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R EFLE CT IO NS BY P E O P L E 5 5 AND OVER

October 2017

Published by West Central Tribune

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D2 Thursday, October 26, 2017 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.

Your life revealed on a hay wagon Too much stuff

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By Rand Middleton Willmar case study: Janet had recently moved her Mom, 93, to assisted living. With her husband, a cousin and her husband from Iowa, a country garage sale was held on a late summer Saturday. “She didn’t want to leave her home,” said the daughter, “but there comes a time. I wish Mom, when she still was feeling good, would have started getting rid of a few things, at least organizing them. “We live 50 miles away. It’s exhausting mentally and physically. Both of us have some health issues, too. “We sold the house cheap; it went in four days. Now we watch keepsakes go out the door for practically nothing and it kinda hurts. “In recent years, when we would come up to visit, we’d bring her soup, which was her favorite food, but we were so busy addressing her health issues there wasn’t time to start organizing her things for a sale. “We have tons of garbage out in the shed; we’ll probably have to get a dumpster. “I don’t know what we’ll do with all that’s left. Probably donate to charity. We’d like to see it go to benefit someone.” The baby boomers have a crises of “stuff.” Have you noticed? We are not alone. In the wake of WWII prosperity, many of our

parents piled up possessions at an astounding rate.They can be excused; growing up they had known scarcity. Our closets and attics, basements and garages are crammed. It seems human nature abhors an empty drawer, a vacant shelf, an underused cubbyhole. Unless one shatters God and Nature’s mold, you won’t outlast your “stuff.” What to do with it? Ignore it. Let the kids box it up for sale. What’s left – the clutter and rubble of a lifetime – will be jettisoned to the dump. Still, as I earnestly consider de-cluttering, I keep adding: a toy car here, an old cassette tape there, a tool not needed. In the end, will my story be told by the contents on a hayrack at a summer auction? How do I begin to shed these ornaments? What I hold dear has little value or meaning to to our children or relatives. Their cupboards, perhaps, are also full. There’s books and old magazines, tools, paint supplies, photos (framed and albumned), bats and balls, hockey sticks and racquets, fishing tackle, car stuff, garden stuff, cans of nuts, nails, hinges and hooks. Worst of all, in a crawl space, 10,000 – perhaps 20,000 – sports cards. Heaven help me! Preparing for an informational

ve! i L o t y e wa h t s i s i Th

session I hosted in September through WCER at the Willmar Community Center, I investigated options. (Look for the class again in the winter WCER book.) Here are some: garage sale, eBay, second-hand outlets, organizations with selective needs (historical society, public library, Humane Society, sports groups), recycling outlets for appliances, electronics and metals. If I could just start culling a little something, anything, every day: a screwdriver, a favorite book from the ‘60s, a box of 1994 football cards. One small step at a time; a giant leap for peace of mind.

BELOW: Fishing rods are sold at auction this summer in Arctander Township, Kandiyohi County.

Photos courtesy of Rand Middleton

ABOVE PHOTOS: A hayrack holds the belongings of Darlene Engstrom and the late Carl Engstrom, up for auction this summer in Arctander Township, Kandiyohi County.

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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Thursday, October 26, 2017 D3

A fox got into the chicken coop and made a big mess!

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April fool’s day! She quietly walked back to the house and said nothing. At noon she served the usual noon meal along with lime Jell-O for dessert. In dad’s Jell-O she placed pieces of raw onion. Dad did not like raw onion, but ate the whole thing and said nothing. Then he went out the door to return to work. I complained that dad had something in his Jell-O and I didn’t (she often placed canned fruit in the Jell-O). Then she told me the whole story. I was about 6 or 8 years old at the time.

