The Good Life – March-April 2017


Featuring Joe Karvonen - Motorcycle enthusiast and owner of Sisufab. Local Hero - Korean War Vet, Wilbert Scheffler, Gun Safety 101, How to Tie a Bow Tie and more in Fargo Moorhead's only men's magazine.


A few weeks ago, I got accused of being a

helicopter parent. Why? Because I wouldn’t

allow my then 15-month-old son, Macklin,

to run around with a plastic fork in his hand.

I calmly explained to my foresight-deficient

friend that while said fork may be a harmless,

utilitarian eating device to us adults, it’s nothing more than

an unsheathed, medieval eye-poker for an uncoordinated

toddler who only learned to walk two months prior.

It wasn’t helicopter parenting. It was parenting. Parenting

with an eye for potential disasters, and so far Mack still has

two intact eyes, as do all of his playmates. I doubt I’ll ever

receive the thanks I most definitely deserve, but it made

me realize something. If forks are no longer forks, what

else has changed since the introduction of toddlerhood

into my life?

The short answer was a lot. Some things have even taken

on new meaning now that we have a walking, handsy

toddler meandering his way through the house. And it’s

not just things. A lifetime of carefully cultivated comfort

is being systematically dismantled under the Mack


Ruined Routines

I’ve never lost my car keys. Why? Because I follow a

routine. I always (used to) put them in the same spot—the

left hand pocket of my jacket. Well guess which arm Mack

prefers to ride in to and from the car? My left, which means

there’s no way to both carry him and access my keys. It’s a

real problem.

So just put your keys in your right pocket, you’re thinking.

I guess I have to. I guess my son—whom I love more than

anything, but has only been a part of my life for about

1/17th the amount of time I’ve routinely kept my keys

in my left pocket—now gets to dictate where I store my

personal items. Fine, but now I’m going to have to find

a new place for my wallet, which will undoubtedly force

my phone to find a new home. I just want to know where

it will end. I’m worried this is how fanny packs came into

existence… Oh, you got kids? Here, wear this and forget

you ever had pockets.

Everything Gets Taller

I remember the day we brought home our entertainment

center. Miraculously, it matched the sofa table we already

had in the downstairs living room. Same color wood, same

finish and even the same height. The DVD player, receiver,

record player, etc. all looked like they were custom made

for this piece of furniture. I remember thinking we did

it. We completed the basement, and with it, the house.

Everything was perfect.

Then we brought Mack home, and that veil of perfection

started to show just how thin it really was. The more

mobile Mack became, the more that perfection rubbed


off our house… and in one specific way. Those

perfectly matching tables have one fatal flaw—

they’re not six feet off the ground. Which is

normal. They’re normal tables. With normal

things on them. For normal people. But

toddlers are not normal people.

As such, the new definition of perfection in

our house is “a realistic expectation to be able

to sit for more than one minute before having

to get up and move something up and out of

Mack’s reach.” You’d think as a stay-at-home

dad who spends most all day playing this game

that eventually I’d win, or at least get a glimpse

of the final move. Nope. Honestly, I think the

only way to win this game would be to move

and start fresh.

Kitchen Dowel Rods

One challenge to the “Raise & Save” game

showed itself early on: shelf space. We do not

have an abundance of shelving in our house, so

we quickly depleted all the easy moves. (Plus,

just because something is out of arm’s reach by

no means makes it out of site, and that game…

let’s just say that game has no winners.)

You also can’t take the entire lower half of

your kitchen and move it up, at least not easily.

Securing the cabinets was simple enough with

your standard kid-proofing gear, but I had to

get a little DIY when it came to the drawers.

One dowel rod placed vertically down through

a row of drawer handles joins them together

into one, child-proof mega-drawer. So along

with essentials like measuring cups, extra

garbage bags and assorted can koozies, you’ll

also find a few dowel rods in our kitchen should

you ever need to… um, dowel something.

They don’t match the rest of our decor in

any way, but they cost $0.98 a piece and do

a fine job of keeping Mack out of my koozie

collection. The rods also do a great job of

destroying the finish on the drawers, ensuring

a future kitchen remodel. You’re welcome,


A lot has changed in a short amount of time.

I can only imagine what it must be like for

Macklin, for whom everything is not only

changing, but everything is new. It’ll be

a long time before he understands why I

locked up the good filet knives behind a

dowel rod immediately after he discovered

them. But one day, I hope he’ll shake my hand

—with all five fingers—and say thank you. • / THE GOOD LIFE / 3
































Urban Toad Media LLP


Dawn Siewert


Darren Losee


Meghan Feir

Brittney Goodman

Ben Hanson

Krissy Ness


Darren Losee / 701-261-9139







The Good Life Men’s Magazine is distributed six times

a year by Urban Toad Media LLP. Material may not be

reproduced without permission. The Good Life Men’s

Magazine accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction

arising from content in this publication. The opinions

expressed, or advice given, are the views of individual

writers or advertisers and do not necessarily represent

the views or policies of The Good Life Men’s Magazine. / THE GOOD LIFE / 5

More Than A Tasting Room • The Proof is in the Food


Justin “Judd” Eskildsen has been cooking for over fifteen

years and like most cooks he started at the bottom and

worked his way up. With no formal training Eskildsen

has proven he has style and talent in the cooking world.

