cousin Lyle J. Noorlun

Just then, muscle-building inspiration came to live with us on our farm in the form of my Cousin, Lyle J. Noorlun.   He became family with us, there for a time, in the early 1960’s.  Lyle, like all of us, had his weaknesses in life, but my Cousin had a strength that fired up my little boy attention and admiration.  Since big brother Lowell had moved downstairs to his own bedroom, Lyle and I bunked together in a comical-looking swaybacked bed upstairs.  Silly as our sleeping accommodations were, when it came time to get out of that sorry excuse for a bed each morning, Lyle was faithful (almost in a religious way) to “hit the floor” every single morning and begin to do, what seemed to be, a zillion push-ups.  From my supine position under the quilts, little pimple-armed me was in awe of Lyle’s strenuous regimen of exercises that garnered him powerful, puffed out pectoral muscles and a set of behemoth bulging biceps.   Eventually, Lyle left our southern clan to return to his home and family in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area.  With handsome Cousin now gone, I began to wonder to myself, “How can I begin to achieve more muscles on this frail frame of a boy?”

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Elliott found inspiration in the upstairs closet.

Even though curiosity “killed the cat”, my curiosity one day netted a muscled treasure in the form of some body-building lessons.  At the top of the stairs, and behind a curtained entry, resided a storage closet that, with it’s sloped ceiling, held everything from our dad’s old love letters for our mother, to something that was right up my alley.  Stooping low, so as not to hit my head on the slanted ceiling above me, I snooped until I came across twelve, blue, triple-folded “Health & Strength” lessons by a man named “Charles Atlas”.

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Charles Atlas.




When I questioned our mother about these lessons, she shared that our daddy had purchased them many years earlier, when he was a young man, and searching for an overall way to build up his muscles.  I was fascinated, so after receiving permission from her, I began reading through these thick pamphlets (with photos) to see why and how Charles Atlas became known as “The World’s Most Perfectly Developed Man”.

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From “skinny” to “Superman”….Charles Atlas.

Mr. Atlas ( his birth name was, Angelo Siciliano) was a skinny and rather sickly young man and didn’t like how he was treated by mean-spirited, bigger and stronger men.  Although he had tried some weightlifting and gymnasium workouts, it wasn’t until he was visiting a zoo, one day, that he realized that the lions, and other powerful beasts, didn’t lift heavy weights and such; they gained their strength by working one muscle against another muscle in their body.  From that discovery, Charles Atlas then devised a system of exercises that did the same thing to build his own body up to tremendous levels of power.

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Little by little, Elliott saw some improvements.



The animals, in that zoo that Charles Atlas saw, had something in common with this farm boy……I didn’t have any fancy weight set either.  What I DID have, though, was the will to try out this system called, “Dynamic Tension”…….pushing/pulling one muscle group against another.   Charles Atlas, via one of his twelve photographed lesson plans, showed me how to take two chairs and set them at a width that would allow my torso to go between them.  I would perform deep-reaching push-ups so that my chest muscles were stretched and I’d have to work them harder to bring my body back up to the starting position once again.  Over time, I did see some muscle gains, but I never achieved the rippling body that is seen in the muscle magazines.  I was still grateful, though, because I DID begin to feel stronger and overall healthier.

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Over the years, Elliott has gone from a “Thin Flynn” to a “Chunkee Monkee”!!!  😉

Of course, nowadays, the only exercise this old grandpa gets is “jumping to conclusions” and “running amok”……hehehe 😉   But, be that as it may, such were the dreams and aspirations of a wannabe body builder known as the Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

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Norwegian Farmer’s Son…July 13th


POEM – “I Was A Sugar Daddy Laddy” by N. Elliott Noorlun

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A yummy for Elliott’s tummy…….even today! 😉

I was a Sugar Daddy Laddy,  Back in my days of youth,

Back in the day when sugar was keen, And not seen as uncouth.

Born as a Norski, I loved my sugar, Any kind was fine with me.

T’was sweet going down, Gave smiles, not frown,  And usually filled me with glee.

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Big or small, Elliott loved them all!

Since there wasn’t much money, For this lil’ sonny, Pennies did not my pockets haunt,

So I’d buy this sucker, And into my pucker,  This flavor I would flaunt.

That sucker, you see, spent the whole day with me, With my slurps I’d give it basting,

That sucker would stay, With me while I’d play, And to the last, give caramel tasting.

