The “seven year itch” that I am referring to, is “The Life of a Father of Five’s” anniversary.
Again this year (as I have in many years past), I completely forgot to recognize the anniversary (or “blogiversary” as some choose to call it) of the day I flipped the switch, and opened the door to the public here on The Life of a Father of Five.
Can you believe it?? SEVEN YEARS?!?!
I am unable to fully grasp all that I have been throughout these past seven years. It’s helpful (and fun) to look back and remember some of the things I have forgotten, and view others from the “future perspective” I have today – to see what has changed, and what hasn’t.
One of the best aspects of Blogging I have come to discover is the community of people. The Life of a Father of Five has opened so many doors to friendship. Social interaction is not something that comes easy to me, yet despite these challenges, I have made many friends through the past seven years. Some acquaintances, others I have grown pretty close to. Some I have met, others I have not, and still others I hope one day to meet. Each one has enhanced my life one way or another. Blogging opened up a whole new world to me, and cannot imagine my life without having participated.
One thing that I noticed has changed throughout the years is the frequency at which I post. When I first started out, I would post as often as I could. Sometimes that was two or three times a week. Over the past seven years, my children have grown, and expressed their “displeasure” with being blog fodder, and quite frankly, after seven years – there is not much that has not been covered. At this point, I find myself DELIGHTED anytime I have more than two posts a month. But, I still enjoy it. I still think about my blog, and blogging often, and maintaining it still “feels right”!
That being said, whether you are glad, or disappointed to hear it - I plan on maintaining The Life of a Father of Five. Well, at least for another year. We shall see what happens when I forget to acknowledge my EIGHTH blogiversary!
From my original readers (since day one), to all of you who may have just started joining me here, I send you my utmost and sincere gratitude. You all make this so much fun!!
For a long time now I have held on to an “unattainable dream” of frontier living in Alaska. I say “unattainable” because, in all honesty – I am married… with children.
Being married… with children is really not much more than an “easy”
explanation excuse of why I am a slightly overweight, highly stressed out police dispatcher living on the rural outskirts of a major metropolitan area instead of forging my own way in the Alaskan wilderness as a rural frontier recluse.
The slightly longer (and more honest / introspective) explanation involves elements of my own feelings of responsibility, some fear, a little trepidation, and healthy dose of “reality”.
That’s ok though. I am not afraid of having (and admitting to) “unattainable dreams”. Heck, I’m even willing to say that unattainable dreams are “healthy” (mentally), and offer an escape (albeit a temporary escape, but an escape nonetheless). I know I will never really achieve them, but they sure are fun to think about!
A little over a year ago now the Mother of Five and I bought a pair of Kindles. Since then, my level of reading has skyrocketed from it’s previous non-existent levels. If you check out my Kindle Reading List, you will see that I do have a taste for a certain genre of reading – but you will also notice that I break out of that routine from time to time.
My most recent departure from my typical reading pattern came while perusing through Amazon’s Kindle Book Store and stumbled upon a book that caught my eye.
One man’s dream one woman’s nightmare?? Wow, did that sound familiar!
Well, “nightmare” may be a little strong. I have no doubts the Mother of Five would enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Alaskan wilderness for a certain amount of time, but frontier LIVING and the solitude of Alaska (the greatest draws for me) would not be a good fit for her.
Well, I finally got around to reading this book. Initially, I was not sure what to expect. All appearances was that this book was written from the perspective of a woman who’s husband was fulfilling one of his “unattainable goals” and dragging his wife along for the ride. (I could not imagine doing such a thing.)
I do not want to give too much of this book away, but I’ll say from the very beginning of this book, I was unable to put it down. The book took me through the author’s journey as the couple virtually “hops, skips, and jumps” their way from urban living all the way through establishing rural Alaskan escape.
While reading this book, I found myself Googling places and things like Ketchikan, the Alaskan Marine Highway, and ocean tides (something that someone living smack dab in the northern central Midwest has NEVER had to consider). Not only was I able to live vicariously through the eyes of the author, I feel as if I learned a lot from her experiences!
I had always pictured my Alaskan “compound” landlocked (or almost landlocked) deep inland, maybe off a stream or a freshwater lake. Tammy and Tom’s experience involves a lot of struggle (and some success) with the ocean in one of the many Alaskan inlets. Their adventures have provided me a whole new level of “unattainable daydreaming”!!
I initially noticed that the book has a noticeable void of viewpoint from Tom. Tammy wrote strictly from her viewpoint, and included only small bits of interaction with Tom. She never never really tells us (or even speculates much) on Tom’s perspective throughout their adventure. The more the book progressed, the more I actually enjoyed this void (and this from a my opinion as a male). I truly felt as if I was getting the author’s perspective. Tammy has a wonderful way of telling her version of the story with a great balance between, and bled of humor and reality. Each adventure (and subsequent solution) left me wondering “what’s next” for these two!
