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Meet Felix Wilhemi, full of ideas

Felix Wilhelmi

A busy week at Fair Oaks Lodge started on Sunday with a chapel service. On Monday there was a president's trivia program to celebrate, and on Tuesday, chapel, and that ever faithful bingo game came along, wouldn't you know it?

Wednesday it was one-on-one visits with crafts in the afternoon. Thursday brought manicures and music bingo with mass on Friday as well as music with Dick Johnson that evening. We salute Tony Roggenkamp and Mildred Fyten, our new Valentine's Day king and queen.

The quick businesslike little blizzard that landed on both feet through the afternoon stirred memories of other blizzards that lasted longer. February 1943 was the date of our horrible experience.

Our country road had been 6 feet under snow for almost 6 weeks. No mail, no milk truck, no school bus. Linda, our 3-month-old, never strong, baby girl became congested, was burning up with fever, respiration too fast to count or for her to eat. With as yet no snowmobiles around, there was no way to get medicine or a doctor out.

By noon her finger and toe nails were turning blue. A call to the highway department told us what we already knew, that the deep snow with hard crust had kept plows in the garage for the last two weeks. I guess I must have sounded pretty desperate, because the man on the line said, "If the hard crust can be broken ahead of the plow, we'll give it a try. Several of our plows are sitting here broken now."

God bless Ma Bell's old party line! They weren't always bad. Desperate trouble or need in a family soon spread. We never knew who started it, but from the edge of Wadena, to our farm 6 miles away on the Todd-Wadena County line, as the plow inched its way, neighbors we knew as well as some we didn't materialized in front of it with iron bars and shovels.

Of those who helped, even after dark with the temp well below zero, only the Henry Clarksean family still live there. Henry, his father, Bernard, and brother, Elroy, stuck with it. It was well after dark when the big light edged into our drive. Her hands and feet were black by now and she was unresponsive. I thought it was too late.

The trip back into town in the snowplow cab was faster. Never have the lights of Wesley Hospital looming out of the storm looked so good. It was nearing midnight and she hadn't been out of my arms for 53 hours. Thanks to a fine doctor, many earnest prayers and great neighbors, she made it.

Felix Wilhelmi has agreed to let us in on his interesting story. Felix was born in Langdon, N.D., 94 years ago. His father's name was Joseph and his mother was Mary. They were farmers. Felix was not drafted because two of his brothers were already serving and Joe needed help on the farm.

Felix moved to the Bertha area where he bought a farm and married Helen Schmidt. She passed away several years ago. They have a family of four sons and 10 daughters. Felix has been satisfied to stick with farming, never having worked a day in a town. He was never much of a traveler, either.

How pleased we are that Felix decided to spend time with us under our big friendly roof. We enjoy watching great-grandpa Felix and his great-grandsons who bring a box of their own Lego building materials, erect one building after the other together. The boys tell me that grandpa is very good and full of ideas.

And now I push Felix's chair in to the parlor where he settles down to watch TV and try to figure out whether this blizzard is going to just flirt with us, or does it mean business?