Thirty years without my father

It will be thirty years this May 24 that my dad died at Hillsboro Community Hospital of a massive stroke. If I live to April 10 this year, I will have lived longer than he did. I’m not planning to leave God’s green earth anytime soon, though.


If you’ve tried to trim your fingernails with a clipper and pretended your glasses are smeared with vaseline, that is how I did mine last week. I thought I would clean the jagged edges up with my orbital sander and slap on some fine-grit sandpaper. I decided it was a bad idea—used one of Nancy’s emery boards instead.


This may be the longest joke in the column ever, but I think you will enjoy reading it.

One dark night outside a small town in Minne­sota, a fire started inside the local chemical plant and in a blink of an eye, it exploded into massive flames.

The alarm went out to all the fire departments for miles around. When the volunteer firefighters appeared on the scene, the chemical company president said, “All our secret formulas are in the vault in the center of the plant. They must be saved. I will give $50,000 to the fire department that brings them out intact.”

But the roaring flames held the firefighters off. Soon more fire departments had to be called in as the situation became desperate. As the firemen arrived, the president shouted out that the offer was now $100,000 to the fire department who could bring out the company’s secret files.

From the distance, a lone siren was heard as another fire truck came into sight. It was the nearby Norweg­ian rural township volunteer fire company composed mainly of Norwe­gians over the age of 65.

To everyone’s amazement, that little run-down fire engine roared right past all the newer sleek engines that were parked outside the plant. Without even slowing down it drove straight into the middle of the inferno. Outside, the other firemen watched as the Norwegian old timers jumped off right in the middle of the fire fought it back on all sides. It was a performance and effort never seen before.

Within a short time, the Norske old timers had extinguished the fire and had saved the secret formulas.

The grateful chemical company president announced that for such a superhuman feat he was upping the reward to $200,000, and walked over to personally thank each one.

The local TV news reporter rushed in, asking their chief, “What are you going to do with all that money?”

“Vell,” said Ole Larsen, the 70-year-old fire chief, “Da first thing ve gonna do is fix da brakes on dat darned old­ truck!”


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