Watching two self-proclaimed fat guys slip into a wetsuit â€” their chosen attire for this Saturdayâ€™s Deep Freeze Dip in Worthingtonâ€™s Lake Okabena â€” can be likened to a gut-busting comedy routine â€¦ or at least thatâ€™s what I imagined after reading an e-mail from Luverne Area Chamber Director Jane Lanphere Tuesday morning.
Janeâ€™s husband, Larry â€œLumpyâ€ Lanphere, is well-known in these parts for his years in the radio business. Come Saturday, he might become well-known for another reason. He and fellow radioman Dan Dobson have agreed (or more aptly been railroaded) to take the plunge into the frigid waters of our local lake.
Do you know how cold it is going to be on Saturday?
Well, right now, the forecast is for a high of 5 to 10 degrees. As event organizer Chad Cummings says, it will be â€œcheek-chillinâ€™ cold outside!â€
I called Larry on Tuesday to get his side of the story on the wetsuit fitting, and tried to stop giggling long enough to concentrate on my typing.
â€œHoly buckets â€” Jane had to come in and help both of us get the top part on,â€ Larry described. â€œHow the hell do (women) get girdles on?â€
Well, I wasnâ€™t about to answer that question â€¦ letâ€™s just say Larry now has a new appreciation for the work some women go through to create a smoother, shapelier appearance!
Then Larry declared, â€œWe canâ€™t even hardly walk in these things â€” we look like idiots. We thought we looked pretty good until we looked in the mirror. Holy gosh, we have lumps all over the place! We look like beached walruses, Iâ€™ll tell ya!â€
As I laughed uncontrollably, he explained how he and Dan are going to arrive dressed in their wetsuits (kindly donated for the cause by Donovanâ€™s Hobby & Scuba Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.) for the dip. I donâ€™t know â€¦ I think Iâ€™d be willing to donate a little more just to watch these guys struggle and squirm to get into their gear!
â€œFor two fat old guys, itâ€™s going to be trouble,â€ Larry confided.
Itâ€™s all worth it â€” taking pledges to take the dip and helping raise the remaining $50,000 needed to send southwest Minnesota (and northwest Iowa) World War II veterans on Honor Flight.
In a second phone call to Larryâ€™s better half, Jane said Tuesday they now have 84 applications from World War II veterans wanting to take part on the third Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota.
â€œWe really need 150 on the list in order to fly,â€ said Jane. Only 110 seats are available for veterans, but they like to have a list of back-ups to draw from. The dates for the next flight are April 29-30.
â€œThis is the time to get those veterans from Rock, Nobles, Pipestone, Murray, Cottonwood and Jackson counties â€” and those applications from Iowa,â€ she said. Applications are available from Chamber of Commerce and Veterans Service Offices across southwest Minnesota.
A quick perusal of the list shows at least 30 of the 80 applicants are from the six counties of far southwest Minnesota, with the remainder coming from just beyond â€” Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Redwood and Kandiyohi counties, to name a few. Many of those veterans live in areas where the Honor Flight Network hasnâ€™t yet, and may never, reach.
As the Daily Globe reporter on the inaugural Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota, I will say without hesitation that whatever we can do to support these heroes is well worth it â€” regardless of what their address is now. Traveling with them, hearing their stories and getting to know them â€” those were the greatest experiences I have ever had.
My money for the Deep Freeze Dip on Saturday is going to our Daily Globe dippers â€” copy editor Joe Froemming and sports reporter Daniel Kerwin.
Word has it that Larry needs a lot of help, though, so if you can spare some bills, heâ€™ll gladly take them.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 59 jumpers on the Deep Freeze Dip list â€” including 10 from JBS who have already been guaranteed $250 a piece by the company. Thatâ€™s $2,500 for Honor Flight and the jumpers are still out adding to their pledge cards!
Worthingtonâ€™s District 518 and Adrian School District each have five dippers, with Worthington Christian School sponsoring two. Several local businesses are also sponsoring dippers, including GuidePoint, Hy-Vee and Worthington Taxi, to name a few.
So, come on out and watch the hilarity â€¦ it begins at 3 p.m. Saturday on the shores of Chautauqua Park in Worthington (free shuttles provided from Westminster Presbyterian Church parking lot). Cheer on the dippers, dig into your wallet and help us get the next flight of veterans to Washington, D.C., to see their memorials.