7/1/2014 (2044)

Happy Birthday Donna Wenstad (DHS ’75):  Amado, AZ
Salty Desserts
Story from Vickie Metcalfe (70):  Bottineau, ND



Please give my regards to Bernadette.

I so liked the photo and pie story, you shared on her birthday.


To my Dunseith friends, this tale is about rhubarb.


Life sometimes throws us tangy, yet if we look closer, perhaps, 

can find, sweeter Knowledge.


Once again, with Gary’s  story of Bernadette’s Pumpkin dessert

 I recall  my first  attempt, baking from scratch _Homemade Rhubarb Cake.

side note ( I don’t believe I ever used a cake mix from a box until I was an adult,)


I believe, I was going into the 4th grade.

I had finally recovered from appendix surgery, and was moving  free again.


One morning, after breakfast, I asked my mom if I could bake, and ran to the patch. 

I looked and found rosy red, tender rhubarb stalks which I pulled, and cleaned there in the garden.

I estimated and filled a flat pan,went to the house, got a sharp knife and the cutting board, sat on the steps,

I chopped rhubarb like I had watched my mother.


Mom had pulled her recipe from her box and gave it to me.

I  read the recipe and did not ask questions or for  any  help.

After all, I was going into 4th grade and I had read 98 books in third!


……I was “so full of myself again………”


After the pitiful hospital experience in later May, with determined outlook,

 I once again claimed back my inner INDEPENDENT nature!


I set the oven on preheat.

I gathered ingredients; cream, sugar, salt, eggs, flour, vanilla.

I got to use Mom’s electric Sunbeam mixer!

And,  I mixed while  keeping all the tools clean.

I kept fingers out of the bowl, absolutely NO licking! 

Yes, I was tempted, but more than determined.

 I did not want to jinx this, first time.


I placed chopped rhubarb with sugar in the bottom of the old cake pan. 

I put in the 1 tsp. of pure vanilla, and inhaled the smell. 

Then folded,and smoothed batter over the rhubarb.


Perfect, Perfection……..

I did waste,  a taste,  or  a lick! 

 I was not to be deterred by a quick finger lick, however tempting.


The cake pan went into the combination wood/electric stove.

I  waited and watched, the clock for the alloted time,and kept busy.



 For my first cake making experience,  that  afternoon,

as others watched “Queen for A Day” on Television,

 I truly OWNED the kitchen!


Our family had just gotten running water that May. 

While I was hospitalized, Dad hired Duane Sorbin from Bottineau.

He had finished digging a deep ditch to bring water from the well

and  another to a drain field for the sewer. 


I did not know this was going to happen.  In those days in privacy,

 parents made quiet plans and discussed finances without children.

My parents were two of a kind, savers. They saved so they could finally have running water,

and indoor plumbing. 

No more going out side to out house toilet or dumping winter slop pails!

No more heating water on the stove!  No more carrying buckets of water from the well!


My parents did not tell us about this changing event until one day it was there, it began 

while I was hospitalized.

Somehow, in our family there were ingrained  lessons, like, 

don’t go to school to brag about what the family has.


It was so much fun, because I had used Mom’s electric Sunbeam mixer,

 all by myself and I did not tangle  scraper or spoon in the beaters.  

For once I was careful….I was on my own. It was only me, Queen of the kitchen!


I got to clean up in a stainless steel sink, with hot water flowing from a tap!

I did not have to carry waste water out to water out door flowers.


Me?  I did this whole thing by myself.

NO help or  or going for advice.


Without a lick……Lickety split!

 I washed  the batter bowl,mixer, spoons and wiped the counter.

Then, tiptoed around the kitchen careful about a falling cake.

I did not peek into the oven.


Heavenly aromas______fragrant  mix of mom’s pure vanilla,

 and tangy sweet rhubarb filled the house and my senses.

I was fairly dizzy with delight.It smelled so goooood.


 I allowed myself to  finally opened the oven at the correct time,

that cake so golden brown edges were just pulling away and the tooth pick came out clean.

The cake looked and smelled beautifully perfect.


Once carefully put in a cooling place, I went off to do outside chores.

Mom began making swiss steak, fresh small garden potatoes and peas for supper.


After barn chores, milching feeding calves  and such.

Dad and Ward came in and washed up with plenty of hot water and soap.

They had spent a day of fencing in south pasture woods with Skippy the dog, 

 and  accompanied by…many, many ticks. 

Dad with his pliers and Ward with his teeth……….


At the supper table I could not contain myself to be done eating the main course.

Finally time came, 

I got up and cut the cake into perfectly…. big pieces. Yumm, 

 I continued to resist temptation and placed on plates in front of each person.


I watched dad, when he said how good my cake looked.

He took a bite.

His eyes got big and he swallowed and said, “Umm, Vickie after the supper your mom made,

I can’t eat any more.” (disappointed)


Everyone else took a bite. Not one took a second bite.

