Saturday, June 2, 2012
The Norwegian Lutheran Iowa Farm Boy
Sorenson grew up in Lyon County in Northwest Iowa, graduated Luther College 1958, spent 30 years as a counselor in the St Paul, MN, school system, then retired to a log cabin in Edgewater, WI, home to the Edgewater Store (beer, groceries, bait, coffee with table, the Pioneer Press, and 2 gas pumps), a resort, campground, a few houses, and the ChitChat Bar 'n Grill. (What's a small Wisconsin town without a tavern? A travesty, that's what!)
Edgewater is located on the north end of Big Chetac Lake, a panfish paradise. Edgewater is also about 1.5 miles from my daughter's cabin, so we've had occasion to visit this metropolis from time to time, though never at the home of Mr. Sorenson.
Marni bought the book for her personal reading, then husband Brad noticed the puppy dog look on my face so he picked one up for my personal library. Nice move, young man.
The title of the first chapter is "Well, For Crying in the Beer!" I remembered hearing that, a memory that came from years ago, with my mother's laughter attached to it. Understanding the connection was beyond me then and remains there today. It's like his reference to "Judas Priest" that my mother would NEVER have said since that presumably mild epithet is beyond the pale for her even if Sorenson cited it as the pet phrase of his father.
It was his Uncle Herb who would bellow about the beer. "On those occasions when we just didn't make any progress repairing a machine, he would stop as if challenging the gods in the sky and bellow the phrase we loved to hear. Coming from him you could almost know he was thinking the worst swear word back in his brain, just like we were doing."
OK, so my mother would not have been thinking swear words; for her it was more the "can you believe that?" phraseology with a twist of sin added to it. Remember, swearing was taboo. And when Sorenson wrote of a neighbor's pet phrase, I was a bit dumb-founded because I know it's one I've heard, haven't heard in years, was always tied to a laughter of frustration, and normally came from my mother: "I get so mad I could cry!" Or perhaps she said, "I get so mad I could just spit!"
Whatever. Must be pure Norwegian Lutheran: don't swear, just say something with an absurd juxtaposition of human emotions, and you will pass any call to censorship. We knew how to set that bar, eh?
To learn more about Sorenson, keep reading this blog because we all have much in common, Sorenson and I that is, or go to the New Century Press website, where I'm sure you can get a book, or write to Sorenson himself:
D. E. Sorenson
3015 N County Rd F
Birchwood, WI 54817
The book is $13 with shipping. Next time I go to Birchwood I plan to stop to visit. He has far greater recall of things we all thought unimportant at the time than you and I will ever have.