And Again...

First, it was #1 of 5.  --  LINK

Then, it was #2 of 5.  --  LINK

|Followed by #3 of 5.  --  LINK

And now….  #4 of 5.

Unlike #1, #2, and #3’s post – this is not just #4 of 5’s LERNER’S PERMIT…
This is #4 of 5 getting her MINNESOTA DRIVER’S LICENSE.

The story started three days ago.
The Mother of Five took #4 of 5 to take her road test – only, #4 of 5 forgot some important paperwork.  Since the testing station was 45 minutes away, she was allowed to take the test, but not allowed to leave as a licensed Minnesota Driver – which then required me (on my day off) to drive her back down to the testing station, and complete all the necessary details (like paperwork, and getting her Driver’s License photo taken)
Capture  IMG_20161107_100932
The test having been successfully completed, #4 of 5 (and her friend) left the Driver’s License Station and made a quick stop at our “insurance guy’s” office (which just happens to be in the same town as the driver’s testing station).  Then we headed home.

I don’t think I made it fully in the house before #4 of 5 meekly asked if she and her friend could use the car to drive to the nearest Target store (the same one that employs #2 of 5).  Reluctantly, I gave in, and allowed her to drive off with my car…

Well, that’s four down, and only one more to go…

Saint John the Baptist School – Jordan, MN.

Today, for the first time since 1999 (when I was still considered “The Father of Three”) our family does not have a student attending what we have come to affectionately refer to as “our school” - Saint John the Baptist School in Jordan, MN. 


Back when we moved to Jordan (late November of 1999) #1 of 5 was half way through fifth grade.  Since St. John’s (then, and currently) is only K-6, we decided to enroll #1 of 5 in the public school to finish out the remainder of his fifth and sixth grade, therefore he is our only child to have never attended St. John’s.  (He did attend Blessed Trinity in Richfield, MN though.)  

#2 of 5 was actually our first student enrolled at St. John’s – starting with preschool.  His Lead Teacher was Mrs. Hanek (and I am pretty sure the Assistant Teacher was Mrs. Colling – but she may not have been around until #3 of 5 started preschool…  It’s hard to remember SO FAR BACK!)**  Mrs. Hanek and Mrs. Colling were our first true “ambassadors” to St. John’s (more on them later).  Back then the preschool was held in the old convent building (which has subsequently been demolished) and located adjacent to the actual school.  I remember feeling a little intimidated by the big old school located next door to the little intimate preschool. 

** This info was confirmed.

Below, you can see the location of the old Preschool in the former convent (yellow circle), the rectory where the preschool was moved to (orange circle), the old school building (red circle), and the parking lot which would later become the future new school (blue circle).


I remember the transition from the preschool to the regular school very distinctly!  #2 of 5 preformed as an “elf” in the Christmas Program during his second year of preschool, the Kindergarten teacher (Mrs. Langsweirdt – the long time and much respected Kindergarten teacher at that time) approached us and inquired if she was going to have him in her classroom next year.  She seemed thrilled because his performance was so “animated” during the program!  We were filled with pride to have this pillar in our community specifically notice our son! 

Over the next seventeen years our family grew.  Not only did our family grow, but St. John’s changed.  The preschool from the cloister to the Rectory.  The cloister was torn down.  Finally, the new school was built, and all St. John’s students (preschool and K-6) were put together in the same building. 

Oh, and who could forget the story of the Guardian Angel??  (click through)

For those keeping score…

#2 of 5 attended preschool in the convent.
#3 of 5 attended preschool in the rectory.
#4 and #5 of 5 both attended preschool in the new school building. 

I guess you can say we have experienced most all of the pre-school transformations!

In the two photos below, you can see the current layout of the Church and school properties…

Left:  The “old school” (red brick building in the top left portion of the photo) and the location of the old convent building (the empty gravel overflow parking lot in the bottom center of the photo)


Right:  The whole campus!  Left to right – the gravel overflow parking lot, the “old School” and the “new” school attached to the church and rectory.



The past seventeen years, St. John’s has been a significant part of our life, and a significant part of our family. 
St. John’s has been “OUR” school.  We are truly vested (and have invested) in our school

When we moved to Jordan, we were strangers in a strange land.  We knew no one.  Both The Mother of Five and I worked out of town, we played out of town, we did not know anyone from town.  Our first real “roots’' in Jordan originated with St. John’s the Church, but so much more so – with St. John’s SCHOOL

St. John’s School is not just a school, it is a FAMILY.  It’s a small school.  Class sizes average (in my personal experience) right around 12-18 students.  When we dropped off our kids for preschool for the first few days, we looked around at the parents doing the same thing.  We looked around and saw the teachers our children were going to be spending their day with.  We looked around and noticed all the other wee-little-ones that would become a second family to our kids.  Little did we understand at that time just how important these people would become to us.

