Fred Manfred-Siouxland

Fred Manfred-Siouxland

Fredrick Manfred-Siouxland-My Friend

He was a man that loomed large on the landscape.

I was nearly a remedial reader when I first got to know him, he meant a great deal to myself and my family.

Early recollections was my Uncle Mike (an archeologist/American Resources Group) and Fred Manfred would meet at Eagle Rock and his Kiva.

Both men were well over six feet tall and I was in Junior High School.

I would hike with them as they waxed about the historic nature of the Blue Mounds and its significance.

At one point as I was standing next to Mr. Manfred (towering over me) he gestured about something immense….and he raised his hands high above his head. A portion of his body was now ten feet off the landscape, that was three hundred feet above the plains below us.

They were big men with big thoughts, profound thoughts.

In one swoop, Fred once picked up my mother and lifted her over a barbed wire fence that she hadn’t the ability to scale. She had bruises under her arms where her friendly giant lifted her over insurmountable obstacles.

Fred and Uncle Mike spent their time pondering things few have the ability or understanding to ponder.

They were both so tall that I thought they might have had to stand on their tip toes to put on their hats.

Buffalo jumps, Sioux Quartzite outcropping, historic documents, Joesph Nicolette and his journals of 1830’s , all of this had to do with our environment, both present and historic.

The Manfred’s were family friends and we often enjoyed their company while my parents played “Bridge” the card game of the times.

My father came from the Mason Dixon line of Southern Indiana and his parents were tenant farmers.

Tenant farmers were one step above the black slaves and the share croppers of the south.

Dad’s parents never had a tractor, it was a double bottom plow, two horses and a mule.

My father’s aunt had saved enough of her money to help send dad to college, it worked for a short while.

Dad’s father died suddenly and he had to leave college to harvest the crop that his mother needed to survive.

World War Two ensued and eventually with the help of the G.I. bill dad finished college, he came to a small community in south western Minnesota as an Optometrist.

This is where the Manfred connection manifested itself in a friendship of high regard.

Fred and my father were different in many ways. My father pursued a scientific endeavor of optometry.

My father explained to me that being an Author was different than being an Optometrist.

One was Science and one was the Arts and Humanities, both were important and exceedingly valid endeavors.

At this time, Fred was financially struggling with his new home (built by an “architect” ) in the rocks.

It was a vision unfamiliar by many “successful” people living in our community in newly constructed three bedroom ramblers.

My father explained to me that people ought to be measured in different ways.

An Optometrist is to be measured by the number of patients that he assists and provides necessary services.

An Author is to be measured by the books that he has strived to published, publishing books is the measure of an Author.

He explained that Fred Manfred published books and his bank account was not the driving factor in his endeavors.

His books will remain as an everlasting tribute to those that have the ability to read.

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