I want to thank Tammy for having written about her adventures. She has done something I will never likely do, but will always dream of doing. The work she put into living that dream, and then writing about it gives me yet another method of vicariously living out one of my “unattainable dreams”!
Tammy (Jones) Harding and Alaska Bound are being added to my Alaskan living favorites, and join the ranks of people such as Richard Proenneke, Carl McCunn, Christopher McCandless, and Timothy Tredwell (although, I sure hope Tammy’s story ends FAR LESS tragically than the latter three).
The book’s webpage Pennock Island Productions is now alerting me to an author’s note that says “Stay tuned for book 2”. I can’t wait!
Final Note: Normally, I do not use “The Life of a Father of Five” as a product review website. In fact, I can think of one single review I have written in the past seven years of maintaining this website (despite the countless offers I get to do product reviews).
Not to take away from what a great book Alaska Bound is, I don’t want this post to be viewed strictly as a “book review”. This “review” has more to do with me, my thoughts, my hopes and dreams (attainable or not) – and how this wonderful book helped reinvigorate some of them!!
(As if I needed any more…)
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The American Bald Eagle has made a remarkable recovery after near extinction, but there are still many things threatening their existence every day.
One of those threats was noted recently behind St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Jordan, Minn. The incident has churchgoers praying for an eagle — one that Marty Huss found near the church in the snow .
“The eagle was laying face down,” said Huss, who thought he found the carcass of a female eagle.
“All of a sudden it moved, and we knew there was life there,” he said.
Huss then called the Raptor Center, and wrapped the bird in a quilt.
“They told him to bring it inside, and I said, ‘OK…be careful,” said Father Timothy Yanta, who was preparing some second graders for their First Communion inside the church.
“I was scared, and I didn’t know if he was going to make it…or die,” one of the children said.
The church began to pray for the eagle, and they named it Spirit, according to Huss. She is now in St. Paul, at the Raptor Center.
Dr. Michelle Willette, a veterinarian at the center, suspects Spirit was poisoned after eating a carcass that had been sedated. It’s something Raptor Center employees say they see about three times a year.
“She came in with a pretty good prognosis for this type of condition,” Willette said.
To help Spirit recover, veterinarians flushed her digestive track, and had her rest. She slept for 48 hours straight.
Now, Spirit is getting fluids and food, which is giving hope to the congregation back in Jordan.
“I did never thought that that bird was ever going to come back to life, and so it’s pretty exciting that it did.”
The Raptor Center say it’ll feed Spirit until she’s able to eat on her own.Then they’ll try some test flights before she’s returned to the wild.
The congregation at St. John’s hopes Spirit will be released back home in Jordan
A few days ago #4 of 5’s basketball season came to an end, and with that, came the end of her basketball career with the St. John the Baptist’s Saints. It was a bittersweet moment for me. You see, #4 of 5 joined the Girls Basketball team as a forth grader during the 2010-2011 season. It was also the very first year St. John’s offered a basketball program. After a progressively popular and successful series of seasons with the Saints I suspect she will continue to play, but next year she will be playing as a Jordan Jaguar at the (public) middle school.
I will (of course) root for the Jaguars, but I will always remember my daughter as a St. John the Baptist Saint, and the Saints will forever hold a soft spot in my heart.
(The “We Love our Saints” hankies were given out a few years back. I still keep mine in my memory box. Yes, I must admit it’s a little wrinkled, but those wrinkles do not affect the memories that the hankie brings me!)
It has been a lot of fun watching these girls grow over the years - individually and together as a team.
With the official “competition portion” of the season behind us, there was only one thing left to do before we could close the books on the 2012-2013 season.
It was time for the the annual Basketball Banquet and “kids vs parents” basketball games!
Due to previous work-commitments I have never been able to partake in these events, but this year (ironically, #4 of 5’s last year) karma came to my rescue and the kids vs parent game and the Banquet fell upon my days off! I was actually quite excited to be able to participate!
The Mother of Five and #5 of 5 also came to watch (and cheer). While the Mother of Five never really told me who she was rooting for (I suspect it was for “Team Kids”), #5 of 5 told me that she thought the parents were going to win, and was planning on cheering for “Team Parents”!
The Mother of Five was able to snap a few “less than flattering” photos during the game. The talented and beautiful young woman in yellow is the one and only #4 of 5, while that overweight, flush-faced, and sweaty gelatinous blob dressed in black is yours truly, The Father of Five.
(Forgive me for your impending nightmares of fat sweaty gelatinous blobs.)
