Friday, June 29, 2012

Hey Joyce, Craig is here!

Craig Hahn of Lincoln, Nebraska is spending the weekend with us while attending a Peace Corps reunion in downtown Minneapolis. We stayed with Craig and his wife, Joyce, last winter on our way to Los Angeles. Craig, a retired pharmacist, volunteered in Moldova a year ago and is regaling us with tales of his experiences. Joyce stayed home this trip. She's with Stewie, the family dog.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Bittersweet

Today's vegetable soup came with a popover for an extra dollar so we split
one, spreading on lots of butter in memory of Nora Ephron.
We enjoyed a light lunch at the Archer House Bittersweet Cafe in Northfield today; daughter Jennifer rode along and showed us around. The Archer House River Inn opened in 1877. The Inn is a grand 4-story red brick building featuring French Second Empire architecture and is situated on the banks of the Cannon River at the center of town. Northfield is the home of St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges, as well as family friends Stephanie and Greg. Among other things today, we checked out their memory foam mattresses. We need a new mattress and aren't sure about our next sleeping surface. Jennifer had keys to their house so we gave the beds a test drive, with Jennifer emailing snapshots to an amused Stephanie (who was at work) of her parents spread out in their bed, clowning around with the house cat. Not sure what we'll do for a new mattress just yet, the memory foam got mixed reviews. We've already eliminated water and air as a support system. Suggestions?
That's Stephanie and Greg on the right, sitting at our 2006 Thanksgiving table. Big deal. Today we were in THEIR bed.

Canola paradise

(Photos by Lorlee's sister-in-law Doreen)
The Bartos farm is a few miles from our old place in Alexandria. . . and it never looked better. Lorlee sends along these snaps of the cropland in full bloom. . . and loaded with bees humming like members of the Busy Bees 4-H Club. Canola is not only beautiful, it is a staple cooking oil among its other uses. It was developed from the rapeseed in the 70s (stands for Canada Oil, Low Acid) so it was unknown to we youngsters growing up near the farm. Whenever we saw yellow in farmers' fields, it was the dreaded mustard weed, the bane of the grain farmer. Happily, now bright yellow fields mean something entirely different. Our cousins in western North Dakota grow Canola as well. Thanks for the photos, Doreen!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Childhood friend passes

Growing up in rural Alexandria, we didn't farm, but almost all our neighbors did. So when we attended the Oak Grove one-room country school for the first six or eight years of our matriculation, we got to learn a lot about farm kids and their working families. We learned many had forefathers from a land called Bohemia. 
One of the farm kids was Roland, the easiest-going one in the high-energy Trousil family, a gentle boy, not that athletic, not that studious, just a nice fellow to know. Have not seen him for almost fifty years. Today we saw his obituary, and found it a comfort that Roland had kept the home fires burning for a lifetime on the old place up the road.
His obituary says that two of his Oak Grove classmates, Marlow and Roger Kluver, were there to carry his casket.
Here's the published record of his life:

Roland Allen Trousil was born November 24, 1945 in Alexandria, MN, the son of Martin and Eldore (Hanson) Trousil. He was raised in the Alexandria area and attended school in Alexandria. After graduating from Jefferson High School in 1963 Roland worked with his father on the farm that Martin bought in 1954 east of Lake Andrew.

Roland farmed for many years. In 1972 he purchased the farm from his father. Roland loved farming and was good with the animals. He milked up to forty-seven cows. He was proud of his herd of Holsteins. Over the years he bred red & white Holsteins until his entire herd was red & white. He also loved working with his dogs over the years. Roland’s work on the farm was his hobby. After he sold the cows and retired from farming in 1999 he moved to Long Prairie, MN where he purchased a farm. Two years later Roland returned to Lake Mary Township and bought the Dynda farm south of Lake Andrew. Although he rented out the land Roland continued working around the farm. He always wanted to keep busy improving his place.

Roland also had a passion for restoring old tractors. He completed thirty-one full restorations. His preferred tractor was always an International.

