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‘Two antiques pushing two antiques’

Chuck Carlson (foreground) and Fred Hendrickson are retired from their full-time jobs, but they spend summers cutting grass for Lake County. Wednesday, they were trimming the lawn by the Lake County Historical Society in downtown Two Harbors. Photo by Jim Erickson.

Chuck Carlson and Fred Hendrickson didn’t take to retirement well.

Carlson, 76, retired as a Lake County custodian more than a decade ago. Since then, he has spent his summers working four 10-hour shifts a week, mowing lawn for the county.

“I’m just thankful I can still do it,” he said.

Hendrickson, 66, just recently retired from Northshore Mining and signed on to mow grass after Carlson’s longtime co-worker Lyle Swardstrom stepped down.

The two men say they like keeping busy in retirement, mowing county-owned lawns and keeping flowers at the Lake County Courthouse and Lake County Jail in good shape.

The work keeps them in good shape, too. Both have lost weight from all the grass-cutting and Carlson’s doctor said the fact that his in such good shape will help him in recovery from cancer -- he just entered remission a year-and-a-half ago. He didn’t miss a minute of work during his illness.

Hendrickson said they are the “two antiques, pushing two antiques.”

Grant Mjelde, the facility manager at the county, said he doesn’t know how he will replace the two workhorses when they decide to officially retire.