I know, I know, I know… You all want to know who won, right??? Well, I’ll be honest – we were keeping score for 3/4 of the game (“were” being the operative word). The girls took an early lead, but throughout the time we were keeping score, the lead passed back and forth between the kids and the parents. Neither side got much more than four or six points ahead of the other before the lead was lost.
Here’s my take on it. If these 4th, 5th, and 6th grade girls were able to keep up with their moms and dads as well as they did – I don’t really care what the score was. The girls won!
(Actually, in the end, I do believe the girls final score was slightly higher than the parents… )
After the game (thankfully) we all had time to head home and clean up. Then, we all met back at the Ridges of Sand Creek Clubhouse for a Taco Buffet!
After everyone had their fill of soft shell tacos, hard shell tacos, and taco salad, this year’s coaches gave a great little season finale speech, and recognized this years sixth graders for all the work they have put in over the years to help make the Basketball program at St. John’s so successful!
Then, each sixth grader was presented a medal! (#4 of 5 is on the far right)
Below, you see #4 of 5 receiving the medal from her coach.
Left - The Girls Basketball Coach Dave M.
Right – The Boys Basketball Coach DJ N.
(DJ also coached the girls team in the past)
These dads invested a lot of their time and talents into building a successful Basketball program at St. John’s.
They deserve many thanks and unending gratitude for all they have done for our children!
Once the awards were handed out, each of the sixth graders were called back up to the front of the room, and asked to assist the coaches in handing out a piece of cake to all the parents and family members attending. I could not pass up the opportunity to snap a couple of pics of #4 of 5 serving cake!
As I said earlier, this was a very bittersweet day for me. I was so grateful that my schedule allowed me to partake this year, and I truly had a ton of fun – but it also means that this chapter of my daughter’s life is closing – and along with the end of her career as a St. John’s Saint, it also means she is one step closer to the end of her time at St. John the Baptist School.
For the time being though, I would much rather dwell on all the great time, great friends, and great memories #4 of 5 has had during her time as a St. John’s Saint!
Sweetie, I cannot even begin to explain just how proud I am of you! Keep up the good work!!
#4 of 5 started out her sixth grade expressing an interest in playing in the school band. She told us (originally) that she wanted to play saxophone, but I was trying to push her towards the flute. She agreed to give it a try – and for the first half of the year played the flute.
After the Christmas Concert (seen on the left), #4 of 5 came to us and expressed her desire to return back to her original interest, the saxophone.
(Thank goodness for middle school band instrument rentals!)
About a week later, I brought home the saxophone, which she has been playing now without even a look back towards the flute.
About a week ago, the Middle School hosted an “Art Extravaganza”. They opened their doors to the public, and had on display many forms of student “art”. Paintings, drawings, and various other creative artwork. The highlight of the evening was the performance art portion. The 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade bands played and the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade choirs also preformed.
I won’t get into each and every detail – but I will say that the 6th grade band (which #4 of 5 is part of) played two pieces. Furioso by Robert W. Smith, and Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple). They did great – and as an added bonus – the saxophones had a unique roll in Smoke on the Water. They had a specific part that they played exclusively. Each saxophonist stood up to play a small part, which was followed by another saxophonist standing up and joining the previous saxophonist (so, by the end of the saxophone solo, every saxophonist was standing and playing). What was really great was that #4 of 5 was the first saxophonist to stand up!!
I did not know this was happening, so I did not have my camera ready until they were all standing – but here you can see #4 of 5 playing front and center!
It was a great night. The artwork, the music, and the singing were all nothing less than spectacular (considering it was a middle school performance.) Both of my parents, and both of The Mother of Five’s parents were also able to attend – which made the night even that much more special!
I would like to make one “Adam Carolla like” observation and rant.
If you are attending a middle school band concert, in a filled-to-capacity house (in a gymnasium), and particularly if you are seated on the main floor (non elevated, like the bleachers are) – I don’t care how greasy, how long, how unkempt, or how downright nasty your hair is. I don’t care if you are bald, have severe scars, or even prison ink upon your dome. If you are attending a function that you even THINK that someone around you may want to see, would you PLEASE get out of your "completely unaware” trance-like state of self importance, and TAKE YOUR INDIANA JONES HAT OFF SO THE THE PEOPLE BEHIND YOU CAN SEE???
Folks, this is no joke. This is the guy who sat in front of me. This was the view I had of the Choir stage (which was just to my left of the main band stage). Thankfully, #4 of 5 was on the far right side of the band stage allowing me view of her despite the giant billboard in front of me that read “I am a more important that everyone around me, and I don’t care.”
Like his brother before him, and his brother before that, the time has come for #3 of 5 to join the rank of Minnesota drivers.
Well, sort of that is…
He has earned his Minnesota Learner’s Permit.
Since #2 of 5 and #3 of 5 are still “dependents”, they still fall on my auto insurance plan.