ABOUT THIS SECTION: Generations, formerly Prime Time, sections are published periodically throughout the year as a special section within the West Central Tribune. People age 55 and older are invited to write stories and submit pictures or other artwork for publication in these sections. We recognize that senior citizens have much knowledge and experience. What better way to share that with the community than by writing an article for publication? We invite all interested senior citizens to contribute articles. They may deal with serious issues, or tell

human interest stories. Photos or other graphics may be included with the submission of your article to help illustrate the piece. If you need a photo returned, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Try to keep articles to within 500 words. Articles may be sent to: Generations, West Central Tribune, Box 839, Willmar, Minn. 56201; or emailed to news@wctrib. com with Generations in the subject line. Generations sections are currently published January, April and October. For additional information, call 320-235-1150.

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By Al Leedahl Benson y mother liked to raise chickens so she could trade eggs at the local grocery store for basics such as flour and sugar. She was always concerned that a fox could get into the chicken coop and kill or maim the chickens. One morning dad came into the house and told my mother that a fox got into the chicken coop last night and made a big mess. She ran out to the chicken coop and found nothing wrong. Then she realized it was April 1 –


D4 Thursday, October 26, 2017 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.

A Holy Land experience…

By Beatrice Weber and Paul Weber Benson often wondered what the Holy Land was like today. After my son, Paul Weber, visited there he wrote his impressions of the Holy Land. These are his words. My main goal on this trip was to see, smell and feel the places we’re all steeped in by being drilled for so many years, especially the young, impressionable childhood years, with the Bible, especially the New Testament. The names, the places. Squirming through endless hours of Catechism, it was all so abstract, distant. We had two stops in IsraelHaifa in the Galilee region, and Ashdod in the Jerusalem region, ports dating from ancient times. We bathed our feet in the Sea of Galilee near Cana, although the waters did not turn to wine, perhaps fortunately, especially for the fish. We touched the limestone rock, now worn smooth by centuries of touching, where Jesus informed Peter he was the rock, like this one, on which he would found his church. We walked the slopes overlooking the Sea of Galilee where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount with the beatitudes. We drove around the Sea of Galilee to the southern shore where the Jordan River empties out where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. The weather the day we were there was placid, so the sea (really a big lake, like Minnewaska) lay quiet and iridescent, the surrounding hills shimmering in the distance. The landscape was fresh and radiant, like it must have looked and smelled on the first day of creation. We saw Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, east of the old city, in the morning, so the city was sharply etched by the

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morning light. It was all there spread out like an open book. We could see Bethany where Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived, hosting Jesus during his last days. He walked each day from Bethany down through the Valley of Kidron, and up to the Temple Mount to pray and hang out, I suppose much like our Grandfather Peter walked to Cayuga each morning to make his rounds to the post office, elevator and grocery route. While walking that route, it is supposed He became familiar with the Garden of Gethsemane, just off the way. It is a small, level garden festooned with roses and very old, stubby olive trees. We touched the limestone slag, also worn smooth from centuries of touching, upon which Jesus was praying when the Roman soldiers arrested him, betrayed by Judas. We then went down into the old city and followed the via dolorosa (way of sorrow) or stations of the cross, from the point where Jesus was sentenced, all the way up the hill to Golgotha, where he was crucified, died and buried. Calvary was covered totally by the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Over there he was stripped of his clothes, nailed to the cross a few feet away and crucified. A few more feet over there he was laid in a carved out tomb, now covered with a smaller chapel. There was the flat slab of stone, where he was laid, oiled, wrapped and prepared for burial. We also went to Bethlehem to the Church of the Nativity, to see and touch the site of the birth of Jesus. It is only about a 10-minute drive away. Later, in Turkey, we saw the ruins of the Roman town of Ephasus where Mary and John the

Baptist lived incognito in their final days. It was a splendid town, right on the Ionian coast. It happened to be the site of one of the seven wonders of the world, the Temple of Diana, of which only one column now remains standing. We also saw the pyramids of Giza, another wonder of the ancient world. Cairo has already spread out right to the foot of the plateau upon which the pyramids stand. The wind whistled in our ears, many centuries

of brilliant, dry sunlight. Egypt was shockingly filthy everywhere we went. Garbage strewn everywhere, even in the deep countryside. Masses living in poverty. We had lunch at a hotel, no doubt a venue owned and operated by the military, that was precisely the opposite – opulent, pristine, excellent food. The contrasts could not have been more extreme. All in all an excellent adventure. More later, Paul.