To speak to just how much these kids will end up meaning to each other – look no further than my own personal experience growing up in a smaller private school.  A number of years ago, I wrote about my own experiences having a second “FAMILY” (QUOTATION MARKS INTENDED).  Go ahead.  Click through.  See this phenomenon through the eyes of adult. 

Remember Mrs. Hanek and Mrs. Colling (our “ambassadors” referenced above)?  Over the years each of these two teachers have taught our children in many capacities.  They have taught as primary teachers, assistant teachers, combined classroom (multi-year classroom) teachers, Computer Lab teacher, and Librarian.  They have seen our kids at their best, and at their worst.  They instructed, inspired, comforted and corrected our children.  They also had children of their own – around the same ages.  Their children and our children interacted, and became friends. 

13177118_10209235563946120_363370728533095043_nSixteen years of involvement at St. John’s has left most of the staff members of St. John’s not only our children’s former teachers, but they have become our FRIENDS.  It’s not just Mrs. Hanek and Mrs. Colling.  No, it’s the ENTIRE staff St. John’s (past and present) – the administration, the teachers, and the support staff.  Principals, Secretaries, Teachers, Custodial, and Parish support.  There are so many names to drop – I am certain I won’t get them all – so please forgive me.  I am not going to try.  Named or not, their influence helped mold our children into the young men and women they are today in so many ways. 

Beyond the staff – The parents of fellow classmates became the parents of our children’s friends.  Together, we shared so many experiences.  So many firsts.  So many lasts.  So many in-betweens.  We sat next to each other for weekly mass, concerts, and programs, and author’s teas, and science fairs – and that’s just AT SCHOOL.  There were birthday parties, and sleepovers, and playdates.  These amazing people also helped influence our children.  While there certainly is diversity in the ranks, there is also a commonality.  Each and everyone we met through St. John’s displayed an incredible involvement in their children, in the school, and in the (or their) church / faith.

Neither the Mother of Five, or I could be any more grateful for what St. John’s was, is, and (with all hope) continues to be for so many families for years to come. 

I know what many people are wondering about… Tuition. 

St. John’s is a private school, and operates on tuition and some support from the parish.  I am not going to lie.  Over the years, tuition has been a sacrifice for our family.  We have had anywhere from one student enrolled (when we started and when we ended) to having four students enrolled at the same time.  All added up, we paid for a total of 36 years of (cumulative) tuition.  (Four students x Nine years each student (two years preschool plus K-6)).

Having had children enrolled in a couple of different schools over the years (Blessed Trinity and St. John’s) – I can tell you that in my experience St. John’s tuition is less costly than most.  Even so - all added up, we spent more investing in our children, and the St. John’s family than we paid for our first home.

Inevitably, people ask me how I justified the cost.  It was very simple.  When I look back I am unable to put a price on the education my children received. 

But wait… That’s not all! (as they say in the infomercials

Beyond the invaluable education – I would not know where to begin to value the feeling of family and involvement St. John’s provided us.  The friendships that were made (both for our children and for us), the influence that the staff and the extended family have had on our children, and on the roots that St. John’s provided our family – socially, educationally, and faithfully.   

I can think of no better way to share with you just how much our time at St. John’s meant to us (regardless of the cost of tuition) than to sum it all up by saying… “We have NO REGRETS.”  Not only do we have no regrets, we both agree that we would do it all over again if we had to!     

My experience with St. John the Baptist School in Jordan, Minnesota – has been one of complete satisfaction.

ScreenshotLast spring, as #5 of 5 graduated from St. John’s, I really struggled to write a “goodbye” to our little school.  I knew my time (as a parent with a student at St. John’s) had ended, but it didn’t feel real.  During the graduation ceremony I heard our name called out as parents who’s youngest child completed their time at St. John’s and would join the ranks of families not returning in the fall.  It was just a little too surreal.  How could this be??  St. John’s has been part of our family since we moved here.  St. John’s was part of the beginning of each and every school year for the past 16 years.  St. John’s is part of our family. 

St. John’s is (was?) OUR school. 

