Of Rocks and Brothers
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Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

It's almost Christmas again, and, as it is for many other people, it is the time when I most often reflect on the past and look forward to the New Year.This may have been the impetus for my recent call to Kraig Melvie of K & K Trucking of Viking, Minnesota.
 
Kraig was quite a bit younger than me so I didn't know him very well before I left Viking in 1970. He was so pleasant when I called and I immediately felt comfortable making my somewhat weird-sounding request. I don't know if my brother Grant would remember, but there is a small pile of rather large rocks on the West side of the grove of trees surrounding Mom and Dad's home place. When we were small, Dave, Steve, and I would play on those rocks for hours every summer. There were three main boulders and some interesting smaller rocks around them. We would each choose one of these boulders as our "house" and make up games as we went. The largest rock had some granite in the angular face and at times, the angular face would be an easel and, at other times, a school desk. The smaller rocks formed "rock paths" between the main boulders. We fought like kids do but I can't remember one fight we had while playing out there. In my mind the rocks were huge and beautiful and I wanted them for my own yard. Decorating with rocks seems more acceptable than decorating with sheep, huh? (remember "debbie had a little lamb"?-GN). The rocks are to me, a permanent reminder of three little kids, linked forever by these treasures of the earth and their love for each other.
 
So, my call to Kraig was necessitated by my need to find someone to move them the 14 miles to my home. Kraig seemed interested in helping me but somewhat hesitant when I told him the approximate size of the largest (Chest high and at least 5 feet long and 3 deep). I did preface my size estimate with the fact that this was the recollection of a child's impression. He and I agreed that it would be best to ask Mom and Dad for permission to take the rocks before we made arrangements. A couple of days later, I remembered, and asked Dad for permission to move them. He sort of snickered (I sometimes wonder what this dear, practical man thinks of my ideas) and gave me the nod I needed. We agreed that, on Sunday, I would drive out to Viking and we would walk out and size up the location and accessibility of my "treasures". The day came and I was eager to go out there and once again, lay eyes on these beautiful monoliths. It has been a while since Dad and I have done anything; just the two of us. We walked out to the West side of the grove and I found myself searching the edge of the woods for those huge forms. Dad said that the trees and brush had grown up and that they were now further back in the woods. Soon, I spied our "rock houses". They were much smaller than I remember and pretty much blended into the branch and leaf laden floor of the woods. However, after moving some branches and sweeping dead and decaying leaves off with my hands, these were our rocks! I caught my breath as the flood of memories came over me.
 

Dad said that the rocks were moved there in 1956 when Johnny Bornholdt cleared the land on the West side of the grove with his D-8 Caterpiller. I suppose it was about 1958 or 1959 when we were old enough to wander far enough by ourselves and discover the rocks. An old steel-wheeled corn planter and a steel-wheeled binder now sit between the rocks and the edge of the field. I remember looking forward to Johnny's visits to our farm. As was the custom then, anyone working on your farm was invited in for at least a couple of lunches and most likely, the noon meal, also. Johnny's tall good looks, warm, deep voice, and cheerful demeanor were a happy addition to our kitchen table in those days. Lots of memories in this woods......Mom pulling us out there in our red wagon so that she could pick chokecherries or highbush cranberries. Favorite climbing trees. Watching the cows come home for milking from the vantage point of our rocks. I considered the day a total success. Time spent with Dad and time to reflect on a childhood that was idyllic by any generation's definition. We had plenty of time to dream then- about our futures, about beautiful things on our earth, about the families we would have. I feel so lucky to have had those opportunities and to have shared them with two other treasures on earth - my brothers.