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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Thursday, October 26, 2017 D5

Andy’s Cat is no watchdog By LaVonne Eckhoff Willmar ast year I wrote about our black Lab, Andy, and how he found a kitten for my birthday. He ran into the woods, picked it up in his mouth and ran with it to his corner of the yard. We call him “Andy’s Cat.” He is now 6 years old. Andy died of old age at the end of this winter. We don’t know how old he was. He was an adult dog when we found him at the pound, 10 years ago. We all still miss him. It’s been an adjustment without him. We never realized how much he did around here. From the first day, Andy designated himself “the watcher of the yard.” He allowed no animal to step foot on the lawn. Chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits and especially deer were not allowed. He would walk right by the deer anywhere else, but he would not tolerate them on the yard. So, when one day this spring, I noticed three tom cats sitting in different parts of the yard, I thought “Andy would never have allowed this.” I had seen one of these cats before. When Andy’s Cat was a few months old, he had come one night, flipped Andy’s Cat on his back and punctured

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his neck. That was his first trip to the vet. It was then that he had his shots and was neutered. Later on that night, we heard a vicious cat fight. That morning, Andy’s Cat came in tired, and, I swear, he had a cocky grin on his face. Maybe Andy’s Cat could now be the yard watcher. Andy’s Cat did watch – chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits and deer, but that’s all he did. One morning there was a big opossum under the grill in the backyard. He was busy eating what had spilled the evening before. Andy’s Cat walked right by on his way to the house. Last week, I was watching TV when the motion sensor light came on to light up the front yard. I ran to the window and saw a gaze of half-grown raccoons frolicking around the yard. How cute they were. But then, the one in the middle … it had cat’s ears and a cat’s tail. It was Andy’s Cat. Andy would have been mortified. Andy’s Cat’s strange relationship with deer has been downright shameful. Each evening five or six does parade in front of our living room window. One doe, in particular, spied Andy’s Cat. Their eyes locked and they had a

Photo courtesy of Pxhere

stare down until Andy’s Cat ran to the deer. They touched noses and soon began playing a game of tag. Whenever that doe came by and Andy’s Cat wasn’t outside, she would peek in the window, while stripping the greens from the arborvitae bushes, to see if he was sleeping on the couch. Yesterday, my eye caught some movement out on the deck. I looked

up through the patio door and saw the doe, her front feet on the steps. She pushed open the gate, turned her head, and grabbed a mouthful of cherry tomatoes from my potted plants. I ran to shoo her off the deck, passing Andy’s Cat as he lay watching on the railing. Andy’s Cat watches, but he’s no watchdog.

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D6 Thursday, October 26, 2017 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.

Willmar was Mayberry before Mayberry

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freshly made bed would smell like heaven that night. Remember coming in from play and smelling the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked bread? My mother would cut a generous slice of the heel and slather it with butter which would melt into the crispy goodness and that first bite was pure heaven. We who have lived most of our lives here have witnessed the change that has now become our town and it pains our hearts. The newcomers that tell us we must accept these changes, well, I could smack ’em. They haven’t a clue about us and what we have lost. We as people have changed too. We were a kinder and gentler people then. We didn’t threaten a lawsuit over foolish things, so we settled most things ourselves. I didn’t know anyone that was divorced when I was growing up, and illegal drugs, teenage pregnancies, sex education were unheard of. But during Prohibition we had bootleggers galore and there were whispers about who they were. On Sunday mornings most families were in church and almost every kid

