The fun of past summers

I was planning to write about the upcoming presidential election, but the more I thought about it…naw.

There is already enough crap to read on online and in print, so why waste the space? I’ve almost quit reading my pseudo Facebook page because of the political overload.

When I was growing up in Minnesota in the late 1940s and early 1950s, it was definitely a different time.

No TV or cell phones or iPads or streaming videos to occupy a kid’s time.

Back then we had to figure out what to do with our time. Such as going fishing, picking fruit and vegetables from the family garden, swinging in the park, going to the Saturday night band concerts in the band shell in the park.

Or swimming in the lake (no swimming pools then). At the lake, we always had the potential of stepping on the back fin of a bullhead, which hurt like heck.

What I did like, though, was squishing my toes in the cool mud at the bottom of the lake. They only hauled in sand for a small area in the swimming area.

When our family moved to Kansas in 1955 we had a swimming pool with a high diving board. The pool was in its first year and brand-spanking new.

That pool has been torn out and replaced with the Aquatic Center with a slide and other accessories—but no high diving board for the thrill of landing flat on your belly or back from 10 feet in the air.

We used to wear old sweatshirts to ease the pain.

Back to Minnesota….

My Grandpa Dick lived on a farm north of town. It had a lane through the pasture that led to the lake, which also was north of town.

I can still remember walking that lane, dodging the cow pies, across the section to get to the lake.

Summer days are long in the north country and it stays light way into the evening.

My bedtime was about 8:30 p.m. Have you ever tried to go to sleep when it is light for an hour and a half?

We had never heard of air conditioning, so the windows were always open and I could hear what was going on outside while imprisoned in the upstairs of our house.

I went fishing many times with my Grandpa Klaassen. We fished at sloughs and on the Cotton­wood River near Windom.

I don’t remember catching many fish, but the idea and the hope that we would was always right.

Many times we headed north with my Uncle Ben, and it seemed like it rained every time…spoiling the chance to catch the big ones.

He had a new green Chevy and I will never forget the wipers that ran on vacuum and would stop when he stepped on the gas.

If you wish to share your comments or ideas, my e-mail address is joel@