No one……….

My sister began snickering which erupted with uncontrollable giggling.


Confused, I bit into my piece.   UGH! S-a-l-t  etched into my pride, my poor  wounded pride.

Eyes teared, as hopes for perfect were dashed by a whole lotta salt.


The stomach fell to my feet, thoughts, 

“How could this have happened, I followed the recipe to   a “T” and a “t”?


Without  a word, only Ward kept eating, he’d  take another bite,  and another, 

he finished eating one piece. 

He  said, “Vickie this is good cake, can I please have another?”


At that moment, I soared into a life lesson.

 “For as much as we dream, plan, follow  directions, and work toward a goal,

sometimes plans just don’t always turn out  the way we imagine.”


“Dreams can be struck downward in a split second and disappointment fill the soul……”

A sometimes cruel lesson. 

Stop, think,look closer with awareness, and another gift may appear.


As I look back now and think I didn’t get just one GIFT.

I got many GIFTS that day.


My mother, Lottie,did not scold, because I, put 4 teaspoons of salt not the recipes 1/4 teaspoon.

She did not critically say, “You wasted good food”. 

She  just quietly cleaned the table. Then, showed me the recipe.

She said, my mistake in messy writing. But, there it was; 1/4 in her writing.


My father did not put me down in anger.

He quietly,pushed away his supper plate,  politely said,  “It looks good Vickie,

I ate too much of your mothers cooking, don’t believe I can eat another bite.”


And little  Ward Anthony?

Ward Allen Anthony said my cake looked and  smelled good.

He ate not one but two big  pieces.


Awareness, a marvelous glimpse knowledge about my father.

I finally, learned what my father Cliff Metcalfe, knew.


Look beyond, the smell, the snuice chewing, never bathing, 

the reeking smell permeating the house after he left,

his snapping ticks with his teeth, yodeling,the  squeaky fiddle playing, his silly stories and giggles,

and his odd misshapen skull.  


All things that often people found they could use to tease him like an object.


That day ,I too ,saw what my dad saw. 

One of God’s  own.”A good person. A human with a kind and gentle spirit.”


My first lesson in rhubarb?

Life does at times throw experiences which make me sour.

If I’m lucky the experience is a wee bit tangy.


Hope you all found  happy midsomer’s dreams……


I do believe soon when  this North Dakota June rain lets up.

I will go to my patch, pull and gather juicy, rosy red rhubarb,

fill my house with tangy smells and sweeter wonderful memories.


Thanks, Gary,

I do have a hot July thunderstorm story which I intend to  through my memories.


