Norwegian Farmer’s Son…October 24th

October 24th…“WHAT KIND OF WATCH DID YOUR FATHER AND/OR GRANDFATHER CARRY ON YOUR FARM THERE IN SOUTHERN MINNESOTA?”

POEM – “I’d Watch His Watch”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

#281=Mother's Day&Rosie's 5th BD; May 13, 1951
Elliott’s father, Russell (far right), usually had his pocket watch just behind where he has his hand in this family photo.

I’d watch his watch, On leather tether,

Slide up out of farmer’s bib pocket,

To be glanced upon, To see the time,

Then gently placed back in its socket.

#896.1 Edwin Noorlun circa 1953
Grandfather Edwin

Even Grandfather, too, In his coveralls blue,

Whenever he’d come to chat,

Needed to know, What pocket watch would show,

To see just when the time was to scat.

NFS 10.24b
If only a farmer could “stretch time”.

For even a farmer, Would like to stretch time,

To get more work done in a day.

Or to get work all done, Afore setting of sun,

So he and the family could play.

NFS 10.24i

 

I can still see my dad, While in front of this lad,

As he pulled pocket watch so sublime,

At knurled “crown”, He’d give twist, With nary a miss,

To keep those small gears right on time.

NFS 10.24h
Even the Bible talks about a farmer and his time.

Even God’s Word, Tells about time,

When and what a farmer should do.

There was peace in this boy, And even a joy,

That Dad’s time piece would carry us through,

As day in, and day out, Daddy’s watch had the clout,

To honor God’s time and be true.

I was one happy lad, To be blessed with a Dad,

Who was punctual to enjoy each life’s view.

NFS 10.24d

 

 

 

 

 

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Norwegian Farmer’s Son…October 23rd

October 23rd…“DID YOUR FARM IN SOUTHERN MINNESOTA HAVE AN ORCHARD?  DID YOU PICK APPLES AND HARVEST OTHER THINGS?”

NFS 10.23f
Elliott loved climbing up and eating apples, as well as other yummies from the orchard.

POEM – “Green As An Apple”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

Green as an apple, How envious you’d be,

If you had an orchard, As a kid like me.

The pioneer family, Who started our farm,

Made sure their loved ones, Would see no harm,

NFS 10.23d
Apples, pears, plums and more “on the floor” of the orchard like rhubarb, asparagus, blackberries and raspberries, too.

By planting many a fruiting tree,

That would feed them all,

Through the years with glee.

Not only did we have, Apple and pear,

Many other yummies, Were also there.

NFS 10.23g
Similar to this painting, Elliott’s barn was just around the corner from the orchard.

Rhubarb, plum, Asparagus, too,

Berries galore, To share with who,

Ever might come, A visiting by,

And taste our sweets, Saying, “My Oh My!!”,

NFS 10.23i
Elliott’s father used a two row corn picker that was kind of like this one.  Elliott enjoyed watching his dad work the fields from the high top of their apple tree.

Perched up high, In apple heights,

This farmer boy, Could enjoy the sights,

Of watching Father, Farm our land,

Our life was simple, But oh how grand.

All the time thinking, “I just may BUST!”,

“Eating my apple, Wonder-lust!” 😉

NFS 10.23k

 

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…October 22nd

October 22nd…“WHAT IS THE FARTHEST DISTANCE YOU EVER RAN OR WALKED?”

#1078 BGHS Keith Anderson 1969-70 001

There are gazelles who bound gracefully and effortlessly across the plains of the Serengeti in Africa.  Our local “gazelle”, at Battle Ground High School in Battle Ground, Washington, wore our “Tiger” colors of black and orange.  Unlike the relatively level plains of the Serengeti, our “gazelle”, Keith Anderson, was raised on his family’s 300 acre mountain hillsides near Yacolt, Washington.  Keith’s passion was running and that’s exactly what he did, year in and year out, up and down those steep slopes of those forested hills.