Yup… That’s TWO teenaged boys on my insurance plan.
Anyone know where I can donate plasma for some quick cash?
I arrived home from work and (being a sufferer of paruresis) I immediately went to use our bathroom. While in the bathroom the Mother of Five (quite hurriedly) told me she had to leave. Being “preoccupied”, I shrugged my shoulders and went on to finish the task at hand.
Upon completion of the task (and follow up hand washing task) I headed off to the kitchen to “graze” for a little post work-day snack. I opened the refrigerator and…
>> GASP <<
…was faced with a scene of what could only be described as a gruesome crime!!
Immediately, I wondered who the Mother of Five chopped up and stuffed in our refrigerator… But then, the “other” questions started popping into my head… Thinks like “What did she say we were having for dinner tonight?”, “Why is there a Crockpot of fava beans cooking on our counter”, Chianti? Since when does the Mother of Five serve fava beans and a nice Chianti with dinner?”, “Is she going to try and tell me it tastes like chicken?”
That’s when I started getting REALLY nervous! I wondered HOW would I even begin raising these kids after she gets sent up the river on a 25 to life sentence. (Could I just release them to the wild, and hope they would be adopted by a pack of wolves?? Would that even be fair to the wolves??)
There were FAR too many unanswerable questions, and since US Federal Common Law would allow me to do so – I could clean up any and all evidence of the crime, and then evoke my Spousal Privilege!
That was it!! That was the way out of my dilemma!!
About an hour later (after mops, rags, soapy water, and a toothbrush were used) all sign(s) of whatever heinous acts (that may or may not have been committed in our kitchen today) by the Mother of Five are gone.
All “victims” eluded to in this post are purely fictitious. Any resemblance to any person alive or dead is purely coincidental. No person was harmed in the making of this post. (I can’t say that for the pot of tomato soup that fell from the top shelf of the fridge, splattered all over the refrigerator, and kitchen floor, but I can so no one was harmed) and I must add that the Mother of Five is an AMAZING cook who would NEVER consider cannibalism as an option (well, at least that I am aware of).
First, some background.
The idea for the Our Home Town series came to me one night while dropping #3 of 5 off at a friend’s house. On my way home, I happened to be driving past our local Fire Department. The image of the Fire Hall in the dark with it’s exterior lighting just sort of struck me. I did a quick u-turn, got out and snapped some pictures. Not only did I get some pictures of the building, I snapped some photos of another unique aspect of the Jordan Fire Department. (Stay tuned)
Once back in my car and heading home, I asked myself why I took those pictures. Although I am a Fire Dispatcher, I am not a dispatcher for - or member of the Jordan Fire Department.
I thought about posting them on Facebook as some “cool photos”… But that was not quite a fit either.
Then, I started thinking about if or how I could use them here on FOF. How would I “frame” a blogpost to use the photos? What would the context of such a post be? Being a 9-1-1, Police, and Fire Dispatcher it would not be too hard to come up with a “public safety theme” – maybe something emphasizing both the Jordan Fire Department, and the Jordan Police Department.
Yup! That was it!!
As I drove home, the creative juices began flowing. I started thinking about what I could write about and some of the other photos I could use to highlight our local Police and Fire Departments. Should I do one post for both the police and fire departments? No. I decided that two posts – one for the police department and one for the fire department would be the way to go.
As I developed the idea, the possibilities beyond Jordan’s “public safety” elements crept into my mind. Soon, a flood of ideas began filling my mind, it was not long before the floodgates burst open – and the series “Our Home Town” spilled out!
The Jordan Fire Department provides both Fire and Rescue services for the City of Jordan and the surrounding townships of Belle Plaine, St. Lawrence, Helena and Sand Creek. They also provide mutual aid to other surrounding cities and townships as needed.
The Jordan Fire and and Rescue Department consists of one fire station located at 501 Varner St. N. The fire station houses two engines, one ladder, one rescue truck, two brush trucks, one ATV, and a rescue boat.
This equipment is operated by a staff of (up to) 35 volunteer fire fighters led by Chief Steve Kochlin. Together they respond to approximately 125 calls annually, and are dispatched by the Scott County 9-1-1 Emergency Communication Center.
(Photo above used with permission from the Jordan Independent)
One of the most intriguing things about the Jordan Fire Hall (for me) is a small garage with a large glass viewing window located just off the main fire hall. (Bottom right in the photo below)
Inside the garage is Jordan Fire Department’s historic horse drawn steam pumper. Inside the display garage displayed in front the steam pumper is a placard that shares a little bit of history. According to the placard, this steam pumper first arrived in Jordan in the 1880’s and was used in the fire service until it was retired in 1925. The highlight of its career came during the September 1906 fire at C.H. Casey’s Hardware Store. When I look at the steam pumper, I get taken back to days of old. Days before automobiles, telephones, and electricity. It’s a “happy place” for me!