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dened, knew how to sew — and I mean way beyond just patching. She cooked and baked like a professional, did canning in the fall, and made wonderful pickles. Her beautiful embroidery, crocheting and knitting were to enhance a wardrobe or beautify her home. Of course Monday was wash day and clotheslines were filled with colored garments and white sheets whipping in the wind, but underwear was always hung on inside lines to be unnoticed by passers by. Tuesday was ironing day of the clothes that had been sprinkled and rolled up the night before and placed in her laundry basket. This was usually a bushel basket originally made for fruits or vegetables. Numerous things were done the rest of the week but Saturday morning was for cleaning and, for a kid, it meant doing your chores close to the radio so you could listen to “Let’s Pretend.” Love to all of you that shared this era and I pity you who didn’t because you will never know the pure freedom of being a kid, it’s been taken from you.

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was in Sunday School. Kids didn’t have to have their Halloween treats checked because no one would hurt them. Your mother made treats for your class when it was your birthday and in Sunday School you gave a penny for each year of your birth on your special day. You would never talk back to your parents, your teacher or any adult and called everyone Mr. or Mrs. or Miss, and never used their first name. Grace was said before meals and when finished you asked to be excused and thanked your mother for the good food. Most kids were taught a nighttime prayer almost before they could talk because it was important to establish a habit that would sustain them through life. Grade school boys carried pocket knives and I never saw or heard of a kid being careless or abusing that privilege. Children were taught how to properly set a table, how to use a soup spoon correctly and I never saw one family, of my acquaintance, using paper plates. When I was young we were living Mayberry lives before there was a Mayberry. Most of our mothers gar-

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By Patricia Carter Harding Willmar ne night, on Netflix, I ran across Andy Griffith’s show. Its setting was the ’60s in the small town of Mayberry and it pushed a “remember when” button and I thought of the days when I’d sit with my little boys and enjoy the antics of the citizens of that pretty but insulted community. We all loved Barney, and goofy Gomer, plus Mayberry’s No. 1 jailbird, tipsy Otis, and don’t forget that lovable, bumbling barber, Floyd. I especially liked Aunt Bee. I often thought that much of it was like our Willmar of the past and it had a gentle goodness to it. There wasn’t a lot of money to go around but people seemed to make do and enjoy life. Women were home taking care of their families and, because of these women, our neighborhoods were safe and you could always hear kids’ voices, laughing and shouting. Most women hung their laundry on long clothes lines outside and when seeing those billowing white sheets drying in the sun you knew your


West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Thursday, October 26, 2017 D7

A vibrant downtown Willmar By Jerry Wallin Minneapolis n March, Patricia Carter Harding wrote a letter to the editor about the downfall of downtown Willmar. A vibrant downtown is important to any great city. Willmar’s downtown has changed from what I remember. I come to Willmar quite often and I just bypass downtown. I was born and raised in Willmar and I remember all those great stores downtown. In high school, I worked at S&L Stores on Fourth Street, next to JCPenney. People used to dress up to come downtown to shop. In the summer, the women would wear dresses, white hats, white shoes and carry white purses. During the ‘60s and ‘70s, I was involved with Ranny’s downtown. I knew many of the business owners and managers. Most of the old stores are gone because the owners either retired

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or died. Some of the chain stores went out of business or moved to the mall. I remember when the Lakeland Hotel was the hub of downtown. It was a nice place for visitors to stay and had a wonderful coffee shop. It was also the bus depot and taxi office. In the late ‘40s, the cabs would line up on both sides of the Lakeland. They were yellow cabs and the drivers were ladies. They wore uniforms and neat caps. Remember back then many people either didn’t have a car or only had one car and dad took it to work? We lived on the north side and took cabs to the doctor’s office downtown. We also took the city bus to school for a dime. After the war, people were able

to buy cars and soon the cabs and buses went out of business. Just like anything else, things change and progress goes on. Many of you are familiar with downtown Minneapolis. I have lived here for many years and we have lost many businesses over those years: Dayton’s, Donaldson’s, Powers, John W. Thomas, Rothchilds, Harold, Justers, Three Sisters and Leimandts. Many great cafes: Forum Cafeteria, Nan Kin, Charlies and the Flame Room, to name a few. Then the great hotels: Curtis, Leamington, Andrews, Frances Drake and Nicollet. Who can forget McCarthy’s out on Wayzata Blvd.? When we would stop there, we would usually see Willmar

