Amateur Archeology

Archeology is defined (by Wikipedia) as…

The study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that has been left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes (the archaeological record).

Recently my parents were conducting an archeological dig of their own by doing some cleaning in their “crawl space”.  The “crawl space” is an area that you put stuff that you really do not want throw away, but you will never really want or need ever again.  It’s what every good “hoarder” needs!

While down there they unearthed some Father of Five “relics”.

One afternoon (while visiting their house with #2 of 5, #3 of 5, and #5 of 5) my parents thought it would be fun to bring out their “find” to share – allowing the kids (and myself) to sift through the collection.  As I perused the items, walking down memory lane (and while the kids were teasing me about some of the weird junk I have collected) it suddenly occurred to me that these “treasures” really did constitute a relatively accurate “snapshot” of various stages through my life.  As I sat there (feeling all nostalgic, simultaneously being mocked by my children) it occurred to me that this would make a really FUN blog post.      

In return for sharing this with you (and allowing you the opportunity to tease me alongside my children) I want to hear YOUR analysis (as an Amateur  Archeologist) of your thoughts about the owner of these items!  They are listed (as best as I can) in a slightly chronological order and/or grouped with similar items as to their relevance in my life.

Good luck, and enjoy! (But don’t tease me TOO badly)

$3.00 in change
$3.00 in loose change

Rhodesian 1c coin
A 1973 Rhodesian 1c coin

Matchbox cars
Four die cast toy cars
- 1975 Hot Wheels “Hot Rod” (sans it’s front wheels)
- 1976 Tomica Porsche 911S
- 1976 Shinsei “Thunder Bird 3” This is from the UFO Commander 7 series.  It is broken and missing pieces.
      I found this in the sandbox at the park as a boy.
- 1979 Hot Wheels Greyhound Bus 

 Stamp collection 
Harris Pioneer World-Wide Postage Stamp (collection) Album – Copyright 1977

Star Wars Figures
Five Star Wars figures.

- Star Destroyer Commander
- Boba Fett
- C3P0
- IG-88
- Tusken Raider

X-Wing - Wing laser
The detachable laser from the wing of a Star Wars X-Wing Fighter toy.

Go to the Head of the Class
The book of questions and rules that came from Milton Bradley’s “Go to the Head of the Class” board game.  (unknown series)

Here Comes SnoopyDr. Who Books
Three Books
- Here Comes Snoopy
- Dr. Who – Programme Guide Volume 2 by Jean-Marc Lofficier (Yes, with an “e”)
- Dr. Who – And the Planet of the Dalleks by Terrance Dicks

Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Bookstore - Bookmark
A bookmark from Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore
(Where I picked up the Dr. Who books from above)

Magic Cards
Adam’s “The Mysterious Hearts” Magic Card Trick

Six sided dice
Two green six-sided dice (not from the “Go to the Head of the Class” board game).

To be honest, I am sure these dice were kidnapped from some sort of board game and used to play Dungeons and Dragons.

Minnesota Voyager belt buckle Minnesota Voyager belt buckle Minnesota Voyager belt buckle

A solid brass Minnesota Voyager belt buckle.  This is part of the "Great American Buckle Collection" from 1980.  It is hand cast in solid brass (with very high relief) by Heritage Mint Ltd. and individually numbered (LE-2474).  This buckle was commissioned by Twin City Federal Savings and Loan in 1980 to pay tribute to the fact Minnesota is the outdoor capital of America.

(I have an unfinished blog post about my connection to Twin City Federal Savings and Loan.  I’ll see about finishing that one up sometime soon.)


World Geology Timeline World Geology Timeline
My junior high school “World Geology Timeline” project (Graded a “C” – I deserved better.)

This is a scrolled up paper approximately 10 to 12 feet long representing the earth’s Geological history.  (Thank you #4 of 5 for helping me “model” this artifact)

Calligraphy Template
A plastic “calligraphy” letter template.

Cassette Tapes
Five cassette tapes.
- 1 unmarked.
- 1 marked “Christmas 1975” on one side and “Star Blazers” on the other side.
- 1 marked “Little Mr. Bojangles”, “Go Team Go (up-down)”, “Bouncing Ball” and “Blast off!!!!” – Data on  cassette for the TI-99/4A
- 1 labeled “Quest for the King” and “Pennies and Prizes” – Another data cassette for TI-99/4A.  These are modules for the Tunnels of Doom cartridge.
- 1 marked “Adam Ant – Friend or Foe” (Note, the "D" in Adam Ant is written backwards just like it was on the album.)

I was a fan of the 80’s anime series “Star Blazers” – and one Saturday morning I was unable to watch the show, so I set up a tape recorder to record the audio in order to listen to it later.

Before flash drives, DVD ROM’s, CD ROM’s, Hard Disk Drives, and even before floppy diskettes, people saved their digital data on CASSETTE TAPES…   These are only a couple of the DOZENS I had saved my BASIC computer programs on.