I spent the better part of the summer trying to decide how to write a goodbye to St. John’s here on FOF.  Try as I might, the words just never came.  Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and before I knew it, the new school years was starting, and St. John’s was not part of it for or family.  I think the absence of St. John’s this morning was my inspiration and my motivation. 

After dropping Melissa off for her first day of Middle School, I had to drive by St. John’s.  I drove by and said a short prayer for the school, for the staff, and for the parents – and I thanked God for having put St. John the Baptist School in our back yard, for having made it part of our family for the past seventeen years.


I doubt that as long as we are living in Jordan, Minnesota we won’t have something to do with St. John’s.  We just need to find our way through the transition from DIRECT involvement to INDRECT involvement.  I am confident that over the next few years that The Mother of Five and I will find a way to continue supporting the school, the staff, the students, and the family that is St. John the Baptist School.  Fundraisers, volunteer work, Cadillac Dinner, the Marathon, and whatever comes along.  I don’t think I could every really say good-bye. 

Thanks St. John’s.  You have been the best!

A Snapchat Storyboard



For years, I have suffered through one of my own “pet-peeves”…  Dull kitchen knives. 

Having spent years and years associated with the Boy Scouts – one lesson I learned, and resonates with me still is that “a dull knife is your worst enemy”.

Despite my “pet-Peeve” the fact remained that for years and years, we have had a house FULL of little kids.  (Ahem… FIVE=”full”.  Doubt me?  I’ll drop a few off at YOUR place and ask you again in a week).

A house full of little kids and a kitchen full of sharp knives is a recipe for disaster.  I wasn’t even willing to try.

But, the kids are all older now.  Old enough that I feel comfortable undertaking a personal mission.  The mission I have chosen to accept is to keep our kitchen knives sharp






Virtually every time I go to prepare a meal that uses a kitchen knife, I sharpen it before use.  For those of you who do not know, sharp knives tend to handle differently - especially when one is accustomed to not-so-sharp knives.

Yesterday was a perfect example.  I prepared my dinner before heading out to work.  I cleaned my mess and put everything away.  Shortly thereafter #4 of 5 and #5 of 5 decided they were going to make their dinner – which required them to open a bag.  #4 of 5 used the knife I just sharpened, not expecting it to glide so easily through the material she was cutting.

The Mother of Five and I were catching up before I left for work (it’s been an incredibly busy week) when I hear a scream from the kitchen, and #4 of 5 began  frantically running around before she ran for the bathroom.





0605Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let you put the rest of the story together.  You can use the same “SnapChat” photos that #5 of 5 was sending me as updates on my way to – and once I arrived at work to put it all together.

Officially (for the record) – #4 of 5 will live to see another day.  The injury looked much worse than it was in reality.

The Lost Dog

I just had a desperate sounding rapidly ringing doorbell and pounding on my door. When I answered the door, a woman asked me if I was missing a dog (she looked wildly desperate). When I told her no, she told me that she found a dog in the street and it did not look good. I went with her and spotted a medium sized brown lab flopping around in the middle of the road. She told me she was a little nervous about approaching the dog.  Having taken numerous 9-1-1 calls about injured dogs attacking people (in an instinctual defensive mode) I didn’t blame her, but looking at that dog flopping around on the super heated black asphalt I felt I had to investigate and do something anyway. 

wxI made it about halfway to where the dog was at and noticed the scene was just as the woman described.  A medium sized chocolate lab with a pink collar that was flailing about and uncontrollably panting (slobbering too, it’s coat was drenched in it’s own saliva). 

Since today will be tied for the hottest day of the year so far, the first thing that came to my mind was to bring it some water (Do dogs suffer from dehydration?)  I quickly ran back to the house and grabbed a bucket of water, and ran back to the dog.

The lady who came to my door was now with the dog and petting it.  I laid down the bucket of water near the dog’s head and then (with my "ample wide frame")  I sat down in the street with my sun to the back providing shade for the dog, while the lady contacted our local authorities.  

By the time I had brought her water and sat to shade her (we believed the dog was a “she” by this time) her flailing about had stopped, but the uncontrollably panting, and slobbering was still going on.  Additionally we noticed she was bleeding from an unknown source (later discovered to be her mouth).   Initially she would not drink any of the water.

I was pretty certain she was hit by a car.

A few more minutes of being shaded by my "ample sized frame" having passed, she finally stood up (on wobbly legs) and started drinking the water I brought out to her.  While standing, I assessed her frame – and despite being “wobbly” there were (thankfully) no signs of a collision with an auto!  The lady and I made the decision to move the bucket (and the dog by default) into the shade on the side of the road. Over the next fifteen minutes she perked up quite a bit.

