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Lowell Thompson: a dream achieved

Another busy week at Fair Oaks Lodge is history. There were entertainment groups, religious services, various ball games, discussion groups and a great 100th birthday party for our Helen Wallace with the Motley Vagabonds putting on the program.

A visitor from Bismarck was surprised our snow is gone when they still have so much of it. Folks under our big roof are still content to watch through the windows as winter sneaks away while spring creeps in on little cat feet.

A year ago I told you the story of Lowell Thompson. You'll remember reading about the man whose wife did such a great job with scrapbooks. Since he is with us again for a time I will warm up his story to refresh memories.

Lowell was born in 1920 near Herman, Neb., on the Updike Ranch, to Neil and Selma. He attended high school in Blair, Neb.

The year Lowell was 22 he was drafted into the Army and his next years were spent in the European theater of the war. Lowell was made a first sergeant.

Lowell's concerns were with the men he was in charge of. While regulations read that a soldier was to call out " halt" three times before he fired at an intruder, Lowell said "No way. Fire and then yell halt three times."

Lowell's years in the service took in some of the worst fighting, like landing on Omaha Beach and the Battle of the Bulge. He hasn't forgotten those nights the air was full of German migs dropping bombs while our fighters went aloft to drop 55 gallon drums of gasoline into German pill boxes. It was like a fourth of July night gone wild.

Lowell married Arelene Benjamin in 1950 and they have five children. They lived near Dixon, Neb., for a time then began looking for land in this part of the country. On one weekend they looked at 13 farms and ranches.

The Thompson's settled on a place near Oylen called Rocking Diamond Ranch. One of their moves was made in the teeth of a terrible blizzard.

Lowell worked for the Marley Cooling Tower Company, which has plants in every country where their particular parts are needed. Large generators and the like needed them.

The Thompsons enjoyed a travel camper as they took trips to wherever interested them. They took in reunions of people Lowell served with whenever possible.

While Lowell has lived in many climes, done different things, it was always the call of the land, the quietude he found there, that attracted him.

No matter what happens physically to a farmer, when he can't walk, needs help to even breathe, the longing for the land, a yearning to get a whiff of a newly plowed field again never leaves his eyes.

I see them, looking out the window, wondering did the young guy on their place now plow up the windbreak in his quest for more productive acres? If he did, he'll find out why it was planted when the wind blows, taking the best top soil flying off to the next county.

That low spot, the one that stays damp most of the summer in the west field, will he spread potash to sweeten the soil? On and on it goes until someone fetches him to eat supper.

When he was 12 years old Lowell remembers saying "I am going to be a rancher" with such determination that nobody doubted him.

Lowell is one of the fortunate few who can lean back, content to deal with whatever life deals him now. He not only had a dream, but lived it. His dream came true in the cow/calf operation on his 400 acres near Oylen.