39 and Holding
Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

Thirty-Nine and Holding

Thirty nine years ago my Dad finished milking cows then my mother joined him for a car ride to the hospital.  This
past week-end I turned thirty nine years old.  I  had such a good week-end that I want to tell you about it.

Lisa and I left for Carrington, North Dakota about ten on Friday morning.  We’d planned a trip to Canada but
seeing my brother Dave and his family sounded better than even Winnipeg.  We weren’t alone as the prior evening
we’d loaded Lisa’s car with an old dining table purchased by my parents better than fifty years ago.  The table was
mostly chrome except for the yellow top and even now was quite nice.  It felt good that the table would see another
generation at the home of my niece.   We stopped in Mayville, North Dakota for a bite to eat.  Paula’s Steakhouse
fed us big, chunky (hold on, I gotta wipe my mouth) soup from a classic lunch counter shaped like a w.  Mayville
has a great old downtown made obvious by the frontage of the nearby theater which was engraved 1927.  The
theater had a real street-front box office and the theater marquis hovered above the street announcing the featured

This trip to Carrington surprisingly did not include a trip to the cattle experiment station or following Dave to a
farm to service a tractor.  A much more elegant night included a trip to Jamestown college for the musical, “Annie
Get Your Gun!”   This is the dramatized tale of real-life Phoebe Moses who later became Annie Oakley.  College
kids brought Annie, Buffalo Bill and the other characters to life.  The kids were nervous and occasionally tripped
on a line but they stole my heart.  I wanted nothing more than for Annie Oakley to win the shootin’ match and the
heart of expert marksman Frank  Butler.  The real Annie was born poor in Darke County, Ohio in 1860 but used
her shooting talents to rise to fame.  Frank Butler fell in love with the ”little sure-shot” right after she defeated him
in competition.   I like people who try hard and people who love with all their heart and the real Annie Oakley rose
to stardom and stayed married with Frank Butler until death did part them.   The driving tour of Jamestown hosted
by Dave and his wife Mary featured the World’s Largest Buffalo and the Jamestown College campus.  Saturday
night we were back home where friends and family helped this spry,  young man of thirty eight turn into a
doddering, old fool of thirty-nine.   I suppose my next great milestone will be a shiny, laminated AARP card.

It always ends the same.  A big week-end and Monday it’s back to work , in this case hauling grain for the
elevator.  My birthday week-end was so much fun that as I think about my impending forty year birthday I have an
Maybe next year I’ll just celebrate my thirty-ninth one more time.