NextDoorThroughout this time, several neighbors came by, but no one seemed to know who she belonged to. Eventually, the police arrived.  When the police pulled up, the dog had been cooled and hydrated and had perked up quite a bit!  She was very excited (happily excited) to see the police officers, and when offered a “treat” to entice her into the squad car she was quite attentive and sitting at attention waiting for it!  All the officer had to say is “wanna go for a ride” and she hopped right up in the police officer’s squad – no questions asked!   

When I got home I logged into our neighborhood "Nextdoor" (sort of like FB for neighborhoods and HOA's) and posted a message about the event.  By the time I was finished, I had also received a message from one of my neighbors (who had not yet seen my posting) about missing a Chocolate Lab.

Our messages had seemingly crossed.

CaptureI sent the owner a private message, to which they thanked me, and explained that their lab has a seizure disorder - and that's likely what we had seen.   The owner told me she had already contacted the JPD and that they were on their way back to return the dog to the family!   

It has made for a pretty exciting hour, and I am grateful for the happy ending!

Do You Love Me? Will You Love Me Forever?

They say that things like smells, and sound (particularly music) can transport you back to a different time and a different place.  I know this to be true...  One prime example hit me right square between the eyes (or is it ears?) last week…

I was driving to work, with a impending camping trip on my mind (an important element – remember this fact), when all of a sudden THIS popped up on my XM radio!

♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪
Stop right there!!
I gotta know right now, before we go any further.
Do you love me? Will you love me forever?
Do you need me? Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?

♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪

For those of you unfamiliar…
(Fast forward to 4 minutes, 28 seconds).

Suddenly, it was the summer of 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987 – all rolled into one.

The story goes a little something like this…

Our Church’s Youth Group used to host an annual BWCA canoe trip. This canoe / camping trip was originally the whole reason I started going to Youth Group. Once I joined youth group, I really started enjoying the time I spent there, and the friends I made while attending – but in that very first year, my youth group friends were somewhat limited.

When it came time to plan for the trip, attendees had to split up into small groups (2 chaperones and 8 youth per group). Since this was my first year attending youth group, the list of my close friends was pretty minimal. Honestly? I was pretty disappointed when I found out that most of my closest friends had already grouped up - leaving me solo to find a place in a group of kids I didn’t know very well, and that didn’t know me.

When the dust settled and I found a group to join, the group ended up being a predominantly female group. A group of girls that I didn't really know at all, of course.

(A frightening predicament for a chubby young lad with mild social anxiety.)

There was Lynn D - Lynn was the female adult chaperone for our small group. Then, there was Pam V, Amiee R, and Nancy G. These four gals were the core group of ladies I camped with that year. 

Never in a million years would I have imagined how much that week I spent camping together with these ladies (ladies I didn’t even know or have anything in common with) would be the start of what would be an annual tradition!

Like all the groups on this trip, our group had a lot of fun together. We bonded and created memories! In fact, we had so much fun on that first trip that I actually looked forward to, and sought out being grouped with these same ladies each year I attended the annual camping trip!

Each year during my BWCA trip - the face of the male chaperone, and the other male youth that joined us changed - with the exception Donny K. (Donny K was my canoe partner each and every year we went to the BWCA) Regardless of who else was on the trip with us - I found myself spending a week in the Northern Wilderness of Minnesota with these same ladies!

Sometime during our first year together these ladies affectionately coined themselves "Lynn's Bitches".
A name that stuck throughout each and every subsequent trip through our time together.

Inevitably, while canoeing a long stretch of lake somewhere in the solitude of the BWCA - the day would become exceptionally monotonous. When this happened (and our group needed some mental stimulation and a shot of motivation) these amazing gals would break out in song! They sang out (quite loudly I would add) and in a cappella (which somehow made it even better) - the lyrics to Meatloaf's smash hit “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” (often, several times in a row).

I doubt these ladies ever really knew how much I loved and appreciated their enthusiasm, and how much their breaking up a long day of canoeing by belting out the above chorus REALLY MADE MY DAY!

Not only did they make my day, these “sessions” became a special part of my trips to the BWCA each year - and my memories of those trips some 30 years later!

