War…What is it good for?

Absolutely Nothing!

My oldest sister was born at the beginnings of World War II. A war baby to a very young mother. I was born at the endings of the Korean War. Another war baby to a still very young mother.

My point…I have, we have, always lived in a state of war. Or “conflicts”

Myself… The Korean Conflict. Viet Nam, The Cold War, The Bay of Pigs, the American occupation of the Dominican Republic, The Irish Troubles, The Angolan Conflict, the Six-day war, Afghanistan, The Middle East, …ad Infinium. From 1945 to 1971 the world saw over 200 conflicts, wars, uprising, battles of attrition, and enemy encounters alone. That means…From my birth until my graduation from high school our world was engaged in approximately 180 regional and worldwide battles.

I watched the Russian ruler Khrushchev on television; pounding his shoe on a table, (obviously a Mandela Effect, because that NEVER happened) declaring he would bury us. I worried about someone attacking Iowa with an “A-Bomb”.

Our youth went off to other countries, for no understandable reason. Returning with a great deal of ongoing emotional and spiritual anguish, physical damage, or dead. I marched with Viet Nam Vets against the war, helped to hold up a flag of Peace at our local Iowan government center. I thought I was all that. I was not. I was just a young unfashionable hippie in patched up jeans.

So now we have another battle; a peaceful country being invaded by its bully of a neighbor, a raving despot determined to win back the glory days of Russian imperialism.

And this is indeed another world conflict, with all of the sanctions, protests. And boy howdy I am right there, angry, tearful, appalled. I want Ukraine to be left alone to continue its move towards a peaceful future. I despise Putin. I despise him and all of his sick cronies.

And now the hard part, the little niggle in my mind. Currently this year, today, the world has 45 of these events happening, everywhere. Death of innocents, invasions, destruction. We have grown so used to this. We ignore it when we wake in the morning.

Loss of freedom is a thing. We are soft here in the North American continent. We equate loss of freedom to being told to get a shot or wear a mask. We equate that to fascism, to socialism. We don’t care about capitalistic spoilage of our environment. We care about only the bottom line…our personal comfort.



We white, pampered citizens are awfully spoiled and whiney

We are for some part a racist, non-caring, angry people here. We (I) jump on temporary bandwagons when we (I) have real trouble shoved in our (my) face.

We are soft, we need to care more, we need to toughen up to help save our world.

Lake Washington was hopping

Recently someone asked me if I knew anything about Lake Washington in Meeker County. I had to say, “nope, I know nothing’.

Trails End resort. Boating, fishing and fun.

From The Lake Washington Improvement Association I learned some geographical facts.
“Lake Washington is located between the cities of Dassel and Darwin in Meeker County, Minnesota.  The lake covers 2,639 acres with 10.6 miles of associated shoreline. The lake is relatively shallow with a mean depth of 8.6 feet, maximum depth of 17 feet and is known for its walleye and bass fishery”.

The Association does wonderful work improving the lake, protecting its shorelines and water. However, I went further afield to learn about the romantic history of the lake.

I have asked people, searched records at the museum, looked online. So far this is the information I have gathered.

I learned that Lake Washington was hopping back in the day. It held a number of resorts, some dance halls, fishing, picnics, swimming, boating, happy gatherings and wholesome fun.

Washington Lake Cottages…I could spend the summer!
Leonard Benson Storing Ice for summer sales

The Idle-Wave Pavillion offered dancing to the music of The Dream Orchestra and Entertainers on Friday nights. They advertised new decorations, a fine dance floor, and fine music for an enjoyable evening of dancing and romance. C. Oscar Broberg provided real recreation with a morning or evening fishing trip for visitors to the Meeker County oil well (more on that another time). He said that Lake Washington was where a fella could always find hungry pike, pickerel, sunfish crappies and bass. He supplied boats and cottages for rent at a reasonable rate! You could spend time at Trails End Lodge, the Cottages, Gordan’s resort, Billy Millers Resort and do some more good dancing at the Avalon.

