Ole Pappy

A most enjoyable moment

My friend Scott Thoma spends a lot of time living in the past when his father was alive. I know this because he speaks about him often — and is always telling me how much he misses his dad. Scott and I connect in a variety of ways, our love for journalism, for telling a good story, because we both grew up in loving families and because we both have a great love for baseball.

So when Scott heard Dwier Brown, who played “John Kinsella” in the movie, “Field of Dreams,” would be at the Willmar Stingers minor league game, he asked me to come. When I got there Scott had already bought our tickets and purchased a “Stingers Hat” for me. We waited in line to talk to Dwier Brown, but it was worth every second.

When we finally got to the table where he was signing his photo and his book, “If You Build it ...” we found a very congenial, friendly, out-going man who didn’t fit the stero-type of an actor, but rather seemed to be, “The boy next door.” Dwier talked with us like he was an old friend. The Stingers set him up with corn stalks surrounding him, much as they were in the movie.

After we visited with him, we watched him for the entire game.

He went out onto the field and “Had a catch,” with another guy. That was part of his famous line, “Wanna Have A Catch,” he was asked by movie star Kevin Costner. Dwier Brown’s book, “If You Build it,” again a reference to “Field of Dreams”, is a fascinating read because he outlines all the times when people stopped him in real life and told him stories about how his scene in the movie helped heal the relationships with their fathers. Scott and I couldn’t take our eyes off him for the entire Stinger game. He stayed for the entire game and was so nice to everyone. I want to thank Scott for making this a great event in my life.

LAUGH A LITTLE: A soldier’s tale! Little Sven’s school assignment was to ask a veteran about World War II. Since his grandfather Ole had served in the Pacific during the war, Sven chose him. After a few basic questions, Sven asked, “Grandpa Ole, did yew ever kill anyone vhen yew ver in da service?” Ole became very solemn and said, “Ya, I tink I did. I vas a cook, ya know.”

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: As My Ole Pappy used to say, “Happiness is not what happens outside of you — it’s what happens inside of you.” Ole Pappy’s way of teaching me a lesson was to show how he adapted inside to something that went against him in his world. In today’s world, Forrest Gump’s Mother would tell us, “Happy Is, As Happy Does!” Thanks Ole Pappy — and Forrest Gump’s Mom!

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