A Memorial

The old saying is that a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

John with the Chipmunk

This picture represents FAR MORE than a thousand words.

You may see a man feeding a chipmunk. I do too, but I see SO MUCH more.

I see a mentor. I see a friend. I see a husband, father & grandfather. I see an outdoorsman. I see so many scenes from my life played out in my mind that I do not even know where or how to begin.

The photograph above is one of my favorite pictures of Best Bud Ed’s dad, John. In fact, when I think of John, it is this image (or something similar) is what pops into my mind. This photo represents so much of who he was, and what he was about to me.

I have written and re-written this post so many times, I lost count.  

I have struggled over and over and over again to try and come up with post about a man that I held in high regard.  A post that honored a man who lived life as John did.  On his own terms – with the determination of a bull.  A post that treasured so many fond memories…  In the end, I couldn’t.

I realized that I won’t be able to meet my own expectations, that I am not going to find the right combination of words to honor and celebrate his life – nor will I be able to express my gratitude to Best Bud Ed and his family for having shared their husband, father, and grandfather with me as well as I wish I could. 

Instead, I decided to post the photo above.  A photo that is (to me) worth a thousand (or more) words (and fond memories).  I could go on and on about the countless hours I spent at Ed’s place hanging with his dad. The times we spent in his (meticulously kept) garage or shed while he tinkered on an old radio or tuning up a chain saw. I could talk about the memories of the times we spent in the basement while he reloaded shotgun shells or just hanging out in his living room while he “tolerated” us playing cribbage, ordering pizzas, watching movies, and listening to loud teenage music.

This photo takes me back to memories of “Roly Poly Tobacco Tins”, antique firearms, and trips to the cabin.  It floods me with memories of hours spent around the campfire, smokin’ cigars, and drinkin’ Leroux Black.  I can’t help but think about ATV’s, Yours Truly Johnny Dollar, Freshly made Donuts from the Aitkin Bakery, antique collections, cribbage, and Coast to Coast Hardware.

On the 27th of February this year John left us and was welcomed (open armed) into the embrace of our Heavenly Father.

John’s memory and legacy lives on.  He lives in the hearts and minds of his family, and his friends.  I am proud and thankful to be able to say that John was my friend and truly believe his influence has helped make me a better man. 

So John, as you transition to whatever comes next after our lives here, I want to wish safe journeys to you my friend, until such time that we can meet again…  You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

1991 – St. John the Baptist Time Capsule

1984 Ford Ranger 2wd 4cyl 5spdDecember 1991. Where were you?

I was still a free man single, but dating my now current wife.  I was still living at home, and commuting 90+ miles a few times a week (each way) to see the previously mentioned love-of-my-life.  I had finished my Minnesota POST board SKILLS course (police academy) and was working at Coast to Coast Hardware and Canterbury Downs Racetrack while looking for a job as a police officer.  I was driving a 1984 2wd 4cyl 5spd Ford Ranger (which after searching this blog and Facebook I was unable to locate a photo of… Mission accepted!). 

In December 1991 the students and staff of St. John the Baptist School in Jordan Minnesota assembled a Time Capsule for National Geographic’s “National Geography Week”.  The contents were collected and sealed in the box with instructions that the box was not to be opened until 2011.

Back then, school was still held in the old building (In fact, #2 of 5 is old enough to still have had classes in that building).  St. John’s has since built a new school (attached to the church) while the old school still stands (looking so lonely) across the street.

St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn - Old School St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn - Old School

St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn - New School St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn - New School St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn - New School St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn - New School

For twenty years the time capsule has been stored in the vault at what is now known as Frandsen Bank & Trust (formally known as Valley Bank) in Jordan, Mn. 

Time Capsule Seal

Announcements were made to families, friends, former students, parents, and the Jordan Independent (our local newspaper) to join the staff and students of St. John’s for a special assembly to open the time capsule! 

Time Capsule opening - St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn Time Capsule opening - St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn 

On February 3, 2012 Principal Bonita Jungles and our own parish priest Fr. Timothy Yanta (who is adored by the students) led the assembly.  Fr. Yanta warmed up the crowd by asking the students to make guesses at what may be inside the time capsule. 

Adding to the excitement, Local businessman Allen Houdek of American Family Insurance donated some movie tickets to the school to give out as prize incentives for the kids who accurately guessed the contents.

The students’ guesses included…

- St. John the Baptist clothing items
- Computer equipment
- a Smurf
- a video game
- a movie
- pictures (photographs)
- books
- student made books & projects
- world series items
- a suitcase
- and one student even guessed a mouse
    (they said a “live mouse” but I wonder if they meant a real mouse who may have chewed
    their way into the box sometime over the past twenty years but never found it’s way out)

Tensions were high as the moment all were waiting for arrived!  Fr. Yanta and Principal Jungles CRACKED THE SEAL peeled off the masking tape – exposing the 1991 contents of the time capsule to 2012!! 