He began his journey at a young age in his mom’s kitchen.

From there he worked at fast food restaurants and local

restaurant Coaches before working his way to Red

Bear in Moorhead. After taking a ten-year hiatus from

cooking, Eskildsen then spent a year working under Chef

Steve Schulz at The Toasted Frog as his Sous-chef. He

mentioned that chef Schulz is his biggest local influence,

“He never really sat down and taught me things, but he

asked questions about dishes our crew would create that

would encourage ideas that I already knew, but didn't put

much importance in.” Eskildsen stated.

The Coteau des Prairies Lodge in Havana, ND hired

Eskildsen for his first gig as a stand-aloneChef. He created

a 5-course beer dinner featuring Drekker Brewing Co.

and it was an immediate hit. He has been called back

to do many dinners since then. One of them being the

“Tapas and Cocktails” featuring Proof Artisan Distillers

before being officially hired as Proof’s head Chef. What

an honor it must be to have someone taste your work and

immediately want to hire you as their head Chef!


“I like to have few good drinks, lots of great food, and too

many laughs with the people who are close to me! FAMILY!

Whether it's my real family, my close friends, my crew or

Joel, John and the Minions... I love those people, and being

able to have a free day with a group of any of those people

is THE definition of The Good Life.” / THE GOOD LIFE / 7

“One of my favorite

things since I've started

cooking again, is when

I see my food set in

front of people,

and they immediately

reach for their phones

to take pictures.”

Eskildsen has taken the knowledge

that he acquired on his own and

from those he has worked with

along the way and brought that with

him to Proof Artisan Distillers.

Working beside Eskildsen is his

Sous-chef, Erik Johansen; because

of his help, it is not uncommon

to see Eskildsen roaming around

Proof’s tasting room. “One of

my favorite things since I've

started cooking is when I see my

food set in front of people and

they immediately reach for their

phones to take pictures,” affirmed

Eskildsen. Among all the great

food served at Proof, it is first and

for most a tasting room for spirits,

“It's irresponsible to serve cocktails

without offering food; I created

fairly large portions of appetizers

meant for sharing.” The Tapas

menu is meant for 3 or 4 people

to share, but as the menu gained

popularity Eskildsen expanded his

menu to include entrées. When the

people ask, he delivers.


Every week Eskildsen prepares a special

dish, The Chef’s Feature, which is an

entrée he creates on his “days off”. These

dishes usually feature fish of the highest

quality and freshness available. Eskildsen

revealed that working with exotic fish is

one if his favorite dishes to prepare. All

of the fish he prepares is, as I mentioned

before, fresh - like shipped from Hawaii

weekly—fresh! It is important to add

that if you find yourself wanting to try an

entrée but notice an issue with allergies,

speak to your server and Eskildsen will

personally discuss options with you. It

is not often that you find yourself in a

situation where the head Chef will take

time out of his busy night to ensure you

enjoy every part of your meal.

Among all the food and cocktails served,

there is an entire staff at Proof that makes

sure you are taken care of - from servers,

to the mixologists and cooks. Not only

does the food compliment the cocktails,

so do the fine people working there.

Their knowledge on everything, Proof is

nothing short of an experience when you


The journey for Eskildsen has been that

of hard work and dedication. It is truly

exciting eating his food and experiencing

Proof’s tasting room.

If it is amazing cocktails, delicious entrées

or maybe just a couple appetizers you are

looking for - look no further than Proof

Artisan Distillers. You will get the best

downtown Fargo has to offer without

the hustle and bustle of a busy, crowded

restaurant. Keep in mind though; Proof is

not a restaurant but rather a tasting room

and one heck of an experience. • / THE GOOD LIFE / 9


When given the assignment to profile a local elementary

school teacher, I expected the interview to be a mixture

of guarded cynicism and outright fatigue. Just the thought

of trying to hold the attention of 30 nine-year-olds for six

hours a day makes me tired ... and a bit cranky. But Branton

Baarstad, a third-generation teacher at the beginning of his

career, surprised me.

Halfway through his first year teaching 4th grade at

Roosevelt Elementary School in north Fargo, Baarstad is

neither exhausted nor jaded. Quite the opposite, in fact. His

optimism and excitement about his chosen profession are

as genuine as any parent could hope to find in their child’s


“It’s been awesome,” Baarstad said of his first few months

on the job. “My class has been great, the staff is amazing

and so is this community.”

So what’s it really like to teach the 4th grade? Baarstad

filled me in on what his usual day looks like at the head of

the class.


