BLUE EARTH - Dick Quaday's column was a draw in the Faribault County Register for 20 years. Now his fans can enjoy his writing again in the paperback book "Quaday's Quotes."
"Hundreds of people said they read my column first thing, even before they read anything else," said Quaday, who still likes to tell a story.
The column covered life in rural Faribault County.
Quaday grew up on a farm and began farming himself at age 18. Then he went to college, got married and had nine children.
His columns recall farming with horse-drawn equipment, right up to the large tractors of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
"When I bought my first farm, I paid $65 an acre for the first 80 acres," he said. "The place I bought was the first deeded land in Faribault County, Sailor Place."
Half the farm was on one side of the Blue Earth River, half on the other.
"Absolutely, positively, the most rundown farm in the world, no electricity, no running water," he said.
After he retired from farming and he and his wife of 70 years, Neva, moved to Blue Earth, Quaday wanted to work.
Columnist Carl Wessels had had a stroke and Quaday strolled into the newspaper office and boldly asked Editor Rich Glenne if he'd found a replacement for Wessels. Quaday was told to submit a sample of his writing.
"In a half hour, I was back with a sample article," Quaday remembered. "He and the business manager looked it over and said, 'When can you start?' I said 'Tomorrow morning.'"
For the next 20 years, Quaday put out a column a week, with only one glitch. Once, he was flat on his back and forgot to tell Neva to deliver his completed column to the paper. That one ran a week later.
When asked if he ever took a vacation, Quaday replied, "Not from the column." He would write them ahead of time.
"I ran everything I damn well pleased," he said. "One editor tried to tell me what to run. I told him 'I write what I want to, or I'm gone.' I wrote what I wanted to and never got the pink slip. Wore out six editors."
The editors wanted more work out of Quaday.
"They tried to get me to write books," he recalled. "My answer: 'I'm too old and too lazy.'"
Quaday decided it was time to retire from writing the column last year at the age of 90.
"I didn't want to start writing repeaters," he said. "Up until then, everything was fresh and different."
He may have been done with the column, but the column wasn't done with him. Two of his daughters, Kay and Mary, decided their dad's writing needed to be collected into a book.
"They felt this was too much information to waste, too much history and too much background," Quaday said. "They wanted to preserve it for posterity.
"I went along with it because I thought they knew what they were doing," he said. "They're both smart kids."
They must have done something right. After a book signing earlier this month, sales have taken off.
"Everybody just loves it," Quaday said. "Word of mouth is going so well; they say it's so interesting, they can't lay it down."
Originally, 300 copies were ordered and "we're into the second printing," Quaday sid.
Copies of "Quaday's Quotes" are available at the Faribault County Register office, the Elmore library, Juba's grocery in Blue Earth, Amazon.com and "I'm selling most of them," Quaday said.
For more information, contact Quaday or Kay Quaday Husfeldt at (320) 328-5730 or Mary Quaday Stoffel at (763) 444-8146.