By special request
MARSHALL – It was Larry Home Hospice Wednesday afternoon instead of Prairie Home Hospice. Larry Olsen of the Larry Olsen Band made Elmer Grimes’ day by visiting him at the Prairie Home Hospice House.
“He is always talking about Larry Olsen,” said volunteer Ruth Bot of Grimes.
So Bot called Olsen and asked if he would play his accordion for Grimes and other Prairie Home residents.
“He said, ‘of course,'” Bot said.
Olsen agreed without knowing who Grimes was. After he saw him he recognized him.
“I remember Elmer coming to the dances,” Olsen said.
Olsen keeps busy playing old-time/polka music every weekend at dance halls around the area. He has an old-time music festival every year Memorial Day weekend at his place near Lake Benton.
“It’s sure a pleasure having you here,” Grimes said to Olsen.
Between musical interludes, Grimes said he remembered one time Olsen played accordion lying on his back.
“That was in Tracy,” said Olsen. “I was 20. I don’t do that anymore. Now I have a chiropractor.”
Olsen played a waltz on his Hengel’s accordion and then Grimes, who is 98 and has been a hospice resident for about a year, pulled out his Hoehner button accordion and played tunes such as “Home on the Range” and “You Are My Sunshine” with Olsen sitting in.
“I’ve known Elmer for years, but I never knew he played button box,” said Olsen.
Grimes said Olsen’s whole family was musical and remembered Olsen’s dad playing the drums.
Olsen played a few tunes on Grimes’ accordion including “Roll Out the Barrel.”
“You make that thing sing,” said Grimes.
Ray and Evelyn Hively stopped by from Boulder Estates to join the fun. They called out song suggestions for Olsen, but some were from before his time.
“How about ‘Pistol Packin’ Mama?'” said Evelyn Hively.
“I’m 52, but that’s long before my time,” said Olsen.
“In 1943, that was popular,” said Ray Hively.
“We’ve got grandchildren older than you,” said Evelyn Hively. “Do you play ‘Tavern in the Town?'”
“How old is that – 120?” asked Olsen.
“This is 90 years old – ‘Finnish Woods,'” said Olsen.
“That’s younger than he is,” Evelyn Hively said, pointing at Ray.
A couple times Evelyn Hively and volunteer Betty Krogman danced in the nearby kitchen to songs such as the “Ach Du Lieber Augustin.”
Ray Hively asked Olsen if he could play the “John Deere Polka.”
“Elmer would like that,” Ray Hively said, knowing that Grimes was a Farmall man.
Then Ray Hively asked Olsen, “Do you play ‘The Out of Tune Polka?'”
Olsen cranked out a few off-notes for Ray before closing out the afternoon dance party with “Goodnight Irene.”