Good Life: First off, why 4th grade?

Why not middle school or high school?

Branton Baarstad: Initially, I wanted to

be a music teacher, but halfway through

college I decided I didn’t want to focus

in just one area and wanted to teach all

subjects. So I went to the elementary

level and loved it. From practicums

to time in the classrooms, I realized I

could give back to my students what my

teachers gave to me in the elementary

classroom. It really felt like I was in the

right place.

GL: What do you hope your kids learn

from you?

BB: I try to teach my students that in

life it’s not always about getting the best

grades or the best this or that. It’s about

doing your best and pushing yourself to

your limit. If you do that, nothing will get

in the way of becoming what you want

to be. I want to see my students succeed

every day, becoming better people not

just better students. I also try to show

them that they are not just loved by their

family, but they’re also loved here at

school by the teachers and faculty.

GL: What does a normal day look like

for a guy teaching the 4th grade?

7:00 am

I get up and get ready. My commute only takes

about ten minutes, and I usually get to work

around 8:00. [Baarstad earlier admitted he’s

not a morning person, which might explain

why, despite the short commute and lack of

breakfast, he requires 50 minutes to muster the

wherewithals to get out of bed and into the car.]

8:00ish am

I make coffee in my classroom … I’ve got a Keurig in my

room. [Again, not a morning person.] I have all my stuff

ready to go from the day before [it’s impressive how well

he knows himself], so I just check the kids have what they


8:20 am

The bell rings. All teachers stand in the halls to greet their students in the

morning, so I’m out there talking with them as soon as they roll in. Once

they settle in, they start their morning work and get their brains going

for about 15 minutes. I take a lunch count and attendance at that time

and go around to make sure students are working and doing what they’re

supposed to be doing.

8:45 am

We start in with large group reading time for about 20

minutes or so ... maybe a story from a book we read together

or vocabulary or spelling words.

9:00 am

We work on writing for about 45 minutes … we’re working

on personal narratives now, then it’s off to gym or music for

40 minutes. This is my prep time to get ready for the next

part of the day.

10:40 am

I pick up my students and we grab milk and juice on the way

back up to our classroom to start our “dailies” … we rotate

through every 15 minutes for one-on-one time, so every

week I get at least 15 minutes with each student to check in.

12:30 pm

I pick up students at the lunch room and head back up to

classroom for 15-20 minutes of silent reading time. I let

them choose their own book to make sure they enjoy the

reading, then we break into small group and large group

math, for 70-80 minutes.

2:00 pm

We close out the day with either social studies or science.

At 2:45, I have my students write in their planners, clean

up their area and the bell rings at 2:52 and I hand out my


11:50 am

Lunchtime and recess! I take

them down for lunch and then I’ll

usually go to the teachers’ lounge

to see the other teachers and

some parents if they’re there. I sit

and talk and eat lunch …

[I asked what he eats for

lunch, and he said

“some snack

foods.” A dietary


may be


“My class has been great,

the staff is amazing and

so is this community ...

the students have a knack of

knowing ‘hey this guy’s not ready,

we got five minutes to go crazy!”


3:00 pm

Sometimes I have meetings after school; every

Tuesday and Wednesday I have meetings for sure, and

some Mondays.


During the weekdays, I usually go home after

preparing for the next day. I’m not coming in early

to do prep work! I go home and run to train for

Fargo marathon, then it’s Netflix and chill with

my two dogs. It depends on how wired my brain

gets on when I fall asleep. Sometimes it’s 10 p.m.,

sometimes it’s midnight.

There you have it. A day in the life of an elementary

school teacher in Fargo, ND. Not as crazy as you

might expect, but perhaps that’s due to Branton

Baarstad’s enviable professionalism and enthusiasm

for his job. Still, he readily admits he has to keep a

keen eye on his class to avoid a potential derailment.

“You have to be on the ball all the time,” he said.

“If you don’t, the students have a knack of knowing

‘hey this guy’s not ready, we got five minutes to go

crazy!’” • / THE GOOD LIFE / 13


“Living the good life

to me means having

enough time aside

from my job that I

love to have some

free time to relax

with my family, my

dogs and my cats.”


As the radio announcer of “The Mike McFeely Show” on

970 WDAY and a columnist for the “Fargo Forum,” Mike

McFeely has been a recognizable voice in the community

since the ‘90s, soon after he graduated from Moorhead

State (MSUM) in 1989.

On a typical, blustery Tuesday in Fargo, I had the

opportunity to sit down in Drekker Brewing Company

and pick McFeely’s brain about things besides politics,

but President “The Donald” still got brought up, so don’t


Good Life: Are you nervous for the weird questions that

are about to hit you?

Mike McFeely: Should I be nervous for the weird

questions? I’m in talk radio, so you never know what’s

going to come. It’s usually people, who I often envision

living in their mom’s basement, calling me, so I think I’m

prepared. You don’t live in your mom’s basement, do you?

