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Bob Lind, Published March 08 2011

Lind: Cream cans remembered

Stories about cream-shipping have appeared here before, spurring memories of other farming stories out of the past.

Marian (Iverson) Johnson of Brampton, N.D., writes that she owns a cream can that her father and uncle used to ship cream to Tilden Produce, St. Paul.

“As I was growing up on the farm,” Marian writes, “it was quite a thrill to see the train come and watch the cream start its trip to Minnesota.

“The farm on which we lived and my son owns now has been in the family since before North Dakota was a state,” she adds. “My grandfather who came from Norway had filed a tree claim on the land.

“I also live on the farm in a mobile home in what I fondly call the ‘hog pasture,’ as it was one of the locations my dad and uncle raised pigs.”

Betty Shull of Fargo writes that she lived at Sarles, N.D., 60 years ago. “We worked on a farm for A.O. Aunne, president of the bank in Langdon,” she says, “and we shipped cream by the Great Northern from the Sarles depot.

“I have a cream can that belonged to Clayborn Sanders, Sarles, with a tag soldered on, reading ‘Compliments of Lakeville Creamery Co., Lakeville, Minn.’ No address and of course no ZIP code, which we didn’t have in those days.”

Woody Folstad, Harwood, N.D., has both a cream can owned by his father, Nels, of Colfax, N.D., and which was shipped to the Lakeville Creamery, and a story.

“We used to go to Walcott for groceries on Saturday nights and drop off the full can at the depot for pickup that night by the Galloping Goose,” Wood writes. “The returned can from the previous week would be picked up in Colfax Sunday morning when we went to church.

“One Saturday night, (our parents) having just gotten a different car, my older brother Neal (now of Breckenridge, Minn.) discovered he could lock the truck, and he did. The cream can already was in there.

“Soon the folks were coming out of the house saying, ‘We’ve got to be going so we won’t be late for the train.’

“Neal put the keys back in the ignition, jumped into the back seat with our younger brother Brian and me, and down the road we went.

“We pulled up to the depot platform, but the train was already starting to pull away.

“Dad waved to the engineer who slowed, while Dad had a grip on the trunk handle, pulling up and down.

“Neal, realizing this could be big trouble, retrieved the keys and unlocked the trunk.

“Dad went running down the platform and handed the can to the conductor on the train. So the cream was on its way to the creamery.”

Woody says the brothers learned a lesson from this incident: “You shouldn’t be locking things up, because it only causes trouble.”

He doesn’t spell out exactly what happened as the result of causing this trouble. It’s probably just as well.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, N.D. 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com