By Bill Anderson
The 2021 Weather Roller Coaster ride isn’t over yet! Since Easter weekend the temperature has gone from the 70’s down to the 30’s, back up to the 60’s and back down to the 20’s, with a return to the 50’s predicted for the coming weekend. It’s either famine or feast in the rain department, too. After the dust was blowing like “The Dirty 30’s” during the week prior to Easter, approximately 2 inches of very welcome rain was delivered to Rutland and vicinity on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, April 6, 7 & 8. The heaviest rain was reported from south of town, with 2.97 inches at the Jacob Breker farm on top of the hills; 2¼” reported by Mike Banish at his farm 2 miles south of town; a second-hand report of 2” at Mike Wyum’s farm a mile east and a mile north of town; 1.75” in Jesse Brakke’s gauge 2 miles north and 3½ east of Rutland; and, Rick Banish reporting 1¼” of rain at his farmstead in Kingston Township, north of Cayuga. No reliable readings were available in Rutland, as Norbert Kulzer discovered a hole in the side of his gauge, just above the ½ inch mark, and Roger Pearson didn’t get his gauge out in the yard until Wednesday afternoon, about halfway through the rainfall event. Roger’s gauge did measure an inch, though, even if it did get a late start. Snow on Tuesday & Wednesday, April 13 & 14, marks the low point of the roller coaster for this week. If you don’t like that, just wait a minute. It’ll change.
Chuck & Mary Beth Anderson returned to their Weber Township farm home on Thursday, April 8, at the conclusion of a 2-week sight-seeing excursion to Sedona AZ and the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. Chuck reports that, after being snowed in for 2 days in New Mexico, they got going and decided to take a look at “Old Town” Santa Fe NM but could barely get through the streets with their ¾ Ton Pickup and Travel Trailer, and couldn’t find a place to park, anyway, so they kept on driving. The Grand Canyon is an awe-inspiring sight, they report. They drove through the 1.6-mile-long Eisenhower Tunnel through the Colorado Rocky Mountains on the return trip, and that was breath-taking, too, Chuck reports, as the roadway at both ends of the tunnel was slick with snow, slush, and ice. It was tough driving through the mountains, where Spring is still a month or two in the future. It was a great trip, Chuck reports, but, as with most trips, the best part was pulling into the yard at home.
Bonnie Anderson, now of Brookings SD, but formerly a longtime member of the Rutland community, visited friends and family here over the weekend of April 9 thru the 11th. She got together with old friends during the Rutland Seniors’ Saturday morning coffee session and at the Saturday evening church service at Nordland Lutheran. Bonnie said that she is doing well at Brookings, but still gets lonesome for the old hometown.
The children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of Delores “PeeWee” Breker of this community, gathered at the Rutland Town Hall on Saturday, April 10, to celebrate her 89th birthday. Delores’ daughter-in-law, Jodie Breker, reports that even a few songbirds managed to get into the Hall to serenade Delores for the event. Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day, and Jodie reports that the children enjoyed the adjacent City Park & Playground throughout the day. A repeat of Delores’ party is scheduled for Saturday, April 2, 2022.
April birthdays were observed at the Rutland Seniors Center on Monday, April 12, complete with a Birthday Cake baked & decorated by Ione Pherson. Among those honored with a chorus of “Happy Birthday” were: Delores Breker; Renee Cramton; Phyllis Erickson; Yvonne Johnson; Delores Lysne; Janny Kiefer; and Marlene Uhlenkamp. Marlene Uhlenkamp, Debbie Banish’s mother, was present on April 5, and received her “Happy Birthday” song a week early. The seniors honor those with birthdays during any given month with a cake and a song on the second Monday of the month during the morning coffee session.
The Rutland Community Club met on Monday, April 12, at the Rutland Town Hall. Club President Katie McLaen reports that flowers have been ordered for the flower pots on Main Street, to be planted during the month of May; that the Annual Community Block Party will be held in early June, again this year; on the assumption that Winter and Christmas will be back again this December , additional snowflake lights were ordered for the street light poles on Main Street; and, a mural will be painted this Summer on the north exterior wall of the Rutland Oil Co. building, formerly the Kulzer Farm Supply building and the Hoflen Garage building, on Main Street. The Rutland Community Club’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 10.
Michelle Denault has announced that the Rutland Rib Fest, sponsored by The Lariat Bar, will be back this Summer, on the first Saturday in August. Mark Saturday, August 7, on your calendar as your opportunity to once again enjoy the best ribs in Rutland!