GL: I actually don’t, though it’s a nice basement. So,

what’s your favorite family tradition?

MM: Well, I’m blushing because I thought it was going to

be all, like, political, weird questions. My favorite family

tradition is going to Itasca State Park in the fall to look

at the leaves. It drives people crazy because they can’t

believe it. I’m the guy who’s always ripping people and

being mean to people on the radio, and I like to go to

Itasca with my wife, daughter and our dogs and look at

the colorful leaves. It’s my favorite day of the year.

GL: If you could meet anyone from the past or present,

who would it be?

MM: Oh, my... Again.

GL: I told you these were going to be tough questions.

MM: I know, but who thinks about these things?

GL: I do.

Darren Losee: Meghan does.

MM: Is this supposed to provide a window into my soul?

GL: Yes.

MM: I would like to meet Donald Trump because that

would be absolutely fascinating. How could you not want

to sit down and absolutely question everything about him,

just to set him off? He clearly has a very thin skin and is

very narcissistic and insecure.

GL: I’d also like to ask him these questions.

GL: What’s your biggest pet peeve—when people call

from their mothers’ basements?

MM: My biggest pet peeve in the world is that people don’t

seem to trust anyone. Facts don’t matter anymore. You

can tell facts to somebody, but if they don’t want to believe

it, they just won’t believe it. They’ll go on the internet and

find other facts that they think are facts, but they’re not

facts, and then they’ll pretend it’s a fact. You can’t reason

with people if they disagree.

GL: Where do you get your facts?

MM: I get my facts from credible news organizations.

As much as people don’t want to believe them or think

it’s all fake news out there, there are still journalistic / THE GOOD LIFE / 15

“I would like to meet Donald Trump because that would be absolutely fascinating.”

standards, like the “Washington Post,” “The New York

Times,” “Minneapolis Star Tribune,” “LA Times,” “Fargo

Forum”—there’s lots of actual news organizations that

still try to find facts and present them as facts, but people

just don’t want to believe it.

GL: How do you know those are credible sources?

MM: Because they employ real journalists. At some

point, you have to trust institutions. If you don’t trust any

information, unless it’s information you agree with or

that solidifies your viewpoints of the world, how do you

go forward?

GL: How do you decide which journalists are credible

and trustworthy?

MM: Maybe it’s old school, but I believe journalists that

are trained at reputable universities are trustworthy and

at least attempt to be objective. Are any of us always

objective all the time? We all have our biases and see the

world through our eyes, but if you are a trained journalist

and understand the role of a journalist, then I should

trust you.

GL: If two journalists attend the same reputable university

and one of them goes to work at a news organization you

don’t particularly like, would you still trust them?

MM: I would probably lose trust for them if they go to

a I don’t believe that’s a credible news

source. It clearly has a slant that goes one direction and

has an agenda or a purpose behind it. If you’re going to go

work for that organization, then can I trust you anymore?

GL: What is something people do that you love and

always catches your attention, like someone opening a

door for another person, or someone giving you a napkin

with a beverage?

MM: I like how people cannot resist petting a dog. When

a dog walks up to somebody, I know it’s a good person

if they instinctively reach down to pet the dog’s back.

Somebody that blanches, ignores, or shoves the dog

away—I have questions about them.

GL: If someone wrote an article about you, what do you

think would be a fitting headline? I don’t get this option

because the headline is always relatively the same.

MM: “He’s not as big of an a**hole as you think he is.”

GL: Whose radio talk show would you want to listen to

more, Batman’s or Superman’s?


“My biggest pet peeve

in the world is that

people don’t seem

to trust anyone.”

MM: Batman. He’s more of a broody and

introspective guy, and I picture myself

as being broody and introspective,

though I don’t know if that’s how I’m

seen or not, so how could you not want

to listen to a broody and introspective

talk show host?

GL: What’s been your worst date


MM: Any date I’ve been on because I’m

a bad dater.

GL: What was the worst and most

uncomfortable one?

MM: Every date I’ve been on. I’m not

kidding. I’m a terrible dater, and I’ll

give you my wife’s phone number and

you can ask her.

GL: So how did that progress? How

did you get a wife?

MM: Alcohol. I’m not joking. God put

alcohol on this earth for bad daters like

me to actually have a shot.

GL: Hah. A shot.

GL: Favorite breakfast food?

MM: Bacon. But I’m trying to not eat

a lot because I’d like to live beyond

the age of 55. I mean, I hope that’s

everybody’s answer. If somebody says

oatmeal, they should be shot.

GL: Chewy or crispy?

MM: Not crispy, but cooked beyond the

point of rawness. Chewy, but not to the

point of crispness.

GL: That’s a very good place to be.

MM: And pre-cooked, microwavable

bacon should be outlawed.

GL: What does living the good life

mean to you?

