Do you mow lawns?


For my readers, today’s story is one written back in 2010. Simply too good to not share.

An odd day, but not in a bad way. The transmission which was supposed to be here at 1:00 didn’t show until 3:30 which was half an hour after Scott called it a week. The speed sensor for the 97 Blazer came in wrong so our tech Chris ran out of work also.
Alan was working at Miss Connie’s, Audrey had the day off. At 4:00 it was just myself and my thoughts when Stan Fagre came in the door.
Stan is nothing if he isn’t a gentleman. Stan ran a construction business in town for years. Not a small business either, his company built bridges, schools, hospitals, operated a large gravel pit with a fleet of heavy trucks.
Today he wished to visit. Seems I had written something in the paper about the old Ford garage and turns out he had built the building. Stan told a quick story had been bugging him about the old garage building then turned to leave. I assured him there was no need to hurry off as my work was done for the week. We both took a seat, just the two of us on a Friday afternoon. I listened.
He told of his family moving to Estherville from the Twin Cities when he was a young child—his father taking a job as a mason and his first job rebuilding the Grand Theater which had suffered from a fire. Their first home was an apartment above J.D. Wilson’s bakery a few buildings down from what is now Bud’s Cafe. He told how at 3:30 in the morning the large, and very noisy, mixers would start up kneading the bread dough. There was a very long stairs which ran along the wall leading to the downstairs. Just a young tyke Stan tumbled from the top, all the way to the bottom. In one corner the old food was piled up waiting for the garbage man.
He mentioned the smell of rotting food always brings the place back to him, Stan also mentioned the rats. His mother, being strong willed, told his father she could not raise her family in such a place, that she and the kids, Stan and his two year older sister Marion, were going back to Norway. She told him if he found a decent house for them they would return. Stan and Marion in tow off to Norway they went.
Stan told how his father’s crew, finished with the theater, next took on the job of constructing the Elks building by the post office, the same which was torn down only a few years ago. One day while at work at the Elks he was told of a man who lived on North 7th street who was building a new house which when completed would free his old place up to be rented.
Dropping his tools Stan’s father marched right up 7th street to the man’s house to speak with him about it. With a house for his family secured Stan’s mother, true to her word, returned.
Stan said when he got back to America after 9 months in Norway he couldn’t speak a word of English.
Stan next told of a veterinarian, a Doc McMillan, who used to live in Estherville. Seems Doc and his wife not only had a house in Estherville but a nice summer cabin on Spirit Lake 14 miles to our west. It was a good cabin with a particularly nice lawn which gently sloped to the lake.
Anyway, one day Doc is out mowing his lawn with one of those old push reel mowers when a lady in a Cadillac pulls up and rolls down her window. Stan made a point of saying at the time Cadillacs were a rare car there being maybe only one in the county. Well Doc walks up to the lady at which point she inquires if he mows lawns. Doc thinks for a moment and then responds that yes, indeed he does mow lawns.
Assured she has found her man she inquires of Doc how much he charges to mow a lawn. Now Doc is in a corner, he was being truthful enough when he said he mowed lawns, but, he surely had no plans to make a business of it.
Pointing to his cabin he smiled at the lady in the Cadillac and said,” the lady in this house lets me sleep with her”. The window went up and the gravel flew as the lady tore out of his yard.
Stan told me Doc was pretty proud of that story, loved to tell it.
It was very enjoyable visiting with Stan today, that I can be half as sharp as he when I am 93.


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