There must have been a time in the past when school kids did not like the lunch programs. At most schools soon as noon arrived the front door burst open and everyone poured out as if a fire drill was in progress.
Many of them were heading downtown. We were very fortunate at Castlewood to have a good cook. Menne Aronson could take whatever the food service people delivered and turn it into a banquet. I was an active, growing, young Finlander and not a fussy eater, so loved and enjoyed all food but she was a cook from the old school.
Many of the Castlewood kids were on their way to Boswell’s drugstore at noon where they still had the old Soda Fountain. Boswell’s was famous for a cherry coke, chocolate, or whatever your heart desired.
The Castlewood school decided to enforce a dress code at one time. It seemed to be rather strict. We could thank Elvis for that! No jeans for girls, no shorts, boys needed a thick belt on their pants and not down on the hips. No whiskers or long hair. It wasn’t long before Terry Goldhorn came with a mustache and a super-thin belt on his low riding britches. I don’t think there were any repercussions.
Ida’s Cafe was a noon destination for some, but it was the place to gather after all school activities. Ida was like a second mother to many of the kids. Cupid ran wild at that place! Some noon time breaks got spent dancing in the gym. A few of the boys went to Bill’s Pool Hall on the west end of the main street.
One day Larry Langenfeld and I decided to smoke a Crooks rum-soaked cigar at Bill’s place. We ended up puffing away against a fast-moving clock instead of the leisurely smoke we planned on. Larry and I did find our way back to the school building, but all the afternoon classes seemed fuzzy. Another outing comes to mind Jerry or Larry Langenfeld got a couple of empty gallon jug from Ida’s Cafe. We got them filled with draft beer at Estelline. I don’t remember how that outing ended, that might be a good thing.
A lot of the Hayti group headed down to the Horseshoe to get a big bottle of Pepsi Cola with a bag of Planters Peanuts in it. It was a great place to listen to music and just hang around being cool or thinking you were. There was no bowling alley at that time. It was still the Burton Chevrolet building.
In my old age, I have come to realize our physical condition has a dramatic effect on our dreaming. Last night my unpredictable C-PAP machine had to be running well because I was in REM sleep and dreaming often. In my younger days, before my physical condition started to deteriorate, my dream patterns were different. I spent a lot of time dreaming about a sweet young thing who knew how to light my fire, without much kindling. There were plenty of sparks at times. In later years golf occupied my dream time. You might say golf was my second love.
One early golf dream was about my two brothers Corky and Harlan, and myself going to the state Junior Golf tournament. We all qualified to go but had no way to get there. Dr. Mickelson from Watertown drove us to Webster so we could play in the competition. That was a kind and generous gesture on his part.
One golf dream was about being stationed in Japan. I was the only enlisted man on our squadron golf team. I was the crew chief on a plane, so I had a close relationship with most of the pilots. They wanted me on the golf team because I was playing a good game of golf at that time. I used to dream about one tournament when I won first place in the first flight, with a sub-par round. That course had one par four that was 320 yards long. I got so pumped up over that round I drove the green but then went on to three-putt it. I was still sub-par on the last nine holes.
Another golf dream that appeared quite often was playing in Hawaii with my brother in law David Bowers. That was the most beautiful golf course I have ever played.
The last round of golf that I played was here on our local golf course at Lake Poinsett about thirty years ago with my son in law Phil Erickson. My balance was already getting bad at that time, so I could not play golf very well. I ended up in the sand trap on the last hole, when I blasted out of that sand the ball just about went into the hole to Phil’s surprise and my shock and amazement. My golf career ended with a good shot and somewhat of a happy note, the memories linger.
In recent years I’ve had the same golf dream repeated over and over. It’s on a course that I do not recognize, playing with three people I do not know. The golf must be abysmal because the shots don’t get remembered or recorded, but I do play a complete round with them. This morning when I woke up, I was still standing on the tee box, and the three golfers teed off, and we’re half-way down the fairway. They all stopped and looked back to see what I was doing. I just stood there and cannot describe my feelings at that time. I don’t feel I want to know the meaning of that dream.
Confined to Quarters Being confined to quarters can leave one feeling low and depressed. There is little to cheer, amuse or humor you unless you have small kids at home with you. I’m confined all by myself, just me and my thoughts, that’s scary by itself. There’s very little humor in my days, but today I did something that put a slight smile on my face. I had to turn around quickly to see if anyone happened to be watching my accidental discovery. I recently got our old Queen size bed replaced with a hospital bed. I found out it works very well. The foot and the head end both go up and down by an electric motor. It has a trapeze to pull myself up with if I had the strength to use it. I can get in bed better. I found out it had one big drawback. If I have the head end up too high, my body tends to creep down towards the foot end during the night. I can find myself somewhat like a turtle on its back. I had to devise a way to get out, that first week I almost called 911 in a panic. I finally settled down and managed to squirm enough to get my legs over the side, paralyzed as I am. Somehow getting ahold of the mattress edge pulled myself up to a sitting position and almost slid onto the floor. I said to myself, “self,” this is not going to work! There was an old piece of rope in my toolbox that my brother Harlan and I used dragging deer. It was a stout old nylon rope. The edges were all frayed from possibly dragging a 100 deer over the years. That rope would have many stories to tell about deer hunting in subzero weather etc. Old Finlander is not likely to throw anything away. I knew I was keeping that rope for a particular reason. After many years of stacking old coffee cans, I did finally throw away old spark plugs. The point I was trying to get to when my nurse from the VA spotted that ragged old rope she immediately went into a frenzy about those rough, frayed edges tearing my hands all up, this isn’t going to work, she said. I told her I would try to remedy the situation, a few days later, like some lightning flash, maybe an epiphany the problem got solved. Cover the raspy, rough rope with a pair of my wife’s old pantyhose. It was a struggle pulling the pantyhose over the ragged-edges. The toughest lumberjack lady, three ax handles wide don’t have legs that rough. The problem got solved with Finnish ingenuity. That project is what I did today; it is unbelievable; the rope doesn’t have any edges to hurt my fingers now. I know it’s going to work well, no 911 calls. I was proud of myself, then the thought came to me, the next time that nurse comes she’s going to look at that pantyhose rope and immediately say, “that is kinda kinky isn’t?” Would you like me to get you an inflatable doll too? The thought brought a smile to my face the first one in several days, So I thought I would share this with you maybe you would get a smile also. Truth is stranger than fiction. That is for sure.