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Boxelder bugs and Bill Holm

March 2, 2009 - Cindy Votruba
Since I went to college up north, I didn’t get the privilege to take an English class with Bill Holm. Kinda wish I had. There’s usually one class or professor you want to take a class with at any college. Not just that it’s an easy A, but the instructor makes the material fun and interesting. At UMD, it was jazz studies. At SMSU, it was any class that Bill taught.

I didn’t get exposed to Holm’s presence until a Saturday during Boxelder Bug Days in Minneota. He read his famed poem on boxelder bugs before the annual bug race. A couple years later, I saw him at the SMAHC annual meeting/party at Jackpot Junction. I believe he was dressed as the ace of spades. I know it was a playing card of some sort. He then did a little reading later that night, and he was just hilarious.

I’ve only done a couple of stories on Bill. One was on his book “Windows of Brimnes.” The last one was in May when he won the McKnight Foundation award. I went to his house in Minneota; the one with the Christmas wreath on the door and the Boxelder Street sign on the porch floor. He offered me a glass of pomegranate juice. I’ve never tried pomegranate juice before, but hey, if it’s good for Bill, it’s good for me. I am yet to find a bottle of pure pomegranate juice.

In August, Bill came to the book club I go to every third Wednesday of the month. His wife, Marcy, is part of the group. We were discussing Carol Bly’s book “Shelter Half.” I hated to admit in front of him that I only got to page 33, but I said I’ll try again to read it. I still have to do that. He then recommended a book for our December choice, Elmore Leonard’s “Up In Honey’s Room.” He said it was a good book. Hate to tell you Bill, no one really liked that book in our club. And I only got to page 5.

But I did finish a book that he brought up during that Wednesday night in August, Kevin Kling’s “The Dog Says How.” Yes, Bill, that was a good one.


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