Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 21st

January 21st…..“SHARE ABOUT YOUR PARENT’S EARLY YEARS OF MARRIAGE AS HIRED HANDS ON THE FARM OF WALLY AND GENEVIEVE MUTSCHLER NEAR KIESTER, MINNESOTA.”

 

2NFS 1.21b

A golden sheen, from the tungsten lamps within, sparkled across the predawn snow banks.  That electric emanation came from the barn window glow of Green Gables Farm northwest of Kiester, Minnesota.  Being a newlywed of just over a year, a handsome young hired hand, named Russell Noorlun, picked up the tempo of his morning chores inside that barn.  It was now early Winter of 1942.  Russ, and his “with child” wife, Clarice, had recently been made “part of the family” of Wally and Genevieve Mutschler, who were the owners of this majestic farming operation.  Green Gables received its elegant title from the fact that the barn and family home were painted with a brilliant white coat of paint.  As a harmonious striking contrast, the peak of the gables (and associated trusses with gingerbread) were painted a handsome green…..thus, Green Gables Farm.  Even the windows of the home’s storm shutters were trimmed out in green paint.  The regal beauty of these farm structures reflected the grand quality of the dear family that called that farm place a home. 

#21.2 Russell & Clarice Noorlun Wedding Day 6.21.41
Elliott’s newlywed parents.

As you will see, God was about to show His loving provision to our young parents.  In their first year of marriage, Dad and Mom had been hired hands (a vintage term for a farm worker) for an old couple of bachelor brothers in northern Iowa.  That employment had proven the opposite of enjoyable.  Seems the two crotchety old farmer brothers were always arguing amongst themselves or seemed to be never satisfied with the hard work our father was trying to perform for them.  In hopes of finding a better work situation, Russell had driven north across the state line and up to the village of Kiester, Minnesota.  There, he “ran into” Wally Mutschler.  In retrospect, we now know that God had that meeting all planned out and His best blessing was waiting for our parents.  Turns out, Wally offered our folks employment on his Green Gables Farm, and, as they say, the rest is history.  Not only were Wally and Genevieve great employers, but they became like a second set of loving parents for Dad and Mom and the kindest extra “grandparents” for us kids, later on.

2NFS 1.21r
An Atwater Kent radio.

The reason, as stated earlier, that Russ was hustling with morning chores, was so that he could quickly make the walk along the snowy paths to the little white cottage that he and Clarice called home there at Green Gables Farm.  One of our dad’s favorite radio shows was “on the air” each morning, around breakfast time, and he didn’t want to miss an episode.  As our mom prepared Dad’s usually large farmer’s breakfast, Russell tuned in their Atwater Kent radio to listen to a show called, “Snow Village Sketches”.   The program was a comedy-drama about a little town(actually called “Snow Village”) in the State of New Hampshire.  

2NFS 1.21n
Russell and Clarice’s “furniture”

Our parents had grown up in the late 1920’s and into the very lean years of “The Great Depression” of the 1930’s.  And, even now, in the present World War II years of the early 1940’s, our folks had to daily employ an old saying that was common at that time; “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”.  In this moment of their young married lives, and just setting up housekeeping, they had to “make do” with the only furniture they could afford in their little cottage kitchen.  Wooden orange crates.  Set on their ends, two orange crates were their “table” and two orange crates were their kitchen chairs.

2NFS 1.21u
Tiny, the Noorlun’s stove for heat.

The mean-spirited Minnesota Winter, outside their cottage walls, did its best to steal any heat from their kitchen.  To fight back those chills, Clarice kept their little wood stove roaring with a good fire in its metal belly.   As Russell relished, with laughter, his radio comedy show, he also gladly consumed his eggs, bacon, cereal, coffee and morning grapefruit….oh, and don’t leave out his scorched black toast with creamery butter 😉   In those early days of starting out life together in that cottage, Russell and Clarice, tried to stay warm the best they could.  When sitting near that kitchen stove, they would roast on one side of their bodies, but freeze on the other side.  Then, like human flapjacks (pancakes), they’d flip themselves around so the other side of their bodies could enjoy some warmth, as well.

