|Downtown Humboldt around the time the poem was written...|
Ode to the North
[With apologies to Longfellow, and
acknowledgement to the Franssens]
(Written circa 1938)
In the old Red River Valley,
Near the muddy, rusty, river
There’s a town by the name of Humboldt
Little town, quite far from St. Cloud!
Up, far up into the Northland
Where the people are dirt farmers
Strong and handsome sidewalk farmers.
Farm one farm and then another
Farms the whole damn country round them
Rent the land by sections, even
When we farm only 100 acres!
Much the things they do there different
All use tractors ‘stead of horses
Trucks and trailers ‘stead of wagons
People there are great on motors,
All got cars and big machineries
Packards, Plymouths, Dodges Chevies
Buicks, Fords what got the shimmies
Deering, Farmalls, Allis Chalmers,
Bradley, Deere John, and Missus Harris
All own combines, lusty swathers,
But they don’t have cultivators
Cause they don’t grow corn way up there.
In the springtime comes the rainstorms
Rains and rains and comes the gumbo
Slippery, slimey, black and dirty
Charlsie scrapers and calls it cowshit
Cause its all so smooth and stickey
Trucks get stuck, must be pulled out
By the fat man’s caterpillar
Gum gets tracked in the houses
Housewives have to clean and scrub them
But they do these little labors
Think not much of little labors
Glad to live up in the Northland.
Up from St. Cloud comes the girlies
Stay to sport away vacation
With Aunt Pearl and Uncle Ollie (Berg)
Tear around with neighbor laddies,
Goes to shows with Wimp and Gordy
Vamps around and goes to Bronson
Have themselves a plenty good time
Play the checkers and the ping-pong
Drink root beer and eats the pop corn
Rides in trucks and on the combine
Drive Joe Diamond's “Master Chevie”
And with his beloved, Jerry!
In the town there is the people
Leonard, Herb and Lawrence Diamond
Big B’S-ers, them three fellows
Like to tease and tell big stories
All in fun does Ikey do it
Him the Cop, - - - the Chief of Police
Him the Fire Sergeant also,
But not the Mayor,
Him is Tom Brown.
Squirty little duck, the mayor,
All for work and money getter.
Bumped his head on Bud’s truck mirror
Wondered what the hell had happened
Looked around and pulled his whiskers
Bud and Donnie blowed a tire
Knocked the cap from Uncle Bud off
Blew the cigarette from his mouth out
Donnie Brown rolled over backwards
Laughed & laughed and rubbed his stomach
Him the kid that can fry “burgers”
Juicy, greasy hot hamburgers
He displayed his art one winter
At Aunt Pearl’s and Buds Household
Also for Tom, works Sylvester,
Fat and happy Slim Sylvester,
Went with teacher from the "Hoc Schule"
Drives himself a pretty Chevie
Scoots around with old "Shell" gas truck
Round town and in the country
Bringing gasses to the farmers
Much he teases little Mary
Also Pete and sassy Jerry
|Humboldt Car Dealership (individuals by cars & lone dog, unknown!)|
In the town is Mama Irving,
Runs a store with Papa Irving
(Him a fogie, her a fidget)
Handles stuff from food to hardware
Groceries, hair pins, combs and dust pans
Brooms and brushes, hankies, clothes pins
Diapers, buttons, shoes and stockings
Cough drops, meat and under clothing
Salt and sugar, ladies panties
Slips, braziers, and even nectar
Hats and hard wear, candy, aprons,
From this stuff she makes her money.
Other store is owned by Florence
Sells as much as Mrs. Irving
Employs more folks than Mrs. Irving
Works in store is Johnnie Easter
Maymie Jury and Ruth McEwen
Talking much and selling little
Back in store is the Post Office
Where they sell the stamps and postcards.
On the corner is the restaurant;
Edith, Andy, Own the eat shop,
Sell the beer, the pop and candy,
Make the lunches, fine and dandy!
Sell the gum, the Coco Cola,
Make good Money buy the Packard.
Just before they own the V-8,
How you like for making profit?
Here they have a nickelodeon ,
Play the records that are famous.
Much the people like these people,
They are nice and healthy people.
Cross the street is Humboldt garage,
Owned by Schantz, Ollie and Bob.
Sell car parts and fix the tractors,
Sell gasoline from pumps on the corner
Ollie sits and reads the stories,
Keeps the books and darns the stockings.
Bob he all the time is busy,
Fixing kick-offs, motors, loaders.
Sells the spark-plugs and the gaskets.
Fixes horns, the pistons, tires
Makes the cash and builds a house
for himself and little Ollie.
Down the street is competition, called
Ben's Standard Service station.
Run by Ben and Lottie Matthew.
Ben on Sunday wears the apron,
Lottie knits and scarves embroiders
Crochets doilies, scarves and runners.
Sells them to the many tourists.
Those old timers had but two kids,
One was Annie, one was Lomas.
They are married, have their own kids
Lomas lives right next to parents,
Has two boys named Dean and Dennis.
Next to Lomas lives a blowhole,
Big & Burly Billie Johnson.
Once had rheumatism badly
Now is healthy as a bed bug.
Little woman was a Diamond,
Pretty, charming Amey Diamond,
Had the baby little Gary,
Cute and fat the little Gary
No big blow-hole like his daddy,
Ride the walker, spill the groceries,
Mama say "No, no dear Gary,
Mustn't eat the butter darling,
Lets go over, see Aunt Marva.
Also in town are preachers,
Two big women preachers mind you.
Live alone in buff and white hut,
Rent paid by the congregation.
Dog they got and chevie also,
Go to Cass Lake on vacation,
Leave the house alone with chickens.
Do their preaching and their teaching
in the white church on the corner.
Keep a garden in the meantime,
raise themselves nice red tomatoes
to be swiped by naughty girlies.
Next in line comes Grandma Matthew,
lives in her nice little tepee.
Raises flowers in her garden
Up to snuff she keeps her household
Nice old lady, kind to neighbors!