Sunday, September 30, 2012

Christmas Surprise

Today I enjoyed spending the day power shopping with Myndy, Katy, Ellie and Grandma Susie. We went to the Olive Garden for lunch and we all ordered dad's favorite...the soup, salad and breadsticks special. Our conversation turned to dad as it always does and we had a good laugh thinking about last Christmas. Myndy and Jason had just recently moved into their new house in Woodbury and dad thought it would be funny to play a few tricks on them. First, he and Katy purchased some Christmas soldiers and put them in Myndy and Jason's bed. Then he decided to short sheet their bed. I think one of us is going to have to pick up the slack where the pranks are concerned...I wonder who it will be?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Horse Fever

Dear, Dad We took the kids to Forestville today to enjoy the fall colors. It was a beautiful day and one of the highlights was that each of the kids got to ride a horse. Erik got a little scared when his horse stopped and shook but he dared to get back on. Now we have two girls that have horse fever. "Can't we get a horse of our own? We could learn about how to take care of it in 4-H?" I thought about how we borrowed Alfred Olson's horse and gave rides during Katy's baptism. We may have to "borrow" a neighbor or friend's horse to try and combat this horse fever.

Friday, September 28, 2012

TV Time

I spent tonight catching up on old episodes of Criminal Minds. This reminded me of great nights that dad and I spent together watching crime shows. Some of our favorites were Quincy, Law and Order, and Columbo. He'd pop some popcorn on the stove, add extra butter and salt and we were set to go. I think it's the ordinary moments that make me miss my dad the most.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Myles A. Olson Fishing Award

One of the things we are doing to help keep dad's memory alive is giving a fishing award for 4-Hers who are enrolled in the fishing sports project. Here are some of the things we plan to share as we give the award. The Myles A. Olson fishing award is given in honor of our dad, Myles. He was a model of good sportsmanship. He loved the outdoors and enjoyed nothing more than sharing his love of fishing with others. Having a spot in Myles’ boat was a coveted position and he helped many an angler pull in a trophy walleye. No northerns allowed in his boat. If you fished with our dad you often heard the phrase, “How about one last pass?” To him that big fish was only a moment away as long as he was out on the water. I treasure all the time I spent fishing with my dad and only wish I had a few more 4 am toe tugs to enjoy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What is grandpa eating tonight?

Tonight Ellie and Anna and I went for a walk. It must have been something about the lack of wind but we could distinctly smell everyone's dinner. Ellie asked, "I wonder what grandpa is eating in heaven tonight?" We all tried to guess and the girls decided it was either walleye or steak. Then Ellie said, " I bet in heaven you never have a bad fishing day. It's just like when Peter, James and John were out fishing and they told them to cast their nets on the other side. I bet he just tells grandpa to fish on the other side." I hope you are having a good fishing day today, dad, and that you are enjoying some walleye. We sure do miss you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beauty Queen?

Tonight's memory has to do with my mom's title as Miss Barnesville 1967. Whenever anyone would bring this up my dad would call her Miss Barn Smell. He loved to tease her about her title as a beauty queen.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pig Dance

Yesterday was Myndy's birthday and I had the urge to drive up to Woodbury and celebrate by doing a "pig dance" with her. This dance is a time-honored tradition made famous by the Olson girls. We join hands, dance awkwardly in a circle and snort. The "pig dance" would also get a laugh out of my dad. The next time you see us you may have to ask to see a demonstration.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Perfect Blueberry Pie

We bought a blueberry pie on Friday night to go along with our fish. In my opinion it was the perfect pie. The crust was flaky and delicious and I'm sure had my dad's secret ingredient "lard". The blueberries were a perfect combination of sweet and tart...a little too tart for the kids which means more for Steve and I. I thought of how much dad would have enjoyed that pie. He was a dessert kind of guy.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Kitchen Appliances

My dad was a big fan of kitchen and cooking appliances. He loved to be able to have a tool to complete a job. I remember having a fry daddy, a deep fat frying griller, a pancake griddle, a meat smoker, and more! As I tried out my new kitchen appliance today ( my rice cooker) I thought of dad and how proud he would be to see me following in his footsteps. Now the question is...where do I store all of these great appliances?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fish Fry