On Monday, June 25, 2012 Roland died at his farm at the age of sixty-six years. His parents preceded him in death. Roland is survived by his brothers, Merle Trousil and wife, Cindy, of Alexandria and Warren Trousil of Bertha, MN; one sister, Sonja Zeithamer and husband, Richard, of Alexandria; and nieces and nephews, John Zeithamer and wife, Tammy, Twylla Vickmark and husband, Dan, Darren Trousil, Delane Trousil, Shelly Trousil, Jim Trousil and Jason Trousil.

A funeral service will be held at 11 AM, Friday, June 29, 2012 at Calvary Lutheran Church in Alexandria. Rev. David Wangaard will officiate. Sandy Buckner will provide music. Interment will follow in the Bohemian Independent Cemetery in Lake Mary Township. Casket bearers include Marlow Kluver, Roger Kluver, Arnie Schlosser, Fred Staples, Jim Trousil, Jason Trousil, Warren Engelbrecht and Darren Trousil. Honorary casket bearers include Bob Finnegan, Kenny Rutten and Paul Anderson. Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 PM Thursday at the Anderson Funeral Home and also one hour prior to the service at church.

Arrangements are with the Anderson Funeral Home.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


"Now can I stick my head out the window?"

Happy Birthday, Mary Lou

Forest fires rage in Colorado today where the candles are ablaze on Mary Lou's cake. She's Kathleen's sister in Durango and we wish her the best on her 75th.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

St. Paul Katie's back

After a long and frustrating hiatus, St. Paul Katie is back at the felt, holding and folding with the old poker-faced gang last night in Southwest  Minneapolis. Meanwhile, her driver idled across town at Pam's house, where he scored two frozen walleyes, and then stopped at brother-in-law Dan's 10th floor bakery. How was Katie's reboot? Above, she defends a big stack, keeping enough to cover a tank of gas, five bags of rock salt and a box of wheat thins.

Happy Birthday, Becky

Here's a toast to Virg's bride, Rebecca, celebrating her birthday today. Many more, Becky.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy Birthday, Joe!

 Photo by Stan Rolfsrud
The sexiest man on Abbey Point is celebrating his 82nd today, above, with his sweetie, Mina.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The usual, please

Byerly's in Roseville, August 25, 2010
Classmates Karl Tegland, Paul Strandberg, Stan Rolfsrud
It was eerie this morning at Byerly's in Roseville after the hostess seated Paul and Stan. There they sat, in the exact same booth used two years ago for their last breakfast reunion. And the waitress's name tag read "Katie." Whoa.
Today in the same booth.
Did Karl get the memo?
She brought Paul something called a fritatta, all eggy and cheesy and wrapped around some hash browns and sausage, to go with his own private pot of decaf. Stan skipped the senior menu and went directly to the 3-egg garden omelet, no cheddar, wheat toast and regular black coffee.
Most of the time not eating or drinking was consumed reviewing classmates. Stan and Paul graduated together (Paul with top honors. . . Stan not so much) from Jefferson High School in Alexandria, so a trove of historic photographs of their peers was displayed on a tabletop laptop as they shared all the inside snorts and jokes they could think of before turning to the unfortunate situation the Minnesota Twins find themselves in.
Paul greets one and all, as does his wife Susan, who probably dearly wished to attend this breakfast of memories, but opted instead for an hour with a dentist.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

We can't afford not to. . .

Stan's brother Steve and his playing partner Jim Manske made quick work of the instant water hazard leading to the fourteenth hole today, thanks to encouragement, guidance and leadership from Creeksbend regulars Stan and Dave Chase. The early morning downpour in New Prague was followed by hot, gusting winds, which kept most ordinary golfers off the course today. Nevertheless, our intrepid foursome had a good time, playing some fair to middling golf. Seniors on fixed incomes just laugh at wind, rain, floods and heat on Two-for-One Tuesday!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Best-ball tourney draws Concordia alums

