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Last week I wrote that ….

Last week I wrote that …. Last week I wrote that ….

Last week I wrote that the leaves were falling. This week I can just say “they have fallen”. It was quite a sight this morning in the bright sunlight to look out and see a constant parade of leaves dropping to the ground, the last survivors of the wind and the rain earlier in the week.

This week I had two separate clinic appointments. These were the first since May. I figured I must be in good health, or maybe the doctors have given up on me. Both agreed the first thought was the reason and now I can look forward to what’s next. For sure I want to be around for Farm Technology Days in 2022, and then I’d like to see my great granddaughter, Saylor Dietsche, graduate from high school. She’s a third grader now, so that should keep me alive for quite some spell.


I’d written about being at the Pipe Lake Lutheran Church annual chicken dinner on the 13th. Among the things I learned, besides some early history of the church, was that there was going to be a joint anniversary service for the 135th anniversary of Pipe Lake and the 130th anniversary of Zion Lutheran in Turtle Lake the following Sunday.

Since I had connections with both churches, the anniversary service would feature a son of the congregation, who I remember well, as the guest pastor. I thought to myself, I can make that.

In addition to being baptized and confirmed at Pipe Lake, my parents and brothers, Ernest and Harold, are buried in the cemetery.

Zion would be the church where Jackie was confirmed and Sue and Shelly baptized. I served on the church council and Florence was involved with the Ladies Aid and since we lived just across the street from the church, I seemed to spend a lot of time there.

In 1964, Zion was going to celebrate its 75th anniversary and plans were being made. The pastor kind of arranged to have me serve as chairman of a special anniversary book committee,which then turned out to be an anniversary committee. We were planning a special month-long celebration with a special emphasis each Sunday. This would include a noon dinner after services and Florence found herself as president of the Ladies Aid.

All this was fine, except in April, the pastor announced he had accepted a call to move to Rib Mountain and start a new church there. You might say that created a little stress on our parts, but all ended well.

My last connection with Zion was really no connection at all. The churches of Barron, Polk, Burnett and Washburn Counties decided to form a committee to find out why we were considered a depressed area. A committee of three pastors and three laymen from those church bodies were selected to find out why. I was named to represent the Missouri Synod Lutherans. I confess I knew nothing about this, but went along for the ride. We sought help from the University of Wisconsin-Extension Department who supplied us with motivational speakers who covered our history as well as try to spark an interest to help ourselves.

A series of meetings were held, attended by 90-100 citizens from the four-county area. When it was over, I had a problem. I was informed and excited. How do I share all this with people. Remember, I was happily working for the post office, but approached my old boss at the Turtle Lake Times newspaper. He agreed to let me write a series of articles about the meetings and when it was done, I decided to keep on writing a column. I called it “Over The Back Fence” and here we are today, fifty-some years later, still trying to find a way to quit. So far, that hasn’t happened.

Pastor David Splett was a young lad when I knew him. He went into the ministry and has since retired. I assured him he sure hasn’t lost any energy for his work and now lives at Ames, Iowa. His parents were both able to attend and his father worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Long before I even knew where Spencer was, I learned a lot about the Almena/Spencer soil types. Too bad the Spencer area doesn’t have some of the rolling hills to help with the wet soil conditions this year.


In between the morning worship and the genuine Lutheran pot-luck dinner, as Pastor Steve Miller of Pipe Lake and Zion described it, we heard from a German translator who spoke about the early traveling ministers and the formation of the area churches.

This was interesting but also raised another question for me. I had mentioned last week about my Dad being confirmed in the Swedish Lutheran Church in Cumberland and later moving back to the area from North Dakota in 1924, to take over the family farm some 40 years after the church was formed.

Yet according to the speaker, some early data she had obtained from the early records of the Pipe Lake Church, listed Berglund as one of the family names.

I guess the answer is long gone as I have no one to ask any more as the data she had was the period about the turn of the century.


The special services started at 8:50, which meant I would have to be up pretty early to make it. So I decided to make it a weekend adventure and drove up Saturday afternoon. I did wait for the last two seconds of the Wisconsin/ Illinois game, so I had to travel with some sad memories.

I long thought about driving through the Blue Hills area east of Rice Lake, so this was a good time to kill two birds with one stone. I took 73 north from Thorp, and ended up in Ingram, population 78. Next I headed west to Glen Flora, population 92 and finally arrived in Tony, population 113. This is the hometown of Jim Leonhard, defensive coordinator for the Wisconsin Badgers. He earned his reputation after being a walkon candidate for the Badgers after his high school days. After his college days, he spent ten years playing for seven different NFL teams before rejoining the Badgers.

Tony is home of the Flambeau School District and I followed the arrow which pointed to the school. Located some two miles south on Highway 8, its spacious campus and buildings look pretty new. Mark assured me they are probably 20 years old after their old school was partially destroyed by the tornado that ripped through the Ladysmith area that many years ago.

Back on Highway 8 I drove by some old buildings which could have been the old school and right behind it was the Jim Leonard Field which confirmed the idea he was a hero in his home town.

At Bruce I picked up Rusk County O, which took me through the Blue Hills which are pretty famous in that area. They were once part of a mountain range that rose 20,000 feet into the air.


Just a little history to end the column. On October 27, 1904, the New York subway made its inaugural run. On the 28th, President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty and on the 30th, in 2005, Rosa Park became the first woman to lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda.

That means another month has come to an end and be sure to set your clocks back an hour on Saturday night.