By Bill Anderson
November, 2008, is living up to the 11th month’s reputation as the gloomiest month of the year. The first 3 weeks have seen only sporadic sunshine, long stretches of gray, overcast skies, fog, mist and snow. The excessive rain of October has ceased, but there has not been much drying going on since then, either. The whitetail deer season opened on November 7th, with rain and snow flurries in southeastern North Dakota, but a real knock-down drag-out blizzard hammered the rest of the State, stranding many would be deer hunters at home with nothing to do but tell each other stories about epic hunting experiences of years gone by. Standing corn still affords a lot of cover for deer in this area, and, although there have been steady reports of deer being harvested, there was no rush of success during the opening weekend as in many previous seasons. As the corn harvest progresses, both whitetail deer and ringneck pheasant hunters are finding it a little easier to spot and stalk their quarry. That still doesn’t solve the problem of being able to hit what they shoot at, but that’s another story. Just ask Kaia Thorfinnson, who took 6 shots at a standing doe, only to see the animal calmly flick its tail and stroll away when the shooting subsided. Kaia redeemed her reputation as a sharpshooter on Sunday, Nov. 16, though, when she dropped a nice whitetail with 1 shot, through the heart, at about 100 yards using a Remington model 700 BDL 6mm rifle equipped with a Nikon 3X9 variable scope. Now Kaia has 2 stories to tell about the 2008 hunting season: one about the one that got away; and, one about the one that didn’t.
Local seed dealer Mike Kulzer reports that corn yields in the Rutland area are varying from 100 to 140 bushels to the acre, with the drought that afflicted this region from July through August being responsible for reducing yields from the bumper crop levels harvested in 2007. Mike also states that the variety of the seed planted last Spring dramatically impacts yields and, in his opinion, the Wenzman Seed varieties, which he sells at Kulzer Feed and Seed in Rutland, consistently outperform the competition. If you don’t believe it, just ask Mike.
Bill Anderson and Paul Anderson of this community were in Arizona for a get-together with old friends, some from college days at the University of North Dakota, during the first week of November. Also among the group of 10 who gathered at the small town of Punkin Center, ostensibly for a quail hunt, were Cogswell native Orv O’Neil, now of Phoenix, and Cayuga native Don Isensee, now of Minneapolis. The friends and brothers spent their time in the solitude of the high desert, with evenings around the campfire featuring good friends, good food and good fellowship. They report that a good time was had by all, and justifiably so. Bill returned to Rutland on Nov. 6, and, while boarding the Allegiant Airlines plane at the Mesa Airport, was surprised to find that his old friend and high school classmate from RHS Class of ’63, Patrick Young, now of Buckeye AZ, was getting on the same aircraft. Pat was on his way to North Dakota to enjoy some deer hunting in the Rutland area. Pat bagged a nice doe on Tuesday, November 11, and returned to his Arizona home on Thursday, Nov. 13. Pat’s brother, Harold Young, who has been residing on the Prindiville farm here for most of the Summer and Fall, flew back to his home in Phoenix on Sunday, November 16.
A report has been received here that Rutland native and former Postmaster Gwen Young sustained some bruised and cracked ribs after the 3-wheeler she was pedaling tipped over on a neighborhood street near her winter home in Phoenix AZ. As she is only 88, Gwen is expected to be back up to full speed in short order.
Rutland American Legion Post Commander Larry Christensen and Post members Roger Pearson, Clayton McLaen, Norman Preble, Milton McLaen and Bill Anderson were among those from this community who attended the Veterans’ Day observances and program in Forman at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 11. Others from this community in attendance included Izetta Colvin and Claire Brakke. Post #215 also conducted a Flag Retirement Ceremony to retire and destroy soiled and damaged American Flags on the Legion Hall grounds here at 4:00 p.m. that afternoon. The American Legion Auxiliary served a soup and sandwich supper for all veterans in the Rutland community at the Nordland Lutheran Fellowship Hall that evening. Veterans’ Day used to be called Armistice Day, and this year was the 90th anniversary of the day the guns fell silent on the western front, to end the fighting in Europe during World War I. There are now no World War I veterans living in Sargent County or North Dakota, and only 1 or 2 left in the United States of the several million who were called to duty and more than 2 million who saw service in France during the war. Armistice Day was changed to Veterans’ Day in 1954, to honor veterans of all of America’s wars, then including the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II and Korea. In 1954, there were even a few Civil War veterans still living. Today, all of the surviving WW II veterans are over 80, Korean War veterans are over 70 and the veterans of Vietnam are over 50. So, why commemorate November 11, when there is no one left who participated in the war that ended on that day? Ever hear of Iraq? The nations of the middle east, the worst trouble spot on today’s world map, were all artificial creations, carved from the carcass of the old Ottoman Turkish Empire, one of the losers, at the conclusion of WW I. So, the cruelty and barbarity of a war that ended 90 years ago, along with the stupid blunders that followed it, helped create the circumstances in which the United States now finds itself in Iraq. It has been said that those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them. One wonders how many times the lessons learned by young men fighting in wars started by old ones will have to be learned before we figure it out.
