Saturday, May 27, 2017

What do you wish for your children?

Unfortunately I cannot credit the source, but I once read a survey of mothers of the world by nationality. The single question asked was: "What do you most wish for your children?"

The results are of course generalizations, and perhaps predictably, the most common reply from Chinese mothers was "honor" and from American mothers "happiness".  I was struck, however, with the response of Italian mothers. They wished their children to be "good". This is something my grandmother Esther might have said, although I suspect she might have said "kind". 

It's the preference for the active over the passive. You can be assessed "good" by what you do not do. You don't lie or cheat your customers or your spouse; you don't bully your classmates; you don't bad-mouth people. But to be judged "kind" requires action - the proverbial "random act". It implies a life of dedication, service, self-sacrifice. It means placing the needs and wants of others ahead of your own. It means living the golden rule. It means treating everyone you meet with respect. I believe this style of life is the road to inner happiness, so perhaps the Italian mother and the American mother are really expressing the same wish, albeit the Italian mothers' hope offers a "highway" to happiness. 

Unfortunately, I fear many Americans equate happiness with pleasure. Pleasure is fleeting. Pleasure is a feeling. Happiness is a state of being. Happiness endures and despite the Constitution cannot be found by endless pursuit. (I must be careful here and not trespass on the realm of philosophers and theologians.) But, I believe true happiness is an inner quality and in its truest form, stems from an examined life and positive action in the lives of others. It's a hard road in today's society. Why live morally when the immoral seem to prosper? A little Socrates never hurts with a difficult topic: Socrates says that virtue (i.e. kindness/goodness) and happiness are inextricably linked. 

There is a New Testament translation that renders the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) as "Happy* are they ..." rather than KJV "Blessed are they ...". When I first read that, I was uncomfortable. I thought it sounded trite. But on reflection, when I think of happiness as inner contentment and purpose and not glee, I find that "Happy are the pure of heart, for they shall see God" apt.

*The original Greek word for “Blessed” is "Makarios, which means "happy." The term beatitude comes from the Latin noun beātitūdō which means "happiness".

Copyright © 2017 Dave Hoplin

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Meeting in the Pacific

In March of 1944, at the height of the war in the Pacific, this article appeared in the Minneapolis Star Journal and was republished by the Pope County Tribune (article below) & the Starbuck Times. It tells of a meeting for a reunion between two sailors: my father, Glenn Hoplin, an electrician's mate aboard the battleship USS New Jersey, and his brother Oliver, a pharmacist's mate aboard the carrier USS Nassau.

What a heart-warming story for the folks back home!  However ... if you believe the US Navy would provide a motor launch during wartime between ships so a couple of brothers could have a reunion, I have some land in the Everglades you might want to purchase. The story is completely bogus - this non-event was verified to me by my father.  It was one of a series of Navy propaganda stories for consumption by the home front. 

Sorry to disillusion you.

Copyright © 2017 Dave Hoplin

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


When I was a kid, during the summer, my Schwinn bicycle was my ticket to adventure. With my baseball glove looped on the handlebars, I could cruise the 4 north-south & 4 east-west streets and 2 alleys of Lowry with impunity. And accompanied by other adventurers, we would venture into the great unknown - down the "old road" to the stockyards, across the tracks past the depot to the old elevator road, west to Chippewa Creek, south to Malmedal Lake or east to the Horse Lake dump grounds.

This love for the bicycle has never left me.

I still cruise my community, albeit a bit more expansive than Lowry environs and regularly venture outwards to the greater Minnesota unknown. The Twin Cities and Minnesota in general have a treasure of amazing trails.

I often take a photo or two on my rides.  What follows, in no particular order, offers you a tag-along on a few of my rides. These are all Minnesota locales, with the exception of Wisconsin's Red Cedar Trail.
Fort Snelling

Lake Como - St. Paul version

Midtown Greenway

Minneapolis from the North

Sabo Bridge

Root River Trail
Red Cedar Trail

Stone Arch Bridge

Lowry Bridge

Fort Snelling Cemetery

Sheridan Memorial

Swede Hollow

Pilot Knob

Harriet Island
Raspberry Island


Sakatah Singing Hills Trail

Cannon Valley Trail
Schaar's Bluff

Cemetery Crawl

Witches Hat Tower

Douglas Trail

Gateway Trail

Luce Line Trail

35W  Bridge Collapse Memorial

F Scott Fitzgerald Home

Frank Lloyd Wright crawl

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Cedar Lake Trail

Nicollet Island

Minnehaha Falls

Coffee breaks

Friday, April 28, 2017

GHS 1927: Absolute Zero

In honor of the 90th anniversary.

Hands down, the greatest Glenwood High School football team in history.

Coach E.N. "Ed" Nordgaard led the 1927 Glenwood Sooliners* to an undefeated AND unscored upon season.

Coach Nordgaard. Multi-sport athlete at Luther College.
Member of that college's athletic hall of fame. 42 year Glenwood teacher, coach & Superintendent of Schools.**

Team Members.  (Note - not all are pictured below)


*   Note: The "Laker" nickname was not adopted until 1947

** E. N. Nordgaard. Coach.  Long-time Glenwood Superintendent of Schools xxx- xxx.  Member of Luther College athletic hall of fame - football, basketball, track.  42 years in Glenwood as teacher, coach, administrator.

*** Cliff Hansen went on to play for Luther College and professionally with both George Halas' Chicago Bears and the Chicago Cardinals in 1933 He tore up his knee tackling famed Green Bay running back, Johnny "Blood" McNally and walked with a limp for the rest of his life. He returned to Glenwood, serving as teacher, coach & athletic director for 29 years. Also a member of Luther College Athletic Hall of Fame
Note: the Chicago Cardinals became the St. Louis Cardinals and now the Arizona Cardinals.

And for those who want to relive 1927, here are Glenwood Herald / Pope Country Tribune game reporting.




  • Yearbook photos courtesy of Jeannine Gilbertson Churchill.
  • Newspaper clippings courtesy of Minnesota History Center.

Lots of familiar Glenwood names on this roster. Please help me out. If you have information on other members of this team, I would be pleased to update this post with that info.

Copyright © 2017 Dave Hoplin