A few reputable sources mentioned that there may have been a little bit of bootlegging happening with visits from the gangsters of Wisconsin and Illinois. Money was made!

Swenson Cabin being dismantled for move to Forest City Stockade to be the Doctors house

The lake had profitable Ice Houses before electricity came through, men cutting blocks of ice in the winter and storing the ice in insulated buildings for summer sales. Farms were many, log cabins more prevalent. In fact, the Swenson family cabin was dismantled in later years and rebuilt at the Forest City Stockade.

The Clifford Farm

I often wish I could be a tourist back in the day, the early 20th century, the prohibition days, pre-World War II. Maybe I could have been a flapper or a bar owner. Maybe I could have spent long summer evenings just floating in a rowboat on the lake or sitting on the shore watching the multitude of stars above.

I miss those days in which I never lived.

Picnic on a lazy summer afternoon

Cowboy Valentine Poem

I am an old cowboy that fell from my horse.

Sitting here thinking,

Full of remorse.

Oh, why din’t I tell you Oh heart of mine?

That my love for you is better than shine?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cowboy-shine.jpg

Be My Valentine

A few ideas on celebrating the day with a different outlook

On Valentine’s Day we can become enamored with spending money, giving the same old roses, boxes of candy and expensive jewelry.  Not that I don’t like those things, however we could be creative.

Handmake your card.  You can do this with online platforms, so many free ones to search for.  You can paint a picture or write a poem or story to the one you celebrate this holiday with.  Use imagination, and what you might have at home.  Love comes in many styles.

Take a long walk if able, carry along a thermos of hot chocolate if in cold environments, maybe some wine or brandy.  Make sandwiches, cut them with heart shaped cookie cutters.  Have a picnic on a snowy bench or if lucky under a tree in the warm grass.

Sit and talk, discuss your future plans, your past, your love.  Why do you love one another anyway?  Share that,

Exchange books, read together.

Watch a movie and cuddle under a blanket on your couch. Share a bowl of popcorn.

Cook a meal together, incorporate your favorite foods.  Eat the meal by candlelight.  Use good china if you have it.

Take a nap, dream sweet dreams together.

Take your single friends and neighbors a card and a loaf of homemade bread.  Invite them over for a meal,

Just love one another, if you are married, single, divorced or widowed.  Just love the best you can.

Take me out to the ball game

News that three games of the town ball state championship will be held at our Dassel Ball Park in 2022 brought visions of sunshine dancing in my head.

Paul Servin and Jeanette (Thompson) Servin

Before the game. Paul and Jeanette Servin.  Yes, I do Know it shows a Hutch jersey, but Jeanette is just too fabulous not to share

Our team, then called the Dassel Nine, started out in 1880. Baseball of the time was typically held between local teams. It was just too darn hard to travel far in those days. Dassel, though had the pleasure of being on the railroad line so our town was able to play further afield.

In 1905 the Dassel Nine became the Dassel Yellow Jackets, a fierce name indeed. With the new name came Dassel’s team’s first uniform.  Golden wool with black trim.

Between 1880 and 1900 five different ball fields were used. I have not been able to find the locations of these, but I assume they may have been rustic sites. I have read that original fields used chicken wire strung between two poles for backstops, with spectators sitting close to see the plays. The spectators would sometimes interfere with the play if it seemed it may go badly for the team they supported.

In 1901 the Dassel team moved their games to the Dassel Driving Park, a site for bicycle and horse races. This area was converted to the location that all iterations of the Ball Park has been since.

Our team has gone by 6 names. The Dassel Nine beginning in 1880, The Dassel Yellowjackets in 1905, The Red Sox in 1908, the White Sox in 1912, back to the Red Sox in 1945 and the Kernels in 1949 when Pride Hybrid financially supported the team. In 1967 Dassel and Cokato merged teams to become the Dassel Cokato Saints (the team uniforms were bought from the St Joseph team with Saints on the uniform) our team has been called this since.  As a side

Dassel White Sox

                     Dassel White Sox

note, we did have another team from 1993-1994 called the DC Mudcats.