While doing researching for this post, I found very little information available about the our fire department on-line. (Heck, even the City of Jordan’s webpage does not have an official page for the Fire Department.) What I was seeking was some historical information about the Jordan Fire Department, the C.H. Casey hardware store fire, or the historic steam pumper.
With a lack of information available on line, and limited amounts of information on the placard inside the Steam Pumper’s garage, I turned to my next source for information on Jordan’s history – the two volume set of books titled “Jordan, Minnesota – A Newspaper Looks at a Town”.
These books contain highlighted news articles from our local newspaper (The Jordan Independent). Volume One contains newspaper articles from 1853-1900. Volume Two contains newspaper articles from 1900-1930. These books document some AMAZING history – including the first automobile that came to town, when electricity first arrived in Jordan, and the town’s first telephone line!
They were originally released in 1976 for the nation’s bicentennial. I would see one floating around the city in various lobbies, waiting rooms, and at the library from time to time but it was difficult to find one for sale anywhere. Then on the city’s sesquicentennial (150 year) anniversary, the books were re-printed and made available for public purchase again. I JUMPED at the chance, and am now a proud owner of the set!!
Using the “Jordan, Minnesota – A Newspaper Looks at a Town” books as my source, I began my search. I was not disappointed in what I found. I located many articles documenting the history of the fire department – and even better, I found a number of interesting articles specifically about the C.H. Casey Hardware Store Fire – and even one that mentions the steam pumper!
Here, you see one of the earliest photos (dated November 1887) of the Jordan Fire Department.
An interesting article accompanied the photo above. The article stated that due to minimal budgets, the Fire Department could not afford their own teams of horses, and to solve this problem the “town dads” are offering a cash premium to the first, second, and third man who arrived at the fire hall with a team of horses to pull their equipment to the fire scene. All residents were welcome to participate (you did not have to be a member of the fire department). The first to arrive would receive a $5.00 premium, the second would receive a $3.00 premium, and the third would receive a $2.00 premium – along with the opportunity of having a front row seat to the excitement of watching the fire fighters work on extinguishing the fire!
I went in search of the articles for 1906, and before long I located what I was looking for! Below (for your reading enjoyment) are copies of the articles and a few photos I was able to locate written about the C.H. Casey hardware store fire.
Note: I love the “historical dialect” and cadence the author(s) of these articles used back in the day! It’s so much fun to read! I would truly enjoy going back in time and visiting Jordan in 1906!
(All articles have been used with the permission of (and my thanks to) the Jordan Independent)
Fire Destroys Casey Hardware
Published September 27, 1906
The proprietor had his face badly burned by the force of the explosion, but retained presence of mind enough to rush for a hand grenade and cast it into the flames.
Chas Groh, the metal worker, at once ran to give the alarm. As soon as the firemen could get a stream of water in play, it was thrown into the cellar, but to no avail.
So quickly did the smoke and gasses from the burning oil in the cellar fill the store that C.H.Casey had barley the time to lock the safe and get out the ledger that lay on the high desk, as well as some valuable papers laying in the drawer of that desk.
He was unable to get the money out of the cash register in the center of the store, as well as some $50 of lodge money that was in his desk. He wanted to dash in for this salvage, but a few restrained him, knowing it would be madness to venture into that infernal pit of poison smoke.
The fire was of the fiercest and most unconquerable that ever raged in Jordan. The hardware store was a total loss. The second Casey building, a frame structure, known as the old Erkens building, was also destroyed.
The fire siren wailed the alarm about 4pm yesterday. By 6pm, the whole building was a mass of ruins. The explosion occurred in the cellar, among a lot of oil barrels, and at once filled the building with poisonous gaseous smoke, black as midnight.
Living Quarters Above Store
Mr. & Mrs. Casey had their living apartments above the store, and did not save even a handkerchief. Not even their most prized personal belongings were gotten out.
An elevator shaft reached from cellar to second floor. Through this the smoke and gasses rolled, filling the upper rooms. Mrs. Graham and son Frank, adjoining the store on the east, and their house burned. The saved some household goods.
The Schaefer store and apartments on the west had heave loss from smoke and water. Mrs. Mertens and daughter Mary, who lived in the upper rooms of the second Casey building, lost some household goods. H. A. Engler, across the street from the Casey's, suffered the loss of his fine plate glass front from the intense heat.
There was some wind, and several shingle roofs caught fire in the next block. But anxious watchers put out all such fires. At one time it looked as though every building in the he block west of the Casey store would go.
Other Towns Send Assistance
Chaska, Belle Plaine and New Prague were asked to send help.