#343=Clarice N. holding Lorraine N.; November 1942
Baby Lorraine with pregnant Clarice.  November of 1942.

Though their cottage had a only a tiny stove, when it came to a warmth of heart, our mother Clarice had a roaring fire of care and love within her.  She, and her loving husband, Russ, were quite a team when it came to caring and sharing of what they had with others.   In early 1942, our paternal uncle was serving as a sergeant in the United States Army during World War II.  When his first wife left him with a newborn daughter to care for, he was in dire need for someone to help care for his infant daughter so that he could return to his military base for duty.  Family members, that had been visiting our grandparent’s farm farther north, near Foston, MN agreed to transport this tiny life.  They arrived one day, at the Mutschler farm, with a pink bundle in their arms.  They had brought baby Lorraine Noorlun to our parents to temporarily care for her in the little white cottage of Green Gables Farm.  Clarice, pregnant at the time, was expecting the birth of our eldest brother Lowell in February of ’43;  but she lovingly accepted the challenge of loving this precious little life as an addition to their lives and love.

2NFS 1.21p
Baby Lorraine’s “crib”.

Being “instant parents” with the arrival of this tiny little lady, Russell and Clarice made do the best they could to see that this little soul was taken care of to the best of their abilities.  When it came to going nitey-nite, all our mother could do was to pull out one of the dresser drawers in their bedroom, put in a pillow and blankets, and lay baby Lorraine in her makeshift “crib”.   In the latter part of December, that year, one of our father’s sisters came to receive lovely little Lorraine into her care as she then took her to Colorado for Lorraine’s next chapter of life.  Acts of love, like what our parents did for that precious little life, makes me proud to be a Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!!

#966 Genevieve and Wally Mutschler..our 3rd grandparents
The loving and generous owners of Green Gables Farm.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for sending these sweet people to bless our farming family over the many years we knew them!!! ><>  😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 20th

January 20th…“WHAT SILLY SAYING DID YOUR FATHER CONTRIBUTE TO A CONVERSATION THAT MADE EVERYBODY LAUGH?”

POEM – “Mr. Toot To Boot”   by N. Elliott Noorlun

2NFS 1.20d
Do NOT light a match!! 😉

Some folks are tutors, Who live to teach,

Yet, I know a tooter, Who’d steal all speech.

#407.a=Russ N. at Del's home in Albert Lea, MN; Circa Dec. 1956
Elliott’s teasing daddy, Russell.

That guy was my dad, Who loved a good joke,

Be it lads or lasses, He’d gladly poke,

At traditions that called, For style and class,

Except when our Pa, Just had to pass gas!

2NFS 1.20b
One never knew when the fun began

There at supper table, With friends all around,

A “BRAPPP” of a noise, A most flappery sound!

Mom would then chastise, But Dad would just smile,

And then Dad’d say, In jokester style,

2NFS 1.18h

He’d spin in his chair, With accusing sneer,

And say, “Who let those darn dogs in here!!!”

 

We’d all bust out laughing, He knew of his guilt,

And yet we were grateful, For the joy he “spilt”!!! 😉

2NFS 1.20a

 

 

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 19th

January 19th…“DID YOUR FARMER FATHER EVER DO SOMETHING YOU THOUGHT WAS SCARY?”

#76=Kiester farm, looking NE from field
Elliott’s childhood farm in south central Minnesota, northwest of the village of Kiester.  The Hog House (on right) held the pulsating charger for the electric fence lines.

