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The contents of the “Weekly Feature” page are provided to you for your entertainment, amusement, and perhaps information. Here you may find articles of interest, pictures, historical information on the Club, or whatever shuffles to the top of the pile on our desk. The only defined characteristic of this space is that we will make every effort to change/replace it around the middle of each week. Thank you for visiting, and please stop by again. Click on any photo to see it larger in a separate window.

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In Memory of Russ Haak

There’s a square faced clock hanging on the wall in what passes for my office, a freebie from somewhere, or maybe a treasure from some long forgotten garage sale. On the face there is an ad for some cholesterol medicine, something that’s supposed to make you live longer, I suppose so you can buy a few more months worth of Simvastatin. The thing isn’t pretty, and it makes way more noise than I’d like it to, but you get used to stuff that isn’t just the way you’d like, after a while. Life’s full of things that aren’t just the way you’d like them. After a few weeks, I began to pay less attention to the loud “tick—tick—tick”, after all, guys my age don’t particularly enjoy being reminded every second, that another second is gone. We’d all like to think there are lots of them left. That’s why we take all that Simvastatin, after all, it’ll keep us going, well into the future. We’ll have plenty of time to do those things, and fix those things, and say those things, that we’ve been putting off. Too busy living, we’ll do it later.

I’m sure Russ wasn’t burdened by the feeling that he was running out of time, he was young yet, and he was a doer, just like his old man. That’s how he lived, right to the last moment. Whatever was going on, he was right in the middle of it. He was not inclined to view life from the bleachers, he wanted to be on the field, in the game, and that’s where he lived. It seemed pretty clear to me, that when Doc passed away, Russell stepped into the club’s activities with both feet. No matter what the job, he was there to work. But it was bigger than just the jobs, he was there to be a part of it all. The work, the tractors, the camping, and yes, the parties, too. He was there for it all. And he usually wasn’t alone. It was a package deal right from the beginning, if Russ was out there, Chris wasn’t far away, and you could usually see Eddie running through the woods somewhere too. Another little guy following in the footprints, watching and learning.

Russ wasn’t hearing the clock that Sunday morning, he had things to do, places to be, and nobody really hears it at that age, anyway. Probably just as well. That’s a pastime reserved for the older guys. Russ wasn’t done yet, and that’s the sad part, for him, and for the rest of us left behind. Again, life is full of things that aren’t just the way you’d like them. A life shortened is always a cause for sadness, but any life lived is still a cause for celebration. When we step back and look at the big picture, we’re all pretty much “Temps” in this continuing story called life. The Memorial Board on the MMOGTA Showgrounds stands in silent testimony to that fact, bearing the ever growing list of names of those who have walked before us, played their own unique part in our history. We honor them best by remembering that they were here, and by continuing to work, play, and enjoy the legacy they all helped to create for us through these past 36 years. Certainly, a big part of that legacy was evident in the enormous “community” of family, friends, and members, who came show their support and respect on the day of Russell’s memorial service. What a tribute that was !

When I considered Russell’s place in the MMOGTA history book, I was reminded of one of my favorite TV shows, “Boston Legal”, the central character being the senior partner in a law firm known as “Denny Crane”. Whenever his underlings would question his methods or authority, he would march them to the front of the building, point, and say, “Name on the door”. End of discussion. To me, as a Founding Family, Russell and his entire extended family have earned that same level of respect within our colorful group; “Name on the Door”. Rest in Peace, Russ.

We’ll leave you with a few photos of Russ. (click individual photos to enlarge)


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