By Bill Anderson
The snow began shortly after Midnight, in the early hours of Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 21, 2022. The wind was already blowing at a steady 35 mph, with gusts up to 45. The temperature had fallen off the edge, dropping like the proverbial rock, smashing through the Zero barrier, and staying there for the next four days. The snow just kept on coming, with the counties along the North Dakota-South Dakota State Line receiving more than their fair share. In Rutland, about 12 inches had fallen on Monday, followed by another 6 to 8 inches on Tuesday. Because of the sub-Zero cold, the snow was light and fluffy, which made it difficult to measure as the wind whipped it into huge snow drifts in local farmyards and on city streets. Nothing moved on Monday, and nothing moved on Tuesday, either. Snow drifts blocked the streets, and blowing snow reduced visibility to zero. Local students, who already had Monday off from school due to the Presidents’ Day holiday, got Tuesday & Wednesday off, too, giving them a 5 day weekend during which they all studied and prepared for class projects, just as students have always done on blizzard days. Well, maybe a few of them did that, maybe sometime in the distant past, but hope springs eternal.
The blizzard did not stop Jim Brown. He was out with his trusty snow shovel, wading through the snowdrifts, to keep the doorways and sidewalks of his snow removal customers clear. In some cases the drifts blocking doorways were as deep, or deeper, than Jim is tall. For the most part, Jim’s customers couldn’t get much farther than the front porch once the snow was cleared away from the door, but at least they could get out the door, providing the illusion of liberation, if not the reality. February, the shortest month of the year, has become the longest month of the winter, with high winds, low temperatures and one storm after another piling snow upon snow upon more snow, all on a foundation of ice. This global warming stuff sure is confusing.
Mark & Kathy Wyum hosted a number of youngsters and oldsters at the Rutland Seniors Center on the evening of Wednesday, February 16, for a viewing of two videos concerning Rutland community history. The first video presented was of Rutland’s “Pride Of The Prairie Centennial” celebration from June 25, 26 & 27 of 1982. The video showed the people of Rutland in action as they honored the history of the community with numerous events and activities, including making, frying, flipping and serving “The World’s Largest Hamburger,” a 3,591 pound behemoth, during the celebration. The second video was a medley of film clips provided by the late Dr. Hans Kuisk, who served as a medical doctor in the Rutland community from 1950 to 1956. Dr. Kuisk and his wife had escaped from their native Estonia after World War II, and were sponsored for admission to the United States by the Rutland community. As part of the relocation program, Dr. Kuisk agreed to provide medical services in the community for a period of 5 years. During his time in Rutland, Dr. Kuisk treated hundreds of illnesses & injuries, and delivered dozens of babies at the Rutland Maternity Hospital, with the assistance of Nurse Midwife and community activist Mildred Meyers. Dr. Kuisk was also an amateur movie maker, and made many 8 mm movies during his years here. Over the years, some of his films deteriorated, but about 20 years ago, Dr. Kuisk and one of his sons salvaged some of them, and put together the medley of scenes shown last Wednesday. It was like a window into the past, seeing Rutland and its people as they were back in 1954 & 1955. There were scenes from the Rutland High School Homecoming of 1954, showing the marching bands from Rutland High & Delamere High, complete with their booming bass drums and baton twirling majorettes; Santa Claus Day 1954, with Main Street full of people and cars; scenes showing the construction of Rutland’s municipal water tower and the installation of the water system; scenes from the businesses that served customers on Rutland’s Main Street back in the 1950’s, and many scenes showing the people of the community going about their daily lives. Some of those watching the video on Wednesday evening were in their 70’s & 80’s, and remembered the people and events recorded, and some of those watching the video were preschoolers who got to see what their home community was like in a bygone era, when their great-grandparents were young. All agreed that the videos were interesting, as well as nostalgic, and thanked the Wyums for presenting the program. Bryce Carlson even got to hear his grandpa, Robert Carlson, laugh. You’ll have to ask Bryce about it.
