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by women… for women… about women…




• Native Orchids • Soldier Ann • From Pain to Peace A BRAINERD DISPATCH PUBLICATION

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C o ntents Features



Outstanding in the Field. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Want to learn more about the food you eat? Consider dining in the field.. by Arlene Jones


Soldier Ann . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Sergeant Ann overcomes a hostile environment — and then she’s deployed to Iraq. by Carolyn Corbett

Women to the Rescue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 These women hang out at the lake but not with sunbathing on their minds. by Joan Hasskamp

Claiming Creative Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Float away on the Crow Wing River; and learn how this poet claims her space. by Mary Aalgaard

Spring Glories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Just a stone’s throw from the mall, the Arb’s a feast for the eyes and ears.


by Meg Douglas

About...Ahh...Her Voice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 This singer entertained audiences from the tender age of three all over the Midwest. by Barb Marohn

In This Issue 16

editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

entrepreneurs . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Synergy On and Off the Farm by Meg Douglas

Per fectly Aged, Freshly Repurposed by Kathleen Krueger




Wo m e n w i t h A t t i t u d e by Sandra Opheim

G h o s t Ta l e s f r o m G i r l s a t t h e T u r n by Theresa Jarvela

survivors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 To r n a d o R e m e m b e r e d by Suz Anne Wipperling




T h e M e a n e s t M o m i n t h e Wo r l d by Kathy Schroeder

23 30

the arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 An Artist Finds Her Niche in Norwegian Art by Beverly Abear


mothers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Cousin’s Camp by Jill Anderson

A L e t t e r f r o m M o m s t o t h e i r Te e n s by Sheri Davich

the outdoors

. . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

clubs and clusters . . . . . . . . 26

Orchids-Fool Me Once… by Pam Landers

Pink Ribbon Golf Classic by Joni Meyer

good reads




A Love Story by Bettie Miller

her say


My Mother’s Hands by Annie Andrews Bandel


ghost tales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

From Pain to Peace by Sheila DeChantal Co v e r ph o t o b y J o ey Halvorson On the cover: Arlene Jones, co-owner of St. Mathias Farm, and Matt Annand, Prairie Bay’s executive chef, offer dinner al fresco, where guests learn about their food from the farmer.

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from the editor

photos by Joey Halvorson

Staff PUBLISHER Tim Bogenschutz EDITOR Meg Douglas


the farm

ART DIRECTORS Andy Goble Cindy Spilman


It’s just a short jaunt south of Brainerd to farm country, where the pine curtain gives way to open vistas of fertile fields. In 2006, Bob and Arlene Jones fell in love with 80 acres and called it The Farm on St. Mathias. But it’s more than a farm. Since that time projects promoting a healthy community have sprouted as profusely as the 20 some acres of fruits and vegetables. Their first association was a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture. It’s an agreement between the farmer and consumer, where the consumer shares “the risks and receives shares of the bounty,” says Arlene. For the Joneses, who had both worked in health care agencies, it was as much about creating a healthy lifestyle and collaborating with others in the community, as it was an investment in the property. In 2007, knowing about tight budgets in the non-profit community and the therapeutic value of time spent in the dirt, they offered plots of land to organizations, where clients could plant, tend and harvest vegetables of their choosing. Some organizations, such as Early Childhood Family Education were able to piggy-back on their 6-acre corn maize in the fall for a fundraiser. And then came the school children, class after class spilling out of their yellow buses into the yellowing fields of corn and teachers integrating curriculum about where food comes 6

from with literal field trips to the farm. Fun time might include cuddling a barn cat, feeding the llamas or catching rides on a hay wagon. Imagine children scratching in a potato patch, thinking ‘this is where my french fries come from?’ Next came a partnership with Prairie Bay. “We courted Matt,” says Arlene, knowing that Prairie Bay executive chef Matt Annand was a pioneer in the “forage for food” movement. With a synergistic intensity that matched her own, Matt has worked the fields, even bringing out staff in an effort to learn “where food comes from and who the farmer is.” From this relationship grew the Outstanding in the Field dinner, now in its third season, featured in this edition of Her Voice. Last year, the Joneses teamed with hops brewers, who assisted in the harvest and in brewing, then hosted a January beer tasting event for the community with the homegrown product. Farm to organization. Farm to School, Farm to Restaurant. It’s only a matter of time, keep watching for more fruitful collaborations from The Farm on St. Mathias.





IS A QUARTERLY PUBLICATION OF THE BRAINERD DISPATCH • For advertising opportunities call Carla Staffon 218.855.5834 or 1.800.432.3703 find our publication on the web at E-mail your comments, suggestions or topics to or mail them to Her Voice at Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN 56401 copyright© 2003

Meg Douglas, Editor


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Story and photos by Arlene Jones



Out of the field and onto your plate. Fresh from the dirt. All food has a journey and a story. This is the theme of farm dinners taking place across the country and right here in the lakes area. Dining at the source of the food is more than a fad. In the summer of ‘92, a California restaurant chef hosted what was to become

“Outstanding in the Field.” He invited the growers who provided his food to come out of the field and into the restaurant for a night of dining. When farmers spoke to the diners about the foods from their farm, people were interested in their stories. And an idea was born.

Jennifer, a prep cook, plates the salad for the Outstanding in the Field dinner at the Farm on St. Mathias. Diners can learn where their food comes from, how it was grown and greet the grower. Funds raised benefit area organizations. SUMMER 2011 | her voice

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The formula is simple: good food, Chez Panisse, the extraordinarily successgood ambience, great culinary staff, family ful Berkeley, Calif., restaurant often credand friends to share the table and a farmer ited with revolutionizing American eating to tell the story. Settings for farm dinners habits in the early ‘80s. vary by geographical location and have Chefs also understand the connection included gardens, beaches, corn fields, between farming and cooking. Currently, cityscapes, freshly mowed hayfields, there are a growing number of chefs who winding and wooded trails, century old either own their own farm or who work barns and more. The menus are built to closely with organizations promoting the highlight locally sourced food including value of farming and growing your own meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. food. Chefs can also be found exploring Typically, dinners range from five to their local farmer’s markets and looking seven courses and are perfectly paired for regular and genetically diverse ingrediwith wine and beer, local of course. ents. Dinners range from $60 to $180, dependRestaurant chefs have also been hosting on the model. ing farmers’ market dinners and harvest The New Oxford American Dictionary’s dinners in their restaurants for some time 2007 word of the year was locavore, one now. It seems a logical progression to who eats exclusively local food. Some pioneer the move from gourmet farm dinuse the term “foodie,” an aficionado of ners in restaurants to gourmet farm dinfood and drink. The national local food, ners on the farm. organic and sustainable food movements In the Brainerd lakes area, Prairie Bay’s have been built on the premise that peoexecutive chef, Matt Annand, and The ple want to know where their food comes Farm on St. Mathias have partnered a farm from, how the food was grown, and to put dinner for two years. “I love the atmoMenus highlight locally sourced food and a face on the farmer. The growing “eat sphere,” says Matt. “I feel like I learn more range from five to seven courses paired with local” movement has allowed farmers every time I go out there. You know appropriate wine and beer. who sell direct to local consumers to not where the food comes from and you have have to give priority to packing, shipping and shelf-life issues. a stronger connection to the land.” Having worked in Napa Valley Farmers can instead select, grow and harvest more heirloom and for three years, Matt feels like “we are just catching up.” “People are heritage crops, ensuring peak qualities of freshness, nutrition and more relaxed outdoors. It is unique and creative. You’re actually tastes. And as the demand for local food grows, so does the desire pulling food from the ground as you prepare it.” for distinct, quirky and genetically diverse varieties that are integral to For patrons of farm dining, this experience is exactly what they our culture and landscape. pay for. Mary Trautschold, a full-time summer resident from Kansas, Today, diners are much more informed. People are paying far says “We loved the idea of sharing the farm and the farm dining more attention to how their food is being raised and how it gets to experience with friends because it demonstrated that the lakes area their table. And that is the point. For the chefs, farmers and organiz- was much more than fishing and hunting.” They enjoyed the atmoers involved, it is exactly this recipe: food education with the abso- sphere of casual sophistication (white tablecloths and candles) lute sweetness of entertainment and ambience. And for diners, offered by the farm’s outdoor charm along with great food and wine. knowing these stories and having first-hand experience matters. “We had a wonderful evening, as did our friends, and we were so Chefs have long been innovators. Ask anyone in the local food happy that they finally `get it’ when we talk about our love for movement and you’re likely to hear about Alice Waters, owner of Minnesota.” Mary continues, “We are looking forward to sharing an enchanting farm dinner experience again in 2011…it is one of the be b est st summer su um mmer mer events me eve ev even en nts ts in in the the Brainerd th B best lakes area.” Celebrations C Ce elle ele ebr brat atio tio ions on nss iin n the the fi th ffield ie elld are also fundraising opportunities. Many ffundraising fu fund und ndra ndra rais ising in ng ffa arm rm dinners din inn are structured to bring local attention farm to w to orrth o thy cca aus aus use ess such as Meals on Wheels, improving worthy causes healthier, wholesome local food choices and aaccess ac ccess cessss tto ce oh he eal al to help to hel elp sustain ssu us us local food initiatives. Fo F or M For Melissa Stephens, with seven years of food e ex xpe per experience at Maddens Resort and now Crow Wi W in Food Co-op general manager, it Wing sse e seemed an easy link between chefs, the cco-op, local food and the community. When the food co-op was in the process of relocating, it looked for an event as the backdrop for fundraising purposes. A tent village protects Melissa says, “I always wanted to diners from the elements. do a farm dinner. Farm to Plate was just coming up and we needed to reach outside of current membership for fundraising.” The co-op worked with the Farm of Plenty of Randall, and five local chefs for a dining experience titled “Five Stars in the Field,” with each 8

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chef preparing a specific course. The dinner ne er was held in St. Mathias proper with food d donated from area farms. In order to increase the benefit for a worthy cause, all chef time and wine were also donated. “I was shameless on getting donations,” says Melissa, including compostable paper and napkins, in addition to items for a silent auction. “It was a hoot,” says Personal Chef Tom Kavanaugh. “It was the ultimate challenge with a limited kitchen.” “Like kitchen impossible,” chimes in Matt Annand. A total of over $4,500 was raised d between admission for the meal and silent nt auction. “The co-op could not have relocated ate ed without this fundraiser,” says Melissa. Nationally; Outstanding in the Field in California, alliiffo ornia rrn niiaa, Meadow Lark Farm Dinners in Colorado, o, Farm Farm Fa rm to to Fork and Plate & Pitchfork, both in Oregon, n, are are connectar conn co nnec ectting diners and chefs to farms across the country. un nttry. rry y. M More ore loca or ore llocal lo oca cal farm dining experiences include Tour de F Farm aarrm in nM Minneapolis; iin nn ne eaap pol olis liss; nine farms and 13 chefs, featuring farm dinners ners errs on e on a ttraveling rav ra ve e elilliin ng g sschedched ch edule. Planning for the third annual Farm on St. Mathias h Farm Dinner began in January and will be held Friday, August 26th at The Farm on St. Mathias. The Crow Wing Food Co-op is busy planning the next farm dinner fundraiser in the Brainerd lakes area. No matter which farm dining experience you choose, you can count on great local food prepared by a great culinary team and, of course, the story of the food and the farmer.


