DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — A Thank You From The Heart

This picture above, taken of me years ago with my boss and mentor, the late Thomas J. Clifford, then president of the University of North Dakota, surfaced recently from deep within my personal archives.

I share with my favorite writer Ernest Hemingway the quality of being a “pack rat.”

Hemingway apparently saved everything — manuscripts, of course, including early drafts — but also correspondence, notes, tickets to bullfights, photos, everything you can imagine. And more materials continue to be discovered.

The Cambridge University Press recently published the third volume of his outgoing collected letters. So far, the series has only reached the year 1929. He died in 1961.

As for me, I also resist throwing away anything. When I do dispose of old books, letters, photos, notebooks and other clutter, I always regret it later.

Just the other day, I was relieved I hadn’t tossed my age-yellowed King James Bible, presented to me by the Bethania Sunday School of rural Wellsburg, N.D., on Oct. 14, 1951. I had just turned 8.

Although I did not become a particularly religious child or adult, there is documented evidence I read the Good Book from time to time.

For example, a penciled exclamation point has been jotted next to Numbers Chapter 22, Verse 28:

“And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, what have I done unto thee, that thou has smitten me these three times?”

But I’ve digressed from my main point.

In my pack rat hoard of “stuff,” I have copies of every federal income tax return I filed over a long life.

Not that I’m a huge fan of taxes. (I’ve lived in Minnesota for several years; its taxes make North Dakota’s look like a pittance.)

Still, I enjoy remembering Larry Schoenwald of Minot, Democratic-NPLer, railroad guy, union member and legislator who often annoyed his Republican colleagues by saying there “wasn’t a tax he didn’t like.”

Today, drawing from the tax returns, I want to render homage to the individuals who PAID me to work for them while they taught me the skills I would need in my life.

They included:

  • Morris Helgerud, who hired me to work summers at his gas station in Harvey, N.D.
  • Hugh Farrington, who allowed me to work two summers at the Harvey Herald.
  • Jim Hanson, sports editor of the Grand Forks Herald, who when I was in college paid me to call small town coaches after basketball games and write short items for the paper.
  • James Hawley, director of the State Tourism department, who took me on as a college intern one summer and had a fulltime job waiting for me when I finished graduate school.
  • Walter Hjelle, State Highway commissioner, who transferred me from the Capitol to the State Highway Building to be the department’s first-ever public information officer.
  • Alvin Austin, chairman of the University of North Dakota Journalism Department, who granted me a two-year appointment as an instructor.
  • Dick Martin, who did the same for three years at St. Cloud State University.
  • Robert Shaw, manager of the Minnesota Newspaper Association, who hired me to teach its Summer Institute for new editors at the Anoka-Hennepin Technical Education Center.
  • Harvey Jacobson, director of UND’s public relations office, who brought me back in 1973 to be the news service manager.
  • Tom Clifford, who shortly thereafter promoted me as Harvey’s successor and also named me Executive Assistant to the President, a position I served in until he retired; and Presidents Kendall Baker and Charles Kupchella, who continued my twin UND appointments until I took early retirement in 2005.

Sadly, many of these fine people are dead.

So, in a way, I’ve come full circle, back to that 65-year-old Bible.

If a hereafter exists, many of the folks I’ve mentioned are already there, and all of the others, including me, will join them.

When that day comes, the first thing on my agenda will be to thank each and every one.

One thought on “DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — A Thank You From The Heart”

  • Ken Baker August 29, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks for the kind comment, Dave. Much appreciated.

    Learned about your blogs from Jan Zahrly. Will enjoy reading all of them!!“



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