Tonight we enjoyed a fish try with our friends Sara and Nathan. As I pulled out that package of walleye I noticed dad's writing. "4 walleye fillets" it said in his neatest printing. I am not much of a fish eater but tonight standing around the deep fryer I knew dad would have been happy. All of the Willmans ( even me) ate some of dad's walleye.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I've inherited a bunch of my dad's socks. We both have small feet and so these naturally got passed down to me. It's funny how comforting it is to put those socks on and think of dad wearing them. When I have a really tough day ahead or I have one of those mornings where I wake up and want to just stay in bed I slide on those socks and I feel a sense of peace and comfort.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hunting Season

We are coming up on hunting season in Thief River Falls but mom has started a little early. So far she's bagged two chipmunks, four mice and today there was a skunk in the trap. Dad, I guess she's trying to keep up with your hunting prowess. You can imagine how happy she's been finding all these little critters. Thank goodness for cousin Krist and Uncle Lyle who've been emptying the traps each day.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I've got the moves like.....Myles?

So we've got a little dancer on our hands. Erik loves to bust a move and his new favorite singer is "Baby Gaga". Tonight as he was wolfing down chicken McNuggets and fries he was standing on his chair dancing with joy. Both Steve and I looked at each other and said, "Grandpa Myles". He had both the fist pump and the off-beat clapping. Grandpa, your moves are alive in Erik! Let's just hope he refines them some before Prom.

Monday, September 17, 2012

No Milk Moustache Here!

We are at the stage in our life where we buy a gallon of milk at the store every other day. The kids' favorite drink is milk and both Steve and I love milk too. Dad, on the other hand, hated milk. He said it was from years of growing up on a dairy farm. I just remember setting the table, getting milk for everyone and running downstairs for a coke for dad. He made a couple of exceptions...chocolate milk and milkshakes.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


It's that time of year when Anna is counting the days to her birthday and we are decorating for fall and Halloween. At this time of year Grandpa Myles always brought us pumpkins. The kids would get so excited to see him open the trunk of his car and they always had fun choosing who would get which one. Today grandma Susie brought us pumpkins and they are adding color to our front step. Although these pumpkins weren't grown in grandpa's garden they were given with love just the same.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Spritz Cookies

Today I was cleaning out some drawers in the kitchen and found the spritz gun. It used to be Granpa Rufus and Grandma Vi's and now I am the proud owner. Dad and I both loved spritz cookies and each year he and mom would make them. They loved to put food coloring in the batter so they had green wreaths and Christmas trees. They were small cookies so you could eat a half dozen without even realizing it. It will be hard to make those spritz cookies this year but I think they'll taste even better. They may have a few tears in the batter but they'll make us feel closer to you dad.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Football Report

Tonight we attended the JM football game. Erik and I left a little early so that I could get him into bed. As I drove out of the parking lot I picked up the phone out of habit. I'd always call dad on my way home from the game and give him the report. So,dad, here's the football report. The Rockets played a good game against the Owatonna Huskies but lost. They've got some great strengths but had a few fumbles and need to work on their tackeling.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


One my dad's wishes was that we'd blacktop the driveway at the lake. He felt that the road was washing away and he wanted to be able to easily get his truck up and down to the lake. Mom followed up and the driveway was tarred on Tuesday. I know dad would be proud of the way she is keeping everything up. It's a full time job, right mom?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Let's Talk Politics

Today was one of those days where I kept wanting to pick up the phone and talk with dad. When I heard about the attack on the United States' ambassador to Libya my first instinct was to call my dad and get his reaction. Next, I heard a story about Chris Kluwe of the Vikings defending the right to marry and I thought dad and I would have had a great discussion about that issue. Finally, driving home and hearing Mitt Romney's comments about Obama's reaction to the crisis would have sparked some great passion from my dad.

Dad, I miss your voice, your passion and your ideas! But have no doubt I am having those discussions with you whether you are here in person or just in spirit.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Snuggle Bear

Today's story happened when Myndy was a little girl. She was about three or four and at this time the Snuggle Bear was on a commercial. You could dial a number talk to Snuggle the bear. Myndy loved to hear that bear's voice so she called multiple times throughout the day. By the time dad got home she had racked up a large bill listening to, "Hi, I'm Snuggles" over and over again. Dad was not too thrilled about the charges and that was the last we heard of Snuggle the bear.