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Elliott was a regular cavity king 😉

A dentist will warn, And even will scorn, The use of sweet tasting sugar,

He makes it sound worse, Than a ride in a hearse, Or picking your own slimy booger.

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King Caramel

Yet, I will attest, Though I’ve tried my best, To refrain from my sweet addiction.

It’s sweeter, By far, For this Sugar Star, To surrender to “Sucker Affliction”!!!!! 😉

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Norwegian Farmer’s Son…July 12th


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Frank Scotton made us feel very welcome in our new neighborhood!

Even though I swim like a rock (straight to the bottom), I agreed to go along with my father on his Saturday morning adventure with our new neighbor just down the street from us in Battle Ground, Washington.  In August of 1967, our family made a major move all the way from Minnesota to our new town in southwest Washington State.  One of our new neighbors was Mr. Frank Scotton.  Frank’s ancestors had been early pioneers of this community.  Even the plot of land that our new home rested upon was known as “Scotton’s Addition” in honor of Mr. Scotton and his wife who had previously owned all that property on the north side of our town.

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Vancouver Lake (looking southwest) near Fort Vancouver, Washington.  At the bottom of this photo is Felida Slough where Frank accessed the larger body of water.

Our former farmer father was used to working seven days a week, back on our farm in Minnesota and seldom had free time to enjoy fun things like fishing.  Now, in his new occupation as a school custodian, Dad had the luxury of having every Saturday and Sunday all to himself.   He sometimes said it was like being on vacation two days a week to enjoy and do whatever he pleased.  It was truly a happy time and great change for our daddy.   Our friendly new neighbor, Frank, invited us to go with him on a fine Saturday morning to Vancouver Lake and do some angling for a sunfish called, Crappie.

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Crappie (pronounced CRAH-PEE)


Frank, in sharing fishing lure knowledge with my dad, said that we’d be using a device called a Wet Jig Fly.  When the lure was down in the water, the “fur” of the lure had a very active movement as you’d allow the lure to “dance a jig” with quick up and down movements of the fishing line while the bait was down there in fishy territory.

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Wet Jig Fly




We even filed off the barbs on the fishing hooks so that when a Crappie would bite, we’d just pull them up into the boat and shake them off the hook so we could get the Jig Fly back into the waters for more fishing action.  For this 13 year old (at the time) it sounded like a HECK of a lot of fun.   Swimmer or not, let’s GO!!!  😉

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Frank’s old boat was like this…..a similar looking, very old, wooden row boat with a little sputtering engine.

Truth be known, I have an intense fear of drowning……..therefore, I don’t trust ANY boat to keep me afloat.  Nonetheless, I really wanted to experience this fishing fun, so I gathered what little courage I could find and climbed aboard Frank’s very old row boat at the boat launch area of what’s known as Felida Slough.  Mr. Scotton’s antique row boat had an even older looking engine, attached to the stern, that looked like Henry Ford, himself, had built it 😉   With a few pulls of the engine’s starter rope, that mechanical contraption sputtered to life with the usual coughing and spewing of blue smoke across the surface of the early morning waters.  With no life vest on, and with my butt firmly center on my hardwood seat, I was desperately clinging to the wooden seat beneath me for security.  I was fearfully contemplating how the water seemed to be playing with my mind as it swelled way too close to the gunwale (pronounced, GUNal) and tempting to surge over and INTO our flimsy row boat.

Eventually, we bounced our way, over that liquid highway, to the south side of the enormous lake and settled into shade provided by over-hanging trees along the shore.  Our fishing host for the day shared that those lil’ sunfish that we were after liked to hide in the shadows of these tree overhangs.   Sure enough, Frank was right.  As the three of us anglers let down our Wet Jig Fly lures, those lil Crappies began to snap at them right away.  I shouted, “I’ve GOT one!!”, as I pulled that lil fightin’ fish up outta its former world and shook it loose off of it’s barbless hook.  Down went the jig fly for another fish while Dad and Frank were bringing up a number of little trophies of their own in the morning shade of those trees along the water’s edge.

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Worry wart Elliott!


Weather in the Pacific Northwest can change in a blink and such was the case that day on Vancouver Lake.   The pleasant rays of sunshine that welcomed us onto that expansive body of lake water were now chased away by a quickly approaching weather front that was dark and ominous.  Seasoned outdoorsman that he was, Frank Scotton decided it would be the better part of wisdom to call our fishing adventure to an end and head back to the safety of Felida Slough and the boat ramp before the sky broke loose above us and jeopardized us all.