#1077 BGHS XC Anderson n Stark 1969-70 001
Silhouette in background is of Keith and his buddy, Jamie Stark.  Keith, in main photo, is running through a gate.

“Andy” Anderson was an inspiration to us all!  Not only did he possess a buoyant smile and sparkling personality in daily life at school, but he dazzled everyone at Track Meets and at Cross Country race venues.  For instance, during Track Meets, at our District Stadium, Keith would start out with “the pack”.  At the firing of the starting pistol, the mile run (four times around the school’s oval track) began.  At the end of the third lap, when the majority of “the pack” of runners were showing distinct signs of exhaustion, “Andy” would burst out of “the pack” and leave everyone else in his dust as he turned on the jets in his legs and left all the huffers and puffers behind.  There he was, breaking the ribbon and finishing First Place by sometimes as much as a half lap, or more.  His fellow “Tigers” in the Stadium Grandstand would go wild with cheering to see our hometown “gazelle” race to the front and bring home the gold once again.  You see, after running the hills of his family’s property, running on flat land was a “piece of cake” for Keith Anderson.   Keith went on to win First Place in the Washington State Cross Country competition two years in a row for our school!!!   “Andy” exemplified the Bible verse from Hebrews 12:1, that says, “…..And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

#1076 BGHS XC Team 1969-70 001
Tom (2nd from left) and Phil (5th from left) inspired Elliott to try out a cross country run with them one Fall afternoon in 1969.  Our run started at this very spot where this photo was taken.

Keith Anderson inspired me to want to try Cross Country,  but he was just one of the  great young men on the Cross Country Team at Battle Ground High School.  Phil Kooken and Tom DeVilliers were very kind to this underclassman and invited me to experience what Cross Country running was all about.

#30=Elliott (10th Grade 1969-70)
Elliott as a High School Sophomore in 1969.

As a 10th Grade Sophomore in High School that year, I unknowingly resembled the very definition of the word sophomore………”a person who is self-assured and opinionated, but crude and immature”.  That fit me to a “T”.  I was too self-confident and opinionated that I could carry out what I had seen others do in Cross Country running.  My crudeness and immaturity showed up in the fact that I was not yet conditioned for running any type of long distance…..at all.  Phil, Tom, Clyde Cooper and others had made running look so easy as they’d glide over long distances with smooth and steady strides.

It was a crisp, Fall afternoon after school one day when Tom, Phil and myself emerged from the west door of our school’s locker room.  As we did a number of stretching exercises, I could see our “Tiger” Grandstand and football field nearby.  It had just been completed the year we arrived in town in 1967.  “O.K., let’s go.”, said Phil Kooken, and we three musketeers began to jog to the west and off our school grounds heading for what was then known as “Wayside Market”.  The Fall sunshine was beginning to wane in the distance as we reached NE 112th Avenue (where the old Wayside Market used to stand) and turned our running appendages to the north.   For a novice, I thought I was holding out fairly well upon my “shank’s horses” (old term for your legs), but my huffin’ and puffin’ was becoming more pronounced.   Phil and Tom, conditioned veterans that they were, were still carrying on unbroken conversations and checking on this green horn at the same time.

NFS 10.22i
“Whose legs are those??”

As we approached the half point turn, I’m beginning to muse, “What the HECK am I doing here?!?”  My teenage heart is pounding like a trip hammer inside my heaving rib cage that is gasping for more oxygen to fuel this strenuous endeavor.  As the three of us padded around the natural bend in the road that took us now to the east, I was faced with the stark reality that this pimple-faced harrier wannabe was not cut out for this form of a foot race.  Too far in to quit, I plodded on the best I could as we made another right turn and headed south on what was known then as the Lewisville Highway.   With my two upperclassmen championing the lead, this lil wheezer was doin’ his darndest to just stay alive and moving them thar legs.

NFS 10.22k
Old Mr. Numb Knees!!!