Monday, September 10, 2012


It was one of those busy back to school nights tonight. I had a meeting until 5:30 and Steve had to pick up the kids. When I got home I was struck by how much fun the kids were having. Steve is great at just playing! I am usually worried about the dishes, the laundry, the dinner, packing the kids bags etc but what the kids really want is to play.

I think back to when I was a kid and my dad was the same way. He was the one who we snuggled with before we went to bed. He was the one who told us ghost stories and bedtime stories. He was also the one who would wrestle with us and give us a Japanese toe hold or a Chinese haircut...not politically correct I know! My dad knew the value of play. These are some of the memories I hold most dear.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Driver's Test

This weekend we spent some time with a friend who is a driver's training instructor. This reminded me of my own driver's test. Dad picked me up from phy ed class and everyone knew where I was going. To begin with I had to put a large pillow underneath me so that I could see over the dash and reach the brake and the gas. The first thing I had to do was paralell park and I hit the cone...automatic failure. When we returned to the courthouse in just five minutes time dad knew it was a bad sign. He tried not to laugh but we both burst out laughing when I got into the car. He said,"Same time, same place next week?"

Friday, September 7, 2012

"Silver Wings"

Tonight's memory is one of my dad's favorite songs "Silver Wings". His high school friend Eddie Walseth sang it at his retirement party. The last line is "Silver Wings...slowly fading out of sight." I'm singing it for you tonight, dad.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dear Grandpa

For today's blog the girls felt like they wanted to write a letter to grandpa telling him about their school year so far. These are their words.

Dear Grandpa Myles,
I am really lucky because I get the year-long job of reading the school lunch menu. My teacher is Mrs. Jordan and she is really funny. I like SACC because I get to color and do crafts. We are getting ready to do a play. I love you!

Love, Anna

Dear Grandpa Myles,
I like fourth grade because there are two new girls that I have made friends with. My friend Sophia is in my class again too. I am going to be in K-Club, Girl Scouts, and 4-H. I have been reading a lot. I miss you.
Love, Ellie
PS I don't have a crush on Peter.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Trees Down

We had hurricane-like winds last night in Rochester and when we woke up trees were down everywhere. As I dropped the girls off at school we all stopped to watch a worker go up in a bucket truck and take a tree limb down. Ellie said, "Grandma Myles could really help with these trees today." Many people have noted that my dad could shimmy up a tree faster than anyone and he was pretty quick with a chainsaw as well.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Old Friends

Tonight I spent an evening with my old friends Kim, Amy and Susan. There's nothing better than old friends. This made me think of my dad and the value he placed on friendships in his life. As we went through his drawers we found pictures of all of his old classmates saved in a box. Some of these folks were still friends of his many years after high school. These are some of the folks who blessed my dad with the gift of their friendship; Gary Aandal, Mike Mongoven, Mike Looker, Billy Poole, Bob Peters, LeRoy Vigen, Jim Fulton and Bob Homme. I know my dad would have done anything to help each of them out. That's the kind of friend he was.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Luther League

This weekend we had some time to share some great Myles stories. One of my favorites was shared by Patti and Lorine. They said that dad was often up to no good at church gatherings. He and his buddies agreed to stay in the entryway at one of their overnights ( presumably so they could go outside and smoke). I guess Pastor Heltne had dad's number and greeted him at the door as they attempted to sneak out. It's a good thing none of his daughters got his rebellious gene!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

40 Years Ago today

Today would have been my mom
and dad's 40th anniversary. As we
sat at the breakfast table this morning
she told the grand kids all about the day.
Her bridesmaids wore purple dresses and
white hats. The men were handsome in
black velvet tuxedos. They served
hamburgers, banana bread and chocolate
and white marble cake. Mom wanted purple
potato chips but Grandma Eleanor said no.
The newlyweds outsmarted those who wanted
to decorate the car and parked it at Louie Waibel's
meat market. The spent their first married
night at Lake of the Woods in single beds pushed

As mom recounted all these memories her eyes
shone. Today I am grateful for the stories mom
told us and the love my mom and dad shared.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The big question

After a particularly fragrant ride home yesterday
we all thought of one of dad's big questions,
"Do farts have lumps?"