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Across The Lake

Once again, a reader to the rescue. Thanks this time to Susan Olson Capano who e-mails from New Hampshire with the words to a song mentioned here a couple of weeks ago. She identifies herself further as a Kelliher High graduate (Class of 1967) and as the daughter of the late Orin Wolden's sister. (They grew up in Saum, she adds). We quickly put in a call to Jim Wolden, Orin's son, asking if the name Susan Capano was one he recognized, which of course he did.

That began a recitation of the family tree, where her brother and sister lived, how the Wolden store was started in Saum, how Ole Wolden and then his son, John, were both store owner and postmaster there. This in turn triggered a few of our own thoughts about how Wolden's Service for so many years was a fixture in the business annals of Blackduck, just as his son, Jim's, has become today. All this because Susan Capano read our column and from her home in New Hampshire helped us out.

It's been at least a decade since we were there, but we very likely saw Thunder on our last visit to Crazy Horse. When we were living in South Dakota, the mountain-sized memorial carving was only a couple of miles away. Even from the highway, the progress on the mountain sculpture was clearly visible. When you got up close and went into the visitor building, Thunder was often visible, too. Thunder was the Ziolkowski cat.

Signs introduced him to passers-by and explained his attitudes towards being petted. Heidi was the cat's original owner, if anyone can really claim ownership to a cat. Heidi is the granddaughter of Ruth Ziolkowski, and Ruth of course was the wife of the late Korzak Ziolkowski, the sculptor who started the massive carving years ago. Thunder was around for 22 of those years and, fittingly, now lies buried between two ponderosa pines near the Fighting Stallions statue, easily the late artist's second most famous work.

There are other animals whose owners have shown their feelings by having them laid to rest in a favorite spot or in one of the many pet cemeteries around. I've written about our neighbor in Custer whose Akita rode with him in Bob Painter's old blue pick-up truck. When Saki died, he was buried on the Painter's lawn -- with the pick-up as his headstone.

This again came to mind because Bob did the plumbing and heating work when Crazy Horse was still not much more than a dream -- and when the Ziolkowski kids were housed in protective "cages" to keep them safely out of the way with all the heavy, and dangerous, equipment moving around. Thunder grew up in that environment, too, but by then the work was taking place far up the mountain and the youngsters were grown and part of the crew following step by step the plan their father had carefully mapped out.

Sometimes a seemingly minor matter can take on more importance. That was the case at the school board meeting earlier this week. John Schocker asked if the school had a policy on fundraisers and if there were sales quotas for students. Put simply, he wanted to know if kids sold a candy bar for $1, how much did the school make. Not as much as it seemed, with 40-45 percent most common. Schocker was not alone in wondering, with several school board members also curious.

Then other parents had questions, zeroing in on one trip requiring that if students wanted to take part in the outing, every youngster in this particular fourth grade event was told they needed to make 27 sales. Sell or stay home, was the message. The board made clear it was something they'd also like to learn about.

A footnote on another problem brought to the board a few months ago: You may recall the picture of Rocky Cook falling asleep on his mother's lap while she asked for possible bus route changes to equalize the length of the daily ride. Changes were made, routes modified and students at that end of the Turtle River route don't have to be first on and last off for a very long day on a very long ride.

Thoughts while drying the dishes... Almost forgot, but Susan Capano's mother-in-law taught her the words to that song, words which inform us that "Mares eat oats and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy. A kid'll eat ivy, too. Wouldn't you?" Well, wouldn't you?