MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The open road of Interstate 35 is the gateway to cabin country. Sixty miles north of the Twin Cities, drivers often find rest near Kettle River, where one employee rarely takes a break.
“‘I’ve seen him before, yeah,” traveler Ernie Pavlisich said. “He’s been around for quite a while.”
At 93 years old, Carlyle Myrvold does not live life in the slow lane. Always one to start conversation, Carlyle often leaves a lasting impression.
“I like people. I don’t care who comes in here, I can talk to them. I don’t mind at all. I like people,” Myrvold said.
He’s at an age where so many choose to rest in retirement, but Myrvold never shies away from the dirty work at the Kettle River rest stop.
“I’ve seen messes where you almost have to use a shovel to clean them, but you clean them,” Myrvold said.
He spends his work days cleaning the bathrooms and tidying up around the building. Kettle River is a popular pit stop and there’s always a job to do.
“I’m bragging a little now, but this place is clean and it’s a pleasant place to stop and they’re always welcome,” Myrvold said.
Inside his custodial office, you also get the sense of life outside the office.
“I’ve never run out of things to do. There’s things I still want to do,” he said.
Myrvold’s favorite polka music is always on during his shift and he keeps a large collection of CDs to get him in step for the next barn dance.
There’s also his work place furniture, which fills the office. When he’s not at the rest stop, Myrvold builds cabinets, tables and other pieces of wood furniture.
“I’m supposed to be putting up another building, but then you get logical,” he said. “Does a 94-year-old need another building?”
But the snapshots hanging from the walls capture his true passion and also offer insight into why 94 will be another busy year. Myrvold keeps a picture of his wife Ruth nearby.
“It keeps your mind off,” he said. “She’s been dead 15 years, so it fades away, finally.”
Work has allowed Myrvold to find joy in life after love.
“It keeps me busy, yeah,” he said.
The years may take a toll but, near Kettle River, age is no excuse to stop and rest.
Myrvold says the only time the job is tough is during the winter months. This past winter there were times he had to sleep at work to make sure he arrived in time because of all the snow.
He has no plans of retiring anytime soon.