This community was saddened last week when it was learned that a longtime member of the Rutland community, Joe Malstrom, had passed away at about 11:00 a.m. on Friday, February 18, at the CHI Hospital in Oakes. He had attained the age of 80 years, 6 months and 30 days at the time of his death. Victor Joseph Malstrom was born on July 19, 1941, at Fargo ND to Carl Joseph & Eleanor Lucille (Halvorson) Malstrom. He was known to friends and family as “Joe,” and sometimes as “Big Joe.” For the first 13 years of his life, the Malstroms farmed near wild Rice ND, in Cass County. In 1954 Joe’s parents acquired a farm in Tewaukon Township, south of Rutland and east of Havana, and they relocated to this community. Joe completed Elementary School and High School at Havana, graduating in the HHS Class of 1959. Following graduation, Joe continued to farm with his parents, and did some custom harvesting and performed custom farm work for other farmers in the area. Joe was a skilled welder, and was often called upon by neighbors for assistance with equipment repairs. On September 28, 1963, he married Janet Ann McNeil at Nordland Lutheran Church in Rutland. Joe & Janet made their home in Rutland while he continued to farm and also worked part-time with Lowell Sjothun at Rutland Heating & Air-Conditioning. In 1968, Joe & Janet moved out to the Malstrom Farm in Tewaukon Township when Joe’s parents moved to town. The Malstroms raised grain, cattle and hogs, and even a few geese, on their farm. Joe & Janet made their home on the farm until 2010, when they moved to an apartment in Rutland. After the farm was sold, Joe continued to work part-time with his brother-in-law, Roger Pearson, for Roger’s Plumbing of Rutland. Joe was an enthusiastic outdoorsman, enjoying hunting and fishing, particularly the camaraderie of deer hunting with old friends such as Jim Huckell; Norbert Kulzer; and, Darwin Brakke; and, others. Joe enjoyed gardening, and often canned his garden produce. He made great dill pickles, especially the ones that he spiced up with a few jalapeno peppers. He was also a good cook and an excellent baker. He liked baking cookies and fresh bread for his grandchildren. He also turned his talents to making a batch of wine on occasion. Joe was a member of Nordland Lutheran Church; the Rutland Sportsmen’s Club; the Rutland Community Club; and, the Fraternal Order of Eagles. He is survived by his 2 daughters: Tracy Wyum of Rutland; and, Tammy Widmer of Devils Lake ND; by 9 grandchildren; by 5 great-grandchildren; by a number of nieces & nephews; and by a host of friends. He was preceded in death by: his wife, Janet, who died on March 5, 2014; his parents; his parents-in-law, Vernal & Marcella McNeil; by a brother, Leo Malstrom; and, by 2 infant great-granddaughters. The Memorial Service for Victor Joseph “Joe” Malstrom will be at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, February 25, at Nordland Lutheran Church in Rutland, with Pastor Julie Johnson Officiating. Price Funeral Chapel of Britton & Forman is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent to the family in care of Tracy Wyum, PO Box 134, Rutland ND 58067. The Rutland Community extends its sympathy to the family and friends of Victor Joseph “Big Joe” Malstrom, a memorable father, grandfather, great-grandfather, friend and comrade.
Kyle & Kaia Mahrer of this community were in Bismarck on Saturday & Sunday, February 19 & 20, to attend the annual Hunter Safety Conference sponsored by the North Dakota Game & Fish Department. Kaia is a certified Hunter Safety instructor for those in Sargent County who need to earn their Hunter Safety Certificate in order to be eligible to obtain a North Dakota hunting license. She attends annual training to maintain her certified status. Also attending the conference from Sargent County was Hunter Safety Instructor Jesse Herman of Gwinner. Ms. Mahrer and Mr. Herman are the only certified Hunter Safety Instructors in Sargent County.
