Uff da! Marshall grad turns columns into book

MARSHALL – Noel Ness likes to write about every-day things, from getting a refrigerator delivered to his colonoscopy.

And now those every-day things are in a book.

Ness, a 1965 Marshall High School graduate, recently had a book, “Uff Da! Reflections of a Minnesota Man,” published.

Ness, who now lives in Oregon, has regularly contributed columns to the Tracy Headlight Herald newspaper. It all started when he was researching the names of the Civil War statue in front of the Lyon County Courthouse. One of the soldiers was from Tracy, and he contacted Seth Schmidt, the Headlight Herald’s editor and publisher. One thing led to another, Ness said, and he sent Schmidt a story about the Marshall Tigers getting beat by the Tracy Scrappers in football back in 1963.

“He published my story, so I sent another one, and he published that,” Ness said. “One hundred and twenty columns later, I’m still sending them in.”

All of his columns have an element of a life experience, Ness said.

“I decided to put them in a book because I saw other columnists were doing it,” he said. “I thought, ‘well if they can do it, so can I.'”

When Ness broached the subject of writing a book containing his columns, Schmidt said “it’s a great idea” and encouraged Ness to follow his dream.

It took him more than a year of writing and jumping through the hoops of publishing, like obtaining the pen and ink art, testimonies, forward, copywriter, etc. to get the book together, Ness said.

“Writing my stories was the fun part, but the publishing part was a bear,” he said.

He said he’s primarily a humor writer but because of his experiences in Vietnam and his police work with the Department of Homeland Security, his stories can take a serious turn.

What Ness enjoys most about writing is the blessing of writing stories in retirement that are actually published.

“I get a lot of great feedback,” he said. “Plus it gives me a sense of accomplishment, which us old guys really need.”

Besides submitting columns to the Headlight Herald, Ness also has a column in the Junction City Tribune in Junction City, Ore.

Even though he’s been living in Oregon for a number of years, Ness said he’s held onto the hardworking Minnesota work ethic, which has served him well during his life. He and his wife try to get back to Minnesota at least twice a year.

Ness said that he already has his second book written. His first contained 40 of his newspaper columns. His second will have 80.

“And yep, my second book will be all Uff Da!” he said.