The latest in our series..
THE PEOPLE OF THE PARK:
Darrell & Marilyn Decker
“And That Was It”:
A Love Story, with Corn
By Dale Dauten
There’s something about corn. It just makes you smile, right? And I’m smiling because I get to write about a couple at Silveridge who’ve had corn play a role in their story.
Darrell & Marilyn Decker
First of all, going way back, Darrell and Marilyn first met when she was selling popcorn at the Golden Buckle Theater in Rockwell City, Iowa. It was a part-time job while in school and a friend brought Darrell along to a movie and, in Marilyn’s words, “that was it.” Which makes this the perfect time to insert a Valentine’s Day card I ran across, one that will let us get the corn puns out of the way before we go any further.
Meanwhile, Marilyn had settled into a job as courthouse stenographer, and the two of them picked up the romance that began that night at the movie house.
They married, and being a young couple without much money, decided to honeymoon at the hunting cabin Darrell’s father has recently acquired. It was a honeymoon without running water or electricity but hey, the scenery was idyllic (as can be seen in the photo of how the place looks today— still in the family but with much improved living conditions).
The Deckers have three children: there’s Tom, who took over the farm and who decided to start the popcorn company; there’s Matthew, who’s Chief Development Engineer at Toro in Minneapolis; and there’s Suzanne, who works as an early childhood teaching assistant in Rochester. As for the old family farm, Tom has added land and they now have about 3000 acres. The latest addition is a new packaging machine for the Farmer’s Best Popcorn – it can produce 400 packages a minute.
It was only recently that Darrell gave up driving the combines for harvest. He says, “You start at 8AM and you don’t get out of that thing till 11 at night. When I turned 80, I decided I’d had enough practice and turned it over to others.”
It’s been 29 years since the couple first visited Silveridge. They’d come to visit friends in a nearby park. That led to three years of renting and then they bought a place. Why Silveridge? Marilyn says, “We looked, but this place just seemed so spacious.” And so they spend their winters at the park, and split the rest of the year between Iowa and Canada.
If all of this popcorn talk is making your mouth water, you can wait for the Deckers to get back to Silveridge this Fall, or you can go FarmersBestPopcorn.com and check out their products.