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Scared Elliott kept looking for leaks after the rowboat hit that underwater log.

Mr. Scotton’s wisdom came to bear in seeing the weather begin to turn foul around us.  Winds were picking up velocity and the previously smooth lake was now churning to almost white caps at the tips of the water.  Thunder that was in the distance was now almost right over our water craft as that sputtering excuse for an outboard engine tried to ply us back towards the boat launch and safety as we scurried across that now UNfriendly lake.  The prehistoric outboard motor was clanking away as it propelled us towards the north end of the lake and safety when…….KAHWHUMP!!!.…. the old wooden vessel lurched out of the water and back down with a smashing splash!!   WHAT WAS THAT????  We had struck a semi-submerged log in the water!!

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Scared Elliott!




This teenage NON-swimmer was now praying BIG TIME that this old water craft would PLEASE not sink from a leak or a gash caused by that log.  From those harrowing moments between the log strike and stepping on good old terra firma, I was promising God that I’d be in church every Sunday and anything else I could offer if He’d just spare the life of this non-swimming fisherman known as the Norwegian Farmer’s Son 😉

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Norwegian Farmer’s Son…July 11th


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How to find more worms?

POEM – “Daddy’s Wacky Worming Wonder Rod” by N. Elliott Noorlun

Whenever our dad went fishin’, He’d make his plan real firm,

In order to catch his limit, He’d need more than just one worm.

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Either dig ’em out, orrrrrrrr 😉

Ol’ Pop would throw out coffee grounds, In flowerbeds round the house,

And assisting him, For his fishing whim, Was his dear and loving spouse.

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No sweat is better, ya?

Now who wants to sweat, In order to get, Enough worms to last the day?

Since they lived down under, He’d have to plunder, To bring them to light his way.

He could use a shovel, To bring worms up, But that would take too long,

There must be a method, If he thought long enough, That would turn a chore to song.

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Prod was similar to this, but not quite as fancy.

As time went by, Our inventor dad guy, Came up with a zippy zap notion,

An electric rod, Shoved into the sod, Would cause them worms commotion.

Some wires did lead, From the rod’s end feed, And plugged right into the wall.

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Worms said, “GET ME OUTTA HERE!”

It made those worms squirt, Right outta the dirt, Dad gathered, no problem at all.

Dad got a good giggle, From seeing them wiggle, So fast to get out of that soil.

As he readied the can, Our inventor man, Went fishing without any toil. 😉

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Norwegian Farmer’s Son…July 10th


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The golden sunset gave way to golden music at the center of Elliott’s hometown of Kiester, Minnesota.

As a recent passenger aboard a gentle time machine, I was transported back to a perfect Midwest summer evening in the year 1963.  The landing coordinates of that mild-mannered machine placed me at the intersection of Main and Center Streets there in our beloved hometown of Kiester, Minnesota.  In my mind’s eye, I can still see giant, white, cotton candy clouds floating gently overhead as if to be celestial spectators of what was to musically transpire below.  A mellowing sun decided to cast its golden spotlight across the tree-lined streets and beamed right through to the center of our town as a heavenly spotlight on what would soon become music on the air.

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Heading for the weekly Summer Concert.


Farmers finished the last milking of their dairy herds for the day and loaded their families into the car to head down the gravel roads into town to enjoy munchies, mingling and music each Wednesday evening during that summer.  Our Noorlun chariot joined other dust-covered vehicles in procession along those same classic gravel roads as the town’s population grew that evening for the concert by our Kiester High School Marching Band.

#1022 MIlton Glende KHS Band Director
Mr. Glende was greatly respected for his musical intellect and high level of discipline that made his band and chorus well known in our area.

Not only was the school campus physically in the center of town, the Kiester High School Music Program was central in our community’s heart and pride, as well.   A key source for that pride lay in the excellent leadership of the school’s program by her Music Director, the honorable Mr. Milton Glende.  Prior to each Wednesday night concert, I’m sure the school’s band room was a hustling and bustling place as Mr. Glende could be found fine tuning performances and ensuring the sharpest look possible for each uniform worn by our large marching band.

On an aside, even though the young people I mention in this recollection were “mere” teenagers, I was always in awe of my sister and brother’s generation of young adults.  To me, they all possessed a maturity and panache for life that was far beyond their chronological years.  I pleasantly surmise that this maturity, that I witnessed in those days, came from a combination of good, old-fashioned American ideals and an inculcation of fine morals by their rural upbringings with Christian parents who taught them well in all the tenets of living an honorable life.

