by Bill Anderson
Mother Nature’s vocabulary of four letter words seems to be limited to3 this past week: cold; snow; and, wind. The coldest weather of the week, the month, the year and the Winter arrived on Tuesday & Wednesday, January 29 & 30, with the daily lows bumping off the -35 mark and the daily highs hovering around -10. According to the weather experts, this week’s weather is the coldest since this time of the year back in 2004, so, if you thought that you were experiencing déjà vu, you were right. The weather system that moved through ahead of the cold brought about 1½” of new snow on Saturday night, and another 4 or 5 inches on Sunday. The snow was hard to measure, because the wind brought it in sideways, piling it up at intersections, around buildings and in the trees. Tuesday’s winds of 20 to 30 mph, combined with the sub-zero air temperatures, produced a “wind-chill” index of 55 to 60 below, according to the weather gurus. Ground Hog’s Day is coming up on Saturday, though, and the TV Weathermen are predicting a high in the upper +20’s to low +30’s, just so Rutland Roscoe, the local ground hog, can wander out to see his shadow. Well, Saturday, February 2, is also the date for the 24th Annual Rudy Anderson Memorial Pinochle Tournament in Rutland, so it just might be the aroma of scalloped potatoes with ham that lures him out. Another cool down for the first week in February is predicted, but, with a little bit of luck, the worst cold may be behind us. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, “This is not the end of the winter. It is not even the beginning of the end of the winter; but it may be the end of the beginning of the winter.” That Winston sure had a way with words, didn’t he?
FYI. Paul Anderson’s electronic digital thermometer recorded a low of 36 degrees below zero on the morning of Wednesday, January 30, in his backyard at 309 Gay Street in Rutland, and Jesse Brakke’s electronic digital thermometer recorded a low of 37 below in his Ransom Township farmyard between Rutland and Cayuga that same morning. Mike Anderson stated that he was sure glad that he lives a mile north of Jesse, because his thermometer only got down to 31 below before it froze up.
Rutland residents are used to finding their streets opened and cleared of snow early in the morning after a snowfall, but this past Monday, January 28, they were surprised to find the snow still lay where it had fallen, or been blown, at 8:30 in the morning. There was some concern that Mayor Ron Narum, who is usually out moving snow by 4:30 a.m. may be ill, but it turned out that it wasn’t the Mayor, but the City’s snowplow truck that was under the weather. Ron reported that he had just made the first 2 passes on either side of Main Street when the truck died, right by the City Maintenance Building on the south end of the street. A&W Diesel was called upon to determine what the problem is, and Bernard Mahrer Construction Company’s road maintainer was called upon to get the streets opened and intersections cleared. Mayor Narum used the City’s Bobcat skid-steer loader to remove the snow windrows from Main Street but reports that the process was “slow going” compared to using the snowplow truck. The diesel doctors at A&W have not yet released a diagnosis or prognosis for the truck. Rutland’s residents are wishing it a speedy recovery, before the next snowstorm.
Rutland native Mavis (Hoflen) Wold, now a resident of Minneapolis MN, recently contributed a rhyming comment on winter out here on the prairie. “ A DAKOTA POEM: Its winter in Dakota, & gentle breezes blow; 70 miles per hour, & 35 below…. Oh how I love Dakota, When the snow’s up to your butt; You take a breath of winter air, & your nose is frozen shut… Yes, the weather here is wonderful, so I guess I’ll hang around; I could never leave Dakota, Cause I’m frozen to the ground……” Mavis did not identify the author of this verse, but it reads like something that her Dad, the late Oscar Hoflen, would have entertained passengers with as he hauled cattle from the Rutland area up to the stockyards at West Fargo from the 1930’s through the 1960’s. After he retired, one of Oscar’s favorite hangouts was at Kulzer Farm Supply, the Allis-Chalmers implement dealership in Rutland, where he often reminisced about his experiences trucking up to West Fargo, and some of the local farmers for whom he hauled livestock. Back in the days when Oscar was in business, farms were smaller, and many farmers would send only a few head to market at a time, so Oscar would get several lined up to be ready on a given day, and would then drive out to each farm in turn, loading their cattle or hogs or sheep until the truck was full and then would head for the stockyard. On one occasion, he recalled that the Gunderson brothers, who lived in the hills south of Rutland, had a couple head of cattle to be taken to the stockyard. The Gunderson brothers were all bachelors, and lived a rough and ready lifestyle, according to Oscar. It was a bitterly cold January morning when Oscar drove his truck into the Gundersons’ farmyard at about 5:00 a.m. and backed up to the barn. He got his loading chute ready, and as he walked back to the truck cab to warm up a little, he saw the farmhouse door open and one of the Gunderson brothers, wearing his red woolen union suit underwear and 5-buckle overshoes, come out onto the front step. “Hey, Oscar!” he yelled, “Come on up to the house for breakfast!” “What’re you having?” yelled Oscar. “Pancakes and alcohol!” was the reply. Oscar reported that the pancakes were “mighty tasty.”