New Prague and Belle Plaine came with their equipment, and Chaska was just about to start when the flames were brought under control. The M & St. L and Omaha railroads transported their equipment on special trains, free.
Losses were well covered by insurance, excepting C.H. Casey, who, after receiving all his insurance, will be financial loser by several thousand dollars.
Chas. Groh, John Schaefer and Werner Nolden deserve great praise for getting away 25 lbs of dynamite and 100 lbs of powder, in an outside magazine. Most of the material in the metal shop was saved.
C.H.’s Shaving Mug Salvaged from Fire
Published October 4, 1906
Al Ricklick and crew have the debris cleaned up in the cellar of the late C.H. Casey store.
Some articles were rescued from the piles of brick and twisted iron, most of which will have to go to the junk dealer.
There are a few steel ranges that would make good camp or summer kitchen stoves.
Freaks of the fire have not been wanting. Down in the debris, workers found a couple of frail china dishes that came through almost unscathed, after falling 12 feet and lodging under hundreds of pounds of heavy brick and iron, and being through all the heat.
C.H.’s shaving mug, that had reposed in a dresser drawer upstairs, was found almost uninjured.
One sad feature of the conflagration was the death of C.H.’s hunting dog Tony. The faithful animal was somewhere in the store building when the explosion happened, and was never seen again.
Sewing Bee for Fire Victims
Published October 4, 1906
A neighborly social function occurred last Saturday afternoon.
Mrs. C.H. Casey’s clothing have been destroyed in the fire, a large company of ladies gathered at the home of Mrs. John E. Casey and surprised her at a sewing and quilting bee.
The entire house was filled with busy seamstresses all afternoon, five sewing machines constantly whirring and the swift needles and nimble fingers accomplishing a great deal.
Those present were Mmes. Burns, Casswell, Champlivear, Engler, Groh, Habegger, Hartman, Juergens, Kehrer, Lonard, McMullen, Morgan, Margaret, Mertens, Nolden, Nicolin, Orr, Phillips, Phetteplace, Ricklick, Ruppert, Celia Straight, Mary SStrait, Shultz, Schaefer, Louise Schmitt, Edna Schmitt, Sly, Kate Wolf, Lizzie Wolf, and Mattie Wood and Misses Baihly, Ley, Mertens, Schmitt and Schaefer.
A lunch of salads, coffee, cake, etc. was served at 5 o’clock.
To Our Neighbors
Letter to the Jordan Independent
Published October 4, 1906
We desire to express our thanks to our neighbors who so kindly rendered assistance during the fire yesterday. We thank the Jordan firemen, and those from belle Plaine and New Prague.
Mr. & Mrs. C.H. Casey
(Photo of Mr. C.H. Casey)
Published unknown date October, 1906
It was not until Tuesday that the last smoldering embers of the fire in C.H. Casey’s hardware building were quenched.
The fire engine remained on duty all of last Wednesday night, throwing water almost continuously. But burning embers in masses of brick from the fallen walls continued to smoke until Tuesday.
The destruction of the fire was terribly complete. Most of the brick from the walls lies in the big basement, which ran the entire length of the structure.
The frame building to the west, formerly Erkens clothing store, later used as Casey’s metal worker’s shop, was likewise destroyed.
It looked at one time as though no power on earth could save Frank Pekarna’s meat market and Tony Waclavek’s shoe shop. But the fire was curbed before it reached them.
Handsomest Business Building
The Casey store was by unanimous verdict Jordan’s handsomest business building. In fact, it was known far and wide as the very best country hardware store in southern Minnesota.
A stock commensurate to the building was carried at all times. There was nothing in the hardware line you couldn’t find at Casey’s.
The building was built in 1901 and occupied for five years. It fronted on both Water St. and 1st St. Facing each street was a beautiful plate glass front, 33 feet wide. It was two stories high, with lofty ceilings. The interior was finely finished and appointed. All the counters, cabinets, etc were solid quarter sawed oak.
Lost Store but Found Neighbors
Mr. & Mrs. Casey have lost their home and store, but they have found their good neighbors. Every expression of sympathy and assistance has been theirs.
C.H.’s face has been swathed in bandages. His eyebrows and eyelashes were burned away by the explosion, and a considerable portion of the skin on his face was burned off also.
In a sense, however, he was luck, as the surgeon finding there will be no permanent traces of the face injuries.
It is the irony of fate that Casey has always taken extra precautions in the matter of explosives and inflammables. All his powder, dynamite, gasoline, and kerosene were kept outside. Only machine oils, greases, linseed oil and roof paints were stored in the cellar, well guarded.
A roof paint, guaranteed fireproof, was the cause of the explosion.
C.H. and the metal worker, Chas Groh were getting some out of a barrel. The former lighted a match to see if it was all taken out, and the exposition occurred.