As ever,


Blog (107) posted on May 20, 2008
From Rich Campbell (68):
Thought I would offer a little “testimonial” to anyone considering the Alaska Cruise.  My wife and I took this exact cruise last summer.  Our 35th wedding anniversary.  It was our first.  We had a great time.  The scenery was spectacular to say the least.  I would offer some observations/suggestions to those who are “cruising” for the first time.  The 6:30 PM dinner seating is perfect.  It gives you time after to enjoy the ship and the entertainment.  Plan to diet before or after the cruise–you won’t while on the ship!  Take advantage of the entertainment.  It was first class.  If you can, get the oceanview view cabins.  You can enjoy the view all the time.  This inside cabins looked claustrophobic.  Plan to take advantage of the “onshore” excursions.  It adds to the cost but gives you a flavor of Alaska.  (remember, for most this is a once in a lifetime event)  I would avoid the onshore airplane excursions.  One crashed and 4 passengers from our cruise died.  I heard of a similar incident about a month later.  We enjoyed the crabfest trip and the whale watching trip the best.  The train trip was just ok.  Stick to the excursions offered through the cruise.  They make sure you are back before the ship is scheduled to depart.  Bring some warm clothes.  It gets chilly when on the ocean.  Most of all, have fun.
Rich Campbell
From Rod Hiatt (69):
When I saw the picture of Dan McKay it reminded me of the time he
invited me to go with to Lake Metigoshe to go fishing with him. I don’t
think we were much more than 4-5th grade. We were out in an old row boat
and Dan had a brand new fishing rod that I believe he got for his
birthday. Anyway, Dan being the generous and good friend that he was,
let me use his new rod and reel. He was explaining to me about casting
and I wasn’t getting it about the button you release, so just as I was
to cast he said “Let Go”  You guessed it, I let go of everything and his
brand new rod and reel are still at the bottom of the lake. Every time I
think of, hear Dan’s name or go fishing I think about this and feel
really bad. Dan the next time you are up around Long Lake come over to
my little spot and either throw my rod and reel in the damn lake or take
one of mine and maybe I can get over this guilt that has been eating at
me for well over 40 years
By the way my fishing hasn’t improved much since then
Rod Hiatt
From Evie Gottbreht Pilkington (65):
Hi Gary and Dwight,
 Thank you for the stories about my Dad, I have no memory of snow planes…..I know my Dad liked speed and drove those Ninty-Eight Oldsmobiles he loved about 90 miles an hour on a slow day.  I use to love to ride with him, all the windows down…and get him to take a few of the girls for a ride too….great fun!
 P.S.  Exactly what is a snow plane?
 P.S.  I want to brag just a little, our daughter graduated from law school on Saturday….so now we have a lawyer in the family ….I didn’t know the difference between a lawyer and an attorney but now I do…..an   
        attorney has passed the bar…..hopefully that will happen real soon!
From Colette Hosmer (64):
Thanks for the generous comments about my sculpture commission….and, Donna, also for the flattering comment but I AM 62 and there’s NO doubt about it.  How did we end up in our 60’s?….seemed impossible to imagine when we were in high school.
Dwight….your story was incredible.  I can’t imagine too many 10 and 6 year olds today who would even know what to do in that situation, never mind being able to actually do it.  They don’t raise ’em like they used to.
From Larry Hackman (66):
How are you doing?  I thought you would be still sleeping?
Just to let you know the wife and I made a run to the Turtle Mountains this past week end.  I thought it was dry around this area, but its a lot drier up North.  Willow Creek is dry and the lakes are way down, with some being completely dry.  There are very few leaves out and the grass is still brown up there.  The wind was blowing so hard we had to hang onto the tombstones at the cemetery to keep from getting blown off the hill.  It took a lot of effort but we got done what we wanted to do.  It was not as enjoyable as it should have been, as I like to walk around at my leisure, read the names on the stones, and remember the people and the times.  It was instead, jump out of the vehicle, do what you can and jump back into the vehicle.  The highlight of the trip was stopping at Dale’s and having a jumbo.  The restaurant looks real nice and the jumbo was the best I have ever eaten.  It was delicious and made the whole trip worth while.  I would go have another today if the gas prices weren’t so ridiculous. 
Ernie was there wasting his time on a hamburger and fries.  Ernie said they have a few roof leaks and are still doing some work on the outside of the building.  I told Ernie you have to have a good roof to protect your investment otherwise everything will get ruined in know time.  I know he knows that, but I told him that anyway.
Ernie said they are having a lot of problems with fires in the area.  In fact all the fire equipment in the area was out fighting a fire  three miles north of Dunseith.  Ernie said it was the second day of fighting fire in that area.  They must  have stopped it as the way the wind was blowing, by now it would be knocking on Fargo’s door step.
You take care Gary, and if I get another chance to get up to Dunseith this summer, I’ll be sure and stop and eat a jumbo for you and Bill. Doesn’t that make you and Bill happy and your mouths water. to know that there are people out here thinking of you. 
From Paula Fassett Pfuhl (71):
Crystal mentioned the photo she sent of Pam Fassett’s birthday party was taken in Omemee , ND .  I’m just curious how many people remember the pop factory that was in Omemee?  It was run by a man named Rasmussen.  Our Grandpa Fassett (Bill- my dad’s dad…obviously) used to load up us ‘brats’, as he lovingly referred to his granddaughters and head to Omemee in his green & white Chevy for cases of pop.  It was quite a trip.  Especially since Grandpa never drove more than 45 mph – made it feel like you really going a LONG distance.  Of course, he rarely stopped at a stop sign – just slowed down and always said he’d stop twice at the next one – so that may have shortened the trip up some! I remember Mr. Rasmussen wore wire rim glasses and never had the ear wires wrapped around his ears – they were always just kind of propped over his ears.  And he ALWAYS treated us to a free bottle of pop – flavor of our choice – and there were many flavors – strawberry, orange, blackcherry, grape and I think he even had crème soda.  It was a real treat for us……and quite the adventure!
Message/Picture from Dick Johnson (68):
Gary and Friends,

Dwight Lang mentioned in one of his emails how my dad, Don Johnson,
always looked overdressed for Dunseith. I can remember when we were at
the farm,  dirty from working, if Dad had to go somewhere for parts,
etc., he would clean up and change clothes before he went. He didn’t
want any one to see him dirty! I have one picture of us, when we were
all in the field, when Dad was black from field work! He was that way
every day but no one ever saw him like that! He made sure of that! We
farmed quite a bit of land, our own and rented, and he did a lot of
field work and repair so he was plenty dirty real often! The picture
below was the way you will remember him but when I find the one of us
covered with dirt and grease I’ll send it!
The other photo is of Ramona Dionne [ Mona Johnson  ]  when she was a
sophomore at DHS in 1946. Although we aren’t related, my folks spent
time with Mona and Chuck doing things at the lake, etc. This is Mom’s
picture of Mona so they must have been together then too. Thanks Gary!!


Dionne Johnson, Ramona 2044 Johnson, Don 2044