To increase the benefit to non-profits, chef’s time and wine are donated.

Arlene Jones Arlene Jones is a fifth-generation farmer who owns and operates The Farm on St. Mathias with her husband, Bob. When not farming, she spends time with her children and grandchildren, traveling, reading and genealogy.

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photos by Joey Halvorson

r ecr ea t io n

by Sandra Opheim

Women with

Motorcycle enthusiasts include: (left to right) Bonnie Madson, Lynn Rice, Jolleen Meech-Yungbauer, Cathi Dumpprope

I see many motorcycle enthusiasts riding the ribbons of highway throughout Minnesota. Many of these riders are women and I needed to find out firsthand what drives them to drive 750 ccs or more over the roadways. Bonnie Madson, an administrative assistant in Motley, says, “Whether it is on a winding mountain road or a long stretch of hot endless highway, each trip holds its own memories. A good rider needs attitude, common sense, and stamina.” After riding for


only seven years she thoroughly enjoys the camaraderie and community spirit in each place she visits. “I like to ride because it is a great social sport. Lifelong friendships are made with people who share a common interest. On our travels, people strike up conversations to find out where we are from and where we are going.” One major piece of advice to other females wanting to learn to ride is to always ride safely and go through a motorcycle basic rider course offered in your community.

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Jolleen Meech-Yungbauer, also a rider, businesswoman and mother of three, doesn’t have as much free time to ride but loves it. The Staples resident says, “I spend a lot of time on weekends doing charity rides such as the Ronald McDonald ride each June and Kruzin for Kids Ride out of Wadena. Each charity ride helps families and children in great need.” Jolleen began riding nearly 19 years ago on local streets for practice before heading out on the highways. “Back then you read the laws and handbook for motorcyclists and had to pass a written test in order to obtain a permit. I have been driving all these years accident-free,” she says. Jolleen loves to ride with her family, but when she is on her own, “It is time for me. I don’t have to worry about the phone ringing, and it is an adventure on wheels.” Adventure is one thing, but what if danger faces you in the face as you ride? Cathi Dumpprope, a Motley resident and teaching paraprofessional, recalls one dangerous ride. “My husband and I were out riding and saw a herd of cows with calves. They were fun to watch, but suddenly we noticed a single cow just off the shoulder of the highway. We swerved to the other lane hoping the cow would stay put.” Luckily, Cathi and her husband Lonnie were safe as the cow remained planted as they motored by. “My heart was racing!” she recalls. Cathi rides and loves it, “It is the next best thing to …,well, you know, and my husband agrees.” Cathi can concur with the two previous female enthusiasts, “Put miles on and take the safety courses offered.” Safety is a common thread for all these women. Lynn Rice, a Staples resident and director of support services at Lakewood Health System, agrees that taking a safety course or class offered by Central Lakes College is a fabulous idea. “I once rode behind a truck and a box of nuts and bolts fell out of the truck bed. I had to remain calm and swerve around the mess.” Riders need to be prepared men-

tally and physically to ride motorcycles. Lynn loves the thrill, freedom and the challenge of riding. She can get away from cell phones, kids, and hectic stresses in life. “One time I was riding in the Swanville area after a visit with my sister-in-law. Another group of cyclists came along and encouraged me to ride along. I was part of a motorcycle gang! It was pretty cool.” All four women belong to an elite group of riders, women who ride motorcycles. They are still the minority in the motorcycle world. If you want to appreciate the wind in your hair, bugs in your teeth, the thrill of traveling on two wheels, then a motorcycle may be for you. Wearing a helmet and leathers is a good idea for all riders. You never know what will cross your path as you travel. Each woman rider stressed the importance of being safe through training, practice, having a mentor to kick start your passion and knowing your road conditions. Even though these women have enthusiastically shared stories of beautiful scenery and bonding with other riders, I am suited to four wheels. I did ride the great ribbons of highway in the Twin Cities and held a permit but didn’t catch the bug. Don’t let that discourage you. If you are interested in becoming a rider and don’t know how to go about it, contact Central Lakes College for information on Minnesota Department of Public Safety motorcycle classes. The Staples campus has training programs for you as you become a woman with attitude.


Sandra Opheim Sandra Opheim teaches English in the StaplesMotley School District and continuing education courses for St. Thomas University. She is a children’s’ book author and a frequent contributor to Her Voice.

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by Carolyn Corbett Sgt. Ann Hoshal never intended to join the military. She was in pre-med at St. Scholastica when a college friend started talking to a recruiter, urging Ann to join up on the Buddy Plan. Ann’s father and his brothers had all been part of the military at some point, and her favorite great uncle on her mother’s side was Cavalry when they switched from horses to motorcycles, so they clued her in on all the tough questions to ask the recruiter. The friend bailed out, but Ann joined up as a diesel mechanic, a heavy-wheeled vehicle mechanic. She took basic training and Advanced Individual Training in 1995. Three years later she trained to repair tank turret electronics and laser systems. “Signing up for the mechanics slot was a breeze. It was proving my worth as a mechanic that was difficult. A lot had to do with the fact that I was a woman and I was attached as a front line mechanic to a tank unit.” She joined at a tough time. The climate was very much fear driven, with men apprehensive of accusations of sexual assault. Several years after Ann had proven her worth with a wrench, she learned that before her section joined the battalion there had been six months of sexual harassment lec-

photos by Joey Halvorson

tures. “Don’t talk to the females, you could lose your job.” “Don’t look at the females, you could lose your job.” It was also made difficult by older soldiers who didn’t believe females could pull their own weight. “I had to prove I was smarter, faster, tougher and better than the guys in my job before I was accepted. It was also a matter of making the guys understand I wasn’t there to be treated like a lady; I was there to be a soldier and do my job.” It took a while to gain their trust and prove herself. Ann worked hard to get them to accept her as a soldier and a mechanic. She spent her first year in the National Guard arriving to drill in uniform and leaving drill in uniform. She never changed into civilian clothes, never let her hair down (literally). She found success in trying to make herself as asexual in uniform as possible. “My actions contradicted everything they had ever heard about females. I made it patently clear to those who worked around me that I was there to do my job and I expected that they treat me as one of the guys when we worked together.” Ann loved being attached to a battalion because once she proved herself, once she’d run the gauntlet and proved every preconceived notion wrong as far as she was concerned, she was a member of a team. Her job was to make sure the equipment was up and running and that the people using it didn’t have to worry about it failing at the wrong time. She made sure that when equipment did go down, it was fixed to the best of her ability as quickly as she could get it done. She worked long hard hours. When the tanks were firing, she was online with them. Ann was usually one of the first there if something was wrong. “The defining moment of my proving myself as a damn good mechanic came right after I went to school for tank turret repair. There was a tank crew who had chased off another female in my section, claiming that she hadn’t done any work on the tank, just sat around sunning herself. When I returned from school, the same crew had a problem that fell into my area of expertise. I figured out the problem, repaired it to a better state than it had been before it went down and interacted with the crew. After I was done the gunner who had booted the other female off the tank started spreading my name as the one to ask for if there was a problem. Before the end of that summer camp, I was known battalion wide as a mechanic who knew what she was doing, got the job done and fixed equipment so it stayed fixed. I was accepted. Not only accepted, I was an integral part of the team.” Ann’s son was 2 1/2 and her daughter 6 months old when she deployed to southeast Iraq in 2005. She was gone for 22 months. She had the fear of not coming back, of never seeing her children or parents or friends again. Her thoughts were on her children, but she knew she had

Sgt. Ann Hoshal had to prove herself as “smarter, faster and tougher than the guys,” to gain the trust of her fellow soldiers. 12

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to keep her focus on where she already,” says Ann. Some soldiers was and what she was doing so she called home to find their families could get back safely to her kids. wondering why they hadn’t told Two of Ann’s strongest memthem about the extension. Word ories of Iraq are situations that had come via the nightly news. involved children. One was In 2008 Ann began working at watching Bedouin kids pop rockCamp Ripley, training troops to et fuses out of the ground with go to war, using her skills and sticks and carry them to an background from Iraq. Soldiers explosive ordnance disposal tech can be difficult to teach because with no fear of the fuses being many have alpha personalities. live or detonating. The other was Ann works with the largest gathbeing sent to assist another patrol erings of the biggest alpha wolves in treating locals who’d had a car imaginable. As a knowledgeable, wreck, a 4-door sedan that had experienced instructor, she can rolled and twisted so violently the dominate a room full of soldiers back seat had ripped free of its Ann now trains other soldiers in survival techniques. in order to get the critical informamoorings and was half out the tion to them. “If you lose control back door. There were four children and four adults in the vehicle of the room, you’re done,” she says. when it rolled. The grandmother was dead, the mother had neck, Once again, she proved herself as a contributing member and was arm and back pain, one man suffered leg and back pain and the accepted as an integral part of the team. She says she hasn’t found driver escaped with a minor cut on his head. Ann remembers looking that acceptance and team integrity anywhere else. down and seeing a diaper on the ground that had been removed “I don’t tolerate people treating me differently because of my genfrom an infant who had already been transported from the area. It der. Judge me by my merits as a soldier and a was still in the shape of the child and that hit Ann the hardest. mechanic and a teacher, not as a female soldier, Another memory that stands out is how American troops learned a female mechanic or a female teacher.” their tour was being extended. They’d been told up to that point not HV to believe anything unless they heard it through the chain of command. But then there was a news release from a higher up back in Carolyn Corbett the states. “You could watch the people who had been holding on to Carolyn Corbett is a free-lance writer and editor for a good spirits by their fingernails almost visibly deflate. Morale went variety of magazines. down the toilet. We had been away from our families for a long time

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story and photos by Suz Anne Wipperling

s ur vivor s



re, and ouse befo h n w to s nter’ Pat Carpe na area. the Wade it h o d a torn

On Thursday, June 17, 2010, storms were predicted. As the day progressed the meteorologists began seeing a continuously violent development. Warnings were sent for the projected area, which included Wadena. Pat Carpenter, who lived in a townhome on the southwest side of town, was watching TV just before 5 p.m. The sirens went off and she climbed into the bathtub and pulled a heavy quilt over herself. Soon the sirens stopped and she left the bathroom to watch TV again. Minutes later the second siren sounded and Pat once again jumped into the bathtub, but before she had a chance to pull the quilt over her the storm hit. Jane Erckenbrack, soon to retire as the Social Service supervisor, and responsible for 14

after the

Jane Erc kenbrack , her hus daughter, band Mikayla s urvived th , Glen and grandby taking e cover in the basem Wadena tornado ent.