The insurance policies aggregate $16,300. It is but a question of the time until the insurance will be paid. But the proprietor is still a heavy loser.
He intends to resume business here soon. It would be impossible to rebuild this fall, so he will open up at once in the old Mammoth Store.
As I flipped through the historical books, it became obvious that the Jordan Fire Department has had and will continue to develop a deep and lasting history. I could have spend hours delving into it, documenting countless historical events that help shape the Jordan Fire Department into what it is today - but in the end, I need to remember that I am not compiling a full and comprehensive history of the Fire Department. I am only trying to highlight some of the unique, interesting and wonderful things about life here in “Our Home Town” – Jordan, Minnesota! The Jordan Fire Department is one of those things!
Before I finish this post, allow me to bring you back – more than a century later – to June 2009. Here are a few photos of a the Jordan Fire Department “in action” during a more recent fire in our town! You can read more about this fire (and see even more photos) HERE!
I also want to give many thanks to the Jordan Independent and it’s Editor Mathias Baden for permission to share some of the rich history you have seen here!
One year ago I wrote a blogpost about how I Used To Read, and how I had hoped that our decision to acquire “a couple of Kindles for E-Reading” would have a positive influence on my lack of reading. I stated in that post that I was lucky if I read a novel a year – and after some deeper reflection I realized that this was greatly underestimated. I was actually lucky if I read one novel every FIVE years!
Well, it’s been one year since we picked up the Kindles.
I thought it would be a great idea to post an update.
At first, I was totally in love! The Kindle went with me to work, to the kids’ sports practices, anywhere I may have some down time. I located a number of sources for free content, and was filling my Kindle with copious amounts of reading material. My favorite source?? “Pixel of Ink”.
Like with any gadget the infatuation period will eventually come to an end. The Kindle was no different in some ways, yet in other ways it was VERY different!
I am happy to report that I still carry my Kindle with me quite frequently. Several times a week. Maybe not as often as I did when it was brand new, but it still comes with me often! Another great thing that has not changed about being a Kindle owner is the free content. Almost every day I check a number of websites that distribute lists of Kindle books that have been reduced in price, or are (temporarily) free!
So, that leads me up to today. What exactly have I accomplished with my “Kindle Time” (as I like to call it) in the year since the Kindles entered our lives?
I am very pleased to report that in the past twelve months I have completed TWELVE novels. That’s an average of one novel a month!! Much better than the one novel every SIXTY months that comprised my pre-Kindle average!
Currently, I have 115 novels on my Kindle (and that number grows by one or two a week!). Only two of the 115 have cost me anything. Those two books were both on sale for less than three dollars.
I have even delved into the world of borrowing Kindle books from our County Library System!!
My thoughts on the Kindle one year later? I feel NO buyers remorse for having bought them. This may not always be true of every gadget I purchase, but the Kindles have been a wise investment. (Even the Mother of Five agrees!) They have (and continue to) prove their value for the both of us!
Here’s another interesting tidbit… I was quite impressed and inspired by another dad-blogger’s idea.
Backside of Forty compiled a Reading List dating back to 2008! I was so inspired by his list that I created a Kindle Reading List of my own! It is now a regular component of The Life of a Father of Five.
Some of you may have visited it, some of you may not have. For those of you who have not (
and who’s voyeuristic minds have a sick sense of needing to know and are interested in seeing what kind of books catch and hold my interest) – here is a link of the novels I completed last year (most recently completed on the top).
My full Kindle Reading Page includes a brief description of each of the books along with the link.
The Shut Mouth Society by James D. Best
A Hollow Dream of Summer's End by Andrew Van Wey
Dark Passage: A Paranormal Thriller by Griffin Hayes
The Winter Barbecue by Matt Cutugno
The Doll - J.C. Martin
Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Forsaken: A Novel of Art, Evil, and Insanity by Andrew Van Wey
The Mike Murphy Files and Other Stories by Christopher Bunn
The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
Letters from Alcatraz by Michael Esslinger
Learn Me Good by John Pearson
Tonight we grilled hamburgers for dinner. It has been quite a while since we last used the grill and (as you can plainly see) the whole grill was iced up. I had to “crack” it open, and scrape off the knobs to get it running again. Here you can see the grill warming up and the ice that has partially melted from the top.
Much like our grill, it’s time I get this blog thawed out and operational again!!
I was fortunate enough to be able to join Best Bud Ed up at his cabin for another deer hunt this year.
It was the last weekend of the season for this area of the state, and (for me) a last minute trip. I left directly from work, and after a couple of stops I arrived to the cabin around 10pm. In addition to Ed, two of his nephews joined us. It was one of his nephew’s first trip deer hunting, so Ed really took him under his wing and spent the weekend mentoring him. We spent some time catching up around the campfire, but since “pre dawn” arrives pretty early – we all hit the sack not long after I arrived.
