Welcome to November. With almost ….
Welcome to November. With almost a week into the month, I assume everyone is adjusted to the end of Daylight Savings Time and all the changes needed.
As I write on Friday, the first day of the month, I can say it is a typical November day. Cloudy, cold and getting dark very early. The weatherman has been talking about it being below average for temperature, but while I don’t like it especially, it does seem better now than later. When we actually get into winter and the temperatures drop 20 degrees below normal, that will be cold.
I kind of miss my old friend Roy Hartl this time of the season, as he loved Daylight Savings Time and I delighted in reminding him to set his clocks back. Of course, he could turn the tide by telling me how much longer before we set them ahead again.
Thanks to a clock I acquired when my brother Harold passed away, I have had a week to get prepared. It’s a clock that automatically goes back and ahead for the change in time. The problem is the clock was made before Congress decided to fool with the time changes and moved the dates. So for the past week I had to be careful not to rely on that time, but look across the room to see the clock that gets changed by hand twice a year.
The major news channel never seems to lack news to report, but lately a major event keeps in the news day after day. That’s the fires burning in California and one has to wonder if there is anything left to burn out there.
I can tell a story about my introduction to the state in March of 1951. When I left Wisconsin we were having some giant winter snowstorms so the warm, sunny days and the green hills just outside Camp Stoneman were a lovely sight to behold.
Then came May and the hills turned brown, as it never rained again until November. In June we found the camp fire department out burning every blade of dry grass they could find. We were told that the old wooden barracks we lived in had been built during early World War II and it was estimated they would burn in minutes if they ever caught fire.
Another factor is our changing society. People love to live in the country, but you have the risk, and especially in those states with limited rain, the possibility of fire burning the countryside.
Florence’s brother Joe and his wife learned all about that years ago when they retired and built a new home, what I called was “up the hill” from Colorado Springs. They built at about 9,500 feet and people ahead of them learned the hard way how to avoid damage from a forest fire.
For one thing, they had to have a driveway wide enough to get fire fighting equipment in and secondly, needed to keep burnable material away from the house.
The thin air must have gotten to them as they have since moved down hill and live in Denver.
Since retiring and getting my own computer, I have acquired a habit of checking funeral homes daily to see who might have passed away. I think it dates back to my early days in the printing business when one of our rush job orders was for printing funeral cards that are handed out at funerals.
It got to be an old story. About the time we would be going somewhere, someone would die and before we left town I’d have to go down and print those funeral cards. It wasn’t a big money maker, but shows how one business depends on another to do what is necessary.
These days the new technology and equipment are much quicker and easier, I assume, and are so much nicer.
Checking various funeral homes I keep pretty much in touch with who has left this world and it even comes in handy for a column idea now and then.
Just as it did this week when I checked out the Skinner Funeral Home in Cumberland. They also have homes in Turtle Lake, Shell Lake and Rice Lake. One of the obits was for Rose Strasser. Just a few weeks ago I had written about attending her husband’s funeral who had died at age 99.
She was only 90 and was a busy person, just like Harold. In addition to caring for their three children and being a farmer’s wife, she loved to bake cakes. When I told Jackie about her dying, she remembered that Rose had made their wedding cake and had even delivered it when she got married.
But the death notice just ahead of Rose was for Irene Hansen. Now she wasn’t someone I knew, but the name Arnold Hansen rang a bell. We didn’t know him as Arnold, but rather “Chuck”.
He was one of the Hansen boys I knew when I was growing up and at the time lived on the farm right next door to the Pipe Lake Lutheran Church.
If my memory serves me correctly, there was five boys and two girls. The boys all had nick names. Besides Arnold “Chuck” there was Bernard who went by the name “Si” and Alvin was “Robin”. Myland was “Dick” and Hilbert was “Bud”.
I guess I can tell one more story from that. Alvin married a local girl who was our first cook when hot lunches were started when I was still in grade school.
I grew up and moved away. Years later, Florence and I were attending the Minnesota State Fair and we must have stayed over night, as this happened early in the morning.
The fair had a number of stages around the fairgrounds which had musicians putting on shows. At this particular one, the guy playing the accordion wanted volunteers to come up on stage and dance. I had hung my head trying to avoid his eye, but he called on me anyway. Finally I said, fine, no one is going to know me anyway, so I went up.
When the music was over and I came down from the stage, I met someone who said, “Do you remember me, I’m Esther Hansen and I was your hot lunch cook”. Yes, I remembered her and that had been many years ago.
The news from Washington is getting to a point where I hold my breath and wonder what next. It even got so bad the guy called me a bad name. He said anyone who had been a Republican and no longer supported him was scum. Well, that wasn’t nice and my come back to him was to think, “It takes one to know one”.
The Spencer Lions have had a nice sign right next to the traffic light for several weeks. It said,“Integrity is something you do right, even when no one is watching”.
With a new month, I have some historical items to pass along. On November 1, 1800, John Adams moved into the White House, which was newly constructed. On November 2, 1983, President Reagan designated Martin Luther King as a federal holiday and on November 3, 1948, the Chicago Tribune announced Thomas Dewey as winner of the election over Harry Truman.On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama became the first African American to be elected president. On November 8, 1960, John F. Kennedy was the youngest man to be elected president.
Did you hear about the lady who had two dogs? They were named Timex and Rolex. They were watch dogs.