congregate housing in case of a disaster, was at work at the Wadena Social Services Building on the southeast side of town. As the second siren went off she made the joke, “Sure, I suppose I’m going to have to deal with a disaster, too, before I retire.” As Pat lay in her bathtub, curled in a fetal position, bits of tar pelted her and the roof rose up twice, but settled down again. The noise was horrible, “Like the worst hail storm ever.” She heard a lot of glass breaking. It felt like it went on for five minutes, and then everything became very quiet. The electricity was off. Jane got in her car and headed to the southwest side of Wadena where she lived about a block from Pat Carpenter. As she got closer to home she began to see more and

more storm damage. Trees were uprooted and debris was becoming increasingly common. At the end of her street she found she could not turn in, and so she left her car to walk the last block. The house on the corner’s roof was missing. Pat climbed out of her bathtub, to find a home assaulted. Bits of insulation and glass were everywhere. Gray dust piled up. She couldn’t open the front door, which was askew, but a young man pulled it open against the debris. Outside she could hear a loudspeaker from some emergency vehicle saying to go to the high school, which was the local staging area. So Pat took several people and drove there, only to find it heavily damaged. They returned home and Pat went down to her friend Myrtle Vierkant’s

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where she stayed for eight days. Mikayla was having problems with As Jane walked up to her home, anxiety and “weather” fear, until Camp she stood in the yard staring in disbeNoah put on a week long program for lief. Just then her husband, Glenn St. the children affected in the disaster. By Marie, her daughter, Jessica, and urging the kids to talk about their fears granddaughter, Mikayla, came out. they helped ease them. Mikayla, who was 7 at the time, was Pat found a temporary home in Fair saying over and over, “We have to Oaks, a senior community. She will leave, it’s not safe here. I don’t feel move into a new townhome that’s to safe. We have to go!” be built in the same section of town Glenn had taken his family into the and completed in the spring of 2011. basement when the first siren went off. “I wasn’t scared,” she says, “I’d always When it stopped Glenn went back wanted to see a tornado, but when upstairs. Suddenly it blasted again another siren sounded later that sumand he went back down. The storm hit mer I found my hands shaking.” just as he reached the bottom. Besides damage to their home, Jane and Glen lost Both women are thankful for what “Everyone under the steps!” There eight mature trees. they didn’t lose, their personal histowas a roar and breaking glass and ries, though Jane does grieve the Jessica commented about the pressure in her ears. perennials her grandmother had transplanted there from the family In the aftermath of the EF4 tornado, Glenn noticed that they had farm. Sometimes, it’s the small things you grieve the most. HV lost all eight mature trees in their yard, which had fallen in a circle. The electrical wires had been pulled right out of the house. Later they figured the path of the tornado went down their alley. Jane’s family walked the mile to her mother’s apartment, where they stayed for 10 days. Finally the electricity was restored in their neighborhood and they moved home. It was eerie; out of 20 homes Suz Anne Wipperling they were the only occupied house on the block. It would be four Suz Anne Wipperling is a member of Brainerd months before someone else finally moved back in. Writer’s Alliance and Heartland Poets and has both Luckily, Cindy Peterson, the public health nurse supervisor, had taken over the congregate housing problems so Jane could focus on poetry and photography included in a Bemidji State University “Dust and Fire” Collection. She is a regular her family and home. Jane says, “Our lives became chaotic, a differcontributor to Her Voice. ent kind of storm.”

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Women to the

Rescue Civilian members of the Crow Wing County Dive Rescue Team include: (left to right) Kelli Mankowski, Lori Mattson, Lynn Jannetta, Kelsey Berent. Not pictured: Rani Kitzman.

story and photos by Joan Hasskamp For five area women, a trip to the lake isn’t always for recreational purposes. Their mission is much more serious. Kelsey Berent, Lynn Jannetta, Rani Kitzman, Kelli Mankowski and Lori Mattson are civilian members of the Crow Wing County Dive Rescue Team. They work under the direction of Sgt. Scott Goddard, supervisor of the Boat and Water Division of the sheriff’s department. According to Goddard, the dive team is vital in search, rescue and recovery operations of accident and drowning victims. “We rely on the dive team to not only be the person in the water but to have the expertise and experience in all aspects of diving,” Goddard says. On scene he says law enforcement looks to the volunteers to provide valuable input. “The diverss give g ve gi ve u uss in inforinfo nfo forrmation on the lake bottom, temperature, obstructions uct ctio ions nss in in the area and any other hazards we need to be made mad de aware of,” he says. Kelsey Berent is the longest serving member berr be of the group. In 1998 she joined the team and d quickly became aware of the importance of the e 20-person unit. “Behind the scenes we do o everything we can to give families back theirr loved one or offer closure to a bad situation,”” Berent says. Anytime there is an incident on water, the sherhe h err a io at ion,, iff’s department goes out to assess the situation, a. D iv ve according to eight-year-member Lynn Jannetta. Dive in ccase ase as e th hey y team members are paged and told to stand by in they are needed. While time is of the essence in such situations, she says that for safety reasons no diver is allowed to enter the water unless there are two divers present. Jannetta says that in cold water there is approximately a one-hour window of opportunity to resuscitate someone. In warmer water, the time is much less. She says it’s easier to locate a person when there is ice cover because a hole indicates where the individual entered the water. During the warm weather months Jannetta says good wit16

nesses are essential, othy erwise it can be very difficult to locate the victim. According to Rani Kitzman, the group trains once a month. Training spots include rivers, lakes and mine pits. In the winter Kitzman says the team trains in the Brainerd High School pool. As a relatively new member of the team she finds the sessions extremely helpful. “We never know what the situation is when we are called out so we have to be flexible and be able to make q quick decisions once we arrive at the scene.” Member M Memb Me emb mber m ber er LLori er o Mattson echoes a similar sentiment regarding or the need the ne th eeed for varied training sessions. As a part-time scuba sscccub uba diving instructor for the Minnesota School of ub Diving, Divi v she is acutely aware of the importance of continuing education. Over the four years that cco o she s has been a member she says the team has responded r when it’s been 20 below zero as well as a 90 degrees above zero. She recalls one river dive d when there was zero visibility and a current to t deal with. “It’s important to train for these situations ssii and to be prepared for them when we are aare called out,” she says. The T Th h time spent together has contributed to a strong stro st tro ong ng sense of camaraderie and bonding between members m me memb em mb ber ers o off the group. “As a team we rely heavily on each other,” Berent says. “We trust each other with our lives. Being part of the team isn’t glamorous but every time we help out reminds me that I am giving something to my community in a way that many cannot.” For three of the women it is truly a family affair as their husbands are also members of the dive team. Michael Mankowski, Jason Kitzman and Bill Mattson share their passion for diving and community service with their wives. Kitzman and Mankowski assist in training as they are certified dive instructors.

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All team members are certified rescue divers. The group works closely with the Minneota School of Diving to further increase their knowledge and expertise. Kelli Mankowski says that all the divers are encouraged to dive as often as possible to hone their skills. In fact, Mankowski recently passed her certification as an instructor. “My husband and I are committed to helping out whenever we can,” she says. In addition to their search, rescue and recovery duties, Berent says the team is used by law enforcement to help recover evidence used in crimes. Also, the group is an integral part of community events such as the Polar Plunge and Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza. Berent says that having a presence at such events gives the team a chance to talk with the public about their existence and the important role they play in the community. Jannetta says that if she was to offer one bit of advice to water goers it would be to wear a personal floatation device. She described an incident when the team was called out because of a capsized watercraft. One adult was able to swim to shore despite the fact they had a cast on their leg while the other adult was able to float for 45 minutes until their rescue. Jannetta attributes the positive outcome to the fact they were both wearing life jackets. She stressed that someone without a life jacket should never jump into the water to attempt to rescue someone who is wearing one. In one situation the team was called to recover the body of a father who had done just that. The child was fine while the father perished. “The person with the life jacket on will be OK,” Jannetta says. Berent added one more bit of sage advice for those of us living in the land of 10,000 lakes. “Growing up I was taught the importance of being able to swim and being comfortable in the water,” she says. “I think this is still very important for everyone.” Over the course of 12 years, Berent has seen changes in the way dives are conducted. In the past tow bars were often utilized to

Th hos ose ose locate objects underwater. T Those Now w are rarely used currently. No tss. sonar detects possible targets. orr o This is especially helpful for divers when the water iss murky and visibility is poorr because it allows the diverss h to reach the victim much ce-quicker. “With the advanceoles ol es ment of technology our roles with the team have shifted slightslil g gh htt oal is oa is sstill t llll ti ly,” Berent says, “but our goal the same.” Fortunately, the dive team isn’t called out often. But when an emergency does arise, the women on the team respond quickly and professionally. “Not everyone can be a diver,” Sergeant Goddard says, “and most divers cannot be called upon to do what the dive team does. They will respond no matter the temperature outside, how cold the water is or how thick the ice is. They do an outstanding job.” While the women on the dive team would prefer that their services were never needed, they are fully prepared when the call comes. Mattson expresses the sentiments of the group when she says, “We like being able to help out our community.”


Joan Hasskamp Joan Hasskamp has a degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Crosby and is a financial assistance supervisor in the Income Maintenance Division of Crow Wing County Community Services.

Always A Heartfelt

Welcome! ...Caring & sharing with residents is an every day occurrence. 14211 Firewood Dr., Baxter • (218) 828-4770 SUMMER 2011 | her voice

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par en t i n g

A butter knife, a granola bar and 50 cents. In the world view of a 6-year old, that’s the complete list of the things one needs to survive. When the child who was once my biggest fan announced (in a very loud voice whilst feet were stomping at a maddening pace) that I had earned the title of “Meanest Mom in the World,” he packed up those three necessities and declared he was hitting the road. Running away. Leaving home. Forever. This wasn’t the first time a child decided the grass must be greener away from our 18

story and photos by Kathy Schroeder

home. Older brother had that moment of awareness a few years prior. Whatever had transpired was so minor that my husband had nonchalantly wandered into our room for an afternoon nap. My oldest didn’t realize that, and with a quiet frustration packed up a bag with his most treasured belongings. We said our goodbyes, he headed out and I did what I usually did in times like that: I grabbed the video camera. After filming his slow departure down the driveway, I went back inside. Ten minutes or so had passed and I heard

the front door open. “Does Daddy know I left?” he asked as he set down his bag. “No,” I answered. “He’s taking a nap.” “Then I’m going to wait to run away until he wakes up.” By the time my husband woke up the plan was abandoned and he hasn’t ventured out on his own since. Younger brother had napped through that episode, so I can’t blame the running away modeling on big brother. Regardless of how the idea was planted in his head, he was set on this decision. He was leaving. No talking him out of it.

