RYAN BAKKEN: Junior Sovde shares his secret to health, eternal youth
One thing is clear about Melvin Sovde Jr., of Greenbush, Minn. He is no slacker. Better known as Junior, he has driven a school bus for 52-plus years and has taken only one sick day. One. And, even on that one day, he showed up for work. He expla...
One thing is clear about Melvin Sovde Jr., of Greenbush, Minn. He is no slacker.
Better known as Junior, he has driven a school bus for 52-plus years and has taken only one sick day.
And, even on that one day, he showed up for work.
He explains: "We were using a Knipco heater in the shop, and it kicked some fumes right in my face. The fumes got me, so I stumbled to the emergency room and stayed overnight in the hospital.
"Something like that makes you awfully dizzy."
His head cleared by morning, however, and he was back on the job.
For the first 16 years, he was a bus driver while his real job was at a gas station. After that, he took on the full-time role of being the Greenbush-Middle River School's transportation director.
But, on Dec. 31, he called it a career, retiring at age 70 and one absentee mark on his otherwise pristine attendance sheet.
So, what is the secret to his good health?
"It sure wasn't the way I eat," he said. "I don't eat that healthy. I like lots of bacon and lots of sweets."
However, he noted that he never smoked tobacco or drank alcohol during his 70 years on the planet. And, his family has a history of long lives.
Still, how many workers occasionally haven't cashed in on their sick pay and/or PTO in the bank with maladies much less serious than getting gassed? How many workers have been rundown or tired or, as the saying goes, "feeling a bit under the weather" and feel they're deserving of a break?
Many workers, that's how many. But, not Melvin.
"About the only times I have gone to the doctor is when my bus driver's physical is required every couple of years," he said.
Besides, he said he enjoyed the children riding his bus.
"They seem to keep a guy young," he said.
I have ridden in my share of chilly, shocks-impaired, noisy buses during my lifetime, and I don't remember any of them contributing to feelings of youth.
But, then, I'm not Junior Sovde.
Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1125; or send e-mail to email@example.com .