Dick Anderson and Norbert Kulzer departed Rutland on Thursday, November 13, bound for Rhame, North Dakota, in the southwestern region of the State, on their annual quest to bag the wily mule deer. They were joined by their sons, Todd Anderson of Brookings SD, and Stephan Kulzer of Brandon SD, for the safari. Dick and Norbert provide the hunting experience and skill, while Todd and Stephan provide the endurance and muscle for the hunt.
Rutland native Dean Nundahl of Mankato MN, and son Chris of Egan MN, were hunting pheasants in the Rutland-Cayuga area during the weekend of Thursday, Nov. 13, through Sunday, Nov. 16. Dean stopped in at the Rutland Café for coffee and conversation with old friends during his stay in the area. The Nundahls resided at the Andy Kiefer home in Cayuga during their hunting trip here.
Hal Nelson, who was severely injured when a propane explosion destroyed his home here back on October 18, remains hospitalized at the Hennepin County Burn Center in Minneapolis. During the past month, Hal has had several ups and downs, but his situation is now more stable than it was and, although his condition is still critical, prospects for his recovery have improved. A crew of volunteers was at work cleaning up the debris of Hal’s home at 304 Bagley Street on Saturday and Sunday, November 15 & 16. An account for Hal’s benefit has been established at the Rutland Station of the Sargent County Bank, and Debbie Liermark at the Rutland General Store is heading up a fund-raising effort. Pitch in, if you can.
Local employees of the Bobcat factory in Gwinner have been rocked by the news that the company’s entire workforce at its Gwinner and Bismarck plants will be laid off from mid-December until early February in order to give the company’s dealers time to sell excess inventory. The national economic crisis had not touched North Dakota until this month, but now appears to be coming home with a vengeance. Bobcat is the largest private employer in the State. Crop prices, too, have declined markedly in the past couple of months and the prosperity of the agricultural sector of the economy now appears to be in jeopardy, as well. The only bright spot is that the price of gasoline and diesel fuel have dropped by about 50% from their highs of early September. The price of E-10 Ethanol at the pump in Rutland on Sunday, November 16, was reported to be $1.99.9 per gallon. Well, as the old song goes, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over. They say the best of times must end…”
There are no plans to turn out the lights in Rutland. The good times just keep on coming. The next one on the schedule is Santa Claus Day, which will be held from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 13. Plans for the event include: games & projects for the kids; bars and coffee; soup and sandwiches; the presence of Santa Claus, all the way from the North Pole, to distribute prizes and listen to Christmas requests; and, live music. All members of the Rutland community, as well as all customers of Rutland businesses, are invited to attend and enjoy a jolly good Christmas event at the Rutland Town Hall. Santa Claus Day is sponsored by the Rutland Community Club and has been an annual event here since 1946. Don’t miss it!
Kathy Brakke will be hosting the annual arts and crafts open house in her home at 318 First Street in Rutland on the afternoon of Sunday, November 23, from 1-5 p.m., and on the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, November 27, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Arts and craft items produced by Kathy and several other local artists will be on display and for sale during the open house.
Rutland native Judie (Anderson) Seavert, now a resident of Fairmount, was in town on Friday, November 14, participating in a quilting class at the Rutland General Store, along with several other local ladies. Judie reports that she had just returned from a 10 day visit with her daughter, Stephanie, and grandchildren at Stephanie’s home in Rogers MN.
Word has been received here that Carl Oeting, well known by many in this community, passed away at his home near Denver CO on Saturday, Nov. 15, at the age of 98 years and 10 months. Carl was well known here as a piano tuner, pinochle player and avid outdoorsman. He and his wife had moved to Colorado from Wahpeton several years ago, but Carl always came back to North Dakota for Fall pheasant and duck hunting, and he participated in every one of the Rudy Anderson Memorial Pinochle Tournaments in Rutland from the first one in February of 1996 until 2007. Louis Gaukler of Cayuga, Carl’s hunting partner in this locality, received a call on Sunday morning informing him of the passing of his old friend. Carl Oeting had a full and active life, he was hunting afield with his son, Gil, in Colorado last month, and he was an unforgettable character to those who had the pleasure of meeting him. The Rutland community extends its condolences to the family and friends of Carl Oeting. Carl, we’re glad you met us. No funeral plans were available at this writing.