After a short slumber, we all got geared up and then headed out to our stands in the darkness and chill of the pre dawn hours in the northern Minnesota woods. We walked along the trails until various “forks” in the path took us to the various deer stands. It was not long before I found myself walking alone down an ATV trail in the darkness. I would click on my flashlight momentarily to get a glimpse of the next reflective marker that would lead me through the woods to my stand.
About three quarters of the way to the stand, during one of those “flick on the light” moments – I scared up the first of four deer I saw this weekend. Actually this doe started me as much as I startled her. I stood still as I watched as the tell tale “white tail” flick up, then bound through the woods and into the darkness.
Eventually, I made it out to the deer stand (located in the yellow circle on the map below) where I climbed up, situated myself and my gear, then nodded off until legal hunting hours.
A couple of hours into my vigil of the northern woods, I spotted another deer (the second one of the day) off in the distance walking my way along a ridge line. It was off to my left, and quite a ways out. I sat up, focused my attention, readied my gun, and waited. As the deer drew closer I was able to determine that it was a doe. I did not have a doe permit but since Minnesota allows for “party hunting” there is an option to take the doe. That’s when I realized that I had not asked if anyone else had a doe permit – so I set my gun down and decided to simply enjoy the experience. I watched as the deer came closer and closer, pass behind me, and then I nodded off again.
Over the next couple of hours I saw two more deer.
The third deer crossed right in front of me, from my right to my left. This deer was close enough that I was able to immediately identify it as a doe. So instead of readying my gun, I whipped out my iPod and readied the video camera! I was amazed how close this deer came to the stand. I watched as she passed off to my right and towards the same deer trail that the first deer traveled along. She then continued down the path behind me and out of site.
The fourth deer followed the same path as the third one.
Same scenario. I identified the deer as a doe, and grabbed my iPod.
After the forth doe passed, I decided to sit tight and wait. With that many doe around there is a strong likelihood that there is a buck somewhere not too far away. Forty minutes (and no activity) later I packed up my gear and headed back to the cabin to share my experiences (and video) with the rest of the group.
Back at the cabin I also learned that Ed’s youngest nephew (the one he was mentoring this weekend) did have a doe permit. This being his first hunt, and with the heavy doe population around the cabin, I am glad I didn’t “fill his tag” – and had high hopes he would get his first deer!!
Between the morning and evening hunts, Ed and I ran a couple of errands and stopped off for a nearby GeoCache too! I also checked out the early ice on the lake!
Just before sunset, we all headed back out for the evening hunt. I took up a position at the same deer stand as I did in the morning (yellow circle in the photograph) – unfortunately, I saw no activity.
Ed and his nephew on the other hand, DID see a deer. Not only did they see a deer, they bagged one. It was a great lesson for Ed’s nephew – after taking the shot, and waiting patiently (as a good hunter does)they trailed the deer for a bit until it was located. Ed taught his nephew how to field dress the deer, and they pulled it about half way back to the cabin before Ed’s older nephew and I met them. He and I then took the deer back to the cabin while Ed and his younger nephew went back to the deer stand to collect their belongings.
Afterwards, we celebrated around the campfire!
The next morning we all got up and once again headed out into the darkness and chill of pre dawn hours in the northern Minnesota woods. This morning we switched deer stands and I headed off to the stand that Ed and his nephew took the deer from the previous evening (the blue circle on the map). I sat and watched for any signs.
After several hours the only thing that I had seen suck up on me from behind. It was blaze orange and had a big cheesy grin on its face!
Ed had left his stand and met me at my stand. We located the site where the deer was hit, and (for practice) tracked the path the deer ran to the site where the deer fell. Ed and I took an off trail path (bushwhacking) through the woods locating another older site that he would like to update with a new stand.
We headed back to the cabin and helped the nephews pack u. They were heading out a little earlier. Once the nephews left – Ed and I once again took to the woods. This time instead of sitting in a stand, we decided to make the HUGE loop you see in the map. We left the cabin, walked along the trail, then went off trail and “bushwacked” our way around the swamp, to the creek, north along the creek back to the lake and then back down the trail to the cabin. I had seen many areas of the back woods that I have never seen before.
There were some breathtaking views!!]
We arrived back at the cabin, and loaded up our belongings. We packed our cars, and then headed out for the final evening hunt. Once again, Ed took a spot at the yellow circled stand and because I left a number of items at the blue circled stand, I headed back there.
Once sunset hit, I trudged back to the cabin, loaded up the last of the items that needed packing, and we closed up the cabin for the winter.
After a very relaxing and pleasurable weekend, it was time to say goodbye to Ed, and begin my long journey home.