I did play the “Christmas 1975” tape after I got home.  I got to hear my Mémère and Pépère’s voices talking to me for the first time in thirty years.  (They passed in 1981 and 1983). 

I cried listening to it.  I miss them so much.  

A cassette player Microphone.   It is most likely the one used to record “Christmas 1975”.

A box of 6 sparklers.

Waterproof matches
A box of Coghlan’s Waterproof wooden safety matches.

Old Rusty pocket knife
A pocket knife I found in the street – Marked “Colonial – Prov U.S.A.” on one blade “Made in the U.S.A.” on the other blade. 

Sharpening Stone
Pocket knife sharpening stone and non-matching leather pouch.

Po.Do brand Deluxe Plastic Coated Playing Cards – Horse print – in gold colored box.

Note:  This is a COMPLETE deck!  Ahem… Did you hear that kids??  Somehow I managed to keep a whole deck of cards complete (a task my five of my children have been unable to attain in their (collective) seventy years of life).

If memory serves me correctly, this was a gift from “Walter”. 

Walter and Lydia were our next door neighbor before we moved to Bloomington (from birth through age eight).  They were my and my sister’s “Mr. and Mrs. Wilson” (of “Dennis the Menace”).  They were an older married couple with no children.  We would stop over unannounced, or spend time with them while they worked in their yard.  Lydia loved having us over and baked cookies and treats for us all the time (she was an AMAZING baker).  Walter (on the other hand) was a little more curmudgeonly in nature,  but always had little gifts and stories for us – and would frequently perform for us on his harmonica from “his chair” in the corner of their living room. 

Coast to Coast Hardware Paystub
A paystub from my days working at the Valley West Coast to Coast hardware store.  This was truly a wonderful place to work – and I have so many fond memories of the friends I made there!

Greeting Cards
Four birthday cards.
- One from my grandmother marked “15th”.
- Another from my grandmother (unknown year)
- One from my sister and another from my parents from my 18th birthday.

Heavy Metal pins
A Mötley Crüe and Twisted Sister denim jacket button.

Several various photographs (in chronological order as best as I can determine)

Star Wars CharactersStar Wars Characters
Polaroid photos of my sister and I with Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and C3P0 characters during the height of the Star Wars craze (yeah, I was am a BIG fan!).

Our Family 
Polaroid photo of our family standing in our back yard.

Mom and Dad
A black and white photograph of my parents.  I think I took this photo, but I do not recall where.

Steve and I - Lake Fannie 
Photograph of myself and my good neighborhood friend Steve after I caught and we landed an 8 lb northern pike while fishing at his cabin.

Four photographs from my first trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area

A freeze dried meal

BWCA Obelisk
One of the Canadian border obelisks

BWCA - Moss Box
A “mossbox”
(wooden “toilet” (and I use that term loosely) in the woods frequently covered with moss – hence the name)

BWCA - Waterfall
A small miscellaneous waterfall

A photo of Cassandra and I on the transatlantic flight home from our High School’s trip to Italy and Greece.

(Cassandra is a friend I made from the other school we journeyed with – I lost contact with over the years, but through a very odd set of circumstances a number of years ago I “virtually” bumped into her again.)

Joe Joe and Louie
These are a series of photos from a later BWCA trip of my friends Joe and Louie (one of each individually, and one of them together) taken in the boys bunkhouse at Tuscarroa Outfitters the night before we headed out for a week-long trip into the BWCA. 

Joe can be seen sporting a rugged “Duluth Pack” over his tighty-whities, while Louie is donning the sheik and all too shear Duluth Pack LINER (the plastic bag that goes inside the Duluth Pack), along with a pair of his very own tighty-whities.  Louie tops off his ensemble with a pair of turquoise colored Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star Tennis shoes. 

Don’t they look Daaarrrling?!?

NCC Bookstore Bag
All these archeological goodies were delivered to me in a glossy plastic Normandale Community College bookstore bag.

Now that you have seen the recently unearthed “Father of Five Collection” for yourself, I really want to hear your observations (as an amateur archeologist) about the person who “left this stuff behind”…

Happy Fathers Day!

So here it is… Father’s Day. 

As a “Father of Five”, you may think that today (of all days) my day would be off the charts, and over the top.  Well, it’s not so much as you’d think.   I did not get to bed until 3am the night before.  I’m scheduled to work.   The Mother of Five is scheduled to work (opposite shifts).  #1 of 5 has no means of transportation right now, so could not make it home to visit.  #2 of 5 is working his first full weekend at summer camp.  I think you get the picture.  It’s a typical busy weekend at the FOF Compound.  No time for “Father’s Day” – but, that’s ok. 