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He declared he was taking a pocket knife for killing animals. I reminded him that he wasn’t the owner of the pocket knife, and he wasn’t allowed to use it. He paused for a moment, then asked my permission to take a butter knife. I conceded. “Take some food,” big brother yelled, from experience. He put a granola bar in his pocket. Dad offered up 50 cents and with butter knife in hand he was ready to go. My video camera rolled as he gave each of us a hug and walked out (looking back to make sure we were still watching.) I continued to follow his journey with the camera as he marched down the driveway. He was out of my camera range after a few minutes as he rounded the end of the driveway, but soon returned, announcing he was “running away the other way.” So he walked down the hill in the front yard to leave instead and soon was out of eye and camera sight again. A few minutes passed. My husband and I, not thinking the child would actually go through with it, started feeling a little nervous. We pondered his likely route, and felt chances were good that he walked to a nearby family friend’s house. I called them, but no one was home. Our panic level elevated. We left big brother to wait at home in case he returned there, and we started driving. It was quite possible that this often stubborn and defiant 6-year-old would see the car and run. Or hide. Or both. I spotted him standing at a stop sign half a mile from home. We cautiously approached with the window down. “Hey, where are you going?” he said casually. “I want to go with you.” Knowing the “we were coming to find you” truth wasn’t my best play at that moment, I instead answered, “We’re going to buy a newspaper.”

He bought my line, jumped right in, and we drove to the convenience store to buy a newspaper on a normal Sunday afternoon. And on the way home when asked if I was still the “Meanest Mom in the World,” he shrugged and said, “No, more like “Middle Mean.””


Kathy Schroeder Kathy Schroeder lives in the Brainerd lakes area and enjoys laughing with her kids every day.

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by Mary Aalgaard photos by Joey Halvorson


Greeley By Georgia A. ’s wing, ed after a crow This river, nam e feel light. makes m the dock above, de my cabin, Just sitting on from insi st the window pa e ov on its surface, m it g a tiny wake up or watchin g in ac tr er ng e fi without even on ese waters wash through me, heart, th nd my xious cord arou the current’s an e th se ea d soak an lse to match thrum-hum pu repattern each ental rhythms and flow; elem heart, r stretches my ve ri is th ow eh som ld until it can ho ld. ho to n all it is give Georgia gathers her art supplies, writing materials, laptop and a few necessities from her St. Paul home, packs up her car and merges into the traffic and noise of the city. Each mile takes her farther north. The roads reduce from eight lanes, to four, then two, until she turns onto a dirt road and finally the worn and bumpy path that winds through the woods to her hideaway on the Crow Wing River. As the landscape rolls by, the tension in her shoulders rolls off. As the traffic is reduced to a few cars and the occasional glimpses of wildlife, so are the everyday stresses of home and life in the city. She has used this hideaway before to write, to create, to connect and to breathe. Now, she has claimed a whole month for her art, living by the river, watching life float by and letting her creative juices flow. Georgia has claimed her right to take time to create. When Georgia’s three children were small, often the only creative space she could claim was a few extra minutes in the bathroom. She changed diapers and made up stories in her head. She took walks with the kids and marveled at the colors that the Earth provides, and imagined how she’d use them in her own paintings. As she read picture books to her kids, she felt a connection to the authors and illustrators and pictured her own name on a cover-some day. In the meantime, Georgia has become a grandparent, a published author of articles, poems and short stories. She’s written novels that are yet unpublished, and painted on canvases and designed books. She’s worked at various jobs from graphic designer to 911 operator. She’s a painter, poet, musician, mother, wife, grandma, friend, author and kindred creative spirit. An artist’s world made richer by real life. Often women will say, “I just need to find a balance.” We need to have money, so we find paying jobs, or figure out a way to live on the father’s income. We need to keep the house clean, the kids fed, the errands done, volunteer, tend the sick, connect with older par20

ents, nurture friendships, take care of our bodies and still answer the call of our own creative spirits. Georgia said that when her family was growing up, she started writing down her creative time on the calendar. Once it was on the schedule, everyone took it more seriously--her kids, her husband, and most importantly, herself. You need to claim your creative space. At first her kids felt rejected by their working mother, then began to respect her time and talents. She said when her oldest daughter got married she bequeathed her bedroom for use as a studio. Georgia’s poem, “Equal Sign,” says it best: My algebra teacher on “Never do somethin ce said, g to one side of the equation, unless you also do it to the other.” But how do I weigh th gently stroking my e touch of my suckling infant’s hand breast against an un written poem? This same male m ento “Once you learn ho r of facts said, w divide and multiply, to add, subtract, I’ll understand how you get the answer s right.” Add three children an subtract 100 nights d of divide the husband sleepby carry the remainder 2 and on your backadd three unwritten poems, one scribbl ed multiply the cost of one pound of ham short story and burger by the number of drawings that cloud your dreams making your finge rs twitch in the da rkthen balance this eq uation by the time it takes to drain th e dishwater out of the all the while tryin g to finger a rhyme sinkinto the scuzzy ring left on the po rcelain. Balancing this equa tion hurts. I aced algebra, and I truly did lea rn how to add, subt ract, divide and multiply, but right nowI just can’t figure ou t to put the equal sig where n.

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In an old World War II Army barracks as a cabin, along the banks of the Crow Wing River, without electricity or the distractions of a city home, Georgia has found where to put the equal sign. She still cares for her kids and grandkids when they need her. She and her husband nursed separate leg trauma together this winter. She invites friends in, and offers support and encouragement to other authors and artists. She also protects her time away. In August, she goes off to the woods by herself. She wakes to the sound of the flowing river and to all the creatures that live along its banks. For one month in the summer, she claims her name as artist and author. Although the solitude can seem lonely, she embraces it as a gift. Without the distractions of media, the phone, home and all its duties, she can take a walk through the woods, along the river, and soon the creative wheels are churning and she picks up the paintbrush or pencil and lives into her life as an artist. Not everyone has a cabin in the woods to go to for a hideaway, but we can all claim some creative space for ourselves. It can be a room or even a corner of your house. Maybe it’s time out at a coffee shop, or a walk through the arboretum, or simply marking the time down on the calendar and saying, “This is important to me.” Living for others does not mean never taking time for yourself. Am I not richer from conversations with creative, nurturing friends like Georgia? Am I not more inspired by a drive through the woods and time sitting in her cabin, sharing stories, sipping tea, and just being together? The message that I’ve heard from Georgia many times, one that I’ll share with you, “Continue to do that which makes you whole.” Who knows? What you do, what you create, who you are, might offer hope and inspiration to another person. And that, my friends, is the best way to live beyond yourself. The poems included in this article are from Georgia’s book of poetry, “Soundings,” published by Laurel Poetry Collective. Her poems include themes from her life, her time at the cabin, and surviving breast cancer. Go to her website, for more on the artist’s life and how to purchase her work.


Georgia Greeley’s cabin, on the banks of the Crow Wing River, provides a place to write.

Mary M ary Aalgaard Aalgaard Mary M ary A Aalgaard alg lgaard d iiss a ffree-l free-lance lance writ writer iter aand nd d reg regular ular l contributor Voice. lives trib tr ibut utor or tto o He Herr Vo Voic icee. SShe he lliv ives es iinn the he BBrainerd raine i rd d area with ith lessons. her four sons and teaches piano lessons SUMMER 2011 | her voice

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by Sheri Davich


A Letter from Moms to their Teens I love you. You’ve come to an age where you don’t want to be mothered. I am here to tell you it is a very difficult habit to break! I pray for you all the time and recently, during one of those amazing moments when the lines of communication seem wide open, I was on the receiving end of a most convincing answer. I know it was an answer to prayer because these words were not mine. It came like a whisper, but so clearly: “He has his own path to follow.” That was an epiphany for me. I know this to be true, and it’s not that I don’t believe you are capable or that I don’t think you are intelligent. And I understand that the obstacles you face are learning opportunities. I admire your tenacity and your strength. Nothing says, though, that you have to take on every obstacle on the course. This is arguably the most difficult time in your life. Dad and I were teenagers once. We recognize there are challenges now that didn’t exist when we were growing up. I am trying to understand. I want to help you if I can. Forrest Gump famously once said “stupid is as stupid does.” The same holds true that smart is as smart does. And that’s all I’m going to say about that…. We don’t communicate, you and I, as well as we once did. I can handle that. I hope that will change one day. Just please keep talking to Dad, or to any adult you are comfortable confiding in, such as a coach or teacher. I’d love to be the one you turn to, but the most important thing is that you share your feelings. It meant the world to me when you recently asked me what I thought of a young woman you care for. It made me feel that my opinion mattered. I am a good resource regarding girls, you know. I was one once. Did I surprise you with my response? If you like her, I like her! She makes you smile. When you were little I was the center of your universe, believe it or not. But I didn’t bring you into this world to massage my bunions in my old age or to take me to Saturday night bingo. I just want to be a part of your life. When you go on to college, start a family, begin an adult life, I hope you’ll call and visit. Tell me about your life and ask me about mine. That’s what people who love one another do. A card on my birthday and Mother’s Day would be nice. I love you, Mom


Sheri Davich Sheri Davich is feature home writer for Lake and Home Magazine and also is a free-lance writer for other publications. She lives in Breezy Point. 22

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by Meg Douglas photos by Joey Halvorson



The sun shone brightly as I eased into the Northland Arboretum parking lot, then followed the well-worn track into the over 400 acres of undeveloped interior. Spring had sprung early this year and I was eager to see my favorite cross-country ski trails free from their frosting of snow.

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e Pa w sque Flo

Recently retired, well “semi,” since I still write and edit, I thanked the universe for putting me on this path. After years behind a desk, at the beck and call of phones, e-mails, assignments, I could now strike out on impulse, matching my mood to the morning weather! Ah, the morning walk, a chance to pump up the heart rate, as I strode along, but today something stirred inside. “Wait a minute,’” I said to myself. “ There’s no rush… slow down and see what the trail has to show you.” Following first the savanna, a prized land formation formed by fire and ice eons back, I sunk into the trail, finding it nearly as white and as soft as the sand on an ocean beach. A nice contrast to the joint jarring concrete of streets and sidewalks. Alone, with only my cell for emergencies, I stopped to soak in the silence around me. And found it wasn’t silent at all! Not far up the trail, in its own microenvironment of wetland marsh, an orchestra of peepers, small springtime amphibians, crooned in concert to their loved ones. Carefully sidestepping a muddy patch of trail, I came upon a showy marsh marigold, singular in its yellow color, like the sun overhead, growing quite happily in this marshy spot just steps from the savanna. As the trail left the marshland for higher ground, it rambled by fiddlehead ferns unfurling their furry tops in circular fashion, like slow-moving snails. Lower to the ground were patches of meadow rue, a dainty white flower quite common to the hardwoods of the area. Birdsong followed me, as I continued on the spongy leaf-packed trail; the familiar phoe-be, the warning caw, caw of the blue jay, the soothing coo of the morning dove among others I couldn’t identify. Overhead, the yellow green poplar leaves, the first to emerge, rustled intermittently, like the settling sound of a deck’s wind chime.