The history of our team is amazing, just as the history of our town. As always, I look forward to learning more.


That Canoe.


Way before European settlers came to the Dassel area, way before Dassel, back in 1030 or so BCE this area was inhabited by the Woodlands People.

The Woodlands People were a creative and civilized group who created small, sometimes temporary, settlements along the waterways and lakes of the area.

Among their talents was the creation of dugout canoes, carved from entire tree trunks, burned clean in the middles. It is purported that these canoes were sunk into cold frigid waters as a method of preservation during the frigid winter months.

In 1959 a group of workers were dredging the Lower Big Swan Lake for invasive carp.  With their nets they brought up one of these canoes.  A white oak 14-foot-long canoe that had been preserved for centuries in the waters of the lake. Eventually this canoe was donated to the McLeod County Historical Society.

I have such a romantic view of that time, of the people who lived then.  When artifacts like these are found, I wish they came with a little time capsule that let us know the name and history of their creators.  I would like to know why this canoe was left for so long.  Did the creator pass away, move from the area?  History can often only be imagined, cobbled together from the few facts we have.  However, in my mind’s eye, history is amazingly wonderful.

In the meantime, visiting this canoe is well worth your time.

Dassel’s First Flag & Seven Sisters

1869 was the year of many firsts for Dassel.  Our small settlement was platted this year by the St Paul and Pacific Railroad.

St. Paul and Pacific railroad known known as The Great Northern reached Dassel this year.  James H. and Chas A. Morris opened our first general merchandise store.  James H. Morris built a modern sawmill.

The McKinney sisters were also well known in Dassel this year. Called the Seven Sisters, they arrived in Dassel with their father and uncle and worked to clear the land and build two large log cabins connected by a frame building.  Their home became a community gathering site and was identified fittingly as The Seven Sisters.

People traveled to specifically stay at Seven Sisters, enjoy the hospitality offered and the excellent food cooked by these industrious women. Their site became an unofficial hotel and community hub.

And 1869 is the year that Dassel held our first fourth of July celebration, with our very first United States flag.

This splendid flag was stitched together from scraps red and white wool flannel by the seven McKinney sisters, with stars on a field of blue cambricon and flown proudly at our festival.  This 4’ by 6’ flag contained 31 stars, the number of states in the union at the time.

Dassel was becoming a village.  The flag, the celebration was not only created for our countries Independence Day, but it was also a symbol of our future.main street flag

note:  A replica was created of this flag by descendants of the sisters in 2000. The location of both flags is now unknown.

note: the flag pictured is not the original flag, but a facsimile.  The picture of the main street, though found within the Dassel archives is not necessarily Dassel.




Those were the Days by Oscar E Lindquist page 30

Saloons, Space Aliens, Cold Cases by William Ward

Words from community memories

Dassel’s First Flag Story by Amy Wilde Dassel Dispatch July 5,2000 Page 1 & 10


The Kingston Foot Bridge

Kingston Archives

Now this is not quite Dassel although Dassel township boarders Kingston’s’ so I am taking a liberty here.

A few years ago, I met a wonderful gentleman named Oscar, who lived on his family’s farm along the Crow river in his youth. His best friend, Lloyd, lived across the river, also on his family’s farm.

I have always remembered their tales, about their youth, their time away in the service, and how they stayed with their mothers on their farms until both mothers passed. They then both stayed on the farms alone until they reached an age that they needed to move to a more careful environment.

As youngsters during the winter, they visited by crossing the frozen river, but summer visits were more complicated. They would need to canoe across or go the long way around to the road and across the main bridge.

They talked of a bridge their fathers had built across the river to get back and forth to visit one another. He said it was just a small bridge that made travel easier. I was fascinated, and have always remembered, my mind creating a romantic fantasy about what that bridge looked like and the vision of two young boys traveling across the Crow River in a time past.

While looking though pictures today I came across one that totally floored me. The Kingston footbridge.

Now I don’t know is this is the same bridge, but it certainly fits my perceived image.

Kingston FootBridge

Small hand-built bridge across the Crow River.

