Letter to Dave (32)
Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

Dear Dave,

I’m writing this letter in the glow cast through the window by our bug zapper. Most knowledgeable people would say that bug zappers do little to reduce the mosquito population. I would invite those people to our home to help me sweep up thousands of corpses left overnight beneath the bug zapper. It’s good medicine to hear the zapper do it’s deadly work and it eases the memory of a day spent on the tractor swatting at flies.

I’ve been riding the tractor a lot lately. It’s haying time here in Northwest Minnesota as we’re still turning rows of hay so that each side receives an even amount of rain. The good news is that the alfalfa is very thick, the bad news is that it’s still no closer to the hay shed than the time of our last correspondence. I do believe that we’ll get a nice day sometime soon but I will probably be in the cab of a sugar beet truck by the time that event occurs.

Alright, I’ve vented my frustration with the weather. At least things are going well around the home. We built a concrete patio in front of our home this Spring. We buried a tractor tire rim in the middle for a fire pit. I tried a technique you may want to try when working with field stone. I built a wooden form around the tire rim then filled it alternately with field stone and mortar. The next day I removed the forms and used a power washer to remove much of the mortar. It looked like a professional had built a field stone surround only the builder was anything but professional. This same technique also works well to build a stone fence.


Out hometown Centennial will soon be here. I remember Viking, Minnesota’s seventy fifth anniversary but I was only fourteen then and didn’t really understand the significance. It’s been fun to write about Viking’s history and in some cases there’s a real urgency to gather it before it‘s gone. I interviewed Earl Erickson who shared some great memories that I was able to print. It’s fortunate we visited that winter day because just a few weeks later he died. Ships of times past used to trail a rope behind them to keep their course straight. History is like that rope and we can use it to keep the course of our lives straight but history must be gathered from time to time or we lose it.

I sometimes chuckle when I express a deep thought. Maybe I should keep it to stories about cattle and farming, Dave but the reason I started printing my letters to you was that they were more personal and better than my other stories. There I go getting deep again. Better go turn the hay some more, otherwise it might get dry. Tell everyone hello in Carrington, North Dakota and I’ll do the same up here. Hope to see you at the Centennial.

Your little bro