Well, with America teetering on the brink of economic & financial collapse, with the nation engaged in an unpopular war and its foreign policy in disarray around the world, with so many big business and financial hogs at the public trough that the Bureau of Printing can’t produce money fast enough to keep the trough full, the nation turned to Illinois Sen. Barack Hussein Obama and the Democratic Party on Election Day, Tuesday, November 4, 2008, to bring order out of the chaos left after 12 years of Republican Congressional control and 8 years of the Bush Administration. The Democrats took control of the Congress in January of 2007, but failed to demonstrate much backbone in confrontations with the White House over the war in Iraq, out of control spending and debt growth, and administration infringements on individual rights. They did manage to pass a new farm bill over the President’s veto and a new G.I. Bill providing educational and other benefits to the nation’s military veterans that had been opposed by the Bush Administration. There is some hope that the new President will be able to put some steel in Congress’ spine. Defenders of the outgoing Administration are quick to point out that everything that has gone wrong during the past 8 years has been the fault of former President Bill Clinton and his wife, New York Senator Hillary Clinton, or of former President Jimmy Carter, or of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who has been dead since April of 1945, but must take responsibility for his share of the blame. Apparently, the only folks who are free of responsibility for the current sorry state of the nation’s affairs are the people in the Bush White House. Their excuse: we don’t know anything; we never knew anything; you knew we didn’t know anything and you still put us in charge; so, it’s your fault! It’s too early to be singing “Happy Days Are Here Again”, and whether the new President and Congress will be able to do anything to redress America’s problems remains to be seen. One thing, though, is certain. Even those who, for years, have been preaching that government shouldn’t, won’t and can’t do anything right, are looking to President-elect Obama and his new Administration, as well as to the Democrats in Congress, to provide the leadership to get the United States back on the right track. Can they do it? Ask that question in 10 years and you might be able to get a thoughtful answer. It does take a lot longer to build than it does to tear down, though, and how long it will take to repair the damage done by the destructive policies of the past eight years is anyone’s guess.
Rutland’s internet web site has been revised, renovated, reworked and renewed, so make sure to check it out at www.rutlandnd.com. This column has been written to be posted on the web site at the request of the committee responsible for making the improvements and adding the new features to the site. The work was done by consultant Genesis Gaule of Forman, with the help of Debbie Banish of Rutland. Also on the web site committee were Hilary Mehrer, Earl Cramton and Bill Anderson. To keep up to date on what’s going on in “The Little City That Can”, check out the new community web site and also visit the Rutland General Store online at www.rutlandgeneralstore.com. The Rooster Crows column is not back on a weekly schedule, but will be written and posted intermittently, as the spirit moves.
The following are excerpts from the L. S. Sanderson column of November 12, 1953: Now, through the bare and naked trees, the North wind rages; Autumn’s leaves are dead and gone, and so’s your wages…Only 16 more days before Thanksgiving and if the present brand of weather continues, mallard duck dinners will be more popular than turkey…Will the party who borrowed a shoe stretcher from Bentson Bros., please return it. My feet are killing me…The first basketball game of the season will be played here on Friday with the Indian team from the Indian School at Wahpeton. Rutland has plenty of material from which to select a team and under Coach Law, they are getting in shape, so come out and get a look at the 1953 team…Sid Grammond has returned from the hospital at Fargo, where it was found he was suffering from bleeding ulcers and several blood transfusions were necessary. Ole Breum, Grant Gulleson, Martin Harles and Babe Grammond volunteered their services as blood donors…Postmaster J. D. Prindiville and wife spent last week at San Francisco attending the postmasters convention. They also visited their sons, Dennis and Gerald in Wash…While attending his sister’s funeral here, Geo Jackman received a message announcing the death of his only remaining brother, who resided at Epping, N. Dak. He left on Saturday to attend the funeral…Seniority rights prevented Nat Rodland from holding a steady job as section laborer, so he has moved his family to Fairmount, N. Dak., where he is second man and assured of steady work…Funeral services were held at Immanuel Lutheran Church at Tewaukon Township on Tuesday for Henry Herman, who passed away at his home in Veblen at the age of 77. With his parents, he was one of the first settlers in Sargent County, residing at Hamlin Grove from 1882 until 1890, when he homesteaded in Marboe Township. He resided in Rutland before moving to Veblen…The fire whistle was blown on Monday morning to report a fire at the Bill Ernst farm north of town. The fire truck arrived promptly to find that while thawing out a frozen tractor with a blow torch, the sediment bulb burst, flooding the tractor with gas, which soon ignited. The blaze was promptly extinguished and the only apparent damage is a badly burned tire…Donnie, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Johnnie Johnson, suffered a broken arm while playing basketball. This is the third time this arm has been broken, the other breaks this Fall resulted from a car accident…The Rutland Commercial Club will sponsor a country wide conservation recognition to be here Wednesday evening, Nov. 18 at 8 o’clock. Handsome plaques will be awarded to farmers, who have shown the greatest progress in soil conservation in operating their farm. These plaques will be paid for by the different towns in the county. Rutland High School band will entertain the crowd before opening time. Present will be Prof. Larse of Valley City, who has toured Turkey to learn more of soil conservation, also Bill Sebens, of the Greater North Dakota Association who will show the development of the North Dakota oil fields with pictures he has taken there. A free lunch will be furnished by the commercial club.