There were ooohs and aaahs from everyone!!   

Time Capsule opening - St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn  Time Capsule opening - St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn

Items inside the time capsule included…

- a copy of America - Past and Present (a social studies book)
- a copy of the February 25, 1991 Minneapolis Star Tribune
         Headline “Allied Troops Advance In Kuwait, Storm into Iraq”
- a copy of the March 11, 1991 Minneapolis Star Tribune
         Headline “Arab nations back Bush plan”
- a copy of the March 4, 1991 Minneapolis Star Tribune
         Headline “Iraq agrees to all UN terms”

Fr. Yanta commented “It’s kind of sad.  It doesn’t seem like things have changed in twenty years.”

- a copy of the October 20, 1991 Minneapolis Star Tribune
         Headline “Kirrr-bee does it!”
- a copy of the November 4, 1991 Sports Illustrated documenting the Minnesota Twins World Series victory
- a copy of the March 18, 1991 Time Magazine - “A Moment to Savor”

Time Capsule opening - St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn 1104_large 1101910318_400

- a small stuffed teddy bear
- a 5.25 inch floppy disk (I’d LOVE to see what is on that!)
- a copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book (which was a regular 4th grade reading assignment
     at that time
- a ticket to a University of Minnesota vs San Jose State University football (a game that was played
     in the HHH Metrodome
- a small “Big Bird” figurine
- a 1991 Minnesota Twins Homer Hanky

Time Capsule opening - St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn

- some student artwork
- a cassette tape (labeled “words of wisdom by the students of St. John’s)

Time Capsule opening - St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn

- a Jordan Minnesota High School Hubman & Jaguars Homecoming Button
     (The Hubman and Jaguars are our town’s mascots.)
- a VHS cassette labeled “Crisis in the Middle East”
     (believed to be special news coverage of the first Gulf War)

Time Capsule opening - St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn

- a Minnesota Twins button
- a student’s art project on the Mayflower
- a student’s research project on the Mayflower

Time Capsule opening - St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn

- a small plastic Toy Soldier
- a Homer Simpson magnet
- a copy of a photograph of one of the brothers of a student who was killed in a motor vehicle accident
     (There was a hand written message on the back from the student that she was putting his photo in the box
     as a reminder.  The subject of the photo just so happens to also be the brother of our good friend and former
     next door neighbor.

Time Capsule opening - St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn Time Capsule opening - St. John the Baptist School - Jordan, Mn

- a list of Vocabulary words of the 1990’s
     (including such items as Rad, Bodacious, and D’oh, and Kawabunga)
- a Where’s Waldo sticker
- a Garfield sticker
- a Minnesota Twins pen
- a small flag and letter from a soldier fighting in the Gulf war
- a St. John’s lunch menu…  

After reading the monthly menu out loud to the assembly, Principal Jungles commented on how the lunch menu “has not changed much”.

- a third grade phone book
- a list of the favorite movies of the day (including Home Alone, and Dances with Wolves)
- a student written poem titled “Learning in 1991”
- a student’s project highlighting his experience with the1991 Halloween Blizzard
     (a record smashing snow storm where 30 inches of snow fell over two and a half days)
- a construction paper Alaskan Flag and student’s research project on the state of Alaska
- a drawing made by several students
- a student’s research project on the region of Asia (dedicated to Mrs. Warden who not only still teaches at
     the school, she is #5 of 5’s second grade teacher!
- a First Communion class project (a construction paper chalice with the names of all the students receiving
     their first communion in 1991 signing the paper
- a 1991 penny
- a list of the first grade students (they wrote their own names)
- a print out of the first grade student roster
- some dinosaur stickers
- a dinosaur eraser

The time capsule was emptied of its historic contents.  Principal Jungles thanked the Frandsen Bank & Trust staff that was present (sorry, I did not get his name) – and asked about the possibility of refilling the time capsule with items from 2011 to be placed back into their vault and reopened in 2031!  The staff member seemed to love the idea!

I am very excited about the potential of this project and am hoping that St. John’s holds another assembly – this time to document what would be going in the time capsule (and why) before sealing it up!  I would LOVE to be on hand when those little bits of life in 2012 get sealed up and entombed for the next 20 years!

Previously, I mentioned that our local media (the Jordan Independent) was on hand to document this momentous occasion.  The professional staff at the paper beat me to getting an article put together for public dissemination.  For additional coverage, be sure to stop by and check out the JI’s Article on the time capsule (featuring some additional action-packed photos!)

As a reward for having read all the way through this post – I have for you a video of the first 2:58 seconds of the opening of the time capsule.  I was hoping to have more, but neglected to clear off my memory card.  Thankfully I remembered to bring a small “back up” memory chip with me and was able to get the pictures I have.

And finally, this post would not be complete without having thanked the WONDERFUL staff of St. John’s School and Church for EVERTHING they do for our kids!  St. John’s is like a second family, and I cannot say enough good things about being part of that family!          

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