The Rooster Crows – Feb. 25, 2022

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.

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