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people either coming to the cities or going back home. One can go to almost any city and see this change. Pat, I am sorry about downtown Willmar too, but what can be done to bring it back? That is the big question. We still have fond memories of how downtown Willmar looked. That can’t be taken away. All should remember that the people in the greater Willmar area are wonderful. They are the ones that make a community a worthwhile place to live. I’m sure there are many talented people to turn the downtown into a vibrant area for business. It can’t be the same, but a nice downtown again would make Willmar proud.

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D8 Thursday, October 26, 2017 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.

Time out By Corrine Nelson Grove City n all the games we play in life There is a moment called time out. When the captain calls time out, Reinforcement and change takes place.

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The closer the struggle or nearer the end of game The call for time out is frequently heard. Fevers and anxieties rise high when minutes rule. Pressure mounts strong and yet there is time. This makes me think life is like a game. The minutes and hours turn into days and months. Then the years pass like flashing lights As I find myself captain, calling time out. Time Time Time Time

out out out out

to rest, read, walk or dream. for coffee breaks, shop, rest or scheme. to rest my aching back, feet or knees. to rest my brain, nerves or eyes.

There are many plays in life I have missed, But the captain must always play the game. The rules will remain as before time began, And abide when time shall be no more.

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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Thursday, October 26, 2017 D9

History of District 62 By Bob Erickson Willmar petition at Dovre, dated Dec. 23, 1871, asked for the formation of a new school district from Sections 3 through 10, 15 through 21 and 28 through 33 in the township of Dovre. The petition was signed by the following freeholders: L.O. Thorpe, Gjert G. Alvig, Ole G. Alvig, S. Janson, O. Berg, J. Hellgren, Mrs. M.S. Kolkin, Ole O. Sledlie, F. Siverson, Johannes J. Fladeboe, N.J. Skaar, John K. Kykken, Knud O. Almes, S.S. Kanikkeberg, Ole Larson Moe, Iver Knudson, Mads C. Dokken and Torger Siverson. The petition was presented to the board of county commissioners on March 6, 1872, and on Sept. 3, the petition was granted and the new school district was given the number 62. The district had undergone several material changes of territory since its organization. In 1874, Sections 6, 7 and 18 were set off to form part of District 14. In 1876, Sections 28 through 33 were set off to form part of the new District 76. The District lost, by setoffs, about three-fourths of a section. The first organization was made probably in 1872, with L.O. Thorpe as clerk, E. Grorud as treasurer and N.G. Skaar as director. Mr. Grorud died in 1873 and M.O. Thorpe succeeded him as treasurer. The first teacher was Miss Martha Knutson. The first school was held in the home of L.O. Thorpe and later M.O. Thorpe. Martha Knutson, as the first teacher, held one month of school in the summer and was paid $27 the following spring. In 1874, three months of school was held, with 29 pupils enrolled; 18 pupils did not attend. On March 14, 1878, Aslak O. Nasset of Willmar began a three-month term of school for the district. He received $31 per month. In 1879, J. Walseth taught three and one-half months beginning Feb. 17. He received a salary of $40 per month. At a special meeting held March 30, 1879, it was resolved to build a schoolhouse, 18 x 24, with 10-foot posts. The site selected was in the southwest corner of Section 9, but at a meeting held on April 17, of the same year, the site was changed to the southeast corner of Section 8. The schoolhouse was built that summer and improved the following sea-