Glistening in the morning sunrise, like diamonds in a row, were the crystal dew drops that hung from the taut wires of our farm’s electric fence-line.  Having been invented long ago and modified for farm use in the mid 1930’s, electrically-charged fence-lines were and are ubiquitous to farmers almost world wide.  When dealing with the control of Holstein cows weighing an average of 1,300 pounds each, an electric fence is an effective means to JOLT them back into a cow lane or pasture area.  After having their nose, or rump, zapped a few times, that little skinny piece of wire has the animal trained to avoid any future experiences, at all costs, and stay within their pasture or cow lane.

#250=Noorlun kids; December 1960
Elliott n Candi

For those unaware of farming ways, you can be assured that safety factors were weighed when developing this modern electric marvel.  Any good farmer loves his animals and would never want to see them actually injured.  Not only does he care about them from a kind and godly heart, but he also knows of the investment each animal was, at the time of purchase, and can be when it comes time for marketing.  True, it is an electric shock that is administered to the bovine (or any living thing, for that matter) that touches the wire intentionally or by accident.  The magic of this safety feature is that the shock lasts for only a second or two, and then, the fence line goes dead for a second or two.  I had found this fact out personally when I was about 3 or 4 years old and my father, Russell, told me to “test” an electric fence with a blade of wet grass………….BUZZZZTTT!!!!, went the electrical shock up my little farmer boy’s arm and locked it tight for a second or two.  Daddy laughed.  I cried my eyes out!  That old stinker teaser!!!  🙂  From that intended  learning moment, on Dad’s part, I forever have had an intense respect for the power of electricity!!

2NFS 1.19c
Elliott’s farmer father grabbed that fence-line and held on!!  :oO

Factors in farm life involve the passage of time, grass growth that touches the fence-line (causing it to “ground out”), livestock movements, etc..  Those components combined, necessitate that a farmer needs to walk his fence-lines, from time to time, to check for damage and make repairs.  It was on one of those beautiful Minnesota summer days that Dad invited my little sister, Candi, and myself to accompany him on one of those check and repair journeys around our farm property.  Meadowlarks and Red-Winged Blackbirds sang a chorus to us as the three of us walked along our cow-lane while Dad inspected fence and/or made repairs as we sauntered along.

"It's hard to explain but I just feel that there's an electricity between us."
“It’s hard to explain but I just feel that there’s an electricity between us.”

Eventually, we ambled down to the large pasture land that bordered our southern farm property line.  Brush Creek was the flowing body of water that actually marked most of our property, but there was a spot or two where our farmland also existed on the other side of the creek.  In order to keep our cows in where they belonged, a series of electrical fence wires had to cross that liquid line of demarcation.

2NFS 1.19b
Elliott’s dad could take electrical shock.

Now our tough n wiry Norwegian farmer father was one of those hardy souls who could easily take the “hit” of an electric shock and keep on keeping on.  Oh sure, Dad would sometimes blurt out some colorful language when he’d get zapped, but he’d just buckle down his efforts and get the job done of repairs to a light switch, wall receptacle, or in this case, our farm’s electric fence-line.  On this particular day, though, our daddy had some fun in mind.  Wading into the middle of Brush Creek, Dad intentionally grabbed onto the “hot” electric fence wire that went across the creek to keep the cows on our side of the property.  As mentioned earlier, with each pulse of electrical charge that zapped through the fence-line, Dad’s entire body would jerk in massive contractions.  Candi and I were held in awe as we saw Dad giggle and try to talk to us through each shock wave that hit his body that was now even more grounded, than usual, by him standing in the water up to his thighs.

#38.1=Dad n Mom picnic (1948)

 

He’aayyy, kids!!! Wha’eye don’t you co’me down here and ho’ld my hand??!!!”  Little sister and I looked at each other in amazement, as we stood safely on the shore of the creek and called back, “No WAYYY, Dad, we wouldn’t touch you with a ten foot pole!!!”  Even Dad’s responsive laughter was “cut in two” by the next shock wave that pulsed through his body.   Having had his jovial time with us, our daddy simply let go of the electric fence-line during one of the system’s off moments and came walking out of the creek bed laughing a good belly laugh at the whole funny, yet scary incident.  That was one “highly charged” incident to witness for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.  😉

2NFS 1.19f

 

 

 

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 18th

January 18th…“DID YOU EVER RECEIVE ADVICE FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS OVER THE YEARS?

