Dick Herfindahl: Reminiscing with an old childhood friend is always a good time

Published 10:45 pm Friday, September 13, 2019

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl


This past week I had lunch with a childhood friend who grew up right next door to me. Her name is Sandee Battier, but her maiden name was Sorenson. We were always very good friends and as kids we played a lot of cowboys and indians (totally unacceptable in today’s society). That’s just how we rolled back in those days. I guess I was kind of like an older brother to her and whatever game we were playing I always treated her like she was just one of the guys.

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After I went in the service we kept in contact and eventually we sort of lost touch for a while. When I left for the service she made me promise that I would never get a tattoo. If I was ever tempted I would think back to that promise and it never happened.

The next time we saw each other was at her mother’s funeral. We exchanged email addresses and have kept in touch ever since. She is married to Ed Battier, who is an ex Minnesota Viking and they had three children, two boys and a girl. Their oldest son is Shane Battier, who played basketball for Duke University, was NCAA player of the year his senior season and went on to play for the Miami Heat when they won their NBA titles.

It was really great to see her and to meet her oldest son, Todd. They were in Minneapolis for a funeral and she wanted to come back to her hometown to see a few friends and see how the town has changed. I believe that we crammed more reminiscing into that short couple of hours than I thought was possible. It was great remembering some of the fun times we had growing up in the old neighborhood.

In looking back to those days I remember hanging out at the “Bridge” which allowed the “crick” to flow under the road from Bancroft Bay to Goose Lake. When I mentioned that to Sandee she said “you were always catching bullheads,” which I had to add was just a side benefit of seining for minnows. We would get excited when we would pull up my net and there would be small crappies or sunfish mixed in with the minnows. I always took that as a sign that bigger things might lie ahead.

Our night games consisted of a serious game of tag, anti-I-over, hide and seek, kick the can and many games that we would invent with our vast childhood imaginations, which we capably used to entertain ourselves. One of our gang was an older kid named Roger who was a friend as long as he was not around any of his older buddies. Once they came around he would play his own made up game, which he probably labeled beat up the little kids. I was usually on the wrong end of that because, in looking back, I wasn’t smart enough to not stand up to him. One of many life lessons that my dad taught me was “pick your battles”. My dad had a lot of good advice that, as a youth, I didn’t always heed. When I went into the service he gave me this advice: always keep your head up and your mouth shut, don’t volunteer for anything and do what you’re told. This was pretty simple advice, but sound advice.

I don’t really know exactly when it happened, but one night when I was sitting around the barracks talking with some of my friends I realized something. Even though my dad only had an eighth grade education (which was common back in his time) he was a smart man. He was wise in the school of life, which he referred to as the school of hard knocks. I guess you could say that he was “street smart” when it came to dealing with situations.

Whenever I look back to those times growing up north of town, I have so many great memories that will occasionally come to light. We would have neighborhood football games on Saturday afternoons in the fall. The kids who lived north of Hammer School would play against us kids who lived south of Hammer. It was a fun time and very rarely was there an argument over the rules. It was football, pretty simple except for interpreting where someone stepped out of bounds or where a knee touched the ground. Yes, those were fun times and after the game we would all be like one and there never were any hard feelings, just a few bumps and bruises.

I really had a great time reminiscing with Sandee, catching up with what has been going on in our lives and remembering some of the fun times that we had growing up in the old neighborhood.

Please remember to keep our troops in your prayers. We must not let ourselves forget those who are still putting themselves in harm’s way so we can enjoy all of the wonderful freedoms we have today.