Still, to this day when Meatloaf's Paradise by the Dashboard Lights comes on - I am whisked back to a time and place where I am sitting in the back of a canoe with my buddy Donny K, surrounded by Lynn and her Bit*hes all shouting (to their heart’s content) how they want to be loved forever before they go any further - cheering us all up, and cheering us all on!  Even more so, when my mind was already in the “camping” mode!

So, if Lynn or any of her Bitches ever stumble upon this blog – please accept my gratitude.

I can’t thank you enough – for the great times then, and the fond memories now!

A Much Needed (and long overdue) Hiatus

I have begun a much needed and long overdue hiatus from social media - for a "yet to be determined" length of time. I am doing so for a couple of reasons far too complicated to expound upon here on this little slice of the world wide web.

I am hopeful that this hiatus will recharge my motivation, inspiring me to spend a little time catching back up with my digital roots here on the neglected FoF site.

I have two or three long overdue posts that (truth be told) remain un-started due (in large part) to the whirlpool of social media that sucks any and all motivation I may have had right down the proverbial toilet bowl like a bad turd.

The Facebook Birthday

Once a year, my Facebook wall (and my FB connected cellular phone) becomes a flurry of nearly constant activity.   Of course, anyone who is on Facebook likely knows exactly what I am talking about… Your birthday! 

Each of the past few years, as my birthday approaches – I almost begin dreading the day.  I start worrying about if / how / when to reply.  I mean, do I try to thank everyone as they stream in (all day long) in small batches or do I wait, until the day is over and thank each person individually in one big batch?  What if I miss someone?  Will they be irritated with me?  Will they feel slighted?   What if instead of an individual thank-you for each person, I just did one big massive thank you to everyone all in one singular update?  

These worries (among a few others since I am a chronic “what if’er” – just ask the Mother of Five) start to cause me a little bit of anxiety about my birthday, but….  As the birthday wishes start rolling in I start to really look at them.  Not so much the actual CONTENT but more the SOURCE of the birthday wishes.  That’s when it occurs to me (and I am then reminded every few minutes) just how lucky I am. 

The birthday wishes come from..      

Family.  Immediate, and extended.  These are the folks that (like it or not) you can’t get rid of.  Parents, siblings, in-laws, extended family.  Many of them have been there for us since BEFORE the beginning – and there are many that will be there beyond our departure.  They also have to put up with our $%#@ more than anyone else.  Just as we are stuck with them, they are stuck with us.  Thankfully, I have a wonderful wife and five pretty amazing kids that bring me more joy than I could have ever possibly imagined.  They are essentially what keeps me going every day.       

Neighborhood friends.  The kids and their parents that I grew up around.  The kids were more like siblings.  Our friends’ parents put up with us.  They opened their homes to us (and we opened our homes to them).  Together, we explored our neighborhood, made unexpected discoveries, and expanded our horizons.  This means things like “eating over”, sleepovers, Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, saved Monopoly games, tree forts, the introduction to video games, frog ponds, birthday parties, and summer nights running around the neighborhood in the dark.   

Elementary and Junior-high classmates.  Having “come of age” in a private school setting in a relatively quiet suburban enclave – I had no idea at the time how much of my life and my future memories would be tied to these people.  (I sure wish I had!)  While I had a core group of buds back then, I’m surprised (happily surprised) how much they all (even if they were not part of my regular group of close friends) mean to me.  I have actually enjoyed getting to know some of these folks (thanks to social media) better than I ever did when we spent six hours a day together, nine months out of every year!  I have said it before (proof).  My “Nativity friends” are more like extended family to me.  There isn’t a one of them that cause me to smile when I get the chance to interact with them.       

High School / Youth Group / College friends.  See above – only a larger universe.  My private high school class was (relatively speaking) pretty small.  I was able to name everyone, and I think it would be safe to say that I could call each of them an “acquaintance” at the very least.  These were the formative years of development.  My interaction with many of these people forever impacted who I am today.  Things like music, cars, Boundary Water Canoe trips.  Teachers (and youth ministers) who challenged us, and mentored us, and (I believe some) truly cared for us.  There was girls, and crushes, which sometimes lead to disappointment, and heartbreak (and the friends who helped us through).  Today when I interact with someone from these days gone by, I may hear a song, smell a smell, see a face, or just be whisked back to a memory of some really good times.  
Co-workers, supervisors and mentors  I have been very fortunate.  I have pride in the jobs I have held through the years.  I met some really wonderful people.  People who mentored me, taught me, shaped me – and others who allowed me to mentor them, teach them, and shape them (honestly, most fall into both categories.  I often learn as much as I teach – and try to teach as much as I learn.  Even this 20+ year dispatch veteran is not above learning something from the “newbies”.  I look back at the jobs I have held, as well as my current career and realize how fortunate I have been to be associated with so many amazing and talented people .