MM: Living the good life to me means

having enough time aside from my

job that I love to have some free time

to relax with my family, my dogs and

my cats. I don’t have any aspirations

of being wealthy or jet setting across

the world. I just like to spend time with

them, cooking steak on the grill, mixing

a drink and relaxing with the dogs in

the backyard. I’m a simple man. • / THE GOOD LIFE / 17


Joe said he has “always” been into power sports

and motorcycle racing, since childhood. And now, he

added: “I’ve had the luxury and misfortune of turning

my hobby into my job. It’s both the best thing and the

worst thing in the world.”

Joe wants to keep the excitement in power sports and motorcycles: “They’re toys. I

work in an industry of ‘big people toys.’ So many of us still tap into our youth mentality

of wanting to have that toy ... And I am the same way. I still get excitement out of it.” He

especially likes getting other people into these sports as a hobby: “My job is fulfilling because I can

see the passion growing in someone else.”


“I work in an industry of ‘big people toys.’ So many of us still tap into our youth

mentality of wanting to have that toy ... And I am the same way.

I still get excitement out of it.”

Joe, 28 years old, started Sisufab in 2013, building his

own shop in West Fargo, after a lifetime of motorcycle

and power sports devotion, education, and also paying his

professional dues. In addition to attending the Motorcycle

Mechanics Institute, specializing in Harley-Davidson early

and late models and Honda Hontech, he also has Harley-

Davidson dealership experience and factory training,

Triumph Motorcycle technician training, and extensive

training and experience with Indian Motorcycles.

Beginning with riding a dirt bike as a kid, Joe went on

to work for an Arctic Cat ATV dealer as an adolescent

and then worked at Ma’s Cycles in West Fargo during

High School. Attending what Joe called West Fargo High

School’s “excellent recreational engines program,” he

is a two-time state winner in the Skills USA Motorcycle

Service Technology program. Skills USA promotes

vocational competitions for high school and college

students across the United States. During his junior year

he placed third nationally and in his senior year he won

first place in the national competition, which also landed

him a scholarship to the Universal Technical Institute

– Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) in Phoenix,


After college at MMI, Joe worked for the local Harley-

Davidson dealership and then also what is now Legendary

Motor Sports (formerly Indian Triumph of Fargo).

In 2013, Joe explained, “I thought I was going to get out

of the motorcycle industry, but that didn’t happen.” While

he was working in electric motor sales and service for

a friend’s company, he built a small shop in West Fargo

solely to work on motorcycles on the side, “and after a

little while work came to me, and it really took off, and

now we are where we are today.”

Joe gives a great deal of credit to what he gained through


Skills USA and West Fargo’s programs: “Those pinnacle

game changing points steered me in the right direction

to go to college. Both of these programs are ones that I

do not want to see go away as they are huge assets to this

industry” and provide opportunities for young people.

Currently, one would describe Sisufab as “very busy.” Joe

smilingly said, “There’s no lack of stuff to do.”

“Since we’re a smaller shop – there is constantly a

struggle in balancing how much work one can do,” Joe

explained. But he added, “It’s not a bad problem to have.”

He described the local motorcycle culture as “strong:” “It

is better than it was in the early 2000s and it is also more

diverse – we work with every kind of brand.” Although Joe

described that a heavy part of their business is working

on cruisers, such as Harley-Davidson and Indian, his shop

also “branches away from that too.” Looking around the

shop, there is often exotic motorcycles, like Ducati and

Aprilia, mixed in with more common foreign motorcycles,

like Honda and Kawasaki.

Something new for Sisufab has been becoming the sole

US distributor for the German motorcycle company,

Krämer Motorcycles, specializing in road racing

machines. Joe described this as exciting but also as a

challenge, as it was more work than anticipated: “We

are technically the US end of the company and the sole

distributor. It’s been a good thing but a daunting task. It

is fun and it also opens us up to the nationwide market.”

The name of his company, Sisufab comes from the

Finnish word “sisu” which means “courage, resilience

and determination” and “fab” for “fabrication.”

Joe lives with his girlfriend of six years, Brittany Taplin,

who in addition to her work with a local architecture firm,

helps out Sisufab with graphics, web site, computer work

and in organizing and facilitating special events. Joe said / THE GOOD LIFE / 21

“I find myself concentrating more on making other people happy

than on anything else. Making money is just a byproduct. If you

concentrate on making money, you aren’t very happy.”

that Brittany is also into power sports and has plans to

explore road racing this year.

In their spare time, Joe and Brittany love to go ice racing:

“We put studded tires on our dirt bikes, haul them to a

friend’s lake place, plow a track on the ice, and go ride.”

Joe also enjoys non-motorized recreation, of the bicycle

kind, as a way to keep in shape and relax.

What’s on the horizon for Joe and Sisufab? First off, he

is helping to organize an indoor motorcycle flat track

race at the Schollander Pavilion at the West Fargo

Fairground this April 29th. Flat track racing is highly

competitive and fast-paced and is also sometimes


referred to as “dirt track” racing. The last time flat

track racing happened in West Fargo was in the 1980s.