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Without summer’s leafy lair to hide and dissemble, I marveled at the weather worn sculptures in the wood’s interior — an upended little tree with a foot or two of roots whorling around the trunk, looking for all the world like an Aztec sun. Or the mounds of moss, a dark, dark green or the ruffled gray, lichen, softening the sides of birch. Who knew the artistry of fungi? As the North Star trail circled a little gem of a beaver pond, I climbed up the designated lookout, just watching the water shimmer like sparkling glass and rested awhile. Not even the muffled sound of traffic reached me here, the deep woods a buffer to city noise. On the way back, I took a different trail that opened on to the pinky- purple hues of flowering crabs, the plantings perhaps inspired by Rudy Hillig, the first director of the arboretum. Soon Rudy-inspired flowering crabs will open all over town, giving Brainerd its showiest season. Beside the trail, I heard what sounded like little feet scuttling away for cover and later saw the grass move, in a sinuous curve. With no curiosity at all as to their identity, I just walked on by, perfectly content to leave the creatures be. A few steps later, a striped gopher dashed across my path as I headed back to the car — giving this interloper hardly a glance as he stopped atop a sandy mound, just feet from the trail. The arb may be his home, I thought, but we all can share the glories of this season. H V

Meg Douglas Meg Douglas is editor of Her Voice.

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c luubs cl b s a n d c llu u st sters

by Joni Meyer photos by Joey Halvorson

—Golf Classic—

Golf Classic ink Ribbon P e h T e, in od cause. Rain or sh me for a go ti n fu a s is alway

Women. Rain. Golf. These three words just don’t have anything in common — or do they? It was a Tuesday afternoon, June 15, 2010 ,and 204 women are playing golf and smiling even though it’s raining at the seventh annual Pink Ribbon Golf Classic held at Grand View Lodge’s Pines and Garden Courses. This was the first year that perfect weather wasn’t in abundance. The rain wasn’t an issue this year even though many were playing in this American Cancer Society yearly golf fundraiser for the first time. It was a badge of courage that was fought on the golf course, against the elements. One could make a comparison to a badge of courage fought by any female who is faced with treatment from a diagnosis of breast cancer. And not only did all golfers feel great having completed the round, they boasted about the scores, the putt that dropped in the cup for a birdie on a rain-soaked green, or the tee shot that landed on the green just one foot from the cup on a par 3 in the pouring rain. The ladies will be talking about the year 2010 when they played in the rain for an afternoon of golf, for years and years. The rains didn’t stop area business sponsors as many had inter-active golf games on Par 3’s at both golf courses. To name a few we had a variety of offerings, from handing out Monster Cookies, thanks to Nisswa Women of Today; hand massages, thanks to Cascade Med spa; and Pink Roses for each lady golfer, thanks to Lakeland National Bank.


The eighth annual Pink Ribbon Golf Classic at Grand View Lodge is June 21, 2011

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During a pre-tournament putting contest, Lorraine Stelter and Judy Morgan won brand new putters. Rainy Day Book Store of Nisswa sponsored our long drive contest with Kay Gunnerson and Judy Morgan winning bookstore gift certificates. Team photos were taken of every team at both The Pines and Garden Course, thanks to photographer Joey Halverson. The photos were developed and each teammate got a copy of their team photo at dinner. While the ladies enjoyed comradery and a dinner buffet at The Gull Lake Center, there was a continuous photo slide show of friends or family who lost the battle with breast cancer, breast cancer survivors, yearly Pink Ribbon Team winners, and every team that has ever played at the event over the past seven years. During the short program we honor those playing in the event as breast cancer survivors. Many years our speakers have been breast cancer survivors who share their story with us. Along the sides of the dinning room were tables of donated items for the silent auction and raffle items, with 100 percent of the funds raised going to the American Cancer Society. The Pink Ribbon Golf Classic was started in 2003 with 80 golfers and 20 teams. We have grown to 204 golfers and 51 teams in seven years. Each year the Pink Ribbon Planning Committee comes up with fresh ideas to keep this event new and exciting year after year. We have an amazing group of women who volunteer each year to help with pre-event and registration committees and we have over 100 business and private individuals who have very generously given dollars or items for our silent auction and raffle tables year after year. There are options for volunteering each year, even if you just wish to be a part of the fun but do not golf. The American Cancer Society Pink Ribbon Fundraiser is the largest all-woman golf event outside the metro in Minnesota. This is made possible through a partnership with the American Cancer Society and Grand View Lodge of Nisswa. Last year on June 15, the women and our local business sponsors raised $21,720 for breast cancer research, education, advocacy and health services. Year-to-date totals have put the seven-year event over $100,000 total dollars raised. These funds stay in our area and are not sent outside the state. Now why would women play in the rain? Is it for the chance to wear the rainsuit that you were sure you’d never wear because you were a fair weather golfer? Is it for the gift bag of trail mix, pink golf balls and tees? Is it for the cute pink water Thermos, or the chance at being one of the winning teams with a photo in the Brainerd Dispatch? Or is it to support the one thing that is a common bond for all women whether you are a survivor, a friend or family member who has been touched by someone diagnosed with breast cancer. It is the one thing we can all agree on, the more dollars that are raised the sooner we can find a cure for breast cancer. The eighth annual Pink Ribbon Golf Classic at Grand View Vie Lodge on contact:: joni@golf-4 is June 21, 2011. For more information joni@golf-4-women. com


Jonii Meyer Meyer Native to the area, Joni Meyer er iss the only aarea female golf instructor, with LPGA teaching h credentials. She has taught golf for 13 years, and works at The Pines Golf course in Nisswa. She has started many women’s golf leagues, both social and competitive, and founded the American Cancer Society Golf Classic. SUMMER 2011 | her voice

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by Bettie Miller

s en io r s A


There it was- — wedged between boxes on the storage shelves. I hadn’t looked at it for many years so it was with some trepidation that I pulled it out. The scrapbook had survived several major moves since 1948 and it was in delicate condition. The paper pages were deteriorating but when I opened it to the first page I was swept back 60 years to a more innocent time. The year was 1947 and I had taken a summer job with a stained glass studio in Chicago. The first person I met was a young artist who was also recently employed there. His name was Charles and he was very handsome. The mutual attraction was undeniable. He had been discharged from the army two years before and had attended the Chicago Academy of Arts. Days became weeks and we saw each other before and after work and sometimes at lunchtime Finally he asked me out! I turned to another page — a postcard from the Edgewater Hotel. Our first date was at the outdoor ballroom with a popular band and dancing under the stars. It was obvious that he was anxious to have a career in art, as was I. Our backgrounds were somewhat similar in the fact that we were both from the northwest side of Chicago and had grown up through the depression. I had gone to parochial schools for fourteen years. I wondered if this would be a problem. My faith was important to me and I hoped to share it with someone I loved. Faith is a gift, would Charles accept it? I didn’t have to wait long to find out. I accompanied Charles on a ride to Milwaukee to look over a church in need of refurbishing. It was exciting to ride along the beautiful North Shore of Lake Michigan to Milwaukee. The church we went to see was a very old Catholic Church and the windows had been done at our studio and they were breathtaking. He looked over the entire structure and made notes while I just prayed that our relationship would develop into something permanent. He seemed to know just the right places to go and we stopped for lunch at the famous Mader’s restaurant. After a delicious lunch we headed back to downtown Chicago. On the ride back he confided to me that he was very impressed with the beautiful churches he had worked in and really wanted to know more about the Catholic church. I was silently thrilled. I offered to fill him in. At this time he asked me to call him Chuck. Bettie Miller with her husband, Charles

“Armed with faith, hope and love we began a journey that would last 55 years”


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I turned a few more pages and there was a program from the musical, “Carousel,” a very popular show in downtown Chicago. We frequented a small café that served Cohasset Punch, a red wine served with a peach half in the glass. Another page took me back to the Ivanhoe Restaurant where the most expensive meal was $3.75 and it was mandatory to visit the “catacombs” in the basement with a variety of bars and bands in a maze of caves. He would see me to my house and take another bus to his house. The way it was. By October our summer jobs were over and we had moved on; I into layout work and Chuck into window decorating. We spent a lot of time in downtown Chicago because we worked in the Loop and I was attending classes at the American Academy of Arts, We became inseparable and he asked me if I would become engaged to him. I really thought it over, but not for long. Chuck was the man for me! He planned to give me a ring by Christmas and promised to take instructions in my faith . The presentation of the ring was unforgettable. Chuck had constructed a shadow box with a night sky background and Santa in his sleigh with eight tiny reindeer carrying a ring box for me. My family members gathered around to see the ring. It was beautiful. At that time it could have been a diamond chip but now I realize how important it was to him to give me the best he could. Page after page of fond memories — we used to go to a local restaurant bar that served something new in the area — pizza.. Many times we just walked and talked. It was a special time for both of us. The next pages in the scrapbook were full of greeting cards; congratulations on our engagement, bridal shower cards and eventually wedding cards. It was a busy time with work, school and wedding plans and before I knew it June was on the horizon. We were married in my parish by the priest who had instructed

Chuck. The wedding was complete with bridesmaids, groomsmen, our families. An evening reception followed and soon we were off, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Miller. We spent our wedding night at the Edgewater Hotel which had been the place of our first date. In the morning we were off to Michigan for a week at a lake cabin. The last page of the scrapbook was really just the beginning of our relationship. Armed with faith, hope and love we began a journey that would last 55 years, “until death do us part.” Now, as I sat with the scrapbook, Chuck was gone and I was faced with being alone. Surprisingly, I drew on my memories to start writing articles and by drawing on my memories I was able to find myself for better or worse.


Bettie Miller Bettie Miller grew up in Chicago and moved to Crosslake in 1978. She taught continuing education classes and sold real estate for 10 years. Now she enjoys arts and crafts, reading and writing.