#982 Rosie as KHS Band Officer
Our beautiful sister, Rosemary, was part of the leadership of our great Kiester High School Band. In this photo, she is back row, third from the left.

Living out the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared”, Steven Fry, and other local Boy Scouts gave wonderful community service by bringing folding chairs and music stands so that the center intersection of town could now be made into an entertainment arena with a large, multi-rowed, semi-circle of chairs.  Pretty soon, our ears perked to hear the approach of the spit n polish spectacle of our Kiester High School “Bulldog” Marching Band.  Their regal uniforms brought a flash of blue and white elegance as they kept cadence with Mr. Glende’s leadership and the drumming that spurred each unison step.   Once released from their marching formation, the band members took their seats and the evening’s musical extravaganza was about to begin.

#1021 KHS 1963 Band. Rosie last row.
Merely HALF of the Kiester High School Marching Band.  Elliott’s sister, Rosemary, is back row and 4th from the left.

Citizens of our village, parents of band members and all of us band member siblings found ourselves clustering for the best viewing positions for the summer concert that was soon to be initiated.  While waiting for this massing of musical merriment, there was a happy din of farm neighbors in the crowd visiting with each other to exchange pleasantries as well as sharing the common pride we all had in our favorite family band member in that evening’s performance.

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Mr. Glende’s baton brought forth the best from his students every time.

Our young people, now all seated with instruments at the ready, look to their honored conductor for his introductory welcome to the audience on that quiet summer’s evening.  Mr. Glende then turned towards his young symphony around him, and, with that all knowing glance of attention, swirls his baton for the first musical selection to commence.

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Every song was a gem!

Like an artist wielding his paint brush, Mr. Glende painted a musical artistry from this cadre of instruments around him when there came rousing march tunes, classical melodies and Broadway songs.  It was pleasingly evident that many of the musical renditions were crowd pleasers from the amount of applause after each song completed.  It was a common denominator among all in attendance that the time and effort invested by these young performers each week was deeply appreciated by all who came to take in the joy of their performances.

#1013 KHS '62 Band 001
Mr. Milton Glende and the other half of our sharp looking and fine playing Kiester High School Marching Band.  School year of 1962 – 63

As I look back to those times, I’m so happy that I lived in an era when formality, coupled with pride and pageantry, was still looked upon as an exemplary way of life for young adults.  These moments were truly a cherished slice of Americana at its finest.  Even as a young boy of only 9 years of age, I was so proud to see these handsome young men and women taking time out of their summer to dress their best, play their best and contribute to the joy of our little farming village.  This happy glow of remembrance still wraps its peaceful arms around me to recall that joy we all experienced on those warm, balmy Minnesota evenings when music floated through the air of our quaint town and into the heart of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

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Norwegian Farmer’s Son…July 9th


POEM – “The Woozy Wows Of The Thee’s n Thou’s” by N. Elliott Noorlun

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Overall, Elliott really DID enjoy going to church each Sunday with his family!!! 😉  ><>

The woozy wows, Of the thee’s n thou’s,  Attacked my little boy brain.

E’en though I tried, Down deep inside,  My sleepy eyes did strain.

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Preach it, Pastor!!

Preacher talked away, So my mind it did stray,

My brain finally quit,  And went “outside” to play.

It seemed for some reason, In my little boy season,

That God only spoke “King James”,

With a thee and a thou, My brain would kowtow,

Church verbiage all sounded the “sames”.

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Elliott pretended the square tiles in the church floor were like the square roads in the farm country of his southern Minnesota area.

It was a struggle, As in pew I did snuggle,  I would almost fall asleep,

So to keep awake, For propriety’s sake,  Imaginations inside would creep.

The floor below, Was tiled you know,  All shiny n flat n square,

So in vivid thought, That couldn’t be caught, I’d have some fun with a flare.

Our countryside, Was flat and wide, Roads laid in giant square,

They resembled this floor, Where I sat with a bore,

In my mind I rode motorbike there.

boy riding on yellow scooter clipart
Scooter in his mind.

So as preacher preached, To adults in the pews,

Giving King James talk, Of God’s Good News,

My little boy thoughts, Dun lit the fuse,

Of quiet fun, Beneath my shoes.

In tiny micro, Little boy thought, I’d board my hotrod scooter,

As minister sought, To have us taught, As God’s loving earthly tutor.