Joe is hoping this event will help spark excitement for

motorcycle racing in this community again.

For his business, Joe said, “Our future goal at this point

– our achievable goal – is to try to find a new building

to grow our business in size physically. Our shop is new,

but it is small. We keep it tidy and clean but it is too little

for what I have on a day to day basis.”

Joe looked forward: “We have the hopes of expanding

into doing more of a dealership set up, but not on a

big scale. We have a strong market here. I am pretty

confident in the future that we will continue to grow at a

steady and manageable pace.”

When asked “What does The Good Life mean to you?”

he explained: “To me, ‘the good life,’ is to be able to

enjoy what I do on a day to day basis – through my

business, being able to enjoy what I do with power

sports and motorcycles and to help other people with

the same thing. It makes my life enjoyable. It is a reason

to get up in the morning and go to work. I find myself

concentrating more on making other people happy than

on anything else. Making money is just a byproduct.

If you concentrate on making money, you aren’t very

happy.” • / THE GOOD LIFE / 23


Ready. Aim. Fire. Actually, wait.

There is a lot more to shooting a

gun than just pulling the trigger and

looking like you just stepped off the set

of “Duck Dynasty” or “Lethal Weapon”

(one, two, three or four).

As a woman who has never worn pink

camo and has not hunted much of

anything, besides deals on clearance

racks, my experience with guns is

solely comprised of one game of Annie

Oakley with a rifle and a handful of

clay pigeons in a forsaken field.

To familiarize myself with the basics,

Brent Brattlof, the general manager at

Bill’s Gun Shop and Range in Fargo

and Moorhead, graciously taught me

a few pointers about gun handling

and safety. Every current and potential

firearm owner should practice

the steps mentioned in this article


To put the lesson into action, I was

allowed to carefully use a 9mm

handgun in the range, which was an

exhilarating experience. I just wish

I had been wearing my prescription


Before you buy

Whether you are a collector, a hunter,

a safety activist or a combination of

all three, it’s important to know the

purpose behind the purchase before

making your final selection.

“You have to have a knowledge of

the firearm to know what you want,”

Brattlof said. “There should be intent

behind every purchase.”

The staff at Bill’s Gun Shop and Range

not only helps customers choose the

right gun for their specific situations,

they give in-depth training, illustrate

how to take apart a firearm

for field tripping and cleaning,

offer classes, and sell safety

equipment and safes for

secure storage.

Guns in the home

As is the case with numerous

Midwestern residents, Brattlof

grew up in an environment

where hunting meant spending

some quality time with his


“I probably started shooting when I

was 8 with just a little .22 bolt-action

rifle,” Brattlof said. “It just kind of

progressed as I got older into hunting

long guns, and I bought my first

handgun when I was 22.”

Every responsible gun owner knows

that education begins in the home.

In order to prevent accidents and the

mishandling of weapons, parents need

to educate their children about the

proper treatment, power and potential

dangers of weapons.

“In my house, they stayed locked up

in a safe. I didn’t even know where

the key was until I was 16. I had zero

access to the firearms, unless my dad

was involved. Once I turned 16, I knew

where the guns were, just in case I

would need access to be able to

protect or defend myself.”

Although the risks of

owning precarious

weapons are real

and must be

taken seriously,

the chance of

accidents and

incidents occurring

can be greatly

reduced with

proper training.


As shooting becomes more of a sport, this

type of education can be taught in entertaining

ways, whether your child is participating in

trap leagues or going to the range with your

supervision and companionship.

If you are going to carry a gun, you need to

know how to correctly handle it.

1. Never point a gun at someone

“Always keep it in a direction where you know

that if it goes off, it’s not going to hurt anybody

or go where somebody could potentially be


2. Act as though the gun is


“Never underestimate the power of a firearm,

and never underestimate the person handing

you the gun. You don’t know if somebody

keeps it loaded or not. When you pick it up,

always treat it like it’s loaded. Keep the gun

pointed down, clear the chamber to make

sure it isn’t loaded, and even double check to

make sure you didn’t miss something.”

3. Don’t get too friendly with

the trigger

“Never have your finger on the trigger until

you’re ready to shoot.”

4. Hold the gun firmly in your


“Make sure you have a firm grip so the recoil

doesn’t force the gun from your hand.”

5. Point in a safe direction

“Make sure it’s pointed in a safe direction

before you fire, and always know what’s

behind your target as well, especially for deer


6. Store ammo separately from

the firearm

“When we transport firearms, the ammo and

the guns are never in the same case. They’re

always separated.”


7. Communicate and store your

firearms in a safe place

There’s sometimes a lack of communication as

far as what needs to happen after the purchase.

If you take the gun home in the case that you

got, make sure to move it to a safe or secure


Bill’s Gun Shop has six locations (five that

have ranges) in North Dakota, Minnesota and

Wisconsin. They host special nights for youth,

ladies, and college students at discounted rates.