Blogging friends The Life of a Father of Five has been a ten year endeavor for me.  At a time (ten years ago) with five kids between the age of 3 and 17 – I had little time for much of anything more than work and home (heck, that’s still true ten years later).  Through this website, I have connected with some REALLY amazing people.  The connections I have made are REAL.  Their lives that they share with me are REAL.  Their pleasures and pains, their successes and their failures.  They are all REAL.  These friends are meaningful to me and have taught me many life lessons -  just as I hope my pleasures and pains, successes and failures have taught them something.   

If you are reading this, more than likely you fall within one (or more) of the categories above – and if that is indeed true – and you are one of those very special people who wished me a happy birthday, then I would like to PERSONALLY thank you!  Whether I “liked” your message, replied to your message, or (heaven forbid) missed dong either – just know that your interaction (regardless of how slight) reminded me just how fortunate I am to have family, friends, co-workers, supervisors, mentors, and even virtual connections that bring me so much joy, fill me with so many fond memories, and help make me grateful for a life that is nothing short of incredible.  

Thank you Facebook.  Thank you for the flood of wonderful birthday wishes, and the reminder how lucky I am to have the people in my life that I do.

If you must know... I sure did.
I had a great birthday, filled with wonderful wishes from amazing friends.      

Grandpa’s Tackle Box

I have often talked about how close I was to my grandparents.  Both my Mémère and Pépère have been referenced here, often.  (Heck, they have their own hyperlinks). 

90031266_133937986664 (1)But, It’s high time that I spread the love a little bit, and share a story about my Dad’s parents. 

Today’s post will be about my Grandpa. 

Sadly, much of my memory of my grandpa is muddied by my age, and the passage of time.  You see, my grandpa was my first grandparent to pass away.  It was February 1975.  I knew as much about death as any five year old does, which, is admittedly very little.  A lot of what I “knew” about death in early 1975 came from A Christmas Carol.  To me that meant that those who care about you will come back to visit you (as Jacob Marley did to Ebenezer Scrooge).     

One thing about my grandpa, was that he was an outdoorsman.  I have memories of him telling us stories from his adventures, and I have memories of doing outdoorsy things WITH him. 

He once showed me a giant bruise on his leg (It was a GIANT multi-colored bruise  Bigger and more colorful than my five year old self had ever seen!).  He proceeded to tell us the story of how a large rock rolled down a steep hill at my Uncle Ron’s cabin, and how the rock hit his leg, giving him that nasty bruise. 

There was the time we were spending time at our “choo-choo house” (don’t ask – there will be a post about that in the not too distant future) grandpa pulled up in his car.  I remember running out to meet him.  Once I met up with him, he brought me to the back end of his car, opened the trunk, and removed a big pail  full of clams.  He and I sat and shucked  (opened) all the clams.  I don’t know if he was going to eat them or not, but he told me we were “looking for pearls” inside the clams! 

There was also the time he and I spent an afternoon together (also at the choo-choo house) shooting slingshots.  He had a factory made one (which I proudly own), and for me he had a “hand made” slinkshot (like Dennis the Menace).  We were shooting rocks at some cans set up across the dirt road from the choo-choo house. 

I remember a boating (likely fishing too) trip with my dad, my grandpa, and myself.  I recall really feeling like “one of the guys” that day. 

I found out much later in life that he (as I do now) enjoyed hunting (link) a little bit too.  (Link to part 2)

But, You already know how this story ends. 
I lost my grandfather two months before I was six years old. 
Way too early.


The pictures below are of my grandpa, my sister, and myself (with a “cameo” appearance by my Pépère)

(Left) – Grandpa, myself, and my sister in front of the fireplace at my mom & dad’s first house.  This would have been very close to the time that he told us the story of the rock.  In fact, he was siting in the couch on the left side of that photo when he told us the story.

(Center) – Grandpa and my sister.  In the right of that photo (almost in the background) is my Pépère.  This photo (despite my sister being in it (wink)) is a favorite – BOTH my grandfathers are in the same photo.  I wish I had more like this.

(Right) – Grandpa with my sister at my grandpa’s house.   Many years in the future, I would spend a lot of time helping mow that lawn, and take down the fabric awnings you see above the window (retracted).  