Staring at my “roads”, I just had loads, Of motorcycle fun,

Til it was time to sing, A hymn, by jing,

For this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

Kiester Grace EUB Church
In Elliott’s day, his church was known as Grace Evangelical United Brethren Church in Kiester, Minnesota.


Norwegian Farmer’s Son…July 8th



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Elliott was in awe of that great octagonal barn near the front gates of the fairgrounds.

Even before our family car banked into the fair entrance driveway, I caught the illustrious sights and sounds of the Faribault County Fair.   A giant, elegant octagonal barn stood along the busy highway that bordered the fair’s entrance gates.  That handsome barn was like an agricultural “lighthouse” to the brightness of the farming that surrounded the town where I was born, Blue Earth, Minnesota.

#39=Lowell with cow (circa 1960)
Brother Lowell poses with his 4-H Club cow that he prepared to show at our County Fair.

Our big sister, Rosemary, and brother Lowell were members of our local agricultural club known as the “Kee” 4-H Club.  For months before the fair time arrived, each elder sibling would feed, train, groom and prepare one of our Holstein cows to take to the Faribault County Fair in hopes of winning a coveted First Place Blue Ribbon from the judges there.  In order to keep an eye on their animals that were entered for competition, Lowell and Rosie actually lived at the fairgrounds for the duration of the fair time.  A long, white wooden box was constructed to hold all their gear and personal belongings.  They even painted their names on the box and decorated the box with decals from their 4-H Club.  It must’ve been a wonderful adventure for them, as teenagers, to take care of their animals on the grounds there, but to also explore the rides and fun with friends in the evenings.  Then, it was back to their respective barns to bed down alongside their bovine entries for the night.

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Machinery Hill is where Elliott loved to play each year!

On certain days of the Faribault County Fair, our parents took my little sister and I up to see the festivities and our older counterparts with their bovine beauties.  Once Dad had paid our admission and parked the car, I bounded out and made a beeline for “Machinery Hill”.  Farm equipment dealers in our area would bring their newest agricultural tractors and implements to display on this grassy knoll for all to admire (and hopefully buy).   Ohhh, how I just LOVED to climb aboard each and every one of those magnificent machines and tractors; imagining that I owned them all!!!   There’d I’d be, perched atop a giant, brand new corn picker combine harvester and turning on my imagination juices as I bounced in the driver’s seat with glee.  I’d envision that I was driving this on the gravel roads near our farm and pulling into a corn field (or whatever) to engage this metal marvel to do its work as I’d harvest my imaginary crops.

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“The smell of money, Son”!!!

“That’s the smell of money, Son” is what our Norwegian farmer father would say to me about the various animal odors at our home place near Kiester.   When it came to the “Eau De Cologne” of country living, I enjoyed the fragrance of “Porcine Perfume” or “Bovine Beauty #5”.   With happy nostrils to guide me, I took in the wondrous list of animals that took temporary residence at the fairgrounds each summer.  From the baby runt pigs suckling their momma sow, all the way up to the mighty, mountainous draft horses; all was magical for this country boy to enjoy.

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From food to fun, the Faribault County Fair had it all!!!!

All of my boyhood senses were twitterpated at the fair each year!!!   Especially towards evening, when the myriad of colored lights would come ablaze across the fairgrounds as carnival rides, midway games and food concession booths all displayed a rainbow of colors…….and, smells of yummy for the tummy!!!  My monies could only go so far, but I saw everything from golden, fresh sweet corn smothered in real creamery butter, pink cotton candy that swirled magically round and round in its drum as a concessionaire would “capture” it on a cone stick.  Corn dogs flooded the area with their aroma as mustard was drizzled over those cylindrical, tasty delights.

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HANG ON for fun!!!

Whilt-A-Tirls, Wherris Feels and Coller Roasters were just some of the high energy rides at the fair each year.  Ohhhh, you never heard of those?  O.K……I’ll change their names back to Tilt-A Whirl, Ferris Wheel and Roller Coasters 🙂    If it wasn’t these attractions that got your spending money, it was the never ending line of games on the Midway.  Later in life, I shot almost $40 on games and came away with a handful of trinkets.  Learned my lesson after THAT fair experience.

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Someone’s excellent fair poem!

Captured in my mellow memory vault are the “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” and the laughter-filled magic of the Faribault County Fair for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

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The red star marks the town in southern Minnesota where Elliott was born and the Faribault County Fair took place each year.