Petroleum powered cars, pickups and trucks have been the dominant means of transportation around these parts for the past century, and electric powered vehicles are expected to claim a major share of that market in the near future, but they’re not the only game in town. Think retro. An old and reliable 4-footed means of transportation, the horse, is making a comeback in Rutland. Pete & Michelle Denault recently put up a hitching rail at the east end of The Lariat Bar, and 4 horses were tied to it on the afternoon of Saturday, April 10. Pete & Michelle are horse people, as is Charles Poitra, owner of the house and property formerly owned by the late Ron & DorisAnn Narum on the south side of town. The Lariat’s hitching rail is the first one in Rutland’s business district since the hitching rail on the south side of Bentson Brothers’ General store was removed back in the 1950’s. Keep up the good work, folks! The late Dennis Narum, Clayton McLaen, Alvin McLaen and Reinhard Wahl, horsemen all, would be proud of you.
This past Thursday, April 8, the evening news carried a report that searchers had found the wreckage of the USS Johnston, a World War II U. S. Navy destroyer, more than 21,000 feet beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean, near the Philippine Islands. The Johnston was sunk on October 25, 1944, during the huge naval Battle of Leyte Gulf, a 3-part battle in which the Johnston and 3 other U. S. destroyers, along with 4 destroyer escorts, took on an Imperial Japanese Navy fleet consisting of 4 battleships, 8 cruisers and 11 destroyers. The small U. S. force was all that stood between the Japanese fleet and General MacArthur’s Philippine invasion force, then landing on Leyte Island. The U. S. ships were intended to protect a convoy of “Jeep” carriers from submarines, but the Japanese sent battleships, including the world’s largest, the INS Yamato. When the Johnston had been commissioned a year earlier, her captain, Lt. Commander Ernest Evans, had told his crew, “This is a fighting ship. I intend to take her in harm’s way. If you don’t want to go along, you had better get off now.” One of the sailors who stayed to fight on the Johnston with Cmdr. Evans was a young man who had grown up on a farm 2 miles east of Rutland, Reynald Bergman. He had gone to elementary school at Ransom #4 and had attended Rutland High School. He was tough and strong, like his ship. The Johnston had already earned 5 battle stars before the fight on October 25. Cmdr. Evans realized that the only way to save the carriers the Johnston was escorting, and to keep the Japanese from the invasion beaches, was to divert their attention and inflict as much damage as possible in the process. The Yamato, the largest warship in the world, was six times larger than the entire U.S. squadron of destroyers and destroyer escorts, and it was only 1 of the 23 ship Japanese force. The situation was hopeless, so Cmdr. Evans did what Americans do when facing impossible odds, he attacked. The Johnston’s 5” guns had a range of about 5 miles, while the Japanese battleships 18”, 16” and 14” guns could hit targets 20 miles out. The Johnston zig-zagged her way to within range and opened fire, peppering the larger ships with her 5” guns and launching a spread of 10 torpedoes toward the Japanese fleet. One of the torpedoes struck home, blowing the bow off a Japanese cruiser. The other U. S. ships followed the Johnston’s lead, and planes from the carriers they were protecting also attacked the enemy, although they had nothing larger than machine gun bullets to throw at the Japanese armor. In the end, though, the overpowering fire power of the Japanese ships overwhelmed the Johnston and two other American ships. Reynald Bergman was severely wounded in the fight. When Cmdr. Evans gave the order to abandon ship, Reynald’s shipmates got him off the Johnston and into a life raft, but his wounds were deadly. He died in the life raft and his comrades buried him at sea, near where the Johnston went down. About half of the Johnston’s crew survived the action. Reynald and Cmdr. Evans were among those who did not. As a result of their ferocious attack, the Japanese admiral Kurita, commander of the Japanese fleet, believed that a larger U. S. Navy force must be on the way to confront him, so he turned his fleet around and left the area. There was no larger force on the way. The Johnston and her sister ships were all there was. The carriers were saved, as was the U. S. invasion force. The Johnston and her crew were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their heroism, and Cmdr. Evans was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courage “above and beyond the call of duty.” It took strong men from every corner of this country to win that battle, and the war, and Reynald Bergman of Rutland, North Dakota, was among them. The final resting place of Reynald, his ship, is comrades and his commander is now known. He is one of the namesakes of Bergman-Evenson Post #215 of the American Legion in Rutland. The other namesake, Orville “Bud” Evenson, was a Ransom Township neighbor of Reynald’s who was killed in action during fighting in Germany at the end of March 1945, 5 months after Reynald’s death and 6 weeks before the war in Europe ended with Germany’s surrender. Rest in peace, Reynald Bergman and Orville Evenson. Lest we forget.
Well, 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 the Rutland Facebook page while you’re at it, too. Don’t forget to patronize your local Post Office and remember to keep the pressure on the U. S. Postal Service and the North Dakota Congressional delegation to SAVE OUR POST OFFICE! Later.