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by Barb Marohn

About…ahh…Her Voice

photos by Joey Halvorson

If you enjoy local music, jazz, vocal, fivepiece band with big sound, then more than likely you’ve heard the group, Diane Saumer and Friends, alias “Queen of Jazz.” Diane’s stage career began at age 3 and she’s been entertaining audiences for 62 years. Apparently, her talent came from her father’s side of the family as her grandmother, Agnes Ostenson, began performing at age 16. She played a pump organ and the male fiddle players carried it from one barn dance to another. Agnes’ five children all became musicians, including Diane’s father, Warner, who began performing on guitar and accordion as a teenager. At age 3, Diane was entered in various talent contests, singing solos for weddings and later began performing with the family band at age 9. By age 12 her repertoire included over 2,000 songs. She remembers that at the time there were many requests for a popular song called “ Thumbelina.” As a youngster she typically went home for lunch break from school, her dad having her rehearse, eating lunch on her walk back to school. Diane’s dad had her rehearse daily, using musicians’ books that gave only the key and chord signatures and lyrics. Diane says she began to soak up the music sounds and the skills of performers she admired. Diane’s family frequently moved all over the Midwest following employment opportunities for her father. Originally, their band was called “The Three Aces featuring Miss Diane.” It was composed of her dad, uncles, an aunt and 9-year-old Diane. While her mother was along for moral support, Grandma Agnes sewed most of Diane’s stage clothes. On the road she was always accompanied by her dad, Warner, playing in concert halls, proms and musical venues. During this time, Diane and her three siblings, ages 9-12, had a calypso band called the Ostenson Family Troupe. They entered talent contests and often won. By 11, Diane was featured with the 10-piece Alv Brede Show Band, performing out of the St. Paul area. She won many awards and contests as a young child. Reflecting on those days, Diane says it was not unlike farm families in her community where children pitched in to help support their families. She performed in school musicals, graduating from Montevideo High 30

School in 1963, remembering one humorous song title, “I Didn’t Know the Gun Was Loaded!” After her marriage, the band took the name “The Diane Saumer Combo.“ Memorable events from this time include guest performances with The Jules Herman Orchestra, singing for the grand opening of the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, St. Paul, membership in the Skyway Singers and her church choirs. Diane appeared on radio and television both as child and adult on KCMT Alexandria, WTCN Minneapolis and on radio stations throughout the Midwest. In 1997 she wrote and sang the KLKS jingle which appears to be timeless. After moving to the Brainerd lakes area in 1987, she performed on the local nightclub circuit, including Bar Harbor, The Channel Inn and casinos across the state. Locally, she was alto soloist with the Heartland Symphony Orchestra, performing “The Messiah.” She and her “Friends” have done fundraising events such as the ‘93 Native American exhibit at Central Lakes College, Pete Humphrey Foundation, PBS, at Bemidji and Relay for Life. Other performances include: “The Ladies of Elegance and Gentlemen of Note” at CLC, CLC musical productions, guest performances with The Geritol Frolics, area parades, the Nisswa City of Lights Festival and Jazz In The Afternoon. Diane also served as choir director at Prince of Peace church and Zion Lutheran Church and performed for Gregory Park summer concerts. Annually she and her husband, Bob Guidi, perform with a Notre Dame jazz trio in Mishawaka, Indiana. Just after moving to Brainerd, Diane was approached by the president of a local service organization to sing at their upcoming visit by the governor. After accepting, she immediately called her family all over the state to announce the news. She was quite surprised two weeks later, when she discovered the celebrity in her audience was the governor of the state chapter of the service organization! Diane says she is grateful for the opportunity to perform with superb and talented musicians in the Brainerd lakes area. Alternately performing with Diane Saumer and Friends are guitarists Dick Wilt (a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame); Jim

Olsen and Tom Rohr; drummers Lyle Kline and Ted Alvard; pianists Dawn Hill and Al Olson; jazz harmonica virtuoso Pat Scrimshaw, and Diane’s husband, tenor sax man Bob Guidi. Collectively, as a five-piece group, they have over 300 years of experience, including radio and television. They continue to book engagements at clubs, weddings and parties. Currently the group is doing rounds of entertaining at all of the local assisted-living facilities in Brainerd and Baxter, including Edgewood Vista, Good Samaritan, both Woodland and Bethany, Excelsior Place, Diamond Willow and Carefree Living. Now, beginning her 62nd year as an entertainer, Diane likes to end a gig with “America the Beautiful” to honor our vetera n s . W h e n asked w h o h e r favorite contemporary performers are Diane mentions the talents of Bette Midler, N o r a h Jones and Michael Buble, w h o s h e thinks h a s brought jazz to the forefront of American awareness. Diane attributes her longevity in the business to her early exposure to a talented bunch of artists. Also she finds that singing everyday not only keeps her voice toned but gives her solace and energy. She says she is thankful to God and to her family for support given during times of serious health issues, crediting them for missing less than a dozen performances in her years of singing.

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You may be wondering if any of Diane’s talent was passed down to her children. The answer is that all four children; Michele, Patrick, Megan and Andrew were born with beautiful voices and enjoy singing together occasionally, bringing Mom her greatest joy. Patrick is also a pianist. But it’s not all singing that’s required to

keep the “Friends” busily engaged. Diane also does the booking, handling and juggling of schedules for the troupe. She hopes to hold a musical tribute someday soon, commemorating the lives of local “Friends” who have died. She is retired from Crow Wing County Planning and Zoning, her second career.

If you have never had the pleasure of hearing the “Queen of Jazz” then I recommend you find an opportunity. Oh, and bring along your requests.


Diane Saumer is the Brainerd lakes area’s “Queen of Jazz.”

Barbara Marohn Barbara Marohn is a Brainerd native and graduate of Brainerd High School She is a retired nurse and for 10 years had a seamstress shop for custom evening and wedding apparel. She and her husband, Mike, live where she grew up north of town on the Mississippi River. They have two married daughters and 10 grandchildren. Barbara enjoys the fine arts such as writing, music, quilting, painting and reading the classics.

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by Annie Andrews Bandel

he r s ay

photos by Joey Halvorson

My Mother’s Hands My mother’s hands had always fascinated me — especially as I grew into the awareness of how different mine were from hers. Mother had small, gracefully shaped hands, lightly sprinkled with pale freckles and slender fingers topped by long nails. I would watch carefully as she filed, trimmed, polished and top coated those amazing products of diligent attention, then look at my own chubby, fingers with their chewed nails and sigh. A sparkling assortment of cocktail rings and the like adorned mother’s hands, but the ever present centerpiece was her wedding set. It was a caret of blue diamond cut in the simple elegance of days gone by. She wore it proudly and loudly, as if to say, “ I got my man, and not only that, he’s going to keep me high on the hog,” a status universally known, accepted and sometimes envied by some women in 1950s society. Mother talked with her hands, and as she did, whether it be in animated exuberance, anger or frustration, the diamond twinkled like a star in the night as she strove to relay her message. The message often directed at me was, ‘What is the matter with you!?!?’ Watching her talon-like nails coming toward me, with black hair swirling wildly around her face, the only answer I had was, “I don’t know.” But I sure wish I did, because then she would stop. Even covered in gloves, as was the style, her hands were beautiful. The tight leather clung like a lover, embracing and caressing the pampered skin. My cotton gloves only served to pinch and itch the scabbed and chewed appendages that were my hands, turning my fingers into fat sausages of white. Until the day she died, mother’s hands were still beautiful, smelling faintly of the Jergen’s lotion that she was ever faithful to. With only a few brown spots of age mingling nicely with the freckles of youth, the years had been easy on her prideful joy-except her nails. In later years, Mother’s eyes had succumbed to diabetes, so she could no longer give her nails the care they had been accustomed to. Unfortunately, Mother also had divorced the man who gave her the twinkling diamond and remarried another who promised more than he could deliver, including manicures. Mine still remain a pudgy reminder of how different we were, but a difference I’ve tried to cultivate as I’ve become a mother, by not using my hands to hurt my children. They may not flash with diamonds, but neither do they flash and cut with rage. I may not wear gloves with beauty, but I try to find beauty in my children’s souls not just their hands or their face or their bodies. So, yes, my mother’s hands were beautiful, but sadly she was not.

Annie Andrews Bandel Annie is a mom, grandma, writer and astrologer who still has pudgy hands with bitten nails.

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by Kathleen Krueger

ent r e pr e n e u r s

photos by Joey Halvorson

Perfectly Aged, Freshly Repurposed “Kathy, would you please come up to the conference room?” My heart dropped. It was 3:30 on Friday afternoon. We had thought it was over, but it wasn’t. During the last two weeks employees had been laid off sporadically, two one day, three on another. Two more had been laid off just a few hours earlier today. Tension filled the air as everyone wondered who would be next to “get the call.” I felt sorry for Tammy, our human resources director. She’d been the one who had to give out the bad news to one employee after another. We’d shared an office when she first joined the company. We were friends. “You know what this is about, don’t you?” she said as I sat down at the table. I nodded. I had worked for the company for over 22 years. As the office manager, I had handled the HR duties before Tammy came on board. I knew how difficult this was for her. She went through the paperwork and gave me a hug. “Take your time cleaning out your desk,” she said. “There’s no hurry.” My feet carried me back to my desk in the accounting department. In spite of trying to prepare myself for the possibility, I was still stunned. So were my co-workers. Some of them were angry. “You’ve been here longer than anybody!”, one said through her tears. It was true. There were only four of us in the office when I had first taken the job in 1986. The company had been on a continual upward climb ever since. At its peak, less than a year earlier, there had been over forty office employees in addition to the dozens of employees working in the field.


“Don’t be in a hurry to find another job,” people said. “Enjoy a little time off.” Easier said than done when the economy is in a downward spiral and the industry you have worked in for the last two decades is being hit the hardest. Every day I was checking the newspaper ads and online job postings for positions that I would be qualified to fill. It had only been about three weeks since my layoff when I got a call from my supervisor at my former position. “I have a job lead for you,” he said. “Here’s the number. Give this guy a call.” It was the perfect lead. A new position that hadn’t been advertised yet. I was getting the first shot at it. I made the call. I met the owner of the company and one of his department heads at a coffee shop for my interview. Although they’d been in business for two years, they still didn’t have their own office space. The owner was the same age as my youngest daughter. The same age I was when I had begun working for my previous employer. He was a typical entrepreneur, enthusiastic and optimistic about his new company. We hit it off right away. Just one month after having been laid off I was starting my new job. We set up offices in an empty residence that the company owned. There were six of us working off of folding tables for those first three months before the office building was ready to move into. There was a large sense of deja vu as I began this new position. I had come full circle back to where I had been 22 years earlier. Instead of being one of many in the account-

ing department, I WAS the accounting department. I needed to set up the accounting software and filing systems. There was no receptionist or secretary to handle phone calls and word processing. There was no IT department to troubleshoot computer problems. I had to dust off some of those old hats I used to wear in the earlier days of my career. There was a difference though. This time I was coming into the position with two decades of experience under my belt. I believe that was the biggest reason that my new boss hired me rather than looking for someone younger. I had witnessed first hand the successful growth of a small business. I knew what some of the pitfalls were that they needed to avoid and what helped my former employer gain their place of prominence in the community. What you learn in the classroom is important but the lessons lived out in the day to day business world are irreplaceable. It’s been over two years since I started that new position. The young company that hired me has continued to struggle forward in the midst of the difficulties of the current economic climate. I became the “old lady” in the office but that’s OK. I’m told that fine wine improves with age and increases in value. I feel blessed to have found a young employer who recognized that you can find valuable resources within an aged container.


