Life is filled with unknowns, some bring us happiness and others bring us sadness. Over the past year I have had to say final goodbyes to three of the Westby Times columnists and three of my very dearest friends.

Editor’s note: This is a special addition to the Westby Times submitted by Einer Unseth, who grew up in Westby and has nothing but fond memories of days gone by. At the age of 91, he currently resides in Minnesota and has been receiving the Westby Times for more than 50 years. He loves remin…

For the past 12 years readers of the Westby Times have had the pleasure of reading the weekly “Across the Fence” column by Howard Sherpe, who passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 15. He fought a courageous battle with brain cancer and died in his home, surrounded by his family.

As I prepared to leave the barn, I saw it hanging there, just inside the door. It was covered with cobwebs and dust… Dad’s old Pioneer seed corn cap. It hung there as if waiting for him to step back into the barn and put it on again. He had been gone for almost eight years at the time, and i…

On Dec. 1, 1965, 43 years ago, I learned the secret to life… only I didn’t know it at the time. I was at the Army Reception Station at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. We had just arrived by bus from the Kansas City train station, and were herded off the bus and into a building where we were ord…

November, and the smells of Fall are in the air. As I was walking one early evening recently, my mind flooded with memories of long forgotten Fall days. There is something about sights, sounds, and smells that trigger images locked deep in our memory bank.

The full moon cast long shadows on the lonely gravel road, as the Prairie Ghosts headed for the old, abandoned farm near the end of the road. Rumor had it that the place was visited by ghosts every Halloween, and we hoped to find out once and for all if the story was true. Did Gamle Magretta…

As I sat down to write this column, I looked back at things I’ve written about October. Seven years ago this week, I wrote the following words that I called October Stirrings:

The smell of fallen leaves takes me back to the days of my youth and I’m once again walking through the woods near our farm with a shotgun held at the ready. I walk as lightly and quietly as I can among the leaves crunching under my feet. I accomplish neither, and sound more like a herd of d…

Sitting above the eastern bank of Lake Mjosa, south of the Ringsaker church, lies the Saugstad farm. Documents date the farm at least as far back as 1396. By the time Tollef Olsen was born in 1792, the farm had been divided into East Saugstad and West Saugstad. Tollef’s parents, Ole Tollefse…

When I think of my two grandmothers, Inga (Ostrem) Sherpe and Julia (Wang) Hanson, I always picture them with their aprons on. Without an apron, they weren’t fully dressed. The only time that apron came off is when they went to church, and looking back, it’s a wonder they didn’t wear them to…

I have some vivid images from my days of growing up on the farm, especially the barn, where we spent so many hours, morning and night. The image of my father, Hans, standing in the barn door after the evening milking was finished, was the memory for this story. I can see him standing there, …

If you’ve been reading this column, you know I never became the next Warren Spahn in baseball. Now that football season is here, it’s time to tell you, I never became the next Jim Taylor either, the Green Bay Packer fullback during the Vince Lombardi glory years!

Sometimes you start to read a book and the stories are so good that you just have to learn more about the author who wrote the stories. That is what happened to me when I was reading “Tumbleweed Tales” by Marion Grimsrud Nereim. She wrote about growing up in the early 1900s, with many of the…

The sight of a field filled with shocks of oats or an old abandoned threshing machine, rekindles memories of days long ago. What was once a common sight on most farms is now the exception, unless you take a drive through Amish country.

For a historian or genealogist, walking among the tombstones in Coon Prairie Cemetery is a part of exploring the history of the area. For those of us with ancestors buried here, it is a place to return and remember them. The dates on some of these stones go back to the early pioneers. Someti…