Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Remembering Jim Olson ... part 3 ...

2 hours 40 minutes ...that was the first Summer game of the season's length.  Unbeknown to my umpiring partner Mark and I, it was a Junior ACME game...and those tend to last longer.  Working the plate, my legs feel it...tonight back to Lima Central Catholic for a double header at  4pm...this one will be regular varsity ACME, so it should go a bit smoother, but it will still be near 9 before we finish.  The weather however will remain close to perfect...mostly sunny with 70s for daytime highs, and cool enough at night to keep the windows open and the A/C off.

Jim Olson part 3 ...

My old friend Jim Olson passed away on May 6th, less than a month after his 61st birthday .... a Marlboro smoker much of his life, Jim switched to cigars sometime during the 2 decades will had little contact, between 1981 and 2000....problem for Jim, he inhaled the damn cheap things, nasty stuff....now we are not talking the quality hand rolled cigars that I partake in on occasion, these were domestic cheap ass machine made garbage...he finally gave them up a few years back, but I suspect by that time the damage was done ....

After Olson left WCSM, he stayed with Patricia and me for a few months before heading back to his native North Dakota...he finished up school at NDSU or was it ND?  Anyway he got his Masters and worked various occupations, some professional, some not so much...last he was working was a delivery driver for a Chinese Restaurant, and a ID Checker at a Minot bar... in between his was a professional, but Jim was Jim...while I turned one way to a life that stabilized, Jim continued down his own path....

In the Spring of 1976 he was living in Fargo and working as a manager of Musicland, in a Fargo Mall....Musicland, a chain of music related stuff store, I doubt even is still around these days...at that time Olson decided to make a solo "Road Trip" to Athens, Ohio, to see me, Nick,
Rick Pearson, and the other Celina and old Red Door Alumni.  As he also did, he brought along some "goodies" including smoking material and a fresh unopened bottle of Everclear....the 100 proof tasteless ass kicker, a domestic version of "Moonshine"...we all partied at the College Inn and Bars of downtown Athens...the next year, March 1977, when I was on break from my studies at Hocking Tech, I returned the favor and dragged my new Airedale pup "Mas" with me in the Jeep to Fargo and spent a few days there .... I'm not sure if there was ever a time that when we got together that in addition to the beer and booze, there was something illegal involved, it was the way it was in the 1970s.... we were party people at the time...Jim, for better or worse would remain that way for life....


In the fall of 1977 Patricia and I, who had been married in Wisconsin in December 1976 moved to Wausau, Wisconsin, in the far north....we packed up the Airedales, a U~Haul full of "stuff" and just took off....no jobs, no bills, no problem....we found a little farm house to rent between Wausau and the small, Celina sized town of Merrill to the north, and would call that "home" for the next two years...it is where we started a family, Anissa was born there in February
1979....Olson came to visit on a couple of occasions, and we would get together in the midway point of the Twin Cities at other times...Gopher Basketball, Twins Baseball, and North Stars Ice Hockey...Patricia and I always made it a weekend and had a great time .... I had pretty much slowed down to just drinking beer by this time...not so much for Jim..


In the spring of 1978, nearly a year before Anissa arrived, Jim called and wanted me to join him and a handful of his Mohall, ND, buddies in the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota, for a week of canoeing, fishing, beer drinking, ...Jim and I over packed, over drank on the way up, but still had one Hell of a time....a trip we planned on recreating this coming July, with our old friend Nick from the Red Door days....

Jim and I hooked up at Duluth, and made our way north to Ely, stopping at the US Hockey
Hall of Fame on the way...but the time we reached the Canoe Trip outfitters, we were pretty well inebriated....so much so, we jumped in the packed canoe the wrong way...the young worked gave us proper directions, and just shook his head as we made our way towards the portage area which would take us to Wind Lake and the Island where we were to camp....


Over packed, did I mention that? We were, and we paid the price...it took us three trips across to finally put the canoe back in the water....somehow the rest of the North Dakota folks saw us in the fast coming twilight and gave us verbal directions where to dock at the island...

In retrospect it was amazing in itself we didn't drown, get eaten by a bear, or just plain lost and never heard from again....if you are young enough and never been to the Boundary Waters...you owe it to yourself, just to visit, if even for a day or two.... If I was to pick a place to just fade away from this world that would be it.....looking now, I can't imagine what we would have done next month if Jim had waited until or trip to pass away....I'm sure that is something if he knew what was coming, he would not have minded it....it was a great week, we didn't catch much, but we did have a great time.

I, along with Patricia, Anissa, and the Airedales, would move around the heartland, Kokomo, Dodge City, and back to Celina, over the next few years....I would not see Jim Olson again until 1981 at a windy day in Minnesota, where we watched the Vikings take on the Philadelphia Eagles...I would get my coat set on fire by a drunk women behind me....no damage to me, and her husband overpaid to replace my coat, Jim and a couple of young friends of his were pretty much stoned, and I had no use for that life anymore...I stayed another day, then headed back to Park Falls, Wisconsin, to see another old Radio friend, the late Mike Rockwell, who was working at a radio station there, and home....I would not see Jim Olson for another 19 years or so....we were moving in different directions, I was trying to grow up....Jim was living his perpetual 20 something life style.   But like all old friends, we would make contact again...in the next Century, the year 2000...that story is next.

Off to get a haircut, do some weight lifting, and get ready for more baseball...back later>>>>

photos-Jim with the smoke billowing off his constant Cigar, me looking drunk or amused perhaps both from this photo from the year 2000...our Island on Wind Lake in Northern Minnesota...Me, Jim, and Nick at Riverfront Stadium in 2000...my share of our Over Packing for the Boundary Water trip...Jim and one of his Mohall Friends...forget the little guys name...me at the old campfire on the Island, and the Camp setup of same..is below.

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