2013-05-16 / Columns

From the Heartland

By Allan Burke

After an unseasonably warm 90 degrees on Monday, this week will be back to normal or even a little below normal with temperatures ranging from 58 to 79 degrees for the highs and between 41 and 50 degrees for the lows. The heartland needs some rain soon, and the seeding operations are in full-swing.

On the mend

Leah is spending another week in Anchorage, Alaska, to be with her sister, Auntie Margaret, who had over five hours of cancer surgery Friday afternoon and evening. The surgery went well, and the patient was in good form by Saturday afternoon and was doing really well on Sunday when their mother, Grandma Lin, arrived from Anacortes, Wash.

On Tuesday, our Margaret will be flying toAlaska to join the crew, and on Thursday Grandpa Bill flies in from California.

Neighbors and other friends of Auntie Margaret have been bringing food to the house, inviting the crew over for meals and providing lodging as the census grows.

My bride will be in the 50th state until early Saturday morning when she flies back to the heartland via Minneapolis, Minn.

We are thankful she could be with her sister and very thankful thatAuntie Margaret is coming along well in her recovery.

Abig thank you goes to our co-workers for filling in for Leah and for all their prayers and support.

North by Northwest

Fred finished his classroom work at the University of North Dakota last week, and I will be helping him move his things to our house where they will be stored for awhile.

He will be leaving Sunday or Monday for Anacortes where he will be working this summer, possibly at the Port ofAnacortes. This fall he will do his semester of student teaching at Anacortes High School. He’ll be assisting the biology and chemistry teachers. Fred’s major is biology education.

When Margaret returns from Anchorage she will be starting her summer job as a laboratory research assistant with one of her professors and taking a couple of classes.

It will be different to have Fred and I at home for a couple of days and Leah and Margaret in Alaska. These things happen as a family grows up and begins their own adult lives. Flashback to the 1970s

Leah and I have not been apart this long in our 28 years together, so it was like the 1970s and early 1980s when I was a bachelor. I had forgotten what a pig I can be when left unsupervised.After several days it occurred to me that I had scattered dirty dishes all over the house, left frozen pizza wrappings on the kitchen counters and had left dirty clothes in way too many places.

The only meal I have cooked, so far, was a batch of sloppy joes. The idea was that I could stretch the hamburger over two or three days. Thanks to “The Joy of Cooking,” I found a recipe. I was unable to find all of the ingredients called for by the big book, but I found enough to make the concoction edible if not downright tasty. Maybe I’ll be invited to show off my culinary skills on one of the cooking shows on cable TV. Or maybe not.

As for the messy house, I now have a deadline to get the place back in shape. To speed up the process, I may rent a Bobcat loader to clean the big rooms and the kitchen. My regret is that we don’t own a riding vacuum cleaner.

Small World Department

At one of the sessions at the newspaper convention in Rapid City recently, I sat next to Cris Allen, editor of the New Underwood Post. When I told her I was born in Rapid City when my parents lived in Owanka, S.D., which is near New Underwood, she said her grandmother and other relatives originated there. Come to find out, her grandmother was a friend of my late mother, Great-Grandma Hazel, and her great aunt was a classmate of hers.

Not knowing many people to whom I can drop Owanka names, I started rattling off all the families we both knew: the Barbers, the Williamsons, the Williams, the Collings, the Carletons, the Reeves, the Greenwalts, the Bensons, the Humphreys, the Brassfields, the Hawks, the Mosses, the Meyers, the Stovers, the Willhoites and many more.

My grandfather, the late Edward Seaton, managed the elevator in Owanka, and it was still standing the last time I stopped in the town which is two people short of being a ghost town.

Train traffic livens up the town on Box Elder Creek several times a day. The line was the Chicago & Northwestern Railway when my dad was the section foreman. Don’t get me started.

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