Off the Editor’s Desk – 1-22-2014

Off the Editor’s Desk – 1-22-2014

With the passing of Richard (Dick) Rosen, we have lost another one of our morning coffee buddies. I do not remember when I first started going to morning coffee at the Midway Café in downtown Glenwood City when Harris and Elsa Spaeth were the proprietors.

Over the many years I have witnessed the change of people joining our group. During those times at the Midway, we crowded more than a dozen of us into the front booth for coffee, gossip, storytelling, and discussing current events. Since the Midway is no longer open we have moved our morning meetings to the Downing Café six days a week.

As I sat at Saturday morning’s funeral service for Dick at Trinity Lutheran Church in Boyceville and listened to Pastor Bradley Peterson eulogize Dick saying that he was a “Man’s Man,” he worked hard and loved his family and as Pastor Peterson quoted the Bible verse (John 14-2) “In my Father’s house there are many mansions,” I began to think about all those people that came to coffee in the morning that are now deceased.

Our ranks have shrunk to just three or four of us, Leon Berenschot, David Bischel, Ollie Knoebel and myself, plus a couple of local gentlemen that spend the work week driving truck but come in on Saturday. We have four others that are in sunshine country for the winter. But as time marches on, death has taken our numbers.

I remembered those who have passed, mostly farmers, like Dick. They include Marvin Teigen, Russ Thorsen, Kermit (Bud) Cuturia, Martin Seim, Ray McKahan, Dave Rasmussen and several who were non-farmers like attorney Richard Rivard, and for a short time before his passing, Wallace Johnson, former superintendent of schools.

Many of these guys grew up during the Depression and related many stories of that time. I cannot visualize how trying that time was. One of them talked about having “fat sandwiches” to eat, if they had a slice of bread.

I like to remember these fellows, especially those from the farm, as “Tell It Like It Is” people. They did not sugar coat anything. Said what they thought and believed and let the chips fall where they may land. Now my political beliefs mostly were opposite of theirs, and we could have a great conversation and disagree, but they were never disagreeable. Maybe they felt sorry for me. Dick was one that had no trouble in speaking his mind or starting up a conversation with anyone and I respected that.

Dick and those other farmers at the table knew all about farming and were experts at it. Over the years, I plowed more fields, baled more hay, milked more cows and hauled more manure than any other person in town without putting my hand on a fork.

Stories were a major part of the conversation and Bud was the best at telling real-life stories. The one that we liked the best was his telling of an accident that happened on the farm. He was out in the field with his tractor and trailer fixn fences. He was not fixing fences, he was fixn, when the urge to have a bowel movement came upon him. He climbed back on the tractor and headed for home and the bathroom. And as Bud told the story, “I had to stand on the tractor and as I approached the buildings I knew that I could not lift my leg to disengaged the clutch so I turned off the ignition.”

Of course when he did that, the power steering stopped working and he could not steer the tractor and it hit the foundation of one of the buildings, breaking the front axle off the tractor. Do I need to say more?

So, we are now taking applications for seats at the morning coffee table. The requirements are that you must be able to tell a story, laugh at dumb jokes, and be at the Downing Café before 8 a.m. willing to spend most of the hour. The ability to be an expert with the dice box is not necessary, we will teach you.

Thanks for reading

— Carlton