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son. The value of the schoolhouse site in 1881 was placed at $305. The first teacher in the new schoolhouse was H.J. Ramsett of Sterling, Wis., who began a three-month term on May 7, 1880, for $28 per month. In the early days after the district was formed, only about one-third of those of school age attended school. At that time, it took only five days of attendance to draw apportionment money and most of the school districts could have maintained school for twice as long as the months they actually did. Many considerations were most likely attributed to this factor. Later, in the 1900s, another schoolhouse was built and was on the site where we are now. That school was burned a few years after the school closed, and the Dovre Townhall was built in its place. Teachers who taught in later years were Christine Eldergross, Nellie Rudee, Jonette Thorpe, Emma Kambestad, F.K. Deming, Mabel Hendrickson, Clara Kloster, Horace Reese, Clara Clausagmen, Lydia Birkeland, Selma Henjum, Florence Bloom, Agnes Anderson, Agnes Boe, Mrs. Mabel Larson, Ida Ryyken, Eva Norris, Eunice Brusven, Gladys Haug, Evelyn Nelson, Laurene Flygare, Mrs. Charles Mattson, Margaret Stauffer, Verona Gunderson, Ida Admunson, LaVerna Noland, Curtis

Johnson, Mrs. Harley Goodsen, Mrs. Donald Magnuson, Marcella Verhey, Mrs. Mildred Dahlberg, Mrs. Vernelle Merlin, Mrs. Agnes Amundson, Mrs. Donald Youngren and Mrs. Florence Christenson. The above teachers are from 1905 through the school year 1969-70. While reading through the histories of townships of Kandiyohi County, it was evident that many churches and schools were begun during the 1870s, so it was important to these pioneer people that both of these would be included in their lives and the lives of their children. They did the best they could – and for that we are thankful. I fondly remember all my country school teachers but we all seem to have

a favorite. Mine was an 18-year-old teacher, LaVerna Noland. In 1945, back in those days an attractive 18-year-old teacher was on the minds of all the amorous farm boys, and others. LaVerna had the good fortune to marry a young man, Donald Birkland, who had attended District 62 along with his father and grandfather. Don was a good farmer and also a good athlete, including being the catcher on a state championship softball team. They raised four children, sons Rob and Todd, and daughters LaDona and Sara. LaVerna still lives on the family farm and that is where I met her after about 50 years. Watch for LaVerna’s story in an upcoming issue of Generations.

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D10 Thursday, October 26, 2017 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.

Help Is Just A Push of a Button Away. 001645888r1

Jingle Belle rocks And Mitten fulfills her destiny By Joanne Lovold Willmar Christmas story written for your enjoyment. Jingle Belle was named after her Auntie Belle, and her baby burps jingled throughout the planet. Now 10 years old, Jingle still lives on Saturn, the fifth planet from the sun made up mostly of hydrogen and helium. Jingle Belle and her burps are famous with the age 10 crowd. She and her friends spend their days breathing in and swallowing batches of helium from the air, letting it out slowly in big burps and flying around with squeaky voices like deflating balloons. Jingle Belle is the only one whose burps jingle. It is Christmas Eve, and Jingle Belle is hoping to get the horse she always puts on her list to Santa. She dreams of riding around the other planets and stars on a magnificent prancing steed with glowing multi-colored hair all over his body, wings of gold, rubies covering his hooves, and legs of sparkling blue diamonds that reach all the way up to his knees. Well, today they are harmonizing their burps, making beautiful music by burping helium together, and Jingle Belle has finished her daily plea to the hydrogen dragons to give her a horse, when off in the distance they spy a swishing light that is winging its way toward them. “My horse!” cried Jingle. But no. It isn’t a horse. “Aww. It’s a reindeer.” It’s Mitten from Santa’s stable. A dull-looking, drab-brown reindeer who, on that Christmas Eve, is searching for her mission in life. She doesn’t have a wonderful nose like her brother Rudolph, no jingling harness, no luxurious brown coat like the other

