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Sal the music maker joins us

How cool is it to have one of our music makers come to live under our big roof. I am speaking of Cyrilla (Sal) Erickson.

Sal was born in Wadena in 1920 to Nick and Louise Neuerburg. She has six brothers and two sisters. She married Mel Erickson in 1939. They have four children. Mel died in 1997.

The Ericksons lived in Marshall for 21 years, then returned to Wadena to retire. Over the years, Mel farmed and sold machinery. Sal worked for JC Penney.

Mel and Sal made the most of their retirement years. They spent 24 years in Brownsville, Texas, when it was freezing in Minnesota. Sal picked up shells and other treasures left by the tide when Mel fished.

They made a trip to Itasca Park, where they had spent their honeymoon. They went to Yellowstone and the Black Hills many times as well as other places.

An innate ability to play accordion and piano made having the Ericksons welcome at any fun gathering. Sal's favorites were polkas and waltzes. She played for senior citizen club groups and many nursing homes.

Then from her chair, Sal said wistfully, "I wish I could still dance."

"Me too! Those days were great fun, weren't they?"

We just sat there. Then I added: "But, Sal, our favorite partners are gone so it wouldn't be the same. And they have changed everything. They play the music faster, the floors are slipperier, and I hear they don't have much of an intermission anymore."

"Who are 'they'?"

"Oh, you know. That elusive 'they' element who has always messed everything up. Hard to tell what they will do next."

"Is that so?"


A nurse wheeled Sal toward her room.

I trudged off down the hall.