POEM – “Sages n Seers”   by N. Elliott Noorlun

2NFS 1.18b

 

Sages n seers, Throughout my years,

Would share wisdom, Both sober n silly,

And as they portrayed it, As some even sprayed it,

It stuck with each Sally n Billy.

2NFS 1.18d

Like teacher we knew, Who was a true blue,

While we, as his students, All grinned,

“On a strong, blustery day, What’er you may play”,

“You should never spit into the wind!”.

2NFS 1.18f

Then once, at a function, This kid had the unction,

To a waitress, A tip he did show,

It sure wasn’t money, He offered the honey,

But said, “Never eat yellow snow!”

2NFS 1.18g

There’s the cutest guffaw, That I ever saw,

That was posted by some little tart.

“Whatever you do, Even if you turn blue,”

“When you’re old never trust your own fart!”

2NFS 1.18h

 

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..May 15th

May 15th…“TELL US ABOUT YOUR BIG SISTER’S BIRTHDAY AND SOME OF THE ATTRIBUTES THAT MADE HER SPECIAL.”

POEM – “Our Regally Royal Radiant Rosie!”   by N. Elliott Noorlun

#402=Rosemary Arlone Noorlun; circa Fall 1946
Rosemary in Fall 1946

On May 15th, Of ’46, An angel floated down,

And placed upon, A newborn’s head,

A sparkling pink little crown.

#275=Rosie advertising seed corn her dad sold; Summer '48
Rosie & Lowell in 1948

Rosemary Arlone, Had come to us,

Full of vim n zip n zoom,

So, watch out world, Here comes some fun,

Life’s dance will need some room.

#80=Rosemary holding Dad's lunch bag, circa 1949
Lunch for Dad 1949

Momma’s helper, Was Rosie for sure,

And when it came time for lunch,

To the field she would scurry, With sack in a hurry,

So Dad could enjoy his meal with a crunch.

#307=Pauline Bidne, Rosemary..3rd BD.., Lowell; May 15, 1949
Birthday #3 for Rosie in 1949

And then there was when, A party she planned,

But left Momma out of the loop,

Birthday guests tagged along, With a whistle and song,

But Rosie was then in hot soup.

#741 Rosie's 6th BD 5.15.52 with Renie n Barb Noorlun
Rosie’s cousins among the BD guests

Turns out Rosie’s guests, And she had decided,

After school that they’d walk the train tracks,

But without telling parents, Those little declarants,

Were hoping for cake and some snacks.

#211=Rosemary Arlone Noorlun, 1st Grade; 1952-53
Rosemary’s First Grade Class Photo in April of 1953(top right).

Mom quickly called parents, To settle their nerves,

For daughters who’d not yet come home,

Then quickly made cake, With some jello to shake,

For that party under farm home’s dome.

#979.1 KHS 1964 Rosemary Noorlun 001
Senior Year of High School 1964

The years flew by, As this little guy,

Saw his sister grow into a queen.

With a beauty so rare, It caused all to stare,

Her bright spirit imbued every scene.

S87 Ehrich Easter at GnG Noorlun 1972
Rosemary and family 1972

Marriage and family, Graced Rosie’s life,

As she took on duties, Of mother and wife.

Each child a reflection, Of their mother and dad,

Our Sis was so proud, They made her so glad!

2NFS 5.15a
Our beloved sister has rested in the arms of our Lord since 1989.  She was 43 years old.

But then in July of ’89, Our sister was called Home To Glory,

Though just 43, It was plain to see,

On earth t’was the end of her story.

Yet eternal we are, And her story by far,

Lives on in each life she created.

Each child, born in love, Is watched from above,

By our Rosie with angels elated.