Concordia College, Moorhead, educated many of the Rolfsrud clan: Dad taught there for a short span in the 40s and was commissioned to write its history in the 70s, Becky and her husband Al, Linda and her husband Ron, graduated; Stan and Sosie attended; Linda and Ron's kids, Shana and Steve, graduated, and Shana married a Cobber and worked in admissions for a spell --  after making a name for herself on the swim team.
So when news leaked that Stonebrooke Golf Course was swarming with old Cobbers in a 72-player. best ball tournament and banquet today it wasn't hard to find someone who remembered something of the aforementioned.
For example, Dave Pudas, (above right) Class of '64, definitely remembered Becky and Al Jerdee and sent along a greeting, modestly remarking that they may not remember him. He sang bass in the Concordia Choir for Paul J. Christiansen and played golf briefly for Finn Grinnaker. His playing partner, Paul Spilseth, thought he remembered Becky as well. He's from Kensington and lit up when Stan said the family grew up in Alexandria.
Playing partners Ellingson and Sievertson, above, were hale and hearty Cobbers, and friendly enough alright, had heard of the author, but understandably knew little else of the Rolfsruds. They graduated in the 80s, a sparse era for Rolfsrud attendees.
But Dr. Larry A. Papenfuss, (right) Director of the Concordia Annual Fund and External Relations, definitely knew his Rolfsrud trivia. Linda, Ron and Shana Letnes were names he knew and, as he was associated with the athletic department in more recent years, was quite aware of Shana's swimming exploits. What he did not know was that Shana was Stan and Sosie's niece. Oh well. His playing partner was Peter Hovde.
These young ladies have absolutely no knowledge of any Rolfsruds. They are on the Concordia golf team and a lot better looking than anyone else on the golf course today. So, we took a picture for you.
Soli Deo Gloria.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Grandpa's smoothies are so thick. . .

You need a spoon and a bib.
Emily and her mother (our daughter Missy) dropped by for Dad's Day and sampled today's smoothie: frozen blueberries, a frozen banana, and frozen strawberries blended with a fresh orange and a shot of milk. Emily tried hers in a glass but it kept getting stuck, so she asked for a bowl to eat it like ice cream. That idea didn't set too well with Mom (this ain't her first rodeo -- she knows what happens next) until we dug in the drawer and pulled out the old baby bib Emily used to wear.

Bellevue Athlete of the Year has Rolfsrud bloodline

Our cousin's grandson graduated Friday afternoon from the Bellevue, Washington, High School. He'll be attending the Ivy League's Brown University in Rhode Island this fall. Among his honors, Grandfather Arnold Rolfsrud proudly reports, was this traveling trophy for the school's "Athlete of the Year."
William Sheeran, as one of Washington's top high school runners in the 800 meter, 1600 meter and 4X4 relay races, contributed 30 of the 68 points that brought the State track and field championship to Bellevue for the first time since 1958.
This lanky kid can run, he broke the school's record for the 1600 meters.  "He's a great teammate, too" Arnold adds, "because he's always encouraging others in their efforts."
In the photo below, Stan's bearded Cousin Arnold stands next to William and his mother Kirsti (Arnold's daughter) and Arnold's grandson, Ben (an outstanding musician who can't run any faster than Arnold ever did). On Arnold's left is his granddaughter, Gracie, and his wife, Metha. The photo was taken by William's father, Dan, at Bellevue High. The city is located across the lake from Seattle.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Old, and older

Actually, Mom claims the Alstromeria bouquet that Jennifer personally 
arranged for Father's Day. Oh well. 
Stan received eight vintage scotch glasses from his youngest daughter tonight for an early Dad's Day gift. The classic square-bottomed, fluted design tumblers were produced in the 50s, so now Stan's glassware is older than the aged scotch served in it. Jennifer and Joe are here for an overnight, then on to Nisswa to honor his Pop.

You can hardly see Ron for the trees. . .

Where's Waldo? That's Ron by the arborvitae
Stan's sister and brother-in-law just finished a major landscaping project, the forestation of their home in Blaine. The couple added a nice mix of species to go with what they already had planted.
A Fat Albert Blue Spruce (a reminder of their home in Colorado), a Crabapple Ruby Tears (the crazy shaped tall trees) a chartreuse Smokebush, Magnolia Ann (soon to be a ten-footer) and another spruce round out the balanced collection. Very nice mix! A few years and it will be spectacular. Congratulations, Linda and Ron!

