Memories From A Dakota Farm

Perhaps last nights summer storm rekindled youthful memories of a simpler time on our prairie farm. When grandma’s cotton apron meant wholesome family meals.

My Grandma’s old farmyard stove,
Decorated with pitted strips of chrome.
Fueled by wood from the apple grove
That flavored our family’s home.

That old cast iron range
Moved from house to porch.
Tied with the seasons change
And temperatures that would scorch.

For a constant fire the tinder box
Was everyone’s chore to keep filled.
Splitting wood dragged home by ox
That was too small to be milled.

Those 19th century recipes
Of simple German fare
Fueled our family legacies
With bratwurst, kraut and beer.

When the wind would howl and hover
And the frost snuck in long ago
We’d wrap ourselves in patchwork covers
And watch the red embers glow.

– Clarence Holm

Dear Clarence*

Q: Dear Sir, you seem wise beyond your years (and waist line). Do you have any words of wisdom to share with a younger reader.
A: It’s true that I have grown over the years and have accumulated many pearls of wisdom. I’d be glad to share a few with you
Before you leap upside down onto a trampoline, make sure it’s right side up.
Don’t throw an angry cat straight up.
When using an acetylene torch, don’t feel the flame to see if it’s really hot.
Don’t chase a bear into the woods to get a close-up photo.
Sell only one of your kidneys.
If you’re on a ball field and someone shouts “Heads up!” don’t do it. Instead cover your head with your arms and duck.
Q: Dear Clarence, my daughter came home from college with a puppy. She explained that her teacher had offered her an “A” in Sociology, if she took a puppy home from her dog’s litter. After my daughter went back to college, I noticed the professor’s puppy was still in my house. Should I be concerned?
A: Dear Spot, In the words of Socrates, “Something is rotten in Thebes”. It appears that you are the victim of the dreaded gambit called “Drop the pooch and run”! Unfortunately there is nothing you can do about it, other than buy deodorizer, carpet cleaning solution and chew toys.
Q: Mr. Clarence, I went shopping last week and tried to save some money by going to a “Price Buster” sale. What makes a sale a “Price Buster”? Is that better than a “Huge” sale? If a “Boss Is On Vacation” sale is combined with a “Going Out Of Business” sale, do we risk a recession?
                                      “Savings Are In The Bag” guy
A: Dear Savings, sometimes you need to talk with an expert to sort out an intricate query. For instance, my wife has shown me time after time that she has saved me huge amounts of money by buying items on clearance. For instance, last week she saved me $50.49 on a shirt that was originally priced at $52.99. She bought it for $2.50. All I have to do is lose 75 pounds and it will fit like a glove. This is what it means to have a “Loss Leader”.
Q: Dear Clarence, I  have trouble spreading store-bought frosting, it seems much to thick. What can I do to make it easier to apply?
Baked, but not frosted
A: Dear Baked, When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. Not only is it easier to spread, you get to frost more cakes. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving. 

*Dear Clarence’s advice should be taken with a grain of salt or a dinner roll, depending on your appetite.