Remembering A Childhood Hero I spent Time With Almost Everyday
Growing up on a little farmstead a mile south of Leota, Minnesota, there were essentially three things I looked forward to everyday after school:
1) A bowl of Wheaties
2) The sports page of the Worthington Daily Globe (we got it a day late 'cause we were out in the country) to see the Twins box score, or if in winter, to see if there was any Twins news.
3) Captain 11 on TV.
If you grew up somewhere where one of the two or so channel's you got was KELO, well, you know who I'm talking about. If you didn't, well, that's a shame because you missed out on the most fun 30 minutes on television!
With the wisdom of Solomon and and the strength of Atlas, this magic man called captain 11 would transport me from a linoleum floor in an old farmhouse to cartoon heaven The trip would include watching switches made of jewels light up, trunks of toys looking for that one special key and a salute at the end and a reminder to say my prayers.
I saw Captain 11 once in person. He came out to the Edgerton Dutch Festival (and I'll bet he came to your town, too...he was everywhere!). I was maybe five or six and he was part of the festival Parade. He got out of a car and began walking towards me and my family. I, of course, did the only sensible thing....I cried. Hey, gimme a break! The most important and powerful hero I had was getting close!
Years later I met Captain 11, when I was working on KSOO Radio. He had magically transformed himself (Captain 11 had magic powers) and now called himself Dave Dedrick. He remembered being at the Dutch Festival several times and said he had a pair of wooden shoes to prove it!
Dave wrote a book about his life. It turns out Dave Dedrick, or as I like to call him Captain 11, had his life challenges like we all do. Turns out Captain 11 wasn't perfect. And that's OK, in my many years on the planet I've discovered that no one is.
It's well enough....in fact, it's a tribute to this man, this Captain 11, that over a half century later he can still transport an old(er) bald, skinny guy back to a linoleum farmhouse floor and make him smile....that memory sure does bend warm.