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Kathleen Krueger Kathleen Krueger is a free-lance writer and poet who lives in Brainerd with her husband, Steve. Her tagline “Crafter of Words” covers her love and use of the language arts in its various forms, both verbally and written. For more information see:

Dr. Jackie McCall

Dr. Anna Malikowski

• • • • •

Treatment of eye infections,injuries & glaucoma Consultations for laser and cataract surgery Eye exams Contact lenses Eye Wear

7870 Excelsior Rd., Baxter Brainerd Office: 218.828.9545 • 877.338.3957 Staples Office: 218.894.5480 • 866-894-5455

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gh o s t t a l e s

by Theresa Jarvela photos by Joey Halvorson

Last Turn women with a ghost story to tell include: (left to right) Jennie Karas, Anne Hofius, Faith Wermers, Stacy Pikula, and Jackie Jarvela.

from Girls at the Turn Ever have one of those days when you feel the need to escape the ordinary? Maybe you’re looking for a little pick-me-up conversation or perhaps a drink over lunch? Maybe it hasn’t been a good day and you feel the urge to vent — possibly to the point of throwing something? Well then, follow me. I’m on my way to the Last Turn Saloon in downtown Brainerd. We’ll belly up to the bar for a bit of conversation and perhaps some popcorn or peanuts (if you still feel like venting, throw the peanut shells on the floor — it’s allowed). After you’ve worked up an appetite, we’ll order the chicken drummies with a side of wasabi plum sauce, one of my personal favorites. 36

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Jennie Karas, Jackie Jarvela, Stacy Pickar and Faith Wermers, who have collectively worked at the Turn for over 20 years, make up our welcoming committee. Besides tending bar they wait tables, cook when needed, stock shelves, clean and wash dishes. Add other tasks to Jennie’s duties that include scheduling, training, promotions, liquor inventory/ordering, managing the Turn’s Facebook page and you have one busy assistant bar manager. Conversation is flowing and when asked what they enjoy most about their jobs, the girls all agree that working at the Turn has given them the opportunity to meet some really great people. Stacy recalls the time a customer was presented with his bill and realized he had forgotten his wallet. “Another guy at another table paid for his food and drinks, wished him happy holidays, and told him not to worry about paying him back. It was so nice.” When asked what they like least about their jobs, Faith possibly speaks for all of them when she says, “You will have customers that don’t treat you very well.” But no matter what kind of people they encounter, those who make their day or those who don’t, it’s the ones they can’t see that keep their heads turning and everybody talking. That’s right. I’m talking ghosts, and what many of the staff have suspected for some time has been affirmed by the investigation of the Dakota Paranormal Investigators. The Last Turn Saloon is haunted. The team’s findings came as no surprise to Jackie who from her early days at the Turn suspected paranormal activity. “I’ve heard the stall doors in the ladies room open and close when no one was in there, and I’ve heard the phone ringing.” Are you wondering what’s so unusual about a phone ringing? Listen, she’ll explain. “Early in 2010 the real phone in the phone booth, (located inside near the entrance door of the Turn), was replaced by an authentic looking fake phone.” It wasn’t the real phone she heard. Besides the phone ringing and stall doors swinging, the ghosts’ antics have also included walking on peanut shells, audible footsteps, whistling and singing, and although hair-raising, it might be one of Jennie’s stories that is most chilling. Working alone one night, she momentarily left her only customers (two couples sitting at the table nearest the door) when she went to the back to get beer for stocking. Upon returning she noticed that the two women who sat facing the door were visibly upset and crying. Unable to console them, one of the men approached Jennie and asked, “Do you know if this bar is haunted?” Jennie smiled and replied, “There are rumors, and strange things going on from time to time.” He related to her that his wife and her friend were positive they’d seen a man enter the Turn wearing outdated clothes, walk to the second booth and then disappear. Now they were “too freaked out” to stay, so with drinks unfinished they left and, as far as anyone knows, have never returned. Annie Hofius, 15-year-old daughter of the Turn’s owner, loves the fact that her Dad’s employees have fun personalities, different life stories, and lots of ghost tales to tell. “It doesn’t matter if you are a believer or a non-believer, the Turn has something for everyone and the fact that it is haunted adds that little mystery that everyone has an interest in.” Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself as much as I have, but all this ghost talk has made me a little weary. You know, I could have sworn I heard that phone ring in the booth over there, which makes me think it’s about time I scoot out of here — just a quick trip to the ladies room and I’ll be on my way. On second thought...I think I’ll just be on my way.

““There Th h are rumors, and strange things going on from time to time.”

Theresa Jarvela Theresa Jarvela lives in Brainerd, is a member of Great River Writers, Brainerd Writers Alliance and Sisters in Crime Organization.


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story and photos by Beverly Abear

the ar t s

An Artist Finds Her Niche in

Norwegian Art

Barb Sherrard Morgan first taught herself Norwegian painting and rosemaling from library books.

You may have noticed on Barbara Sherrard Morgan’s paintings that she always includes “John 3:16” with her signature, tipping her hat as it were to the Giver of her talents. Well-known for her works of rosemaling, Barb started Norwegian painting in 1973 by getting books on decorative tole painting from the library and later bought books on rosemaling. “Learning different ways to do rosemaling was very exciting to me,” says Barb. Rosemaling is a Norwegian type of painting that was most popular in Norway from 1750s-1850s. Barb favors the telemark style, balancing by color but not exact symmetry. She has experimented with rogaland, which uses mirror image balancing, and dalamaling, which is Swedish. She began sketching at a very young age and has been doing fine arts since seventh grade. “Mother got me a paint-by-number set. When I was done with the picture, I turned it over and painted a horse freestyle,” she says. It was evidently quite good. Later she ventured into doing pictures of her friends and still lifes. Onamia High School didn’t provide art classes but whenever she’d come to Brainerd, she bought art books. Early on, guided by her mother’s eye for color and her father’s habit of drawing cowboys for the kids, her parents both encouraged her. “Dad even let me sell my drawings and paintings at our family’s resort gift shop at Headquarters Lodge on Mille Lacs.” She entered her art in the Crow Wing County Fair and earned many blue ribbons. At the then-Brainerd Junior College, she took English and journalism classes but also an art class. Though she enjoyed the class, her skill was more advanced than the course, as she had already devel-


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oped skills in several mediums: oil paints, oil pastels, India ink, charcoal and watercolor doing landscapes, portraits and people in settings around her. Rosemaling taught her how to achieve depth in her painting, using darks and lights. “Objects farther away in a scene are darker and as you progress forward, the objects are lighter and take on highlights,” says Barb. Rosemaling also taught her different types of strokes and how to use a full stroke. “To create roundness, load three colors on a flat brush, the medium value color in the middle and the corners dipped in the lightest color and darkest color. The fourth color is the highlight, the very bright sunshine color and is applied with a fine liner brush,” says Barb. “Those who are experienced in this type of painting define these lights and darks even in their watercolor painting.” Barb prefers acrylics for rosemaling. Acrylics allow painting on a variety of surfaces-wood, metal, fabric, plastics, and leather (even shoes!), but in Norway rosemaling was mostly done on wood, so that is what she usually uses. Barb enjoys painting on wooden plates, bowls and even rolling pins. Usually she covers the entire object with paint but if the wood grain is very beautiful, she varnishes it with a matte finish, then scrolls over that, allowing the wood grain to show through the painting. She then finishes the surface with Krylon satin spray. Barb attends Jan Almquist’s rosemaling class on Wednesday mornings at the senior center, but also has a studio of her own there. One memorable event was teaching a group of inner city youth to do rosemaling at a Salvation Army center in the Cities. “The kids seemed to really enjoy it,” she says. Barb sells her work at arts and crafts shows, including three at Brainerd High School and others in Hackensack, Black Duck, and Turtle River; also at Jaques Art Center in Aitkin.

Barb’s artistic pursuits mean a lot to her. Says Barb, “It is a release of creative inner energy. I can forget myself and be in another beautiful world. I even come out with more energy feeling renewed for the tasks ahead.” She has wanted to travel — she did take a trip to Egypt and Israel once — but was always tied to the resort and work around home. “When I’m confined indoors in the winter, rosemaling has been like flying free to warmer climates,”says Barb. An accomplished poet, she and fellow artist Phyllis Frankum published a book of art and poetry. Her poems have been included in several area anthologies such as “Twenty Poets Celebrate the Lake Country.” Her latest venture is “Haiku Reflections,” a collection of her haiku and photographs. Besides small poetry books, Barb has written “Mille Lacs Memories” and a testimonial, “God Who Sees and Understands Me.” Certainly this artist knows “for God so loved the world (John 3:16),” and she captures that world and its people wonderfully with her words and art. Barb lives north of Baxter with her husband. They enjoy visiting their two grown children and five grandchildren.


Beverly Abear A retired English teacher, Beverly Abear enjoys painting in watercolor and writing inspirational pieces and YA fiction. Her work has appeared in Dust and Fire, Talking Stick, Guideposts, Lakes Country Journal and Her Voice.

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story and photos by Jill Anderson

gran dp a r e n t s


S I N U ’S O C

I’d I’ d co comp compare mpar ar it to giving birth. Painful at times and needing preparation p repara eparation aand patience, in the long run having Cousins Camp, C amp, just as with having a child, is well worth it. amp I had neve never heard of it until a few years ago, but if you Google Cousins Camp, you’ll get more information than you care to know about grandparents and their offspring. My girlfriend Sharon painted a perfect picture of awesome bonding her children experienced with their cousins and grandparents at the Cousins Camp her parents hosted annually. It was easy for Sharon to say; she wasn’t running the camp! I’m pretty sure that if I spoke with her parents the week following camp each summer, I’d have found two totally fatigued, worn to a frazzle grandparents. Yet, they also would have a glow about them, a happiness of spending quality time with their grandchildren and building memories of their own for years to come.

n and Grandparents Do d three en sp on rs de Jill An ts gh days and two ni ids at an with five grandk rding wa re g, tin exhaus Cousin’s Camp.