Even though we were slogging our way back towards the High School campus now, I was beyond exhaustion as I looked down at my legs pounding away on the pavement below me and realized that I could no longer “feel” them.  It was like looking at someone else’s legs that had been attached to my body when I wasn’t looking!!!  Spooky!!  Finally, thank Heaven, we were veering off the Lewisville Highway and down the slope back into the High School property.

NFS 10.22l
Exhaustion to the point of being dizzy.

Our total mileage for that run was maybe about 3 miles or so.  And, for a seasoned Cross Country runner, that was just “snack” to chew on when you consider the long miles of a real competition.  For me though, who was only used to doing a run of a mile a day in Physical Education classes, the run I had just completed was exponentially gigantic…….to me, at least.

My walk home from school that evening was a challenge in and of itself.  My legs felt like wobbly rubber and I was exhausted to the point of appearing “drunk” as I tried to command this spent body of mine to walk the three blocks to our home on the north side of town.  Collapsing in bed after supper, I was “out like a light”.   Needless to say, the next morning, I could hardly move!!  Every joint and muscle in my young body ached to a crescendo of pain I hadn’t experienced before.  It was all I could do to get dressed and slowly drag myself to another day of school.

NFS 10.22g
Phil Kooken (and friends) painted this celebratory message on his father’s garage roof.  The roof faced the High School campus and was enjoyed by all as our “Tiger” harriers qualified for State Competition that year.

To this day, over half a century later, I still have great respect and inspiration from those dear souls who have the ability to run for long distances in Track or Cross Country.   The fact was cemented in my psyche that day, though, that CROSS Country made my body CROSS for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son 😉

NFS 10.22h

 

 

 

 

 

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…October 21st

 

October 21st…“DO YOU HAVE A STORY ABOUT STANDING UP AGAINST THE ODDS FOR SOMETHING YOU REALLY BELIEVED IN?”

Father and Son Argument
Elliott and his father had a heated discussion about the 18 year old vote

“If someone is old enough to bleed and die for this country, then they should be old enough to vote, too!!!”.   So said this 17 year old Norwegian Farmer’s Son that day as I fixed myself some lunch from the refrigerator.  The air between Dad, sitting at the kitchen table, and myself was laden with electric acridity.  Having come from a farming background, our collision of ways, that day, could’ve been paralleled to two bulls in a pasture.  The younger bull snorting his intense energy of youth as he swings his testosterone-powered horns from side to side.  The older bull, much more seasoned, is not about to be bamboozled by the hoof-stomping charges to his seniority and stands his ground;  head lowered and ready for the charge, if necessary.

NFS 10.21g
The 26th Amendment to the Constitution had recently been signed into law.

Our heated argument that day had been over the new law of our land that granted 18 year old citizens the right to vote in elections.  Previously, you had to be of the age of 21 to vote.  My generation, at the time of the early 1970’s, was very passionate about the incongruity of being old enough to die in The Vietnam War for our nation, but not allowed to vote for what goes on in our nation.

NFS 10.21b
President Lincoln made sense!

“Awwww, yer just a KID!!!  Still wet behind the ears, yet!  You’re too young to know what’s good for ya, let alone think that you can be old enough to vote!”.…..so said our father that day.   Our voices were now reaching a terse echelon of engagement!  I was incredulous to the dichotomy of what Dad just said!   Someone my age was “wise enough” to be obedient to their nation’s call to serve and possibly die in war, but NOT “wise enough” (after being educated for 18 years) to vote for what goes on in our great nation?   I was “lowering my horns” for the charge of the young bull.

NFS 10.21f
A heated issue

 

After another few barrages between us, Dad could sense that it was time for the patriarchal bull of the family to settle this issue…..at least for the moment.   In response to another burst from my lips about this issue, Dad retorted, “WATCH IT, boy!  You’re still not too big for me to take ya!!”  “As long as you abide in this house, you’ll abide by MY laws!”  

