By Jennifer Gallus
The mother of Don “Bud” Dangers of Howard Lake must have surely gone gray by the time he was a teenager.
While recounting his life experiences, Dangers seems to have come across every kind of danger possible and has the scars to prove it.
From serious childhood accidents to farm accidents to a dynamite blasting incident, Dangers has experienced it all.
He can remember having his tongue sliced almost completely off 75 years ago when he was only five years old. He was running around the old homestead with his brother Fritz when he grabbed onto an old vinegar barrel, slipped, and fell on some broken glass, which sliced almost all of his tongue off.
Two lollipop sticks were placed on either side of his tongue and taped there for two weeks.
“They had good tape back them,” Dangers laughed.
“I stammered and stuttered after that, and didn’t start school until I was eight years old,” Dangers said.
It turns out, just going to school was dangerous for Dangers.
On his first day of school, just after he placed his lunch bucket on a shelf at St. James in Howard Lake, two kids employed a maneuver on young Dangers that landed him on his back with the back of his head cracked open.
“I was laid out for two weeks. Then when I returned to school the same two kids came up behind me,” and what Dangers described next was so bad that it landed the young eight-year-old with a double hernia and ruptured male parts.
That put Dangers out of commission for a couple of months.
Then there’s the time Dangers came down with rheumatic fever after falling into lake while muskrat trapping in subzero temperatures when he was 12 years old.
Dangers was told by his brother to go wait by the truck to be brought home. After 10 minutes, his brother still hadn’t shown up so Dangers walked home. When he entered his house, he was shooed out of the house by his mother who was busy cooking a big meal for a township gathering.
Dangers decided to go lay down in a hunting shack on the property and was found roughly six hours later stiff as a board. While Dangers was on the mend, several times a day he was told to rub wintergreen, sulphur, and turpentine on his legs to revitalize his limbs.
When Dangers was 14 years old, he cut open the back of his calf while trying to unplug a sickle while mowing buckwheat with his brother.
“As I stepped across the sickle bar, a bee stung one of the horses that was driving the old mower and startled it,” Dangers said.
Then when Dangers was 18 years old, he was accidently blown off his feet by dynamite and thrown quite a distance.
Bud and three other men were helping his brother, the late Leonard Dangers, blast a line fence. Leonard was a dynamite specialist who worked for the Army Corps of Engineers and the Civil Defense Department, but also did a lot of blasting in this area for farmers, businesses, and the government.
“He enlisted the help of anyone who offered to help,” Dangers said.
Leonard was working on the opposite end of the line fence, while Bud and a friend worked on a willow stump on the other end. Several charges were set and as they exploded Bud counted to make sure they all went off.
Bud said to his friend, “We’re one short.” His friend replied that they weren’t, but that he wasn’t counting. His friend then instructed Dangers to kick part of the stump, and as he did, it set off the last explosion.
“I was between the debris and the concussion (the force of air created by the blast),” Dangers said. “My face was plastered with mud and debris.”
He was taken to the hospital where he remained for two months.
“I had to be put in a straight jacket for two weeks because of it (the blast),” Dangers said.
At the age of 21, a field chopper took possession of his ring finger. A couple of years later, Dangers was repairing a tire at a neighbor’s house, when that neighbor drove up behind him with a little Ford tractor that had a bumper with a hitch stud and “rammed it up the center of my back, broke three ribs,” Dangers said. “I passed out.”
Of course there were the more minor events like taking a shot in the head from a scoop shovel that left a horseshoe shaped scar. Or the time he tangled with barb wire and cut part of his cheek open.
He’s been told several times throughout his lifetime that he was close to death, yet he perseveres.
Just a few years ago, he was sent home from a hospital and told that he would probably only live another six months because of a heart condition.
Dangers sought the advice and care of a different doctor, and with the aid of a pacemaker, is doing just fine although is told that his heart is working at only about 12 percent.
Despite all of the dangers Dangers encountered, he’s lived 80 years and counting, and has accomplished a great deal.
At one time, Dangers farmed 1,200 acres in the area. He milked cows for 54 years at his home in Victor Township, which is the oldest home in the township.
Dangers raised, bred, and milked Jersey cows. He was named “master breeder” for the state in the 1980s and he and his family was named “farm family of the year” in 1984 by the University of Minnesota.
He was a 4-H leader for 26 years, and elder at St. James for 18 years, he was an FFA advisor for 8 years, on the HL-W school board for 6 years, was the first FFA alumni member for HL-W, he was the vice-chairman for the Jersey Milk Producers Association, and the list goes on, literally.
Dangers credits his wife, Carolyn, with bringing him better luck. He didn’t get married until he was 34 years old and said, “Nothing bad has happened since.”
Many are familiar with where Dangers lives, since he lives next to the new HLWW High School. The school land was bought from Dangers.
“I’d rather see kids out here than houses,” Dangers said. “A developer offered me more money than the school, but I turned them down.”
Dangers knows a long running history of the area and has fascinating stories too numerous to relay in one newspaper article.