Dick Herfindahl: What kids did for fun before modern technology

Published 5:59 pm Friday, February 22, 2019

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl


All of the white stuff that we have been experiencing lately has given me cause to reflect back on my days as a youth. No – the snow does not make me feel youthful. My aching back is a testimonial to that. Thanks to my sons and grandsons, I have not had to move very much snow this winter.

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As I think back to those youthful days, when I felt totally indestructible, it seems as if we kids of the neighborhood were always seeking out a different hill that would give us that ultimate thrill. There were some Saturdays when we would venture out into the slough just off of Bridge Avenue to visit a hill that was located on the south side of that area. That hill was located just north and a little east of what some may remember as the Sunshine Pre-school.

That particular hill was short and steep, which made for a quick and swift ride. The upside of that was that the climb up the hill, although steep, was short. When you flew down that hill you were quickly greeted by some small trees and brush with clumps of cattails greeting you at the bottom. On one of our excursions, there was a large white owl perched in this dead tree that sat on top and a little east of where we were sledding. We watched as that magnificent bird would soar across the snow covered slough searching for an unsuspecting rodent or even something larger. What an impressive sight, I know that I was always impressed whenever I could see wildlife up close in its natural environment.

As I grew older, the allure of the slough seemed to hold less of that magic than it did in my younger days. I still marveled at the many wonders that nature had to offer, but ice skating at the pond or sledding at the nearby golf course seemed more appealing. As teens, we would have sledding and skating parties and when we went skating at the pond we usually had a small bonfire to keep warm by. One such place that we liked for sledding that was always a fun time, was the hill where the high school now sits. It was a long, gradual hill that allowed you to slowly pick up speed on the way down. The only hazard was an assortment of oak trees that dotted the hillside. Although I knew the land owner, we still liked to slide at night when we could do our sledding pretty much undetected.

At the end of a night of sledding, we would finish off the evening with hot cocoa topped with marshmallows and snacks at someone’s house. Our group consisted of a bunch of kids, both boys and girls who were just friends having fun. As we grew older it became more of a guy thing and more adventurous in terms of being a little dangerous. We liked to go out on country roads on a moonlit night and pull a toboggan behind a vehicle with a long rope. It was always fun but you had to watch out for in-drives and culverts. In looking back, I have to wonder how we all survived some of those adventures.

I guess even at an early age we always seemed to have that desire to live on the edge. What we did in those days was innocent fun, I was going to say harmless but it was only that if none of us got hurt and except for a few bumps and bruises and wrecking my friend Pat’s Jeep, we escaped pretty much unscathed.


Ice shelter removal dates set

Dark houses, fish houses and portables must be off the ice no later than midnight for each of the dates given in the following categories below. County sheriffs may prohibit or restrict the use of motorized vehicles if dangerous ice conditions are present.

Border Waters: Minnesota-Iowa, Feb. 20; Minnesota-Wisconsin, March 1; Minnesota-North and South Dakota, March 5; Minnesota-Canada, March 31.

Inland waters: Dates of removal are determined by an east-west line formed by U.S. Highway 10, east along Highway 34 to Minnesota Highway 200, east along Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 2, and east along Highway to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. South of line, March 4; north of line, March 18.

If shelters are not removed, owners will be prosecuted, and the structure and contents may be confiscated and removed or destroyed by a conservation officer.

After removal dates, shelters may remain on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise only when occupied or attended.

Storing or leaving shelters on a public access is prohibited.


Boat hosts needed for Governor’s Fishing Opener

Until next time, we have been getting good responses for our need of fishing hosts but we still have a long way to go in reaching the number of hosts needed to make this event a success. I would like to encourage anyone who is a registered boat owner and has been considering being a boat host or knows someone that might be interested in the Governor’s Fishing Opener by being a boat host to sign up online. The easiest way to do that is by going to www.mngovernorsopener.com look for the search box and type in boat host, click on search glass and it will take you to the page. Select boat host information and follow the instructions. You may also stop by the CVB office to pick up a registration form or call me at 507-383-2231 for more information. This is our chance to showcase this great community that we choose to live in and one that we are proud to call home.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers during the year 2019. They are the reason we are able to enjoy all of these wonderful freedoms we enjoy today.