Sonja Christensen, one of the co-chairpersons of the 24th Annual Rudy Anderson Memorial Pinochle Tournament, which will be played on Saturday, February 2, in the Rutland Town Hall , recently sent the following message concerning preparations for the event: “Sixty-one teams preregistered as of Tuesday, January 29!! … And the weather on Saturday will be much nicer. I played in a tourney on Saturday and it did not compare to Rutland’s. People kept commenting to me that they were looking forward to the Rutland scalloped potatoes. Roger McLaen and Dennis Nelson won that tournament.” Congratulations to Roger and Dennis, a couple of regulars in the Rutland Tournament, and good luck to them on Saturday, February 2, as they compete with the Ground Hog for the headline of the day.
Old friends in Rutland were saddened on Tuesday afternoon when word was received here that one of the Assembled Wise Men, the Sage of Weber Township, had been called to confer at the Big Round Table on High. John J. “”Jack” Brummond passed away on Tuesday, January 29, 2019, at Wheatcrest Hills in Britton SD, where he and his spouse, Bev, had made their home since 2016. Jack had attained the age of 86 years at the time of his death. He was a longtime farmer in Weber Township, on the Brummond family farm east of Havana, along County Road #7. Jack was a frequent visitor in Rutland where he enjoyed many discussions at The Round Table with The Assembled Wisemen. His comments were often featured in The Rooster Crows. He was also an avid pinochle player and participated in the Rudy Anderson Memorial Pinochle Tournament here while his health permitted. Like the late comedian, Jack Benny, Jack played the penny-pinching tightwad role to the hilt, and enjoyed the attention it drew to him. Funeral arrangements have not been completed as of the date of this writing, but information will be posted on the Price Funeral Chapel website when details have been worked out. An online guestbook and obituary is available at www.pricefuneralchapel.net. There will be more about the Sage of Weber Township in next week’s column.
United Blood Services of Fargo has announced that the Blood Drive that had been scheduled to be held in the Rutland Town Hall on Thursday, February 7, has been canceled due to a shortage of qualified personnel to conduct the drive. According to local coordinator Janet Kiefer, it is unlikely that the February drive will be rescheduled. United Blood Services does have a Blood Drive scheduled to be conducted in Rutland during the month of June.
One drive that will not be canceled or rescheduled is the Rutland American Legion Post’s Super Bowl Biscuits & Gravy Breakfast/Brunch that will be served from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 3, in the Rutland Town Hall. The price of the breakfast is a free-will donation to assist the Post with its activities in the community. In addition to the breakfast, the American Legion Auxiliary will also be holding a bake sale on the morning of Sunday, February 3, in the Rutland Town Hall. The Unit will have an ample supply of baked goods prepared by Auxiliary members ready to be taken home and served at the afternoon’s Super Bowl Party. First come, first served.
Due to the extreme cold weather, the Annual Meeting of the Rutland Community Development Corporation has been rescheduled from the evening of Wednesday, January 30 to the evening of Wednesday, February 20, in the Rutland Seniors’ Center. For additional information about the RCDC contact President Bryce Carlson or Secretary Katherine McLaen.
Nick McLaen and Cam Gulleson of this community were among a group of friends who flew down to Orlando, Florida, this past week to attend a Bachelor Party honoring their old friend, Andrew Hanson of Forman. Times change!
Well, after 35 days in limbo, a substantial portion of the Federal Government came back to work on Monday, January 28. Government offices had been closed and employees had been furloughed because the President, on the urging of conservative talk show personalities such as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Colter, had rejected a Continuing Resolution that had been adopted by the GOP controlled Congress back in December. After 2 weeks of getting nowhere with the Republicans and 3 weeks of getting nowhere with the Democrats, the President surrendered to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and accepted the resolution the country could have had back in December. In Speaker Pelosi, the President has met up with a woman he cannot buy, bluff, bamboozle, bully or BS, and when those tactics didn’t work, he collapsed like a wet cardboard box. Although Government offices, including the Farm Service Agency (FSA) office in Forman and the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service (F&WS) office at Lake Tewaukon, are now open, the President is now threatening to shut everything down again, on February 15. Apparently, he has not yet learned that, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says, “There is no education in the second kick of a mule, and even less in a third.” If the situation wasn’t so serious, it would be laughable.
That’s the news from Rutland for this week. For additional information about what’s going on in the little city that can, check out the community’s internet web site at www.rutlandnd.com, and stop by to take a look at the Rutland blog and Facebook page while you’re at it, too. Remember to patronize your local Post Office, and don’t forget to keep the pressure on the U. S. Postal Service and the North Dakota Congressional delegation to SAVE OUR POST OFFICE! Later.