You see – the joy in being a father is not all about the perks that come (or don’t come) on “Father’s Day”.  The joy and perks of being a father come every day.  A little trickle at a time. 

It comes from watching your oldest son, get back up on his feet and start putting his life back together (the right way) after falling pretty hard.   It comes from seeing (and appreciating) the all too familiar (and slightly twisted) sense of humor that is developing in your teenage son, and immediately recognizing it because it’s so close to your own.  It comes from the excitement you see when your daughter looks you in the eye after she makes a double play during a softball tournament.  It comes from the feeling you have when your son shoots an 18/25 in Trap after starting the season with a 2/25.  It comes from the overwhelming sense of contentment you feel when your youngest daughter curls up with you and falls asleep in the comfort and safety of your arms.

It’s the things like these (each being a “real life example” from my life sometime in the past two weeks) that     Yes folks, it’s true… I’d trade every single Father’s Day – from now until forever – for any one of those little “you never know when they are going to happen” moments! 

me and my dadSo where does this come from?

Well, it comes from my dad. 

I knew nothing about being a dad when the kids started coming along.  The father I am today comes from inside.  From instinct.   From having watched my dad be a father. 

I (just like my dad) am far from being a “perfect” father, but you know what?  That’s ok!  His imperfections taught me that you do not have to be a “perfect” father to be a great dad!

My dad taught me to stay the course.  To be slightly cautious.  To have a strong work ethic.   To provide for my family, and to sacrifice my own wants to make that happen.

Without having ever having said so, I think my dad taught me to live life as the tortoise from the story “The Tortoise and the Hare”.  It is a lesson (intentional or not) that has served me well.

So on this Father’s day I’d like to publicly thank my dad!  For molding me into the man I am.  For being as  good a dad as you have been.  For teaching me the life lessons you have taught me.  For being patient with me.  For having been there for me when and if I ever needed it (and still do, even now as I am in my forties and a father of five myself). 

Thank you dad.
Thank you, and HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

(The 2nd of 2 Consecutive) Weekend Tournaments

As I mentioned previously in the post (The 1st of 2 Consecutive) Weekend Tournaments – which was about #4 of 5’s Softball Tournament – this last weekend we had another weekend long tournament to attend.  This weekend’s tournament was the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League’s State Tournament.

                              Minnesota State High School Clay Target League State Tournament 2011

It was expected to have close to 30 teams, and 500 students participating through the duration of the tournament! 

It was a beautiful day, and since #3 of 5 started his Camp Akela C.I.T. training the night before, we dropped him off, but drove him back home again that night in preparation for the tournament.  The arrangements were made with both his trap shooting coach and the camp staff to allow him to miss a partial day of training in order to shoot for the team.  Once he finished his shooting, I returned him to camp.  

It was to be a busy weekend indeed! 

We arrived at the trap range, and our coach had set up his trailer and his camper as a central gathering area for the team.  The coach handed out the student’s meal tickets, participation pins, covered the last minute changes to the squad line ups, told us which trap we were shooting at, then covered the entire day’s itinerary. 

There was to be a commencement ceremony to the day’s events.  It started with announcements by the host (The Minneapolis Gun Club) thanking the many volunteers from the club, the sponsors, the coaches, and the many people involved in making the tournament a reality.  Also present was the United States Marine Corp Honor Guard who held a flag ceremony, followed by a singing of the national anthem.

Minnesota State High School Clay Target League State Tournament 2011 Minnesota State High School Clay Target League State Tournament 2011

2011 HS Opening Cerimony -   Panoramic photo used with permission from the Minneapolis Gun Club

With the opening ceremony complete, the teams were to report to their trap ranges and prepare for the 9am start.  The Minneapolis Gun Club has 10 trap shooting stations set up in a long line.  Each station has 5 shooting positions.  You can get a good idea on how the range is set up from this aerial view.  With fifty shooters on the line you really knew when the clock struck 9am!

Ariel photo from

We shared our trap (Trap #4) with the Worthington Team. 

Minnesota State High School Clay Target League State Tournament 2011 Minnesota State High School Clay Target League State Tournament 2011

The order of the shooting was - Jordan J.V. Squad 1, Jordan J.V. Squad 2, Jordan J.V. Squad 3, Worthington J.V. Squad, Jordan Novice Squad 1, Jordan Novice Squad 2, and Worthington Novice Squad.  Each squad fired two back to back rounds of 25 (50 shots) before moving to the next squad.  Once we made it through the full rotation, the J.V. Squads shot another 50 (back to back 25 rounds), and the Novice teams shot one single (25 shot) round.  The Varsity Teams shot on Sunday.

Frequent commenter here “Co-Worker” has a son on one of the other teams.  Since “Co-Worker” had to work, #3 of 5 and I went down to their trap, introduced ourselves and wished him (and his team) good luck!  Throughout the day I walked back and forth between the two trap ranges and watched “Co-Worker’s” son shoot – snapping a few photos, and sending his dad (Co-Worker) text message updates throughout.