1Dad4
Elliott’s father, Russell.

The maturity of the elder bull, my father, had won out over the immaturity and blustering blather of this young bull, me.   Besides, I thought to myself, as I allowed the argument to dissolve back into daily life, what would I have gained if I HAD escalated the incident?  What if it HAD come to a physical altercation between our family patriarch and myself?   There would’ve been absolutely no honor in fisticuffs, or shoving or pushing.   Any action like that brings only a muteness to any idealistic goal that one was pursuing in the first place.  And, besides, I loved my father, Russell, too deeply to allow a forever wound to transpire between us.  It was best to quiet down and honor him for his position as leader of our family and just agree to disagree on this subject.

So, my patience and acquiescence paid off, after all, because the next year (with that new law on the books) I was then 18 years of age and enjoyed the immense pleasure and responsibility of voting for the first time for the next President of our country.   Such was the great experience for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

NFS 10.21e

 

 

 

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…October 20th

 

October 20th…“SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE SEASON OF FALL.”

NFS 10.20a
Each tree is transformed into a giant flower.

POEM – “The Fragrant Felicity of Fall”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

One doesn’t fall into Fall, at all,

But transcends into gentle bliss,

For the good Lord above,

Doesn’t push or shove,

But instead, Gives each tree His kiss.

NFS 10.20g
Amazing Fall is in her colored array!

Each sapphire morn, As her new day was born,

Fall unfurled yet another surprise,

During dark, crisp of night, Her handsome young sprite,

Painted another Fall scene for my eyes.

NFS 10.20f
The whimsical “river” of swirling leaves.

“Jack Frost” was no thief, As he turned every leaf,

Into colors that none could compare,

For perfume he bestowed, To Fall’s beauty he owed,

As Sun chased him, He left cologne there.

NFS 10.20h
The Pied Piper of leaves.

No one dared rescind, The power of Wind,

As he commanded those millions of leaves,

Some still on the trees, Were ripped by his breeze,

In vortex and subject to heaves,

As Wind takes them miles, And lays them in piles,

To eventually settle for best,

Such are thoughts of Fall, Where we don’t fall, at all,

As God quiets His world for a rest.

NFS 10.20d

 

 

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…October 19th

October 19th…“WAS AN INJUSTICE EVER PERPETRATED AGAINST YOU?”

NFS 10.19b
Elliott’s enemies conspired against him

In a perfect world, it would be wonderful to be loved by everyone.  But, alas, I too have enemies and they ganged up on me in 2001.  Like vultures circling in the sky above me, these fellow co-workers waited for their prey (me) to show them a sign of weakness so they could pounce on me and destroy me.  Then, with me out of the way, they would feast on the spoils of their conniving ways.

NFS 10.19c
To the left with lies they leaned.

Two fellow subordinate workers, at the place of employment where I was their supervisor, decided that I was unworthy of the position that I held there.  They conspired to see my demise and demotion from that job.  How do I know they conspired?  Because a very dear friend of mine overheard their dastardly deliberations.  As a widow, and with lots of work to do, this friend would often stay late into the evenings to “go the extra mile” to get things ready for the next day to go smoothly.  She would move from room to room of this facility to get various jobs accomplished.  Unknown to my enemies, and since these rooms were only divided by thin folding walls, she was privy to many of their “so called” secret discussions about me in the evenings while they plotted my destruction.  My friend kept copious notes of these two “Judas” associates as to what they were plotting.