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Yes, there are a few fun memories, but from what I know of him since his death was that FISHING was his thing.  Grandma often told us how much he loved to fish.

Photos below, left to right…

(Left) Grandpa fishing.
(Center) My Grandma, likely dragged out fishing (looks like it was taken on the same day).
(Right) My grandpa and grandma on an ice fishing trip. 

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When I think back about my grandpa, “fishing” is one of the first things I think of.  When I am out fishing I feel a definite connection with my grandpa, and often spend a little time “visiting” with him.      

Yes, my grandpa passed away when I was a very young lad, but my grandma (his wife) on the other hand lived on for MANY years afterwards.  In fact, grandma was my last living grandparent.  She passed away thirty years later - in 2005.  Grandma and I were good buds through the years, and I often spent some quality time just hanging out with grandma.  Towards the end of her life, grandma could no longer live in her home alone, and was moved to an assisted living facility.  When that happened, my dad and his brother (Uncle Ron - who’s cabin, hill and rock caused the aforementioned nasty bruise) had to clean out her house. 

Not too much longer after her house was cleaned out and sold, grandma moved from transitional care, to full time nursing home, and eventually (at 93 and a half years old – yes, you get to add the “half” to anyone who makes it to 90…  They earn every “half year” at that point!) I lost my last living grandparent. 

Some time after grandma’s passing, I was given a gift from my dad and my uncle.  While clearing out grandma’s house, they came upon their dad's (my grandpa’s) old fishing tackle box.  They planed on passing along grandpa’s tackle box to me but not before my uncle took it with him in order to research the old lures found within. 

When I received it, I was beyond flattered. 

The tackle box is kept with our family’s tackle boxes, but as an “heirloom” item it is never taken with us when we go fishing.   In fact, it is often pushed behind all the other tackle boxes when we return. 

As they say, out of sight, out of mind. 

Today was a beautiful day outside.  I spent most of the day working on a couple of projects in the garage.  While I was working, I noticed an edge of Grandpa’s Tackle Box peeking out from behind the other Tackle Boxes.  I decided today was the day.  I wanted to document Grandpa’s Tackle Box here.



Yes, my dad and uncle found an old photo of my grandpa fishing, and hung it safely inside Grandpa’s Tackle Box.
Here is the whole photo, and a close up of my grandpa, fishing.

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One of the things I noted was how meticulous my grandpa kept his tackle. 
Almost every piece still had it’s original box.

I’ll go through the box, left to right – top tray and then bottom portion.

You can see my uncle’s research in a couple of the photos. 
He jotted down some notes and some collector values, then placed the note inside the (original) box with the lure. 


First up.  A Lou J. Eppinger K231 (number 18) 3 1/2” red and white Daredevil spoon.   

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In the compartment with the Eppinger spoon is this oddity. 

The box is in German (?) – and is labeled Bergmanspirken.  I took (and combined) photos of each side of the box.  As best as I can tell, it says “Lagligt skydd” on the cover, “För Gädda, Abborre___ös, Laxöring och Röding.” (underline is missing or unintelligible letters) one another side and “INR VARUMÄRKE” on yet another.

It is a very heavy lure.  Hard to see it in the photo, but it is triangular, and solid metal with a single barbed hook.

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Now, and little more commonly know brand…  Pflueger.





The Pflueger #3796. 

A 2 3/4 in “red head” with a propeller and spinning head.

According to my uncle’s research, this lure was in production from 1930-1952.

According to MY research, my grandpa paid $1.59 for it at Montgomery Wards.

Not only did my grandpa keep the lure and the box – he also kept the original instruction sheet!

















Next up, we have a South Bend “Bass-oreno” #973
this one is Red and White, 5/8 oz, and 3 1/2 inches.











A personal favorite, the Fred Arbogast #7504 “Hula Popper”   (I have a couple myself!

This one is yellow.  I have red and white ones, and a larger yellow one similar to this one.








This next lure is also one of my favorites from Grandpas Tackle Box.

The Heddon D350-XRY – Go Deeper River Runt – 3 1/2 inches.
Why is it a favorite?  Not really sure.  I guess I would have to say that it has a nice feel to it. 

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Who can go fishing without a Johnson’s Silver Minnow?

I know I can’t! 

The Johnson’s Silver Minnow has been a staple in MY tackle box since I was a teenager (and spending my hard earned money on fishing tackle)

This golden shiny example is slightly larger, and more gold than the Silver Minnows that currently reside in my tackle box.