Water restored

Water came back on in the dead of night. Kathleen can't stand leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight (Catholic upbringing or something) so she happily rose at dawn to scrub them and load the dishwasher and clear her record.
Hot showers for everyone in the neighborhood. Life is back to normal. It's the basic things that make you happy.
Now we've got a front row seat for today's excitement: a furniture truck pulled in across the street.
Company's coming tonight: Joe and Jen. If they don't bring a movie, maybe we'll go watch a Friday night T-ball game.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

No water on Abbey Point

We got two and a half inches of water on Abbey Point today, but we also sustained a lightning strike to the community well, knocking it out indefinitely. There's no water on in any homes in the area using the private facility. . . a few dozen residences. The repairman is coming from Elk River to assess the situation and hopefully get the water going again. Until then, there's water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. . . or shower or flush. We'll manage and be telling dirty jokes soon.
Question. Would you rather be without water, electricity or heat?

Big hail in Dallas

Our friend Lorlee reports from Dallas:

"I was lucky -- the hail at my house was only golf ball size -- a bit further north -- baseball size. Lost three storm windows and one double pane. Will have to wait for the insurance adjuster to make a determination on the roof, but expect it is a goner. Virtually everyone in the neighborhood lost house windows and car windows. Saddest is the effect on vegetation. I was just thinking how nice my caladiums looked."
Sorry about the hail, Lorlee.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fresh-caught salmon -- delivered

Retired California expatriate, 
Joe "The Boxer" Daly, with eager neighbor.
Our much-anticipated annual salmon allocation arrived by special courier this afternoon, as reliably as a social security check. Joe and Mina returned last night from their annual Lake Michigan charter where they caught limits of coho and king salmon as well as a mess of lake trout and other species. Mina netted a 21-pound king salmon masterpiece, besting Joe's 17-pound runner-up entry. (We, of course, await photographic evidence of the aforementioned achievements.)
Stan fires up the grill tomorrow.

Monday, June 11, 2012

You're welcome, of course, but. . .

A fledgling robin with its spotted chest appeared on our Welcome mat this morning. A rain last night freshened everything and there are flying lessons going on everywhere. Neighbors Tom and Sandy watched from their screen porch as a parent coaxed some new aviators from the nest. Tom claims the mother robin tantalized the nestlings with a worm in her beak and, sure enough, the chicks couldn't resist, taking leaps of faith on new wings in hopes of a wriggly mouthful.
Ah, mothers and their motivators.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Nightmare in the Love Nest

Our dear family friend for the past 22 years departed the USA this week to marry the man of her dreams in The Netherlands. He had just survived a landlord's nightmare.
Nevin, the bride-to-be
The couple had made plans to move into his large Amsterdam apartment as soon as they married. Nevin had observed the apartment building on a previous visit, but somehow her fiance was never able to make satisfactory arrangements with his tenants to inspect it first hand.
Turns out, there was a reason for that.
Eventually, the tenants were given their formal notice to clear the apartment in time for the June wedding. Subsequently, Nevin's fiance went to check out the vacated premises in preparation for his bride's arrival in her new country.
Before he could put the key in the lock, neighbors mentioned to him that the police had just recently been there. Sure enough, upon opening the apartment, the landlord discovered what was left of a busted major marijuana growing operation.
The plants were all gone, but the equipment, and a foot of earth covering the apartment floor, were still there.
Friends rallied to help. It took 12 hours of hard work to haul out all the soil. Damage is now under control, the ceilings have been repainted, and the bride's first task upon arrival is to select fresh paint colors for the walls.
Truly a remarkable beginning to their new life together. Our best wishes for great happiness and a smoother road ahead.

Friday, June 08, 2012

We know where he caught the fish. . .

But where did he get the hat??
Hai Dang caught this gorgeous 24-inch walleye on Lake Minnetonka recently, using a leech on a Lindy Rig. It was the only fish boated that day by Hai and his pal, Duc. It fed a family of five.

The hat? REI. So now you know where you can get yours.

