Memory Lane

Lee at Amarillo AFB Texas
The Horseshoe

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.

REM Sleep and Dreams

The 4 Stages of Sleep (NREM and REM Sleep Cycles)

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 highlight was when my two brothers Corky and Harlan, and I went 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 memory 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 pilots. They wanted me on the golf team because I played a good game of golf at that time. I played in one tournament and 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 event 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 play a complete round with them.

This morning I was still standing on the tee box, and the three golfers teed off, and we’re halfway 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

Confined to Quarters

Being confined to quarters can leave one feeling low and depressed. There is little to cheer, amuse or humor you. I’m living 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 ended up putting a slight smile on my face. 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 but found out it has 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 find myself somewhat like a helpless turtle on its back. I had to devise a way to pull my body to the edge of the bed.

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, I pulled myself up to a sitting position but 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 for dragging deer. It was a stout old nylon rope. The edges were all frayed from possibly dragging a hundred deer over the years. That rope would have many stories to tell about deer hunting in subzero weather etc. Old Finlanders are 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 was 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. 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 nylon stockings over the ragged edges on the rope. The toughest lumberjack lady, three ax handles wide, doesn’t have legs that rough. I ended up with lots of runners in my hose but, the problem got solved with Finnish ingenuity. That project is what I did; it is unbelievable; the rope doesn’t have any edges to hurt my hands now. I knew it was going to work well.

The next time that nurse came to visit, she wanted to see the bed. She took one look at that pantyhose-covered rope and immediately said, “that is kinda kinky, isn’t it?” Would you like me to get you an inflatable doll too?
That brought a smile to my face, the first one in several days. Truth is stranger than fiction, that is for sure.