#45.1=Elliott &amp; Rosie on hay wagon(March 1955)
Elliott and Rosie 1955

So I thank you, Dear Sis, As I blow you a kiss,

Till in Heaven we’ll meet once again,

Then the best party ever, Will ring through the clouds,

With a joy that can never wain.

2NFS 5.15b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 16th

January 16th…“SHARE A FUNNY EVENT BETWEEN YOUR FATHER AND YOUR LITTLE SISTER ON THE FARM!”

2NFS 1.16e
Away sister flew!!!

POEM – “Daddy’s Daring Dentures”   by N. Elliott Noorlun

I recall her squeals, As she’d run through the place,

When Daddy  pulled dentures, From out of his face!!

2NFS 1.16f
Silly Daddy!!!

“Come here, Lil’ Sweetie”, “Give Daddy a kiss!!”

Said our flappy-lipped Paw,  To his cute little miss.

2NFS 1.16b
“No wayyy, not today!!”

“No way, not today!”,  She’d say on the run,

As she flew past our dad,  Who loved to have fun.

2NFS 1.16i
Many a time, Candice was happy to get daddy hugs!!

On most days, Sis,  Would give Dad a big squeeze,

But on that silly day, She was a target to tease!!! 😉

2NFS 1.16j

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 15th

January 15th…“WHILE MILKING COWS ON YOUR FARM, NEAR KIESTER, MINNESOTA, WHAT KIND OF FRUSTRATING THINGS COULD HAPPEN?”

POEM – “The Flail Of Her Tail”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

2NFS 1.15g 001
Notice the farmer on the left side of this illustration.  He’s getting slapped with a wet cow’s tail; much like Elliott’s father, Russell, and big brother, Lowell, did on their farm while milking.

To make a farmer, Moan and wail,

Just let ’em get slapped, With a wet cow’s tail.

Now the cow’s just tryin’, To rid herself of flies,

But it sure got nasty, For our couple a guys.

2NFS 1.15b
As cows were resting, their tails would often fall down into the nasty manure gutter and got coated with “yuck n muck”.

Till it was her turn, Old “Bossie” would lay to rest,

Upon the clean straw, That made her feel the best.

But her wandering tail, Would fall down in the goo,

Down in the gutter, Where cows would do their “doo”.

2NFS 1.15c
A Norski weather cow 😉

Upon our dad’s arrival, That cow would stand right up,

As Dad would wash her udder, And attach each suction cup.

2NFS 1.15f
Troublemaker flies!

But mean ol’ flies, Would come to land, Upon old Bossie’s back,

And with her tail, She tried to shoo them, With a mighty whack!

No matter how close, You’d bury your head, Along her warm, soft side,

Twas you that got clobbered, Along with the flies, There was no place to hide.

2NFS 1.15a
To wail from a tail.

Dear Dad n Bro, To the barn they’d go, Twice a day to feed n milk,

Like neighboring farms, With all their charms, Of men who had the same ilk.

So be thankful when, You tip a glass, Of good ol’ chilled “white silk”,

It took a lot of “whippin’ ” on Dad, To bring us that great milk!!! 😉

2NFS 1.15d

 

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 14th

January 14th…“DID YOU HAVE A SWEETHEART WHILE ATTENDING BATTLE GROUND HIGH SCHOOL? HOW DID YOU MEET?

Medieval Flag Knight on Horse
Elliott, in those days, was his lady’s knight in shining armor.

Her voice was rife with each tersely tossed invective. My fellow 8th Grade classmate, in the row of student desks next to mine, pleaded for the return of her belongings from the obnoxious assailant sitting behind me. The tall and gangly culprit, named “James”, had reached across the aisle and swiped something of value from her desk top. Being new to this town and recently enrolled in this school, I quietly observed as the young woman’s decibels of voice came in subdued tones so as not to attract Mr. Torstenbo’s unwanted attention while he attempted to teach us History. Unknownst to me, at the time, this young lady and “James” had known each other since Grade School days at Glenwood Heights Elementary School. Glenwood was located at the south end of our large school district and was one of the many schools that funneled its students, eventually, to Battle Ground Junior High and Senior High School.