Detained. . . not arraigned

Laurie with the souvenir purchased from the Russian street vendor.
We enjoyed a pot roast and a short story about a brush with the KGB last night at Laurie's.
Our world traveler was visiting Russia with her sister, Brenda, on a two-week group tour that looked for a while like it might last a lifetime. Laurie's icon was the culprit.
The Russians had been having difficulties with stolen antiquities and treasures being sold on the black market. Sort of a genteel version of the loose nukes saga. Authorities were on the lookout for suspicious transactions.
Laurie is an antique hound from way back. So when she spotted a street vendor selling a particularly interesting looking icon, she gave him $85 for it.
She packed it into her carry-on bag in case there would be questions. Sure enough, an airport inspector pulled her aside. 
Soon she had been separated from her group and was held in a glass cage where her group, and her somewhat bemused sister, could see, but not hear her. There she was questioned, on and off, for four hours by the KGB. She stuck to her story, the truth. They simply didn't know for sure if Laurie had a precious icon of national significance or an ordinary object of art.
Laurie was never certain if the plane might depart without her, but she was confident she would get out of this with her treasure. She was right. Eventually, the officer just said "here" and thrust Laurie's souvenir back at her. She was free to rejoin her group.
Her sister Brenda breathed a big sigh of relief. What started as a funny situation had deteriorated somewhat over the four hours. Now she had been freed from a moral quandry: Do I stick with my stubborn sister in Russia. . . or do I fly away with the group?
Hmmm. What would you do?
In Red Square with Brenda

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Stan had nothing to do with this. . .

While it is true that Stan is the publisher emeritus of the Shakopee Valley News, he has ABSOLUTELY no control over what appears in it these days.
So it is with great pride that we present this link to the Valley News web site which prominently features our kin acting in an endeavor over which we have no control or influence.
Here it is:

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Couple of outlaws

(Photo by Kathleen Rolfsrud -- another outlaw.)
Nancy and Allen picnicked on the back deck with the Rolfsrud clan Saturday, exhibiting their usual patient approach to the proceedings.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Home Again!

Blake's bringing home another run for the Mustangs.
Mighty, Mighty Mustangs!
We're back in the home dugout again, after a weekend of fun in West Des Moines. Today we watched our great nephew Blake play in the sunshine with the Mustangs and got a nice shot of him approaching home plate, above.
We took our time coming home and couldn't resist the Boondocks Cafe, Gas Station and Hotel just off I-35 in Williams, IA. We passed on the $9.95 All You Can Eat buffet (not good for seniors to do that) and ordered a couple of light dinners with the salad bar instead. Excellent! We still had enough left for el-box-to-go. We'll be back for more the next time we head south to have some fun with the rellies in Iowa.
We're home in time to sit in front of the tv an watch the tape-delay of today's Championship Round of the Principal Classic. It was fun seeing Alexandria's Tom Lehman play No. 15 (the one behind Amy and Dave's house). Tom put it in the creek, unfortunately. So far we haven't caught a glimpse of Amy and Dave in the background picking up after their company.
We'll post a complete trip album to Google when we get a chance.
Here's Blakey throwing a strike. . .

Family portrait

Dave and Amy
Our hosts
We're in West Des Moines, Iowa, enjoying Amy and Dave's (Stan's niece) new house, hanging on the deck, as the Champions Tour makes it way past us on the Glen Oaks No. 15. Our gracious hosts put out a splendid buffet; we enjoyed it then drove to their son Hunter's baseball game in Indianola. We're sorry Sister Sosie's not here to complete the unit, but we managed a lot of fun anyway. This morning we hope to get a look at Alexandria hero Tom Lehman --- he's presently high on the leaderboard --- then later on we'll see young Blake play a baseball game as well.
The weather, and the gathering, is perfect.
Hunter was a blur of motion as he took care of business in Indianola last night. It was under the lights -- tough work for the photographer too.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

The priorities, then the fundamentals

Pouring sand into your pink fielder's mitt isn't a
fundamental skill, but if it were, these first basemen
would be ready.
It was Emily's turn at the plate and T-Ball coach Scott had some very important reminders for her, but Emily was having none of it. First she had to point out Grandma and Grandpa in the stands, and only after Scott had graciously acknowledged their presence could the lesson proceed.

It was great fun watching the six-year-olds  learn the fundamentals of teamwork, the unique language of the old game and the importance of individual roles to coordinated group success.

Batting skills later. Go, Blackberries!
Thirsty work, this T-ball.