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I’m a bit confused about ….

I’m a bit confused about …. I’m a bit confused about ….

I’m a bit confused about how writing this is going to go. There seems to be so much confusion and things are changing from day to day, sometimes with no end in sight.

I guess I’ll just try to make the best of it and think how thankful we can be knowing that we aren’t snowed in and not able to go anywhere. Or worse yet, be hit with a tornado like some parts of the country have seen already.

There is one bright spot. As I write this, it is only March 19, and according to the weatherman, the first day of spring. It is one of those weather wonders and it has been 124 years since it was this early.


The word coronavirus is new to me, but kind of sends chills up my back even to think about it. Kind of like the word polio years ago. I recall every year that there was an effort to sell some kind of seals and the proceeds went to the polio fund.

Fortunately, in our community there was only one person who got it. I don’t remember which class she would have been in, but she was set back and graduated with the class of 1951, with her sister. She got around on those half crutches and married a local man and raised a family like anyone else.

Then I had a cousin who was a bit older than me and he had been placed in some sort of institution or hospital. He ended up wearing big leg braces and needed crutches to get around. He never did recover enough to lead, what you would call, a normal life.

The polio scare came every summer and one year they even canceled the Minnesota State Fair.

At the end, there was a special hospital in Minneapolis that cared for and treated those afflicted. At the time, television was a new word and a nite club in Turtle Lake made an effort to raise money to buy televisions and donate them to the hospitals.

The bar owner was pretty clever and anyone who got change and didn’t pick it up right away found themselves donating a dollar to the fund. He would pin those dollars to the ceiling and soon his ceiling was completely covered with dollar bills. He would buy ten TVs at a time and donate them to this hospital.


Being quarantined was a common thing when I was little. Mumps, chicken pox, scarlet fever, a couple kinds of measles were just something that would bring the local health officer to the house and tack a quarantined sign up. It seems like some years you could go all summer being quarantined.

If one child got it, then another and each time the length of the quarantine got extended. I always grumbled for being the youngest in the family. If someone got something it seemed to pass right through the family. By the time I got in school and those diseases started making the rounds again of the kids in school, I never got any time off from school. I’d already had it.


Then there was the sad time when being quarantined really hit us hard. I think it was my two oldest brothers, Ernest and Ben and the brother closest to me, Harold who were the ones quarantined. The rest of the family was free to go anyplace they wanted. It was 1935, and the City of Cumberland decided to have a little party and invited all the rural people to it. It is still going today and is called the Rutabaga Festival.

As I said, I was pretty young, only five years old. All I remember is we were paged and the message was to come right home. I only understood a barn was on fire. Every time we came to a farm, I’d look and everything seemed o.k. Then we came over the last hill and I could see our farm. Instead the barn was on fire.

Not only was it the barn, at one end was a driveway Dad used to get the hay into the hay mow and on the end of that was our machine shed. So we not only lost the barn, but all our machinery as well.

This was during the depression and also several dry years and it was tough going for awhile.


Still a little room left so I’ll tell you about getting some Florida oranges. We were down to the last day and I suggested looking for oranges. Kent and Charlie both have their gadgets in their car which you just dial up what you want and here comes the directions.

It said to drive to Naples, which we did and finally found the orange grove. We couldn’t go out in the orchard, but they very thoughtfully had four tables loaded with bags of oranges. I just grabbed a bag, but discovered each table was a different kind. Fortunately it appeared I picked good and chose the Temple variety.

When I got home and tried one I discovered what they were. Thin skinned and once peeled, each section just kind of fell apart. They were delicious and the bad part is that they only grow for picking in late February and March. So the season is almost over.


Another attraction in Florida is the beaches. The rest went the day Charlie and I went to see the Twins play the second time. Besides, in Texas we had 26 miles of beaches right out our window every morning. No need to drive to it.

The other thing for tourists is the sunsets. One evening we drove some 40 miles over to Maple Island and got a great view of the sun going down. Another evening we drove to Fort Myers and toured the downtown area. There we found some more plants that was credited to Edison and Ford. Once again something I’d never seen before.

As we toured the downtown we came to the Al Capone Bar and Grill. It is also a tourist attraction as right in the middle of the building is an underground hiding place. It is just like it was at the time it was discovered, only covered with thick glass but a part of a bank. They assume it was where Capone had his money hidden.

Their specialty was pizza which was baked right in their big brick ovens.


There is one more story about the oranges. As we were driving through Naples I noticed a highway sign coming up. It read, “Panther Crossing”. Now I had something besides alligators and snakes to worry about.