Letter to Dave-November 2005

Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

Dear Dave,

I am now old. There is no going back to the carefree days of youth or even the outside chance of a return to my days as a slim youth of 220 pounds. I am forty and even the backside of thirty now looks pretty good in hindsight. All right, enough typical middle-age remorse-I love my life and age has little to do with it.

I was really glad you made the three-hour trip from Carrington, North Dakota to attend my “sweet 40” party which Lisa had engineered. Lisa had suggested “gag” gifts for my darkest hour and friends and family really produced. I don’t know where your daughters, Erin and Sara, came up with their creative use of gourds but the closest inspiration I can think of is the classic painting, “American Gothic.” “Gourdina” and “Gourdin” and the lovely plaque on which they’re mounted now hold a special place on our kitchen table.

Better than twenty years ago, you may recall my career as Marshall County Central high school mascot, “Captain Nordic.” Lisa recently found some old pictures of me in character and so chose a picture to place in a local newspaper. Lisa’s mother Jeanette (aka Mother Walseth) decided to sew a new Captain Nordic helmet for me which I wore during my party. I was proud of Captain Nordic but thought it was safely buried in my past. Lisa has now “let the Nordic out of the bag “ and who knows what may happen. Maybe it will bring our old high school some good luck this winter.

Old age presents physical change which must be met with physical exercise. I’ve recently found a work-out I call “highland aerobics,” a name inspired by our Scottish Highland cattle. This exercise involves waiting for one of these long-horned animals to get stuck in a bale ring. I then have to attempt to capture a horn, point it out the way it came in, torque the cows head opposite and pass the remaining horn back out. It’s about fifteen minutes of constant tension in my arms, legs and torso with only a rare break so the cow can hook me at various places on my body with her forward armament. I hope it helps more than hurts.

The one thought I was left with after my birthday party was my fortune in family and friends. My family showed up like they have for the last forty years and my friends just plain showed up. I was born to good family but the friends I’ve found along the way. I’ve known most of my friends longer than I haven’t and they are the best. Some of my friends were part of marrying Lisa as they were her friends first. Now they are our friends and I truly treasure them. They are the best I know and the best present an old man could ever receive.

Thanks again for making the trip. Next time you see me I will be a diabetic as Mom and Dad left the ice cream cake with us.

Your little bro’