See their ad on the back page for more info. • / THE GOOD LIFE / 27


IN 7 EASY STEPS (maybe 8 or 9)


Begin with the bow tie facing

up with the left side (A) slightly

longer than the right side (B)

and cross A over B.


Bring A under B

and bring up through the loop.

(Throw it over your shoulder to

get it out of the way.)


Form a bow shape with B by

folding the crease to the right

and then folding to the left.

(Don’t let go!)


Bring A over and down the

middle of bow shape created

in step 3.


Fold A into a second bow

shape and hold.


Push the new bow A through the

loop behind bow B. Make sure

folded ‘bows’ are on opposite

sides of the tie.


Tighten by pulling the

folded sides of the bow.

Adjust bows evenly.


See step 1. Start process over

because you are frustrated and

not happy with your

first attempt.

Optional. Take a selfie and post

it online because you are proud

that you accomplished such a

grown-up task.


Aquavit is starting to make a splash in the states.

Not only for toasting or special occasions, our VänSkap

Aquavit can be enjoyed alone or in a cocktail.



Aquavit is a

flavored spirit that

has been produced

in Scandinavia since

the 15th century.

To honor our deeply

rooted Scandinavian

heritage, we bring

you our VänSkap

(Swedish for

friendship) Aquavit.


• 2 oz MINIONS VänSkap Aquavit

• 1 Teaspoon Honey

• 2-4 Dashes Orange Bitters

Pour all ingredients over ice.

Stir for 30 seconds. Strain into

a martini glass or cocktail coup.

Garnish with braided orange.


Sweet notes of

citrus, fennel,

and star anise are

balanced with spicy

notes of caraway,

coriander, juniper and

a slight hint of dill.


Aquavit can be

enjoyed chilled

in a small glass or

provide a unique

twist in a traditional

cocktail. To friends

new and old, we raise

our glass and say



Try this simple and

tasty recipe you can

make at home. / THE GOOD LIFE / 29


87 year old Barnesville native, Corporal Wilbert Scheffler

of the US Army 7th Infantry during the Korean War, is

a local hero worth getting to know. This reflective and

grateful farmer and television repairman’s life was greatly

influenced by his time in service in Korea.

Wilbert is the recipient of many honors for his time in

service, including the Bronze Star, Korean Service

Medal, Good Conduct Medal, United Nations Service

Medal, Combat Infantry Badge and the National Defense

Service Medal.

He entered Basic Training in 1952 at Camp Breckenridge,

Kentucky. Wilbert described his fellow soldiers as “all

farm kids, all the same people like I am.” After basic

training, Wilbert said that where the soldier was assigned

was “alphabetical”: “If your last name began near the

beginning, you went to Germany. Mine was later, so I

went to Korea. That’s that.”

During his time in Korea, one of his duties was guarding

a prisoner of war camp. Wilbert explained, “We spent two

years guarding prisoners. Years later we learned it was

a leper colony.” He did not end up with leprosy. Wilbert

was also struck by the poverty of the Korean people,

especially the children: “What really got me over there

were those little orphan kids — they were starving. How

they survived I don’t know. Many soldiers threw crackers

to them and they fought over them.”


He recalled one time early in the time in Korea: “I was

so lucky … I was on the north side of Arsenal Hill – I

moved out in the open so that I could see and I no more

than moved and a mortar round came. I was buried

under the rubble and dirt and I was protected. I was on

guard duty all by myself. I was all alone and it was a bad

place. But I was protected.”

Wilbert was dismayed by the lack of attention paid to

the veterans coming back from the Korean War. With

emotion, he said, “When I came back from Korea, nobody

gave a darn.” But something happened in October 2016

that brought tears of joy to his eyes – he was one of the


veterans selected to travel to Washington DC on the

WDAY Honor Flight. Wilbert exclaimed, “The Honor

Flight was like living in another world! People were

so nice. And after the flight, returning home, seeing

all those people at the airport when we came back,

it got to me.”

During the Honor Flight, Wilbert met many people and saw

much. He described being kindly wheeled around in his

wheelchair by Mike McFeely who took him to the Franklin

Roosevelt Memorial. Wilbert enjoyed his time with Tracy

Briggs, Forum Communications and founder of the Honor

Flight back in 2007: “We got along really well. I could say

anything to her and she understood. She wheeled me to the

Vietnam Wall, the Korean War monument, and the Lincoln

Monument.” Wilbert then got up to get something from

another room and returned to proudly show me the thank

you note he received from Briggs, smiled, and said: “She’s a

nice lady.”

When I asked Wilbert about the movie “Pork Chop Hill” he

said, “It was a good movie. Gregory Peck is very good in it.

But nothing can accurately show what we went through.”

Wilbert says that circumstances and people saved his life while

in Korea. Wilbert asserted, “Other people stepped in and saved

me. I didn’t ask for any favors.”