Another example of a lure very similar to one I have in my tackle box..

The Helins wooden flatfish X5 – 3 inch.

This particular model (wooden X5) was manufactured through 1948.
They began changing the sizes, colors, and manufacturing materials after 1948.







One more example of the meticulous care that my grandpa had with his lures…

A “made in Finland” Rapala CD-9-G – 3 1/2 inches – in gold coloring.

This one had the box, and also had the instructions / sales brochure still in the box with the lure.






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Another Rapala

This one is the CD-11-GRF – Red – 4 3/8 inch.

Another Rapala made in Finland.










This beautiful specimen is the South Bend Midge-Oreno.

This is the 3/8 oz, 2 1/4 inch, Red and White version.

That is NOT the original box, but it sure fits nicely in there.  I can see why my grandpa put it in this box!








Now, we move to the bottom tray.  The bottom of Grandpa’s Tackle Box contains several ordinary fishing lures (none documented by my Uncle) – many boxed together. 

Floating (pun intended) around the bottom tray were several bobbers of various size, shape, and condition.  There is weights, hooks, and swivels, a spinner and hook rig, and some jigs. 

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There was another small box containing a large spoon and two spinners. 

The back of the orange and black spotted spoon was stamped “FLASH BAIT 66 MPLS, MINN”

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Another oddity (at least to me) was this spoon.  It was GIANT!  I should have measured it.

The Original Doctor Spoon – The 2 in 1 lure.

The instructions (printed on the back) explain how you can convert the spoon into two different (yet equally effective) versions by using the split rings at the head and base – interchanging which end attaches to your line and which end attaches to the hook. 

Another tidbit I found interesting was that the Original Doctor Spoon was made by the Prescott Spinner Company located not far from where I live – in Beautiful Mankato, Minnesota!

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The last lure in this tour is a “Lazy Dazy #503”

Unlike most of the top shelf lures (which were wooden) the Lazy Dazy (proudly?) boasts that it is “Made of Plastic”

I don't know if this is a knockoff of the well known “Lazy Ike” lure (which I own a couple of, and was the first lure I ever received as a young boy!), or if the Lazy Ike is a knockoff of the Lazy Dazy. 

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What fishing tackle box would be complete without a knife (or two) in it? 

Not mine, or My Grandpa’s Tackle Box!

(Top) Sheathed knife.  This one is pretty hefty and has a heavy duty blade (that is corroded and rusted).
(Middle) – Garpin Tackle Company filet knife
(Bottom) – Uh… I don’t know here… I am pretty sure this is just a plain old kitchen knife.  If it is, I am certain my grandma didn’t know it was in there, because I am pretty certain that my grandpa would have got an earful from my grandma! 

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Well, there you have it.  My Grandpa’s Tackle Box. 
For being the avid fisherman he was, he sure had a humble collection of fishing lures. 

I don’t know how true this is, since I really don’t have any recollection of it, but when I picture my grandpa out fishing, I get the feeling / vibe that he was a “hobo fisherman”… What I mean by that is that he was not a “gear guy” who had to have all the best fishing lures and equipment. He didn’t take fishing “too” seriously. 

He seemed to be a guy who only bought what he needed, and took great care of the things he had. 

He seems as if he would have been as happy fishing from the shore or on a dock as he would have been in a boat.

He seems like the kind of guy who could rig up his line (likely, on a cane pole) and just sit back smoking his pipe (as seen in the photo above) while patiently wait for the fish to bite.

He seems like he was the kind of guy who didn’t much care if the fish were biting or not – because “a bad day fishing is still better than a good day working”.

So, I’ll wrap this up with a hop, skip, and a jump up two generations.  Just a couple quick pictures of MY tackle box.

There is a short story behind this box too.  I had an almost identical box from the time I was a young lad.  Over the years, the latch broke, and I have since had a couple of tackle boxes that I have been less than pleased with.  I had explained my dissatisfaction with my tackle box and had been explaining what my old box looked like – when low and behold – about a week later, Best Bud Ed sent me some photos of a tackle box he bought me at a local second hand store!  Other than the color (my original had a green bottom), they were identical.  The “down side” to the box Best Bud Ed found was that many of the dividers were missing.  This, did not bother me, as I still have my empty and broken original!  I will simply pull the dividers out and repurpose them in this box!

I used it once in the fall, and ended up storing it away for the winter before replacing the dividers.  Until then, what you see is what you get!

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