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Monday morning I was sitting ….

Monday morning I was sitting …. Monday morning I was sitting ….

Monday morning I was sitting in church waiting for the funeral for Joan Knack to begin. Lots of thoughts were running through my head and I wondered to myself why I sometimes write about people who have passed away and not others. My first thought was to think of the fun Joan, Milt and I had kidding about our ages. Since we were all born in May, 1930, it was kind of unique. Joan was the oldest, born on the 7th, Milt’s birthday isn’t for a week on the 14th, I am the youngest, since my birthday doesn’t come until the 22nd. So I had lots of fun calling them the “old folks”.

Then it suddenly dawned on me. Both Milt and his daughter Kris were part of the early TRG family. I’m not sure which, but with Jean Hesse leaving to have a baby, we had need of a typist. Not only a day typist, but one who could come Monday evenings and get caught up. Kris was still in high school and fit the bill. Not only could she type, she was a whiz at helping catch up with the back log, since finding a day typist that could accomplish as much was proving a problem at the time.

Milt joined the staff to take over the commercial printing department as I was spending most of my days out selling ads or covering meetings and events. Then a few years later Milt bought our printing equipment and old letterpress type cases and formed Seri Flex Printers.

The third member of the Knack family to get involved was their son David. He teamed up with our son Mark and together with Shawn Hinker and Chad Schmidt made up the Hinker Hellions, as we called them. They were under the care of Marilyn Hinker, who Mark always called MOM. When asked about it, he said she was “My Other Mother”.

She started caring for him when he was but two weeks old when Florence decided she needed to get back to work and keep an eye on things.

One would think of Joan as the more serious one with her job at the Marshfield Clinic, member of the school board and various other positions. Yet, as I looked over the pictures the family had on display, I spied one of the Hobo Band that she was a part of and what fun they always provided for the Corn Festival and other occasions in the community.


With an early deadline, I was trying to think of some column ideas. I was thinking of other things we have and take for granted or enjoy and how they have changed.

The word change reminds me of a discussion some years ago with Ken Newman, our former Spencer editor. While he was confined to a wheelchair his mind was sharp and was always on the go. We were talking about change one day and I suggested I hated change.

His remarks were right on target. He said if I was so against change, why did I develop the idea for the merger of the TRG? I had to concede he was right. I guess the right answer would be that I’m a bit old-fashioned, always glad to enjoy the benefit of changes, but grumble about them.

As long as I suffered through a week of no Internet and one day without Internet and telephone to boot, I might just as well start with the telephone.

I grew up in a house without a telephone. The best we could do was have our neighbor, who lived a mile away, come over if someone happened to call us. If it did, it generally wasn’t good news.

I did get to use a telephone while serving as a company clerk in the army and occasionally at places I worked at later. When Florence and I got married in December, 1956, we moved into an apartment that had a phone in it. I guess I might have used it, but Florence did by calling her parents and sisters who also lived in Northfield, Minnesota.

Then in the spring we moved back to Turtle Lake where I waited out the job at the post office. The house we moved into had a phone in it. One of those old phones that hung on the wall and you turned the crank on the side to reach the woman who worked the switch board known as “central”.

Then came change. The phone company installed a new dial system. That was great, but it did present some problems. You had to know the number you were calling.You didn’t tell the operator someone’s name or, as some kids I knew, one day said to the operator, “Give me my aunt Meta”. She knew just who to call.

Well, that wasn’t the end. Soon we had private lines and who would guess something called a cell phone. Here we ran into problems, as first we didn’t fit into the change and went without.

Then came a new car fully equipped with OnStar. It was great.

That brought up the problem of what did we do when we weren’t in the car? We did like a lot of people. We went out and bought a cell phone, actually a TRAC phone. Again change came. I couldn’t hear on the first one, but that was alright, Florence could just do the talking. The second one was better and I got to using it. But then it quit and I was told it was too old to fix. Again change came and the next one had so many uses I couldn’t remember how to just use the telephone. It was just good money gone to ruin.

That brings us up to our next experience. A computer and the Internet. It comes to a point of not understanding just how you can write to people, but best of all I can sit at home, write my column on my computer and just type in a couple of key words and it flies through the air right down to the TRG office. It even sent it back from Texas when we were spending winters there.

The problem came the other day when the companies selling cell phones are really busy trying to tell you theirs is the best, but somehow haven’t remedied the problem of malfunctioning Internet service. I guess one major problem is having a problem, then waiting five days, as I did, for a serviceman to show up at the house.

In five minutes, he had the problem solved, hopefully and even looked at my phone in the living room that had quit that day, then started working again. He looked at the phone wire and I could see the bare wires, but explained to him, that happened last summer when the cord got wound up in the vacuum cleaner.

So hopefully the Internet is working, the phone is working and I’m enjoying all the grand things friends are putting on Facebook. Like my next door neighbor’s new son, just three months old. I haven’t seen him yet, but his pictures with his sisters are just grand.


Nationwide, as we wait for Christmas, we also wait to see what develops in Congress. Will they vote to impeach the President or will we simply let our democracy go as we shift to a totalitarian government, which we have seemingly slipped into.

It is pretty simple to me. While the House of Representatives has been investigating some of the illegal wrong doings, the President refuses to allow White House staff to testify. What are they hiding? I think it spells, “I’m guilty.”


I leave you this year with best wishes for a Merry Christmas and hopes for the very best next year. See you in 2020.