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My girlfriend Sandy, a very brave and somewhat crazy grandma of 14, has tackled her own Cousins Camp each summer. Wisely, she splits the week; a few days with boys only, a few days with girls only. It’s helped keep her sanity. So when I told other friends we were going to jump in and give it a try, I got varied responses from, “Oh, I can’t wait until I have grandchildren so I can do that”, to “Are you crazy?” For my husband Don and I, this was our first annual (and I use that term to cement we will persevere) Cousins Camp and we started small. Three days, two nights, five grandkids ages three to eight equaled a fun, busy, exhausting, rewarding time! Living on the lake definitely helped, but if we had to choose one word to sum up our first Cousins Camp it would be “frogs.” We have a window well and from the time they arrived, the kids found dozens of frogs. Those little reptiles were probably the easiest and best entertainment for the kids. So what does that say about us? It reflects one of the rules I was told by Sharon and Sandy: Don’t overschedule and plan too much, the kids will find their own entertainment in the most basic of things. Another wise suggestion was that children had to be potty trained, which meant 1-year-old Eva was excluded but looks forward to joining Wyatt (3), Nash (4), Abby (5), Garret (6) and Josie (8) in two years. To prepare ahead of time, we baked cookies and froze them, made out a kid-friendly menu for a few days and did as many chores as we could so that when they arrived, it would be all about grandkids. We scheduled camp for the end of July, a fairly safe bet for perfect weather and we were lucky. Sunny and warm every day was perfect for lake activities. We pulled them tubing, took them fishing (in shifts) and they swam as much as the fish in the lake. We hit three different parks with great playgrounds. Took walks, rode bikes, had craft time where they decorated their own T-shirts, had a bonfire one night, and in between it all we ate a lot of ice

cream. They never seemed to get sick of it. Each meal they took turns eating off our red “I am special today” plate. And through it all, there was no fighting. Another rule was no TV, no Wii, no computer games and they were all fine with that. One night we made an exception and had movie night where we all watched “The Jungle Book” and popped popcorn. Afterwards we got up and boogied to “The Bear Necessities.” They had way more energy at the end of the day than I did. We made it through with only one minor injury, Garret gouged his big toe, but was a trooper and we were thankful there were no trips to the emergency room. When the grandkids all arrived, we had promised the mommies we were shooting for a modest 25 percent or less loss of grandkids while under our watch. Don and I were pretty proud to deliver 100 percent at the end of camp, a good rate of return on our part. We started camp by raising the flag and saying the Pledge of Allegiance and ended camp the same way. I made up a photo album afterwards which I plan to do annually and wrote down meals so I remember what worked for next year. All in all, we deemed it a success and look forward to every year where we can add more grandkids to the mix. And happy memories are always worth the effort: Strong coffee to combat the sleepless nights: $10 Massages to relieve exhaustion: $100 Getting to know our grandchildren: Priceless.


Jill Anderson

Jill is a frequent contributor to Her Voice and enjoys running and the outdoors.

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by Pam Landers

the outdoors

dy S lippe a L r y w o

photos by Kim and Cindy Risen



]How would you describe the orchids of Minnesota? Beautiful? Wildly colorful? Stately? Regal? They are all of that; but, as I learned from Kim Risen, nationally known naturalist, native, orchid fan, author, and photographer, they have a craftier side. When it comes to their own self-interest they can be diabolically clever, manipulative, innovative, wily, and ruthless! According to Kim, orchids are the largest group of flowering plants on the planet and over 40 species live right here in Minnesota. Minnesota’s orchids live on the ground, not in trees, and they love Minnesota’s high quality habitat — the clean waters of our bogs and wetlands, forest streams and moist gravel beds . Orchids have six flower parts, three sepals and three petals. The sepals and petals grow on a single column and many species have furry leaves. With these few parts, orchids have formed unique, striking and ingenious designs to get themselves polli42

nated. Some of them look like dragons, peppermint sticks, rams’ heads, and slippers, among others. The orchids develop those lovely colors, wonderful shapes and striking dashes, dots, and stripes to coerce unsuspecting pollinators to serve the orchid’s desires, with very little return for the coercee! Some orchids are pollinated only by a particular type of insect, so the plant goes all out to attract just that one. Most pollinators visit flowers looking for nectar for the insect’s own use. When the bug sucks up the nectar, some of the plant’s pollen sticks to its body and is rubbed off on the next flower it visits. The insect has its meal and the flowers are pollinated. It’s tit for tat, a nice, fair exchange. But the orchids have figured out how to get something for nothing. The trademark orchid lip entices insects to do their bidding. The lip of the Calypso orchid, for example, forms a pouch that contains, at its very end, some structures that look like they produce

nectar. Yellow hairs at the entrance to the pouch hold the pollen. The insect brushes past the hairs, picking up grains of pollen on its way into the depths of the pouch, and, upon discovering that it has been duped, that there is no nectar at the bottom, pushes its frustrated way back past the pollen hairs, picking up another load. The Common Grass Pink has hairs on its lip that attract bumblebees. When the bee lands on the hairs, its weight pushes the lip down, throwing the bee backwards onto the flower’s central column where the pollen is stored. In its struggles to free itself, the bee covers itself with the flower’s pollen. If the bee already is carrying another flower’s pollen, it will pollinate its present seducer. And, ah yes, the Lady Slippers. The bee pollinator does receive some nectar reward, but it is still manipulated to do the flower’s will. All lady slippers have spots, lines,or long hairs to direct insects where the flower wants them to go. The bee has to push itself down the groove in the lady slipper’s lip to arrive at a chamber containing the nectary hairs. The groove edges in the lip prevent the bee from escaping in that direction. When the bee wants out of the chamber trap, it sees some little spots of light at the end of a tunnel that leads beyond the hairs. It pushes through the ever narrowing walls until she struggles to force her body through. Her back rubs along the plant’s stigma which is studded with little projections that comb out pollen the bee has carried from another flower. After it is cleaned (and the host plant thereby pollinated) it has to force her way on towards the opening, past the plant’s pollencarrying anther directly in front of her. Her weight bends the hinged anther down so that it can stick pollen all over her back for her to carry away.

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The orchids deceive not only by form, but also by scent. Some have pleasant odors that attract bees and other insects. However, orchids that are pollinated only by a particular type of insect will reproduce the odor that is most attractive to that insect-be it the stench of rotting meat or fecal material. It will be very difficult to look at those beautiful, colorful orchids in the same way again. Knowing now how craftily they use their fellow living beings, it’s not surprising that we humans are the biggest dupes of all. We have fallen for their charms and reproduced them wherever we are in the world. For further information, see Kim and Cindy Risen’s book, Orchids of the Northwoods, Northwoods Naturalist Series, 2010, available from the authors at, or


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Pam Landers An environmental educator for more than 20 years, Pam Landers now writes environmental articles.

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by Sheila DeChantal

go o d r e a d s

photos by Joey Halvorson


Pain Pat Bluth relates her journey from anger to healing in a book titled, “From Pain to Peace.”

In 1985, in Brainerd Minnesota, Pat Bluth’s daughter Tammy was killed when a drunk driver hit the vehicle she was riding in. Tammy was a senior at Brainerd High School. She was active, had a positive outlook, a pleasant personality and was ready to see what the world had in store for her. All of this changed on a Friday night after a football game. Pat Bluth, was never the same again. Anger will eat away at your soul. It can turn to deep depression and can be emotionally debilitating. Bitterness and unforgiveness are emotional suicides that inflict constant pain and steal joy. When you reach this depth of despair-when life seems like it will never be good again-how do you go on? How do you overcome a rage that burns like a volcano? Pat’s book, “From Pain to Peace,” is about the extreme, paralyzing anger she felt when Tammy was killed. Pat’s anger bubbled over into revenge and within the pages you will read first hand of what Pat felt and what she wanted to do to try to get even for the loss of her daughter. Forgiveness does not come easy and for four years Pat carried this hole in her heart that was only fueled by her own anger. Yet positive things came out of this. Within a year of the accident, Pat played an instrumental part in bringing the M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) chapter to our area. Recently when I spoke to Pat I asked her if she had always been a speaker, she laughed and said, “No,” in fact she had received a D in a class for her inability to speak in front of groups. Suddenly, this was no longer an issue. To get the word out, Pat spoke to groups of all ages about MADD and 46

about her story. As people heard what she had been through, they requested her to speak other places about her personal loss and Pat did-and still does all these years later. I found “From Pain to Peace” to be brutally honest. Pat pours out her heart in this book from the immense despair, to the extreme anger and hate that can fill your heart. Having felt many of the emotions that Pat did from my own loss, I could relate well with this book. What Pat says through the healing process is all the things I wish I could have expressed. Pat’s journey through the tough times into God’s grace and healing is reflected in this book. At times, her grief caught in my own throat as I remembered all to well what it felt like to be on that treadmill...constantly having to move forward, feeling if you stopped to breathe, to think even, you would slip off the end into a dark abyss. Pat’s words in her chapter on mourning I found also to be right on. The constantly being asked, “How are you?” Turns into a response that is automatic as we guard our heart against the real truth of how we are-as if speaking out loud would cause us to shatter into a million tiny pieces. Pat’s response was, “Fine.” I remember mine was, “I am OK.” “From Pain to Peace” is about Pat’s journey from the dark into the light. This book is a mother’s grief and speaks to anyone who

To Peace

has experienced a sudden loss of someone close. What Pat writes is true and raw emotion and in the end, as Pat finds her way to forgiveness with the help of a God who had always stood beside her. The result will give you pause, and hopefully anyone who struggles with forgiveness will find the opportunity to read this book. Today, Pat is still as peace. She tells me that after the eight-day retreat (all discussed in the book) when she finally broke through to forgiveness, she has never once had that despair return. “It was such a relief, a real weight lifted from me,” Pat recalls of that day. “Once you give up the anger and replace it with forgiveness, you must never take it back. Give it to God. Period. Forgiveness, as it turns out, was the missing piece to Pat’s peace. Pat found she had it all along, within her faith. You can find Pat’s book at Bethany Book and Gift and Book World in Baxter, order it from or Pat’s website: www. To see if Pat will be speaking in an area near you, watch her website and Facebook (Pat Bluth) for current engagements.


Sheila DeChantal Sheila DeChantal reviews books on the website, Book Journey. She says, “It is an honor to review Pat’s book because I went to school with Tammy. When I graduated in 1985, Tammy was a junior and we even shared a class. I was at the scene of the accident the night that Tammy died.”

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Her Voice Summer Issue  

• Outstanding in the Field: Want to learn more about the food you eat? Consider dining in the field. • Soldier Ann: Sergeant Ann overcomes...

Her Voice Summer Issue  

• Outstanding in the Field: Want to learn more about the food you eat? Consider dining in the field. • Soldier Ann: Sergeant Ann overcomes...