Herald Journal Columns
March 6, 2006 Herald Journal

Where’s that wheelchair?


Give me a wheelchair now because I’m excited about yet another thing that would be considered lame by my kids.

Yes, I’m talking about tile. The kind you put on walls.

And Ivan, one of our other columnists, would be disgusted to hear that it is earth tone (vanilla/off white colored). Very boring.

Nevertheless, Tom Entinger of Cokato just installed the most beautiful tile in our bathroom, courtesy of our tax return. It’s my next five birthday and Christmas presents, thanks to the generosity of my fiscally conservative husband (the chief executive financial officer and annual auditor, rolled into one).

I was almost this excited when the electrician came to our house a year ago to fix wiring.

Other things that I’ve been excited about: dental work.

I’ll be wearing braces after a few weeks to make way for dental implants eventually. How exciting is this? Hmmm.

Sigh. I guess once you hit 35, you’re at the point of no return.

“In such journeys, time is our ally, not our enemy. We can grow wise. As the arteries harden, the spirit can lighten. As the legs fail, the soul can take wing. Things do add up. Life does have shape and maybe even purpose. Or so it seems to me.” - Sylvia Fraser

Welcome home

I must apologize to Cherry DeMarais and the VFW Post 1901 and Auxiliary, Montrose, because I’ve been sitting on her letter (printed below) and the photo you see. She dropped it off ages ago. It pertains to my husband’s return from his deployment overseas in December.

Cherry’s mom, Gladys Hickman of Howard Lake, just passed away last year.

I will never forget Gladys because I took pictures of her dragging all of her belongings from the basement to her front lawn, along Highway 12, during the awful flooding of 2002.

If you remember this too, then you will recall how terrible the heat and humidity was the day after the first heavy day of flooding. The water reached waist high in Gladys’ basement, ruining her furnace (among many other things).

Here is Cherry’s letter:

“We didn’t have a show of fire trucks here in Howard Lake Dec. 4, ‘05.

“I was debating to get out in the 20-below wind chill; -5 degree temperature to get milk at Gerry’s SuperValu when I heard on WCCO Channel 4 News,

“Here’s your chance to welcome/thank the troops,” who were heading home to Morris, Minn. for deprocessing, etc.

“All day, I had felt a little blue. Dec. 6, 1945 Clem and Gladys Hickman, my parents, were married; both are now in heaven.

“I thought, ‘I am doing this for my dad, who served in the Army, too.’ I quickly got a Q-tip and painted a sign, grabbed the US flag, and out the door I went.

‘I’ll probably be the only crazy person out in this bitter cold, but who cares,’ I thought.

“When I got to the liquor store parking lot, there were about three other cars. Either Dennis Entinger (Cokato) or his son-in-law, Zach Wood (Dassel), took these pictures. At any rate, I am proud to say Howard Lake was thanking the troops as they went past, too.

“After reading from Dec. 12, ‘Home, safe and sound’ editorial column by Lynda Jensen, I just had to let you know we were there, too.

The ‘Pink Monster’

It’s kind of sweet to have so many people still keeping track of our daughter, Brianna.

This is, of course, because she was born while my husband was deployed. She’s still using several blankies that were made for her by the wonderful ladies of Waverly.

In fact, she has command of several treasured keepsakes, some of which are hard for me to watch her spit up on (for example, the pink bunny given to her by former Miss Minnesota Tiffany Ogle).

She roams about the house as the only small person here, with the next youngest person being 10.

That being said, cute gets you so far, since she’s in the “destroyer” phase now, with our other daughter Latrice affectionately calling Brianna the Pink Monster.

Brianna runs roughshod everywhere below three feet and can destroy a compact disc in 20 seconds.

She is very “independent” – a term my mother-in-law, Bernice, coined several years ago with one of our other kids. It’s the polite way to say a handful. But she is very sweet natured. It’s an ongoing battle not to spoil her.

I saw the light last year with Brianna, when I detected the extra dose of stubbornness in her (after all, she has a double dose of German, and only a quarter Dutch in her).

No Finnish, but we do have a sauna at our house, which is used every so often.

Words of advice

I guess being “older,” qualifies me for giving advice.

Here it is: be slow to judge and quick to forgive. The measure you use for others will be used on yourself someday.

Remember that one of the character pillars is compassion.

Nature Notes

Are you watching for the first true sign of spring – the return of the robin? They are due any time now, starting at the end of March.

I’ve seen plenty of Cardinals at our suet and bird feeders, and (unfortunately) Blue Jays, the latter of which are noisy and aggressive.

Blue Jays have a piercing call once described by Thoreau as the “unrelenting steel-cold scream of the jay, unmelted, that never flows into a song, a sort of wintry trumpet...”

Nevertheless, American Robins are wonderful and their call will be a welcome sound.

Trivia about robins: Did you know that robins migrate at a speed of about 30 miles per hour? Robins can migrate during day or night.

They average 38 miles per day, but some days they don’t migrate at all. Other days they can go many times that distance.

This is according to the American Robin web site, www.annenbergcpb.com/jnorth/spring2004/robin/Update033004.html

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