NFS 10.19d
Elliott was so deeply saddened!!! 😦

The death knell for me, was when this mean-hearted twosome felt their time was right, they concocted a lie-filled story that was presented to an administrator where I was employed.  I was ordered to appear before a kangaroo court of INjustice.  Up to this point, and over the many decades, I had looked up to this administrator and thought him to be a fine and integral person.  But sadly, he also became my enemy that day as he fully swallowed all their falsehoods and even refused to show me the alleged damning evidence that was in his possession.   😦

NFS 10.19g
Elliott was sentenced 😦

Metaphorically speaking,  I was then lined up against the proverbial wall and “shot” with those lies.   The union that was supposed to have supported me in this battle was completely spineless and “kissed up” to the prevailing desires of the administrator judge and jury.  No matter how I tried to rise to my defense, the “loaded” jury came back GUILTY and I was demoted and removed from that place of employment and sent to a graveyard shift at another location.  My dear friend, I spoke of earlier, came forward with her documentation of those scumbag’s evil intents, but her efforts fell on dead ears and was not considered admissible within the hierarchy of the kangaroo court that only sought one thing……my degradation, demotion and punishment……along with resulting major depression.  Needing to feed my family, and feeling backed up against a rock and a hard place.  Since the union I belonged to had “sold me down the river”,  I had no choice, but to acquiesce to the sentence leveled against me.

NFS 10.19e
Elliott felt lower than a mud puddle 😦

Needless to say, I lost all respect for that administrator, the two evil cohorts of this crime against me, and contempt for the overall organization that was supposed to have governed the affairs of that entity with justice and equality.

One of the saddest chapters of life for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

 

 

Norwegian Farmer’s Son…October 18th

October 18th…“WHEN YOU WERE A LITTLE BOY IN MINNESOTA, DID YOU AND YOUR DAD HAVE A SPECIAL FATHER AND SON OUTING?”

Prologue:  My hardworking father, Russell, was usually consumed with the rigors of farming and seeing that his family had food on the table each day.  Yet, there was a very special day when work was set aside for some cherished time with me.  We took a fishing trip up the gravel road to the north of our farm to a body of water known as Rice Lake.  Today’s poem describes that special time with my dad.

#18=Elliott(with Dad, June '56)
Elliott and his father, Russell Noorlun

POEM – “You’d Be Amazed”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

NFS 10.18g
Old-fashioned fishin’ fun

You’d be amazed, How a bamboo pole,

And time away, That we gladly stole,

From farming’s chores, That steal away,

Those happy day’s hours, That are meant for play.

NFS 10.18c
Father n son fun!

But on this day, My dad took time,

To spend with me, Which was sublime.

For often, I had, Done some wishin’,

Now here, this day, We’d do some fishin’.

1956 Chevy Bel Air
The bamboo pole was too long to put inside the car.

“Get the pole, my boy, Too long for the car”, 

“This fishing toy, Is long by far!”, 

“You’ll need to grip, That bamboo spar”,

“Outside the window, Of our car!”.

20190902_095842.jpg
Rice Lake, where Bullheads “fly” 😉

So down the dusty, Road we flew,

Watch out fish!!, Here comes we two.

Arriving at a lake, That folk called, Rice,

We found a spot, We thought was nice.

NFS 7.11d
“Come and bite me, if you can!”

Skewered worm, Upon the hook,

Plastic bobber, Where I’d look,

To see if mighty, Bullhead would,

Bite that fish hook, Like he should.

NFS 10.18l
A Bullhead bit the hook and swallowed that worm!!!

Sure enough, When time was right,

That big ol’ Bullhead, Made his bite.

My dad yelled, “YANK!, And set the hook!”,

NFS 10.18m
“Got one on!!!”

I did and caused, My pole to crook!,

That bamboo bent, Near 90 degree,

NFS 10.18f
“DUCK, it’s a fish!!” 😉

Now fish outta water, Flying right at me!,

I ducked, It flew, Right o’er my head,

And hit the ground, But it t’weren’t dead.

It flopped and flipped, All o’er the place,

Till Dad smacked fish, Right in fish face.

Such fun adventures, With Dad that day,

When we ran from work, For a day of play! 😉

NFS 10.18e
Unlike these two, Elliott, and his farmer father were wearing classic striped bib overalls.  But it’s the joy of the moment that is captured well here in this artist’s rendition of a fun fishing father and son time together.