2NFS 1.14a
“Ya wanna step outside?!!”

Longtime classmates, or not, I saw the behavior of “James” to be rude, crude, lewd and unacceptable. Sensing a “damsel in distress”, I quietly twisted my torso, in the student desk, to face “James” and said, “Why don’t you just give her back what belongs to her and quit buggin’ her.” “What’s it to you KID??!!”, blurted back my hormonal combatant. I once again restated my directive to the boisterous bully, to which he retorted, “Ya wanna step outside in the hall? Ya wanna fight?”. I responded, “There’s no need to fight, just do as I ask!” Even though “James” was easily a full head taller than me, and likely could have pounded me senseless, I stood my ground and re-addressed my demand for the return of the poor girl’s belongings. Having called his bluff, he said to the young lady, “Awww, you’re no fun!!” and gave her back what was rightly hers.

2NFS 1.14j
A spark 😉

The verbal “jousting match” ended with perfect timing as the hall bells loudly clanged their sounding of the end of this class. Our classroom was on the second story of the ivy-covered Old East High Building, so I knew I had better get going to be on time for my next class. Like Pavlov’s dog, those bells made me automatically bend over and gather my textbooks. I exited the classroom for the stairwells that would take me to ground level and across campus to Mr. Storie’s Shop Class. A feminine voice behind me said, “Excuse me? My name’s Derra Abernathy and I wanted to say thank you for getting my things back to me in History Class!” “You’re very welcome! Glad to have helped out!”, came my reply. Now, she could have just walked on to her next classroom and dropped the incident in the portals of straying life occurrences, but instead, that day, a new friendship was born between a lonely, former farm-boy and this lovely young lady named Derra. Per chance could you say I had become her Norwegian “knight in shining armor”?

2NFS 1.14n
One for the fun of two! 😉

Now I didn’t feel so all alone there in that gigantic school campus with the many hundreds of students milling about from class to class. As each day went by, Derra and I enjoyed getting to know each other more and more. We felt so comfortable with each other that it was only natural that we even exchanged phone numbers. “Puppy Love” yearnings gained a foothold as we began seeing each other as often as “free time” would allow in between classes or at lunch. Over time, it was easy for all to see that we were “a couple”, “going steady”, or whatever terminology that young love could be labeled by. Even lunch time could be “romantic” when we stepped off campus to frequent “Bea & Don’s Grocery Store”. There we’d purchase a “Mug Rootbeer” and one yummy Maple Bar. While walking back onto the school campus, Derra would take a bite from her end of the Maple Bar and I’d enjoy a bite from my end. Back and forth we’d partake until there was only one bite left in the middle……..with that last bite, we’d KISS!! 😉

2NFS 1.14q
Another chance to be together.

With each passing school year, there at Battle Ground High School, Derra and myself looked forward to the football season. Here would be another scenario of our creative wills to be together with each other and allow romance to blossom all the more. It was easy for me to attend the games, since our brand new home was just up on Hawthorne Street at the north side of town. For my young lady, though, it was a different story; she’d have to beg n plead for her grouchy dad to drive her the six or seven miles into town. With fragrances of Fall in the air, and with our “Tiger” Stage Band playing in the Stadium, I’d be on my tip-toes, in the crowd, as I’d strain to see Derra being dropped off in the parking lot. There she was!!! Hand in hand, we giddily made our way up to the very top bleacher seats inside our relatively new football stadium grandstand. From the “Press Box”, suspended in the Stadium’s rafters, old gravel-voiced Mr. Martin (another teacher on the High School Faculty) would call the football plays happening down on the field. Neither one of us being much for football itself, we attended the game as an opportunity to cuddle n coo with each other. Warm we were as we snuggled against the chill Fall winds that roared in along with many a rain storm that turned the football field below us into a player-churned mud pit. Oh sure, when one of our “Tigers” made a touchdown, we’d jump up and down to cheer the team on; but, mostly, our rendezvous was intended to relish the company of each other.

