Getting Personal is an email Q&A with a local personality. Here, a chat with Marvin Lee Flessner of rural St. Joseph, a retired farmer and part-time musician. In the Oct. 14 newspaper, we'll have a chat with Robert E. Picklesimer, the creative and managing director of the Creative Dramatics Workshop, who also is a rural mail carrier.
What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?
We actually get up about 6 and we'll listen to a little bit of Christian radio and do a devotion and have a bowl of cereal with flaxseed on it.
What did you have for lunch today? Where? With whom?
With my wife, Elaine, at home. We had some broccoli soup.
Best high school memory?
Oh, my. Oh, my. I was in a lot of activities, of course. I guess sports is my first love and music second and studies third. It was St. Joseph High School; I graduated in '51.
Tell me about your favorite pair of shoes.
Red Wing. The slip-on type.
What does a perfect Sunday afternoon include?
Nothing pushing or pressing. Just being able to relax.
Was there one book you read as a child that you still cherish? Own? Read?
The only thing I can think of is the Bible.
Where on Earth are you dying to go? Why?
This sounds crazy, but we want to go to Marcy Jo's Mealhouse in Tennessee. Joey and Rory have a television show on RFD-TV now. His sister runs the place down there. We'll stop and see Alison Krauss' parents on their farm near Franklin, Tenn. It's been awhile since we've been down there, but we want to go again. And then we would want to stop at the Grand Ol' Opry house on the way back.
Tell me about your favorite pet.
I don't have a favorite pet. Never been a pet person because when I was with my mother at a Ladies' Aid meeting I was outside playing with a dog and I ended up in the hospital. I pulled its ears, and that sent me to the hospital. I was probably 4 or 5, something like that. It got me by the head, and I got a few scars here and there.
Have you discovered that you are becoming like one of your parents? Which one and how?
That's a loaded question. I think I'm more like both of them, but sometimes Elaine says I'm like my mother. I can't sit still very long. I want to be active. Of course, I do all these shows. Then Daddy was a farmer and became a bailiff and worked for Judge (John) DeLaMar. I think I'm like both of them.
What would you order for your last meal?
Chicken, potatoes, gravy and a salad. And apple pie.
What can you not live without?
It would be hard to live without my wife. We've been married 56 years.
Whom do you have on your iPod?
I don't have an iPod. I'm really struggling with this Internet thing. I have a cellphone and that's about it. I'm trying to learn all this stuff, but it's pretty hard at my age.
What's the happiest memory of your life?
I prayed God would send me the right person. I got out of the service and came home and spied this person (Elaine Rademacher) at a wedding. She was attending the wedding. Bingo. I think that was a happy moment.
If you could host a dinner party with any three living people in the world, whom would you invite?
Dr. James Dobson, my wife and Alison Krauss.
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
Be yourself. Be kind to others.
What's your best piece of advice?
Pray to God that you find the right mate. I like to tell that to a lot of young people.
What was your first job and how much did you make an hour?
I helped build an elevator once. Gosh, I don't know if we got $3 an hour. I don't remember. We're going back 50, 60 years. I did some detasseling work. That was the first one. It doesn't pay much at all. But it gives you a work ethic.
What was a pivotal decision in your career and how did you arrive at that decision?
I was a farmer, and on the side, I was a musician. Both of them grew together. The farm — my folks had a house on a farm and of course I got the house and some ground. To supplement it, I got into the music end of it and started playing different places. Before that, it was square dances and parties. Every time a farmer built a shed, he'd have to break it in by having a square dance or party with local people.
Do you have a bad habit? What is it?
This might be a personal habit. I don't inform my wife like I should of what's going on. That's probably my biggest downfall. Somebody will tell her I'm doing this or that, and she didn't know.
How do you handle a stressful situation?
Try to slow down and calm down. Not judge too fast. I think we all do that.