North Iowa Band Festival of 1962

The unexpected rain this morning had me trapped at office until it let up, and then after, I got my clothes changed and back outdoors I headed to get much-needed yard work done. The southerly breezes were definitely welcome once our temps started rising. I did notice on our extended weather forecast, Mason City is right on the borderline of our first frost being either the end of September, or a good week into October. Let’s hope we get past that first week of October before we get nipped my Jack Frost.

The yard work I had waiting for me, was to get two very old and exceptionally large Lilac bushes removed which must’ve come down with the blight that’s been hitting many other Lilac bushes around our City. I figured they were going to be a challenge, and thus they were, but at least I got them completely out, along with another straggly bush which had out-lived it’s purpose, but on the positive side, there was a handsome and straight-growing hardwood growing in the middle of it which I left growing. After I got everything cleaned up and hauled away, I stood back and got a good look at the difference, and for sure having those Lilacs out, made a huge difference.

Yesterday I called an acquaintance of mine who enjoys burning wood and brush, to ask if she would mind if I burned the brush I’d be cutting down today, and of course she was all for it. I promised her I’d make sure it was all fully burned before leaving. It’s always good to know someone who has a burning pile outside our City limits because I’d rather not haul it to our landfill. The one thing I know she doesn’t like having burned, is anything that’s coniferous because she puts that ash to use by fertilizing her fruit trees and shrubs with it.

We did have a nice visit while I was getting those bushes burned, and just as a small appreciation of her allowing me to burn that brush, I gave her a half-pint jar of my strawberry jam. Since she hadn’t heard about that body they found in the Shell Rock River up in Worth County, I filled her in on what I’d read. We both came to the conclusion that the woman either committed suicide, or was murdered and dumped in the Shell Rock. My gosh, what’s gonna be next? These North Iowa murders are growing more frequent, which makes a person wonder if there’s anywhere we able to consider safe. It sounded like the law enforcement already has a possible ID on the woman because of a tattoo she had on her body. They were being a little vague about the condition of her body, but when they said something about looking for her clothes, made a person think she was found naked. Now that’s creepy.

When I returned, I had a small lunch, and then headed out to get some mowing done, and in spite of having enough time to do it all, the gnats were beginning to drive me to the point of no return, so hopefully I can get it finished tomorrow. I honestly can’t remember them being so bad, and when I managed to kill one today, it sure didn’t look like the gnats of the past because the one I killed was almost black and larger than I’ve ever seen. Hopefully they’re not another invasive species from the Orient. Unless I missed it, I’m quite surprised there hasn’t been anything on the news about them. Someone with tongue in cheek recently said, “Well, Rochester must not have any because if they did, they’d be talking about it on KIMT.” That was definitely a dig on our local new channel, and truth be told, that’s not the first time I’ve heard someone bash that program.

I did manage to get another healthy picking of strawberries this afternoon, and one of them was so large, I was compelled to take a photo of it. If I remember to post it tomorrow, you’ll see how large it is, and just remember the palms of my hands are larger than most. There’ve been some big ones picked, but that one was the biggest ever. Who says we can’t grow all-natural giant strawberries in North Iowa? They sure beat those we find in the stores that’ve been off their vines for likely weeks.

I also picked two big grocery sacks of cucumbers which I’ll keep refrigerated until I deliver them early Monday morning. They’re continuing to gladly take them, so I just keep delivering. I personally could never grow tired of fresh cucumbers, and especially the British ones I’ve been growing.

Late this afternoon, I met with a contractor at the back of my office where we talked about possibly adding a 2-stall carport after I have a concrete parking area poured next Spring. He didn’t think it would be a problem as long as there were strong enough footings to support it, along with the roof being sturdy enough to carry the weight of our winter snows. I’m leaning more and more towards having that done, so we’ll see what next year brings.

OK. I’ve already spoken about my working at getting rid of stuff I’ve been accumulating, and in a dirty little box filled with old keys and keychains, I found the above token which was very tarnished in some areas, and after I finally got it cleaned up with Brasso, I got a really good look at it. I’ll likely have to take it to my favorite jeweler to get it fully cleaned, but I think you’ll still be able to read everything.

Can you imagine that token is exactly 60 years old, and when reading the date of the Band Festival that year, it just so happened to be on the birthday of one of my relatives. I wonder if they were Downtown celebrating that day.

When stating on one side, “Northern Iowa’s Leading Civic Center”, I can certainly say there’s been a whole “yell” of a lot of changes in our City since 1962, and most of them not worthy of mention. I’m sure that parade marched straight down Federal Avenue.

Tonight’s One-liner is: There’s no point in burying a hatchet if you’re going to put up a marker on the site.

Joe Chodur

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