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Oleson Park brings thoughts of Mom at band concert

June 12, 2011
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

Every time I hear the words Oleson Park or bandshell, I think of my mother.

Her family lived in the Oleson Park area when she went to junior high - the Fair Oaks building. Girls weren't allowed to wear pants to school, nor were town students allowed to stay home just because of a little, ol' blizzard.

She always walked to school, so, one day in blowing snow, she wore pants to keep the cold away. Because she forgot her skirt, they actually made her walk home through that storm to get it. And she actually went back to school. I'd have called back in with a sprained ankle or sore throat, but I'm next to certain I wouldn't have walked that far in a snow storm a second time.

OK, that might be the rebirth of a stubborn streak I thought I'd outgrown.

As a teen, Mom used to go down to the park and jump from seat to seat just to see if she could do it without falling off. Maybe she walked in snow storms too often, for it seems to me that was pretty iffy play.

When I moved back to Dodge in the fall of 2000 she was still going to Oleson Park, only this was to listen to band concerts and eat ice cream. I like band music and I really like ice cream.

Seems both of those are possible again because the Karl L. King Municipal Band will open its summer concert season at 7:30 p.m. today at bandshell in Oleson Park. It's a free concert.

When I lived in Eau Claire, Wis., the year after I first worked at The Messenger, my apartment was the upstairs of a home a block up the street from a riverside park where the city's band played every Thursday night. All I had to do was open my window and enjoy. With no possibility of mosquitoes.

But they never served ice cream.

An ice cream social will be held before the concert tonight, beginning around 6:30 p.m. The good folks at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church will have homemade ice cream and fresh baked goods to buy, as in years past.

If there's bad weather, it's likely the concert will be canceled. No use getting all those instruments wet.

Dad would tell me not to whine about rain. He always said, "You're not sugar, you won't melt."

Keep in mind, there are no benches out there, so when you go, take your own lawn chairs or blankets so you can sit on the lawn. If you go early enough, you could park close and listen to the concert in the comfort of your car.

This week's concert offers patriotic selections to celebrate Flag Day, said conductor Jerrold Jimmerson. Songs will be played in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the start of America's Civil War, and "A Tribute to Benny Goodman" is planned, along with Irving Berlin's "Alexander's Ragtime Band."

Jimmerson said the band will play "Lest We Forget," which will be narrated by Harlan VandeBerg, of Fort Dodge.

Anybody attending today's concert is encouraged to bring a small American flag to wave at appropriate times during the hourlong concert. And, George Mack, a Jolley area resident, said he will provide flags.

Oh, what a night this should be.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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