Stoneage Ramblings

By John R. Stone

Glenwood lost a really nice person with the passing of Cliff Ogdahl recently.

I got to know Cliff prior to 2000, he was retired and his daughter-in-law, Judy Ogdahl was a partner in Furniture Square, a furniture business in the former Larson Furniture building at the corner of Franklin Street South and 1st Avenue South, just across the street from the Fremad building.

The Pope County Tribune was an original tenant of the Larson building, which was built around 1929, and leased the space, about 25 percent of the south end of the building, until a few years after we purchased the paper. The person who had purchased the building from the Larson family left town so we acquired it.

Then I was approached about Furniture Square leasing the north 3/4 of the building so we spruced up the north three fourths of the building with a new ceiling and lighting.

Cliff came along as the handy man when the store opened. He had retired from his job as a heavy equipment operator and was a very handy person. He would unpack and set up furniture, inspecting the pieces as he went along.

We would talk several times a week at least and it was nice to have him around. He went through all the stuff that the previous owner had left and figured out what he needed to keep for the furniture business and we tossed the rest. He also kept an eye on the building’s north 3/4ths and would tell me when something needed fixing that he couldn’t do.

When one acquires a building one inherits problems. One was the roof, 7,000 square feet of tarpaper roofing, mostly flat. One very cold February day the roof developed a north to south crack in it about 50 feet long and an inch wide at the widest part.

It wasn’t a problem initially but later when the snow started to melt it became a big problem.

One night about 11 p.m. I got a call from Cliff. “The roof is leaking,” he said, “You should probably come down.”

I went right down and Cliff was there. He had spread out buckets where water was coming through the new ceiling I had spent thousands to put it. If you looked at the ceiling you could see wet spots where water was starting to soak through the sheet rock.

“You need to get a drill,” he said. So I ran home and got a drill.

“Now you need to drill a hole in the middle of each wet spot so it can drain,” he told me when I returned. So I got on a ladder and started drilling holes while he moved the buckets around to catch the water. Let me tell you, it was hard to make myself drill holes in that expensive ceiling but I trusted Plastic had been placed on the ceiling before the sheet rock was put in place so the water slipped through where it found a leak in the plastic. That’s what limited the damage.

So an hour or so later we had that under control and the dripping started to slow down.

In the mean time we climbed into a couple of recliners that were in the show window facing First Avenue and talked while watching things that were happening. There were a surprising number of people we saw between one and three in the morning.

We watched the police department come by on business checks multiple times, people going here and there in their cars and then about 3 a.m. the StarTribune delivery truck arrived. After that we watched the various carriers come to pick up papers for delivery around the area.

About 3:30 a.m. the dripping had mostly stopped and we went home, afraid we were going to fall asleep and really give someone coming to work a scare! A night to remember. Rest in peace Cliff.