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: 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: 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.

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — The Tilly Hat Club

One of the best things about Canada besides Justin Trudeau is the fact it’s the home of the great Tilly hat. This iPhone selfie was taken in Lacrosse, Wis., on Tuesday. It’s a tradition to acknowlege another owner like this when you pass someone also wearing a Tilly.

I’ve owned several of the not inexpensive Tillies, eventually losing all of them, most recently during a family trip to the island of Dominica last year. Dorette’s daughter Kara and son-in-law Paul gave me this replacement as a Christmas gift.

I panicked for a moment Tuesday when a gust of wind nearly blew it off my head. Altough a Tilly is guaranteed to float, it likely would have disappeared before I could descend from the very high bluff Dorette and I had climbed above the Mississippi River.

So I’m still good to go.

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Eating Well

Dorette is the master chef in our household, no question about that. But I have a few dishes that can also evoke oohs and ahs.

Today (Wednesday) I’ll be making one of my favorites: rhubarb crisp, thanks to the generosity of our Bloomington, Minn., neighbors Sheila and Bob Owen, who shared their rhubarb with us.

Then there’s Russian Cream with Raspberries, sometimes referred to as a “heart attack in a dish.” It includes 4.5 cups of whipping cream, 32 ounces of sour cream, and 2.25 cups of sugar.

I first sampled it at Bucks T-4 Lodge in Big Sky, Mont., and fell head and heels in love. It’s been 20 years plus since then and the old ticker is still beating.

And what could be better than Emeril Legasse’s recipe for sausage meatballs with red gravy?

The meat components are ground chuck, sweet Italian sausage and hot Italian sausage, chopped garlic, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper and dried leaf oregano.

The gravy includes yellow onions, red pepper, fennel seeds, pureed whole tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato sauce. The meatballs are slowly simmered in the gravy and served with it on pasta.

As they say in New Orleans French Quarter, “c’est superbe!”

Anyway, I gotta go start the rhubarb crisp.

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — ‘Looking For The Stranger’

A nice thing about being retired is having more time to read.

I’ve just completed two books, one of which I read for first time in college: “The Stranger,” or as it is titled in French, “L’Étranger,” by Albert Camus, published in 1942.

My copy is a new translation in “American English” by Mathew Ward. Set in Algeria, the novel is just 120 pages long.

Camus once described it this way:

“I summarized ‘The Stranger’ a long time ago, with a remark I admit was highly paradoxical: ‘In our society any man who does not weep at his mother’s funeral runs the risk of being sentenced to death.’ I only meant that the hero of my book is condemned because he does not play the game.'”

The second book was published last year: “Looking for The Stranger: Albert Camus and the Life of a Literary Classic” by Alice Kaplan. It’s both an excellent history of Camus’ life and of his most famous book.

So what’s next on my bedside reading table?

I’m going to dip back into “Swann in Love,” the novel within the novel of Marcel Proust’s gigantic “In Search of Lost Time.” Just 200 pages, unless I again become hooked and reread all 3,031 pages of the complete work.

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Thinking Of The Dead, Part II

This past week, I posted some thoughts after visiting the cemetery in St. Cloud, Minn., where my grandfather, William Vogel, and seven other members of my mother Minnie Vogel Vorland’s family are buried.

I had been struck by the fact I know nothing about what became of the descendants of mom’s nine siblings.

It’s different on the Vorland side of the family.

In this photo, Norwegian immigrants Hans and Anna pose for the camera with their American-born children in Wells County, N.D., circa 1920.

From viewer’s left, my father Kermit, Herbert, Hans, Anna holding Ruby, Stella, Ellen and Arlie. All are deceased.

In 1901, Hans homesteaded next to his brother, Peter, and sister, Johanna. Later, he purchased her land when she returned to Norway. Until 1956, my parents and their three kids lived on the farm, which remained in the family until 1963.

Thanks in part to Facebook, I’ve been aware of most of Hans and Anna’s descendants. Many of the youngest I’ve yet to meet in person, but hearing about them makes me happy.

For years, the unofficial godfather of the Vorland clan has been my cousin, Gaylen Tuttle (his mom was Arlie Vorland).

He helps keep us in touch with the newest generation, as do other relatives from North Dakota to Illinois to California to Hawaii and elsewhere.

I hope to find some expert genealogical help to do more tracking down of living relatives on both sides of my family. It would be a great way to pass the time during Minnesota’s upcoming winter.