Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Creating holiday memories

Wick's World


December 28, 2017

Sleigh bells ring. Are you listening? Unfortunately, there are few sleighs in St. Paul, although we do have one just a few blocks down our street. The Holz Farm dusts off the seats, waxes up the runners and gives sleigh rides every holiday season. For many people, sleighs are mostly a thing of the past with their memory returning only in song with the myriad of holiday tunes that inundate Cool 108 FM radio.

The weather outside is frightful. The fire is so delightful. While fireplaces are always delightful, this year no frightful weather is in sight for Minnesota. However, if you live in the Midwest, no need to worry. Between Wednesday and Friday, enough snow is on the radar to allow Santa a safe landing on a snow covered field near you. Only once in my lifetime do I remember Santa having a problem with landing and it wasn’t for a lack of snow. It was the year “Santa got a DWI.” For years, that was our kids' favorite holiday song. My family would belt out the song as we rolled down Highway 23 on the way to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Chamberlain, South Dakota.

Most years, that was the only time we ever made it back to my hometown. The lucky years were the ones when we got to go home twice by taking our summer vacation with the kids in the Black Hills and their favorite spot — the Badlands. Our family would pack up the Toyota with our three boys and the toys they needed for the trip. I just realized at this moment that the Badlands may have been the magnetism that drew my sons to their current homes in Phoenix, Arizona, and San Diego, California.

In the days before computers hit their hands and turned their thumbs into an operating fifth finger, the toys the boys needed were very simple — one ball, one bat and three baseball gloves. Back in Chamberlain, I had always been a baseball aficionado and I passed it on to my children. Every summer, we would hurry down to North Park where there were always plenty of kids for a game of workup. Daryl Isburg and I were usually the guys on the phone calling Ty Smith, Terry Martin, Darrell Doohicky Speck, Terry Goodman, Barney Cain and Roger Sabin Weber. If enough of the kids named Butch showed up (Kickland, Pickner, Gunter and more), we could have a real game with two teams. Keeping score was never very important. Having fun was.

When baseball cards hit the scene, well before the ball teams were chosen, we would have a pick-up game of poker. We would head over to Ollie Steckelbergs, or the unofficial poker headquarters at Nob Schoenfelders. Baseball cards were the currency and fun was the name of the game.

I am proud to say many of the traditions I had as a child were passed down to my three sons. Whenever we get together at the holiday season or, for that matter, any time of year, we get out a deck of cards and the poker board. Baseball cards are no longer the currency. We now have numbered chips and the money is real. The game is no longer five or seven-card stud, hi-low, fours, wars and one-eyed jacks or deuces wild. Today’s game is always “Texas Hold-em” and the pots are always Texas sized.

These are my memories. Create your own. The holiday activities are often the most precious ones we have. Hopefully you had yourself a very merry Christmas and remember, there is no place like home for the holidays.


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