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reindeer. Nothing dancing, nothing prancing, nothing dashing about her. Nor is she the least bit blitzie. All she has is a tail made of diamonds. But wait. The hair is thick, long and luxurious and really shines brightly all round. Jingle Belle thought about that and then quickly burped out the last of her helium as she flew to Mitten. She floated around the reindeer, scrutinizing her, looking for ideas. Then in a flash, Jingle got it. She said to Mitten: “Rudolph helps Santa with his shiny nose as he guides the way, but that doesn’t help Santa read the lists Mrs. Santa prepares. He checks it a couple of times at home, but you know how he gets the gifts all mixed up anyway, because he can’t read them in the dark sleigh. With your sparkling tail, Mitten, you can be his light tonight for reading the lists.” So Mitten flew to Santa with Jingle and Jingle’s great idea. Jingle Belle gathered the diamond-laden tail hairs to braid them and twisted the huge braid into a high, tight roll that gave off more light than Santa needed. He hitched her up at the tail end of the team of reindeer. Santa sniffed a bit and wondered about the wisdom of that arrangement, but he could finally read the lists, so he reluctantly agreed. Her tail really did light up Santa’s life like a sky full of LEDs. He could finally read the list and get it right. Now Billy will get the Suzie Cookstove he always wanted, and Nancy finally will find her baseball glove under the tree. A more Merry Christmas was never had by all. And Jingle Belle at last got her glitzy horse. Note: This article is being re-run from January to give proper credit to the author.

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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Thursday, October 26, 2017 D11

Family ties that bends and binds

Memories By Connie Kelly Olivia I stood looking at your face. The smile once there was not in place. Your hands were folded like in prayer. A lot of your memories came back to me Things I could and could not see. The Army drafted you at age 36, it was World War II. You wrote to us almost every day for over two years. I have the letters with me today. When I read them I pray God kept you safe. More memories were made when you came came home. Diamonds and jewelry can’t take their places. The memories of things you left me are with me day and night. They stay here in my heart day and night. The gold, diamonds, other jewelry don’t do that. Thank you Dad again for all the memories you left. When the angels come for me I can be with you. We can make more memories there to.

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D12 Thursday, October 26, 2017 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.

NO ONE TO WEEP FOR ME By Mary Lou Pederson Blomkest did a little investigating about “The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,” and came up with this little story in advance of Veterans Day Nov. 11:

I

No one to weep for me

I was a young man, 19 or 20 years of age, when I joined the U.S. Army, so full of fight for my country. I went through rigorous training. I learned how to kill to save my own life. They sent me far away from home into a war zone. Immediately, rockets and gunfire surrounded me on every side. It was all too real. It was my worst nightmare. I was scared to death, but never had any time to think about it. I existed on pure adrenaline to stay alive. The next thing I knew, I saw me lying on the ground in a pool of blood. “Oh my gosh, where were my arms?” With a lump in my throat, “My legs are gone!” “It was really

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me, right?” I looked into my face to identify me, but to my horror it had been blown off. It was still me, though. I frantically looked around and cried out, “Hey guys, it IS Me!” They put what little was left of me into a pine box, draped the U.S. flag over the box and sent me home. “I didn’t plan on coming home like this.” The plane has landed. I was taken off first. The other KIAs came off next. I see people coming toward the caskets, but no one is coming to greet me. “Where is my family? Mom? Dad?” I looked around frantically, “Where is my brother? Uncle Dave? Didn’t anyone tell them I was coming home?” Silence ...”I guess not.” There IS No One ... here to weep for me.” As I was laid in The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I realized no one knows who I am. I wish I could tell them, but I can’t. I guess only God knows who I am now. He didn’t lose me. Silence … Perhaps God is the only one who wept for me when I came home.

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Generations October 2017  

Reflections by people 55 and over; generational publication published by the West Central Tribune

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