Editor's note: Double Lives of Douglas County will be an occasional feature in the Echo Press, profiling people who have a hobby or second-calling that may seem an odd fit with their everyday lives. To suggest a possible subject, email firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you get when you cross a funeral director with a clown?
You get Curt Lind, owner of Lind Funeral Home and Cubby the Clown.
The 56-year-old, who now lives in Alexandria, owns funeral homes in Parkers Prairie, Miltona and Alexandria.
His time as a clown exceeds his time as a funeral director by more than 10 years.
"I've been a clown for about 43 years and I've been a funeral director for only 31 years," he said, adding that there are a lot of similarities between his two professions.
As a funeral director, he said he likes to make people feel good, and feel loved during a sad time in their lives. And as a clown, it's just the same he said, just different situations.
"I like to bring joy to people as a clown," said Lind. "You make people feel good in both situations."
Another similarity is the artistry, as in the makeup, he said. As a funeral director, he uses his art skills applying makeup to deceased loved ones and as a clown, he uses those same skills on himself as he paints on Cubby the Clown's face.
"Stop and really think about it," he said. "They are similar."
As a young child, Lind remembers his uncle being a clown and he thought it was "cool."
When he was about 13-years-old, his mother gave him some clown "grease paint" and she made him a clown costume, which was often used for Halloween.
"And I still have it," he said with a large grin of the makeup he first used when he started clowning. His costume, however, has changed. He was recently outfitted with a whole new wardrobe when Yvonne Hagstrom sewed him a new costume.
Lind recalled in 1995, when he and his uncle, Gale Harter, who has since passed away, attended the Ringling Brothers Clown Camp. Although he had been a clown for some time, this was his first "formal" training. Remembering it fondly, Lind said it was a place for clowns to perfect their skills, whether it was making balloon animals, costuming, makeup, everything.
"To share that with my uncle ... it was amazing," said Lind. "And to spend time with a whole bunch of other people like you, learning to become another person, I'll never forget it."
The name of his clown persona, Cubby, is actually a nickname his sister gave him when he was young that stuck. He said "Cubby" is the name his family and close friends call him and that is why he decided to take it on as his "clown name."
In 2004, Lind and his wife, Barb established the Lind Family Funeral and Cremation Services in Parkers Prairie and Miltona and then expanded to Alexandria in 2015.
As Cubby, Lind says he enjoys being in parades and is known as the "town clown" in Parkers Prairie, Miltona and Urbank. Although he added that he doesn't like to commit to being in parades because of funeral home duties that might come up and because it is a "huge commitment" of time. It takes him about an hour and a half to become Cubby, including the makeup and costume, which is something not similar to when he is Curt, the funeral director.
Although it is time consuming, Lind said he loves the transformation of becoming Cubby the Clown - from putting on the makeup to putting on his shoes.
"You are truly not a human when you put on the costume and makeup," he said. "You become a character. And, although I wouldn't do it every day, it's a fun thing to do."
One of the highlights of Lind's clown career came very early on. The Carson and Barnes Circus was coming to a town near him. He lived in Renville at the time and the circus was going to be in Willmar.
As the circus was setting up, Lind stopped by to talk to the "boss clown" to see if he could be a part of the circus. He was and will remember it for the rest of his life.
"I was told they had an elephant they could put me on," he remembers. "And then they put me on top of the front elephant. That was the creme brulee!"
Lind said he felt pretty cool sitting on top of that elephant, coming into the circus tent with the whole gang.
"That's a bucket list item for a clown" he said.
While none of his three children have followed in his clown shoes, his son Peter and daughter-in-law Sari are working in the family funeral home business.
Lind said it wasn't what he started out wanting to be. He thought he was going to be a geologist or maybe a teacher or maybe even a pastor.
"But, I was called to be a funeral director," he said. "I love being a funeral director. Hands down."