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Dave Vorland

David Vorland spent most of his career at the University of North Dakota. As a UND student, he reported part time at the Grand Forks Herald and summers at the Harvey (N.D.) Herald-Press. After teaching journalism full time for five years at UND and St. Cloud (Minn.) State, he returned to UND as director of public relations. Dave took early retirement in 2005 after serving more than three decades. Although still often seen in Grand Forks, Dave lives in Bloomington, Minn., with his partner, Dorette Kerian. Travel and photography are now his principal interests.

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — The Art Of Drinking Beer

Dorette took this picture of me in St. Paul recently as we dined outdoors at Herbie’s on the Park. I decided to quaff a Hamm’s beer as I did long ago, including when I wasn’t old enough to do so legally.

It’s been decades since I tasted the Hamm’s brand, established in 1865 in St. Paul and now owned by MillerCoors and brewed God knows where. It tasted, what’s the word?

Insipid? Yes, that’s it.

Admittedly, I’ve become somewhat of a beer snob, thanks in part to Dorette’s daughter, Kara, and her husband, Paul, who as a gift subscribed me for years in a craft “beer of the month” club.

I now prefer the strong, hoppy flavor of India Pale Ale, although Guinness is excellent, too.

Dorette’s not much of a beer drinker, but on a recent trip to Paris, we found a milder-tasting French brew — Kronenbourg 1664 — we both like.

Not to worry, friends, that we may be slipping into an alcoholic haze during our golden years. Both of us watch our diets and try not to overeat.

Beer by definition is a food group. It’s made from grain, after all.

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Harvey Hornets Forever

I took this picture (below) a week ago today during a brief visit to my hometown of Harvey, N.D.

Since I graduated 56 years ago (gasp!), this former high school has been converted into a junior high and a new structure built elsewhere in town for the “upper grades.”

I’ve long realized the education I received as a Harvey Hornet was superior, thanks to an excellent administration — anyone remember Superintendent B.M. Hanson? — and faculty. My favorite teacher was Clyde Boyko, but there were many other good ones (Art Lies, for example, the only teacher from that era I’ve found on Facebook, who taught music and German (awarding me a D when I assumed I would be receiving an F in that difficult course).

Those who know me in 2017 might not guess I participated in sports: track, wrestling, and, believe it or not, football. The photo above is of the HHS team in front of what is now the junior high school.

No. 89 — that’s me.

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Going Home Again

It’s said you can’t go home again. That was even the title of a book by Thomas Wolfe, and others — Proust and Hemingway among them — came to the same conclusion.

I accept the premise logically, but not emotionally.

So this past Sunday, I again found myself driving 442 miles from my current residence in Bloomington, Minn., to Harvey, N.D., and from there to nearby Wellsburg. I spent my formative years in this area before, like most of my friends, moving on to the larger world.

News reports in the Twin Cities had suggested North Dakota was suffering a drought, but I saw no evidence of that in this area. The weather was perfect — mild temperatures, bright green fields, and glorious blue skies.

The above photo was one of the first I shot, a view from the viaduct over the Soo Line tracks in Harvey, N.D. The yard is far from being as busy as it was when I was a kid. But it’s still a nice and prosperous town.

Having said that, I also saw and photographed some things there and in Wellsburg that gave me pause. Stay tuned for more on that topic in later FB posts.

One other thing for sure I noticed.

I ain’t as young as I once was. The total mileage on the two-day trip totaled nearly 1,000 miles, and it sort of tuckered me out.

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Hemingway Lives

The latest issue of the New Yorker, dated July 3, includes one of the best essays about Ernest Hemingway I have ever read: “A New Man: Ernest Hemingway — revised and revisited,” written by Adam Gopnik.

It is in part of a review of the new biography, Mary V. Dearborn’s 735-page “Ernest Hemingway.”

That one is on my book shelf waiting perhaps for this winter, when I will be more interested in reading than, say, walking around Lake Calhoun just minutes away from our place in Bloomington, Minn.

Here are some excerpts from the long piece. Anyone with more than a passing interest in the individual who is perhaps America’s greatest writer owes it to himself or herself to read it in its entirety.

Some of Gopnik’s commentary deals with Hemingway’s gender reversal fetishes, found most spectacularly in the novel “The Garden of Eden,” not published during his lifetime. The subject was considered immoral a half-century ago, but hardly raises an eyebrow now.

But, Gopnik says, “The new attempts to make Papa matter by making him a lot less Papa and a little more Mama are, finally, not all that persuasive. Hemingway remains Hemingway — the macho attitudes continue to penetrate the prose even when the gender roles get switched around. And those macho attitudes include many admirable things: a genuine love of courage, a surprising readiness to celebrate failure if it is bought with bravery, an unsparing sense of the fatality of human existence, a love of the small pleasures that ennoble it.”

He quotes a paragraph from “The Garden of Eden”:

“On this morning there was brioche and red raspberry preserve and the eggs were boiled and there was a pat of butter that melted as they stirred them and salted them lightly and ground pepper over them in the cups … He remembered that easily and he was happy with his which he diced up with the spoon and ate with only the flow of the butter to moisten them and the fresh early morning texture and the bite of the coarsely ground pepper grains and the hot coffee and the chickory-fragrant bowl of cafe au lait.”

Comments Gopnik: “The flow of the butter and the bite of the pepper” — there is more effective gender-blending in his breakfasts than in his bedrooms. The pleasure he takes in the world’s surface is more plural than the poses he chooses on the world’s stage.