When history meets the present in such a visual manner I am enchanted. So, you also can now know the tale of the footbridge across the Crow River and two young boys growing up along the moving waters of our area’s past.

Small hand-built bridge across the Crow River.

Where is Dassel anyway, and what about that corn?

Dassel is located in Meeker County Minnesota, just off the intersection of Highways 12 and 15. We are about 30 miles south of St Cloud, 60 miles west of Minneapolis, and 15 miles north of Hutchinson. So, we are situated in a prime location.

Dassel was platted in 1869 by the St Paul and Pacific Railroad. Our town was named after Bernard Dassel, from the city of Dassel, Germany. Bernard was given the job of secretary to the railroad by Harold Hill. Our village itself was incorporated in 1878.

Our little village grew over the years, becoming a larger town and then a city.

I’m skipping over the massive amount of history available for just now and jumping to September 28 of 1941. To the event that really grabbed my attention!

That month Dassel put on the best, very best, Seed Corn Jubilee. Our event was advertised way ahead of time. Among others The Coffee Cup Café asked that people stop in for a cup on their way to the parade. El-Mar Beauty Nook said you had better look your best, so make an appointment early for a finger wave or a fall perm. Anderson Home Brand Groceries ran Jubilee Specials and Levi Happala and Sons welcomed all to attend the Great Dassel Seed Corn Jubilee! Dassel was hopping, the seed corn capital of the world! A parade ensued; the sidewalks of town crowded with visitors to cheer on the floats, the high school bands. Jeanette Skalberg was crowned Queen of the Jubilee. Her attendants included Ruda Carlson, Dorothy Swanson, Evelyn Tormanen, and Helen Corkin.

Contests were held. In the Senior Division Lester Peel won first place with most unusual vegetable. In the Women’s Department Mrs. Oscar Dahlgren took home first place for her wonderful embroidered pillowcase. Alfred Anderson had the largest ear of corn.

This was the year of the Dassel Corn Palace, a fantastical building sided with ears of seed corn, each ear driven into place by many strong men. People came from far away to visit this masterpiece.

So, to anyone who may read this. I would love to know more, and even know if my information is totally accurate. Please feel free to comment!

Dassel is an amazing village, town, city. I am proud to live here.

The saddest pain

Yesterday we received the news about our friend Ahne. The news that she had passed. By her own volition.I can’t claim to have been Ahne’s close friend. I saw her seldom, and we really had no heart to heart conversations. I cannot, however, remove this sadness from my spirit. The idea of her pain, her hurt, her despair. It continues to revolve around that hamster wheel of my brain. At odd points during the day I am struck painfully with her death. I woke in the night, often, and imagined her.

So…I think I would like to talk about my admiration for Ahne’s fierce spirit, write about what delighted me about her.

She was so fricking feisty. Her indignation at a wrong was a delight to witness. She did not hold back, she was honest.

I enjoyed watching her argue with her father, not because I enjoyed the anger, but because I enjoyed the pure spunk of her.

Her smile, Ahne had the biggest, the best, the kindest smile. And she cared about others, about their needs. It was not uncommon for her to take care of others, to help.

Her heart, her deep commitment to feeling; I admired that. Her passion; I honored that.

Her defense of her children; once Easton showed me his Trump cap, with pride! I responded huh, I guess I should get my Kamala Harris hat out then. Oh Lord, if looks could destroy…The look I received in defense of her son was totally the look of a mamma bear.

Her brilliant intelligence; Ahne, was smart, gracious, , she had an engaging ability to be present with others.

Her friends; so many people love Ahne, so many people are impacted by her painful passing. I hope she feels this love. She deserves to feel this love.

Ahne, I cannot wrap my head around this, of all the passing’s I have experienced in the past year, yours my beautiful, wonderful, magnificent woman, yours has destroyed me.

You are missed, you are loved, you are honored. I send great love to you, to your family, children, and your friends. We all feel the greatness of your presence in our lives

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Tilly Evan Jones

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable and beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings.” ~Mary Oliver


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