2NFS 1.14l
Chinks in rusted armor 😦

During our three years together, we had even reached a point in our relationship where marriage was an option we were entertaining. But, then came a day when this Norwegian “knight” fell from his “white charger”. Instead of protecting her heart, I had allowed words to wound her. Unintentional as they were, yet they were said. Now, my armor no longer shined and instead began to chink and rust away. Many decades have passed, since those golden days of that high school love. Even in my human frailties, I am now, and will always be grateful for those warm memories and, even though momentary, the knightly times of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

2NFS 1.14o

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 13th

January 13th…“SHARE ONE OF THE WAYS YOU EARNED MONEY AS A TEENAGER IN YOUR NEW HOMETOWN OF BATTLE GROUND, WASHINGTON.”

Comic alarm clock ringing and expression with wake up text. Vect
At 4:30 in the morning???

The ghastly clatter-banging of an old-fashioned alarm clock jolted shock-waves into my teenage ears.  I had been happily locked in a melatonin-laced trance of hormonal hibernation when that hideous contraption had the gall to shock me into a 4:30AM reality of being awake……..like it or NOT!  And, as if adding salt to the wound of this morning calamity, I should have been able to sleep in for I was now out of school for Summer Vacation.  Why in the world would a teenager ever want to get up at this inhuman hour??   The answer?  Making some money by picking strawberries.   Reluctantly, I groggily swung my young legs out of the bed and managed to get dressed.  The heady aroma of great cooking led me to our family kitchen where I proceeded to scarf down some of Mom’s yummy breakfast while she made me a sack lunch for that day’s work in the fields.

2NFS 1.13d
The old berry bus.

The destination for my hopeful monetary multiplicity was at least 20 miles to the north of our town of Battle Ground, Washington.  Being a teenager under the age of 16, and unable to drive a car yet, I wasn’t about to walk that kind of distance.  Thankfully, I wouldn’t have to.  I was about to become a “soldier” in the Summertime “army” of an industrious, agricultural family by the last name of Tsugawa.  Over their many years of farming, the Tsugawa Berry Farm had acquired a fleet of old school buses that were dispersed each morning to various embarkation points around Clark County.   In a public relations campaign, George Tsugawa published berry bus schedules in many of the county’s newspapers so potential perky picker people (and their picker people parents) could know of and catch one of the berry buses for the trip up north to the Woodland, Washington flat lands near the Columbia River.  To the end of Hawthorne Street (now NW 9th St.) I hiked and caught the 6:00am bus ride north.

2NFS 1.13f
Now a respected plant nursery business.

After picking up a bus load of other pickers along the way, our old, squeaking, yellow-metal “banana” rolled into the strawberry fields and we filed out for a berry back-breaking day.  Yes, even though we possessed the supple bodies of young teenagers, in those days, we had to bend over for hours on end to reach the low-lying rows of the berry crop as we picked a gazillion strawberries.  Filing past the Field Boss, we “soldiers” were instructed to pick up an empty “flat” (shallow wood or plastic tray).  Inside each flat were 12 empty “hallocks” (small containers that held about a pint each of strawberries).   The goal for each of us was to pick those tasty, red strawberries and fill as many flats as possible each day.   Memories become foggy over the years, but I seem to recall that we each had a punch card with our names on it.  For each full flat of berries, the Field Boss would use a paper punch to cut a number out from around the rim of the card.  It may have been less payment than I think, but I gather that we were paid about $1.25 for each flat of berries picked.

NFS 5.14a
Elliott’s High School girlfriend.