At the last minute I remembered was reminded by The Mother of Five that I could have should have invited my parents to attend, but had neglected to do so.  I quickly called them up, apologizing for the short notice, and invited them to join me.  I did not fully expect to see them seeing as it was so “last minute”, but was delighted to see them arrive.  I do not think either of them had ever seen anything like this before and were filled with many questions.  In the end – both they and I were glad that they came to see what this was all about. 

In addition to providing the facility to host the Tournament, The Minneapolis Gun Club volunteers provided lunch (BBQ’ed pulled pork sammies, chips and a soda) to the student participants between the two rotations.  

Here are a few photo highlights of the day’s events, followed by a little personal view on the season as a whole, from the vantage point of a participant’s parent.

Minnesota State High School Clay Target League State Tournament 2011    (#3 of 5 is the shooter in position #5 – the closest shooter in the center of the photo

 Minnesota State High School Clay Target League State Tournament 2011(#3 of 5 looking back before a round of shooting was to start.  Notice the safe gun handling by ALL the shooters.  Coach Will is a HUGE gun safety advocate, and repeatedly stressed gun safety with the kids.)

Minnesota State High School Clay Target League State Tournament 2011  Minnesota State High School Clay Target League State Tournament 2011  Minnesota State High School Clay Target League State Tournament 2011

Minnesota State High School Clay Target League State Tournament 2011(Now THAT is a shooting stance!)

 Minnesota State High School Clay Target League State Tournament 2011

Minnesota State High School Clay Target League State Tournament 2011 (This is a shot of #3 of 5 preparing before his round.  Notice the action open, and finger OFF the trigger?  Thanks again for stressing safety Coach Will!  Your lessons sunk in!)

Minnesota State High School Clay Target League State Tournament 2011Jordan Trap Shooting Team Novice Squad #2

Minnesota State High School Clay Target League State Tournament 2011So, here it is.  The end of our school’s inaugural Trap Shooting season. 

It would be negligent of me not to thank Coach Will, and his brother.  Jeff and Tim really stepped up to the plate and knocked one out of the park.  They did all the preliminary groundwork to establish our team. Without the foundation that they built, the Jordan Trap Shooting team would not be a reality.

In addition to establishing the team, the experience and instruction Jeff and Tim gave the kids was invaluable.  Coach Will (on several occasions) said he is not just teaching them to shoot, he is offering them “life lessons”.  I could not agree more.  Cooperation, discipline, comradery, and confidence among just a few!

#3 of 5 started out this season with NO SHOOTING EXPERIENCE.  He took the Minnesota Firearms Safety class, and was able to fire the shotgun three times prior to joining the Trap Shooting Team.  By the end of this first season, he has fired the shotgun SIX HUNDRED times!

#3 of 5 started out this season with 2/25 and 6/25.   

By the end of the regular season he had an average of 9.83/25.  With his first couple of shoots so low, it was dragging down his average.  He was shooting 11 and 12’s

At the State Tournament, #3 of 5 shot an 18/25, 17/25 and 12/25.  (Note:  His whole squad shot really low on the last round.  #3 of 5’s 12/25 was the high for his squad.)



As many people who know me can attest – I am not a big “sports guy”.  I seldom watch professional sports.  Heck even when the Twins or Vikings are doing well, I do not pay much attention.  I am not even close to what you would call a “fair weather fan”.  My thought is… Wake me when they (Twins or Vikings) reach the World Series or the Super Bowl. 

Despite my view on sports in general, I have always encouraged my children to participate.  I attend every game I can, and feel pride when they do well – but I have never felt that feeling of an adrenaline rush from watching them play. 

That was until last weekend’s tournament.  While I watched #3 of 5 knock those clays down one after the other – I nearly exploded with pride!!  I (literally) fought back tears.  I have NEVER experienced anything like that!  It was an AMAZING feeling that I hope to replicate again and again.

In order to build on this year’s success, #3 of 5’s plan is to enroll in the Shotgun Merit Badge course at Tomahawk Summer Camp.  I will be checking into the 4-H Shooting and Outdoor sports program, and finally, “Co-Worker” and I have talked several times about getting together with our boys and making an afternoon out some trap range time for our sons (well, and their dads too!)

I’ll wrap up with a final (repeated, yet well deserved) volley of sharing my many thanks to Coach Jeff Will and his brother Tim along with the many volunteers who helped make this, the inaugural season, such a success for the Jordan High School Trap Shooting Team!! 

Thanks also go out to the staff and volunteers of the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League, the Minneapolis Gun Club who opened up their club and were wonderful hosts, and all the sponsors of the events and the teams.  You all have done so much in your own ways to help promote the future of this sport!

From the perspective of a proud father…  I thank you.  

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