July 20, 1969

Remembering July 20, 1969.


The day men first stepped foot on the moon is one of those days when people remember where they were and what they were doing.

I am one of them, but probably for a different reason than most.

I was working for KXJB-TV in Fargo, had been for only a few months. My wife at the time, Mary Ann would be going to work in the Moorhead School System in the fall.

KX was a CBS affiliate, and while the world was anticipating this event, there didn’t seem like there was much to concern us. It was going to happen on Sunday, the 20th what would have been a day off, and we, like millions of other people would wait and watch as Armstrong and Aldrin made history later that night.

While it was supposed to be a day off, and we sort of had a viewing party planned, those plans changed when my boss, Dewey Heggen told me that we would be working that day, at least part of the day.

He told me that CBS was dispatching crews around the country to see what Americans were doing that day which would end that night with Armstrong setting the first foot on the moon.

So, Dewey told me we were going to go to Park Rapids, MN where a lumberjack contest was going on that weekend.

Park Rapids is in lake country about two hours east of Fargo, and we were to take our cameras and sound equipment and bring back images and sound from that event, and try to show people watching lumberjacks, saw, hack, cross-cut, chainsaw, climb poles and a lot of other lumberjacky things and send the film to CBS, where it would be viewed and might be included in a special on the event about a year later. I didn’t know this would happen, but years later every time when I would hear Monty Python doing the “Lumberjack Song,” I couldn’t help but smile.

That Sunday morning, we grabbed our gear and Dewey and his wife Marlys, Mary Ann and I headed for Park Rapids.

Once we go there, we knew what to look for what to shoot, and what might not work, and spent the better part of the next two hours filming the lumberjack activity.

My job was the shooter. Dewey would suggest something, I would shoot it. I would see something I thought be interesting I would shoot it.

I also made sure to get plenty of cutaways, which showed the audience members watching whatever event the were interested in. They would be helpful in editing later

After we agreed we thought we had enough that would give CBS an idea of what was going on that day in Park Rapids we packed our gear and headed for home.

The actual step on the moon wouldn’t come until almost 11:00 that night, but CBS had wanted these vignettes to help them produce a cross country picture of what Americans were doing that day.

One of the things I did do was to shoot a cutaway of Marlys and Mary Ann sitting in the front row of one of the small bleachers that were set up for viewers. Never really thinking it would make it into the CBS show.

Actually, I was doubtful any of the film I shot that day would make the cut.

Back in Fargo we stored the gear, and would ship the film to CBS the next day and get ready for the show to come later that night when we, like millions, would view that miraculous first step on the moon on a grainy, black and white TV set.

After that day, life went on, and the thought about what would happen to the film I shot that day faded, and I didn’t think about it anymore.

It was about a year or two later when I thought about it again, when CBS ran a special. I was covering a Fargo City Commission meeting and did not see it, but Mary Ann did. Turns out they did use some of the Park Rapids film including the cutaway that showed Dewey’s wife Marlys and Mary Ann.

So that’s why I remember where I was and what I was doing that sunny Sunday afternoon 50 years ago, and why it still makes me smile that I got some film on CBS

It’s really funny, but as I write this, I can see that frame of film as if I took it yesterday.

Sad note, Dewey’s wife Marlys died in 2017. Dewey, I think lives back in Fargo.

I’ll have to ask him some day if he remembers what he was doing the day Americans put a man on the moon.


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Brandy Writes Another Letter


To Bob’s friends,

I have written only one letter in my life, and that was for Christmas 2018.

Well, today is July 4th, and I thought it was time for another one, one that would bring you up to date on my situation.

You will recall a couple of posts Bob made relative to my health, and so I thought this would be a good time to revisit that issue.

First of all, I’m doing okay. I know Bob continues to worry about me, but at the same time I worry about him.

That day in February, when the vet did an examination of me and ran some tests was a hard one for Bob. For me, all I knew was that he had taken me to some strange place where some strange people poked, prodded, nodded to each other and then stuck a needle in me to take some blood.

When all of that was done, the vet showed Bob some notes and the results of the poking and prodding and sticking. It was diabetes, and we left for home.

What I learned next, I learned from hearing Bob talk to his sister Jane and others about what I needed. One treatment included twice daily shots of something called Insulin, and this bothered Bob.

This was something that really got to him, knowing what that was going to cost. I, of course, had no idea of what it might cost, or even what it was. All I knew, or know now, is that I think he feels guilty that he didn’t have the resources for the Insulin regimen. So, he set about trying to find some food that was higher in Protein to augment my usual diet.

He tried many new foods, foods that I had never tried before.
The first new food he tried was a canned food created for diabetic and overweight cats. Well, I wasn’t ever overweight, but when he put the food out, I ate it up.

So, he goes back to the vet and buys a bunch more. After a couple more cans, I could no longer take it. So, he went on a search for another alternative.

Right now in the cupboard are several brands of food that I liked initially, but grew tired of quickly. I know this troubled Bob, but it couldn’t be helped.

That brings us to today. He found one that I not only like, but look forward to every morning. I manage to lick my plate clean too. My appetite in general continues to be a healthy one.

As I said earlier, I’m doing okay, and still tuck Bob in at nights, let him know when I want to get up on the counter where I can nap on Bailey’s towel, and stay close to him as he sits at his computer.

If I could tell him myself to not feel guilty about not doing more, I would.

He doesn’t leave me alone, and I try to not leave him alone.

So, friends, now that Bob has come back in from watching the fireworks at the Capitol, I’d better shut this down, I wouldn’t want to leave too many paw prints on his computer.

Take care and be well.


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Poppies and Crosses


Back when I “was a tender and callow fellow” in a small town in Central North Dakota, I was called upon three years in a row to render my reading of “In Flanders Fields” on Memorial Day observances.

For some reason, the indoor portion of the observance was held at the Federated Church, and there I read the brief poem written by a Canadian physician, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae.

I did not know the history of the poem back then. What I knew then was that they were solemn words written during WWI. What I would find out later was the words were written after the Second Battle of Ypres, Belgium by McCrae who had presided over the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier.

I still remember the words, every year when Memorial Day comes around, and with the passing years they come to mean more and more.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

—-John McCrae

I for one miss the Poppies that used to appear in the days up to Memorial Day in our town of Carrington. Seems one doesn’t see people selling poppies like that anymore. I think that’s too bad. I think it’s good to remember the full measure of the sacrifice they represent.

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Where The Popsicles Are

May 10, 2019

Hard to believe that Joanie would have been 69 today. I still think of her every day.



I thought I saw you today.

A glimpse of raven black hair
and a smile, in a coffee shop window.

You were meeting someone.
Who, I couldn’t tell.

I looked in the window
and saw you laughing with friends.

You looked radiant.

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Where The Popsicles Are

Version 4

Joanie—May 5, 1950-April 9, 2008

April 9th is one of those dates I can’t escape. It’s been 11 years now since that night Bailey, Brandy and I had to let go of our Joanie and the dreams we had. 

Gossamer Dreams

You never got to grow old with me.
Our future would never be.

Warm, long Saturday lunches
where we planned our plans,
and wished our wishes, are but a memory.

Quiet nights by the fireplace
with music and wine, and making love,
when all things seemed possible, are memories now too.

An ocean away, another dream was Ireland.
It was in your blood, in your dreams
and in your heart.

We had talked about going there.
To see where your hair and eyes came from,
where your soul made you who you were.

The dreams we dreamed were like gossamer,
floating in the ether, but those flimsy wisps of hope
slipped away with you in the dark of a cool April evening.

There were so many dreams left to dream
and so many words left unsaid,
but you never got to grow old with me.
and our future would never be.


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