Alright, alright, I’ll confess!  Earning Summer spending money, picking berries, wasn’t the only reason that I allowed that alarm clock to assault my ears at “Oh Dark Thirty” each morning.  Being a twitterpated teenager and happily infected with the “love bug”, my main reason for picking berries was to be close to my High School girlfriend, Derra Joan Abernathy.   With both of us being too young for a driver’s license, we felt it was a way for us not to be separated for the entire Summer.  Derra rolled in each morning on one of the berry buses that serviced the south-central areas of the county.  Together in “our row”, we could chat the day away (and steal a kiss or two) while we picked strawberries and enjoyed the fellowship of other “Tigers” from Battle Ground High School that worked in those fields, too.

2NFS 1.13m
The name, “Pinky” was born that day.

With the playful sprightliness of young people “in love”, our work times, for Derra and myself, sometimes evolved into teasing tussles of happy heckling of each other.  Boredom, plus a little hunger would set in during the days and we’d end up eating some of the strawberries that should have gone into our picking flat.  On one such occasion, Derra had picked this monstrous strawberry and had it up towards her mouth to eat it.  I quickly grabbed that red, bulbous berry and smashed it all over her chin.  Squeals of laughter erupted between us as we enjoyed the moment.  The cute result of this “smashing” incident was that Derra’s chin was stained a pretty pink color for the rest of that day.  As we boarded our respective buses for the trip home that day,  I bequeathed my young lady with the new nickname…..PINKY!!   In loving retaliation, the nickname “DIMPLES” was given to this strawberry-picking Norwegian Farmer’s Son.  😉

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Dollars, a few.  Memories, many!! 😉

 

 

 

 

 

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..January 12th

January 12th…“CAN FARM ANIMALS BE DANGEROUS?  DID “PORKY PIG” EVER GET NASTY ON YOUR FARM NEAR KIESTER, MINNESOTA?”

#28.1=Dad on TV commercial for Purina Hog Feed, early 1960's
Elliott’s father, Russell, in a more peaceful piggy situation.

Privy to the process of his perambulation, Dad caught the prominent pungent porcine perfume percolating from our farm’s piggy palace.  On most occasions, our farmer father, Russell, got along well with our porcine princes and princesses……till one day.   Male pigs, called boars, could reach up to 650 pounds in weight.  Their immensity (along with their loads of testosterone) made them hard to handle as far as showing them who was “The Boss”.   A particular boar of ours even had a set of long and ugly tusks (vertical teeth) protruding upwards from each side of his drooling snout.   “Mr. Power Pig” had been “visiting the ladies” in our sounder of sows.  His romancing and “pitching the woo” (for the next generation of little pigs to come) was over and it was time for Dad to separate him from the sows and into his own private pen.

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Version of a hog board.

This story was relayed to me second-hand, so, in that sharing, I’m told that Dad was pressing a hog board (plywood board with handles) against the boar to move him in the direction he had to go to get to his private pen.  Any and all protection, for a farmer, was essential in dealing with these porky power pushers.  To begin with, boars are known for their aggressiveness, and this boar was getting more and more perturbed with every push of Dad’s hog board against him.  For whatever reason, our daddy took his eyes off this nasty nemesis for just a second or two when the boar caught Dad’s “hog board” with his tusk and flipped it out of our father’s hands.

2NFS 1.12i
The barreling beast of a boar!!!

Caught off balance, and now at the mercy of that gargantuan grunting beast, Dad was knocked over as the boar charged at him.  The pig’s powerful snout tossed our father’s body like a toy.  In all the higgledy-piggeldy of the fear-filled moment, Russ saw that the only way of his surviving this attack was to make a beeline towards the split-railed fence of the pen.  Quickly regaining his stand, our father shot towards and through the railings just as that boar was about to charge him again.   Thankfully, those wicked tusks had not made ripping contact with our dear daddy’s flesh.   We were thankful to the Lord above that bruises and being shook up were the only injuries that had to be dealt with by the father of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

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The thought may have crossed the mind of Elliott’s dad to turn that beast of a boar into pork chops for their table. 😉