A number of Rutland folks travelled over to Cogswell on the evening of Sunday, February 20, to take in the Cogswell Gun Club’s Annual Buffalo Supper. The supper has been served in February of each year since shortly after the end of World War II, and has become a Sargent County tradition. The menu includes: home-made vegetable bison soup; salad with the Club’s secret recipe salad dressing; dinner rolls; mashed potatoes & gravy; roast bison; and, ice cream. The menu has been the same for more than 70 years, and nobody’s tired of it yet. Among those from Rutland who took in the supper were: Chuck Sundlie; Kim Kohler; Aden Kohler; Hal Nelson; Bill Anderson; Mark & Kathy Wyum; Pam Gulleson; and, Kyle & Kaia Mahrer. The Cogswell Buffalo Supper is served every year on the Sunday before Presidents’ Day. The next Cogswell Buffalo Supper is scheduled for Sunday, February 19, 2023.
There is a Post Office in Cogswell. In Rutland, the report from the U. S. Postal Service is still the same: no information; no action; no service; and, no Post Office. Rutland postal patrons are urged to contact North Dakota’s Congressman and 2 Senators to request restoration of the Rutland Post Office as soon as possible.
Ron Nickeson of Sauk Center MN called on Monday, February 21, with the information that the Nickeson family will be holding a Reunion at the Coteau des Prairies Lodge on July 16 & 17, 2022. Ron’s great-grandfather, Frank Nickeson, was a pioneer in the Rutland area, and ran a livery stable on Rutland’s Main Street during the first decade of the 20th Century. Mr. Nickeson was an original member of the Village Board when Rutland was incorporated as an organized municipality back in 1908. The Nickeson House in Rutland, on the west side of Main Street, north of the railroad tracks, is now owned and occupied by Chris Denison of this community. Ron is looking for photos of his great-grandfather’s livery stable, and was directed to the Rutland Depot Museum as the likely repository of such an image.
If you’re getting tired of the long winter, relief is on the way. Everyone is invited to take a break from shoveling snow and chipping ice to participate in an afternoon of fun and fellowship at “Game Day” at the Nordland Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on the afternoon of Sunday, February 27. There will be card games, board games, word games and other games to entertain and amuse the participants. Also, lunch will be served, according to Pastor Julie Johnson. Everybody is invited, and everybody is welcome, so come on out for Game Day at the Nordland Fellowship Hall in Rutland on the afternoon of Sunday, February 27.
The Rutland Sportsmen’s Club’s Annual Great Northern Pike Fish Fry is on the calendar and on schedule for the First Friday in March, March 4, 2022. Once again, the deep fryers and the pan fryers are tuning up their recipes and refining their skills to find out which will please the palates of their customers more, pan fried or deep fried northern pike. Serving will start at about 5:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon. Tickets are available from Club members. Contact Shannon Hajek, Kyle Mahrer, or Mark Wyckoff to find out who you can obtain your tickets from. That’s the Annual Great Northern Pike Fish Fry on Friday, March 4, 2022, in the Rutland Town Hall. Don’t miss it!
Meanwhile, on the international scene, a European dictator is demanding the right to seize and occupy territory of a neighboring country in order to protect an ethnic minority that speaks his language. Wait a minute! Hasn’t this scene already played out, back in 1938 and ’39? Let’s see, back then, the other nations of the world allowed the dictator, Adolph Hitler of Germany, to get away with his aggression at first, and the end result was World War II and millions dead. Now, with Vladimir Putin of Russia replaying Adolph Hitler’s actions of 84 years ago, the United States is leading a unified NATO alliance in objecting to Putin’s designs on his neighbor, Ukraine. Surprisingly, there are some, even in America, who seem to have failed to learn the lessons of history and are supporting the Russian aggression. Those in the U. S. who support Russia against their own country’s interests include the former President of the U. S., #45; a sizable contingent of the Republican Party; and, Russia’s primary propaganda outlet in America, Fox News. Russia’s President Putin is playing a very dangerous game, threatening to start the first land war in Europe since 1945. To allow him to succeed in his land grab is a threat to all of us. Read the history, and make your own conclusions.
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 take a look at 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.