“Always an epicurean before he was a stoic, Hemingway is at his worst when he is boasting and bluffing and ruling the roost, at his best when he is bending and breaking and writing down breakfast. Macho and minimalist alike, the sentences are thrilling still in their exactitude and audacity.

“Coming away even from the sad last pages of his biography, the reader feels that Hemingway earned the epitaph he would most have wanted. He WAS a brave man, and he did know how to write.”

DAVE VORLAND: Photo Gallery — Montana Moments

Bloomington, Minn., photographer Dave Vorland and his daughter, Kristi, recently made a trip to Montana. Here are some of the shots Dave took from a state that boasts some magnificent sights.

DAVE VORLAND: Photo Gallery — Paris 2017, Part II

Bloomington, Minn., photographer Dave Vorland, along with Dorette Kerian and her granddaughter, Avery Dusterhoft, recently returned to the U.S. after a visit to Paris, “the City of Lights” (“la Ville des Lumières”). Dave has been to Paris several times, so he knows his way around quite well, as is evidenced by these beautiful shots, included in the second of two galleries about the trip.

DAVE VORLAND: Photo Gallery — Paris 2017, Part I

Bloomington, Minn., photographer Dave Vorland, along with Dorette Kerian and her granddaughter, Avery Dusterhoft, recently returned to the U.S. after a visit to Paris, “the City of Lights” (“la Ville des Lumières”). Dave has been to Paris several times, so he knows his way around quite well, as is evidenced by these beautiful shots. This is the first of two Paris galleries that will appear here.

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Bois du Boulogne

I shot this photo in Monday of a professional dog walker in the Bois du Boulogne, the large park on the edge of Paris, which figures in Marcel Proust’s novel, “A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu.”

Over my lifetime, I’ve read this work more than once in English translation (all 3,031 pages in seven volumes), and some of it in the original language, thanks to the basic French I learned via a staff tuition waiver program at the University of North Dakota.

Is Proust, who died in 1922, still relevant?

I think so. His novel continues to sell worldwide, and I purchased two new biographies before we departed from France on Wednesday.

On past visits to the Bois, I’ve made a point of walking around its lakes and on the broad promenades such as the former L’allée des Acacias, now mostly roads crowded with automobiles.

Even so, Dorette, her granddaughter, Avery, and I enjoyed our time there, although the experience troubled me somewhat. The place seemed “different.”

Then I recalled that Proust’s fictional narrator, now an elderly man like me, remembering his youth, had felt a similar disenchantment.

The novel is set in the Belle Epoch when the Bois was the place where on Sundays strolled the most beautiful women of Paris, including one of Proust’s most famous characters, Odette Swann.

The narrator, after reminiscing about long-ago days, describes what he now sees:

“Nature was resuming its reign over the Bois, from which had vanished all trace of the idea that it was the Elysian Garden of Women; above the gimcrack windmill the real sky was grey; the wind wrinkled the surface of the Grand Lac in little wavelets, like a real lake; large birds flew swiftly over the Bois, as over a real wood, and with shrill cries perched one after another on the great oaks which, beneath their Druidical crown, and with Dodonian majesty, seemed to proclaim the inhuman emptiness of this deconsecrated forest, and helped me to understand how paradoxical it is to seek in reality for the pictures that are stored in one’s memory, which must inevitably lose the charm that comes to them from memory itself.”

A good lesson for someone my age. In fact, I intend to go to the Bois to have it repeated next year when I’m in Paris again, hopefully, for the Hemingway Society’s biennial conference.

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Odette And Swann

I took this picture May 31, 2005, of a movie actress taking a break during filming along the Seine River in Paris

She reminds me of Odette de Crécy, an unforgettable character in Marcel Proust’s “Swann In Love,” a component of his larger work “In Search of Lost Time.”

Although Proust died in 1922, “the Search” continues to be read around the world and France regards him as one of its greatest literary sons.

For example, in New York last year Dorette and I noticed the French Consulate on Fifth Avenue is named “Odette” and has a Proust exhibit in its library.

I’ve been re-reading “Swann” as Dorette and I prepare to leave Saturday for Paris with her granddaughter, Avery Dusterhoft. We’ll be in France for 11 days, including May 31.

It should be great, especially for teenager Avery. But can 12 years have gone by since I shot this photo?

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Going Home With Mrs. Hovland

I was 6 years old and in the first grade in the spring of 1950 when my parents received my last report card of the year. It was signed by teacher Sylpha Hovland, who certified my promotion to the second grade at Fram Township School No. 3 in Wellsburg, N.D.

I still have the card.

Later, I moved on to Harvey High School, the University of North Dakota and Northwestern University. But in retrospect, I regard Mrs. Hovland as the best teacher I ever had, bar none.

She was very encouraging, focused on solid fundamentals and instilled in us a desire to learn. My subject matter grades were decent (except for penmanship).

But I fared less well in two habits and attitudes categories: “Responsive to Authority” and “Receives suggestions kindly.”

Yeah, she got that right.

The Vorland farm, in 2004.
The Vorland farm, in 2004.

Although the Vorland farm is long gone, most years I try to visit Wellsburg. This picture was taken in 2004, shot from roughly the center of the home quarter. The buildings and trees are now gone. The current owner farms the land fence line to fence line.

The Wellsburg grain elevators also have disappeared. Indeed, so has most of the town.

But the school building still exists, converted into a personal residence.

I’ll travel to Wellsburg and Harvey this summer, as I have done so many times. The novelist Thomas Wolfe was wrong — you CAN go home again.

And this year, I’ll be thinking of Mrs. Hovland.