One of those that stepped in was his best friend at war,

Jim Cunningham, who assigned Wilbert to the Commo

(Communications) Unit because of his knowledge of working

with radios and other devices. Wilbert always had a radio: “I kept / THE GOOD LIFE / 33




guys loved the

music. It helped us

all. I carried the radio

on my backpack. I made

a case big enough for six

flash light batteries and

made it go 24 hours a day so

that the guys had music. Music

was just a life saver.”

One time Wilbert left his radio at the

prison camp he was guarding. When

he got back to his unit, it was gone, and

he figured it was lost forever. Then Jim

Cunningham said, “Did you know they

shipped your radio, it’s in supply?” Wilbert

explained, “Getting that radio back was a

life saver for me. It was a Zenith. It was high


Another person whose intervention perhaps saved

Wilbert’s life was the officer who decided to send

him to the rear of the line during the Pork Chop

Hill battle. Wilbert emotionally explained, "My best

friend in the Army, Jim Cunningham, died on that hill.

Somebody was looking out for me."

He described the battle: “The last battle – out of the clear

blue sky – I had about 40 points and I was supposed to go

home. The guys with that many points went back in the

rear. The Chinese hit Pork Chop and they were bound to

take it, they just swarmed into battle. And then, us guys in

the rear, we heard that we were going to counter attack.

They lined us up. So many guys were so afraid, they

just collapsed. They did not even have enough officers

to make a company. We went to Hill 200, and they had

decided to abandon Pork Chop.”

a doctor go out of his way to say ‘stay another day?’ He was

kind of like Alan Alda from M.A.S.H., a young guy. I don’t

know his name. I think he saved my life.”

Coming back from the war, he lived his life as a farmer and

a television repairman on the side: “Back in the stone age, I

fixed everyone’s television.”

Wilbert misses Jim Cunningham and communicates with

a relative of Jim’s via email and letters. After the war he

became friends with fellow veteran, Dick Mosca, who was

an officer in the Navy and a Minnesota highway patrolman

who died a week before the October 2016 WDAY Honor

Flight: “He accepted me for what I was. We would go to

veteran’s funerals together. I really miss him.” A major

reason Wilbert went on the Honor Flight was to honor Dick.

Wilbert has been married to Mary Ann since 1976.

They have two children. Their son, Bill, works in the IT

department at MSUM and who Wilbert encouraged with

computers. His daughter, Peggy, lives in Carrington. She

has given him two grandchildren. Evidence of his pride in

his children and grandchildren are in the many photos in

their Barnesville home. Mary Ann and Wilbert are active in

the Barnesville VFW chapter, where he is a Quartermaster.

Wilbert’s son, Bill said this of his dad: “I think the war affected

him in some pretty profound ways. He values all life and

living and, consequently, none of our family members are

hunters, which is unusual for this area. He often feels guilty

eating meat. We grew up on a farm with pet cats, dogs, a pet

chicken that lived in the house for a while, even a pet calf

that roamed our farm yard at one point that he had to bottle

feed to keep alive. He values home and hearth above all else

and was never much for travel or similar excitement that

most people crave after he returned home. I don’t think any

of us who weren’t there with him can ever fully understand

what he saw and what he went through… As a listener to

his stories, it is hard to process it all, I couldn’t imagine

And finally, there was a doctor at the M.A.S.H unit

where he was recovering from a very bad fever. Wilbert

remembered that the doctor asserted, “Stay another

day. It’s really bad out there.” Wilbert thinks his chances

of survival were greatly increased by that kind doctor:

“My company went into it. It was really bad, but I stayed

another day or two, and was saved.” He asked, “Why did


living through and surviving it. All he wanted was to be

home and ever since he returned home, it’s where he

wants to be and where he is happiest - surrounded by

everyone and everything he values most.”

Bill continued: “We did not have a lot growing up but

he’d still go the extra mile for friends and people in

the local community by helping them with their TVs

and electronics much like he did maintaining radio for

friends back in Korea. Without realizing it at the time,

I followed in his footsteps by continuing the tradition

and helping people in my community with computers

and still do even today in my free time.”

Bill credits Wilbert for his career in computing after

his dad brought a very early Apple II Plus computer

home one day for Bill: “I hooked it to one of the many

televisions in my bedroom (one of the perks of having

a dad who fixed TVs!) and it was love at first sight for

me when I realized I could program it to do whatever

I wanted.”

When asked about how he keeps all of these memories

clear, Wilbert said, “I eat a lot of blueberries. It keeps

your mind sharp.” He is proud that the only pill he

takes is for high blood pressure.

When asked what he considered “The Good Life,”

Wilbert thought a bit and said, “I don’t know ... After

I got back from the war and I owned a farm and I was

helping people with their machinery and television ...

That to me was a good life. All that I went through in

the war and I was not wounded and I am alive. That is

a good life.” • / THE GOOD LIFE / 35

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines