The Rooster Crows – May 27, 2022

By Bill Anderson

Last Spring, it was too dry. This Spring, it’s too wet. On the average, though, it’s just right. This Spring, the weather has not been cooperating with the Spring planting plans of farmers in this area. Just when it seems that fields will get dry enough to allow the spring’s work to proceed, along comes another bolt of lightning, rumble of thunder and a quarter inch of rain to keep things at a standstill. With the market prices of wheat, corn and soybeans all in the high to higher range, this is the year to have a crop to sell. The fact that the weather is preventing that crop from getting planted is the cause of anxious impatience among local producers. About the only individuals more nervous about the situation than local farmers are local bankers. On the bright side, at least our farmers know that their bankers are concerned about their health, both physical and financial. The old timers used to say that whatever the weather was like on Memorial Day was a good indicator of what it would be like throughout the rest of the growing season, and every now and then the old timers were right.

Speaking of Memorial Day, Carolyn Christensen, an officer of the Rutland American Legion Auxiliary, says that the holiday will be back to normal in 2022, after 2 years of Covid-19 disruption. In Rutland, Memorial Day observances on the morning of Monday, May 30, will begin with military rites conducted by Bergman-Evenson Post #215 of the American Legion at the Nordland Cemetery, 1½ mile east and ½ mile south of town, followed by military rites at the Rutland Cemetery on the east edge of town at 10:30 a.m. A program produced by the American Legion Auxiliary will be presented at 11:00 a.m. in the Rutland Town Hall, followed by the traditional community pot-luck dinner, also in the Town Hall. Everyone is invited to participate in Memorial Day observances in Rutland on Monday, May 30.

Bruce Burke of Seattle WA stopped in Rutland on the afternoon of Thursday, May 19, doing some research for a personal family history project. Mr. Burke grew up in Breckenridge MN, but the Burke family traces its history back to Rutland and the Great Northern Railway. Bruce’s parents were Harvey & Alice Burke; his grandparents were Rutland natives John & Anna (Spande) Burke; his great-aunt was the late Bertha (Spande) Penfield; and his great-grandparents were Knud & Alisa Spande. Knud & Alisa Spande owned & occupied the house at 309 Gay Street that is now owned by Paul Anderson, from 1918 until Alisa Spande’s death in 1958. The house had been built by Paul’s grandparents, Ole & Julia Anderson, back in 1909. Prior to moving to town, the Spandes had farmed south of Silver Lake. Bruce has a vivid memory of an event that occurred at the Spande house in Rutland back in the early 1950’s, when he was a small boy of about 4 or 5 years of age. It seems that there was an unused water well in the backyard that had been covered over with an old door. Being a boy of some energy, Bruce decided to take a run and jump on the center of that old door. When he did so, the deteriorated boards broke and down went Bruce. Fortunately, as he went through the door he stuck his elbows out and caught himself on the edges of the hole he had made, leaving his head sticking out, above the door, and his feet dangling just above the water in the well. He said that he can still remember looking down and seeing the cold water just beneath his feet. Bruce’s Dad, Harvey Burke, rushed to his assistance and pulled him to safety. Bruce said that he can’t remember just what his Dad said to his great-grandfather about the continued existence of that well, but he’s pretty sure that it was powerful. It had been Bruce’s intention to take a picture of the old well, if any evidence of it still existed. He could not find any trace of the well but was pleased to find that the house is in excellent condition and still looks much as it did back when his great-grandparents first bought it 104 years ago. Mr. Burke had taken the long way around to get to Rutland. He had driven through Washington, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota to get here. He had stopped in New Mexico to take a look at the Air Force Base at which he had been stationed back in the late 60’s, and in Nebraska to visit some students he had taught there back in the 70’s. He was surprised to find that the teen-age students he remembered are now in their 60’s. Time marches on. Mr. Burke was visiting at the home of his cousin, the daughter of the late Jim & Nellie (Burke) McCulloch, at Ottertail Lake MN during his stay in this area. He planned to be heading back to Seattle on Saturday, May 21, and hoped to make it home in 3 or 4 days via I-94 & I-90.

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