Jim O'Leary

Waverly Star

By Jim O'Leary

An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the Herald Journal and on this web site.

  Jan. 19, 2004

Growing up in Minnesota

"Growing up in Minnesota, we became Minnesota. We became the gentle snowflakes, the skaters dancing on clear ice, the frigid winter temperatures, the Big Woods, the fragrant lilacs, the haunting loons. We became Polish sausage, boiled potatoes, sauerkraut, corn on the cob, Fireside apples. We became the gentle, stoic man, hiding our emotions, seeking solace in nature, planting the earth with our hands. We became Minnesota because part of us was Minnesota.

"Without our knowledge and without our permission, we also became Mexico.

We became Noche Buena, Latin music, pinatas. We became green tomatillo salsa, sopes, chiles rellenos, Mexican hot chocolate, tortillas, tamales. We became the passionate, sophisticated woman, dancing with our emotions, speaking with gusto, protecting our family. We became Mexico because part of us was Mexico."

By Lorraine Mejia Green

MEXICO AND MINNESOTA

By the thousands workers from Mexico are making our nation a better place. Even President Bush says so.

Here is a poem by Evelyn Mattern published in Maryknoll Magazine that tells the tale:

Money order angels

With fingers seamed in sweet potato dirt the migrant farm workers count out new $100 bills for money orders starchily dispensed by the clerk.

When the winged angel of the U.S. Postal Service scatters these bills across Mexico, children have shoes and notebooks for school, beans and a chicken on Sunday, grandmother gets new teeth, and wives smile at husband memories

Like an Advent Angel announcing that this birth counts that someone can be counted on, the money orders fly on filaments of faith to brighten barest rooms.

The border crossing

(From a letter from Mexico by Father Peter Hinde, O.carm.)

"Mexico survives on the $14 billion dollars sent by Mexican workers in the U.S. to families here. Can they continue to sacrifice sons and daughters at the rate of 300+ deaths per year in attempts to cross desert, mountains, rivers to find and fill jobs needed in the U.S.?

"More than 2,300 migrants have died in the last 10 years. Imagine! Over 10 times the number who died at the iron curtain border between West and East Germany over its whole history."

A Mexican American friend of mine in Corpus Christi told me about four shivering migrants he picked up on Interstate 10, east of El Paso. They had gotten lost and were trudging, near exhaustion, down the Interstate.

He put them in his pickup and drove them to Alpine, Texas. They were near death when he found them lying down at an underpass. They needed food, water and rest.

How had they survived the 100 miles they walked? They told him they had been eating road kill.

The plight of the migrants has been made worse lately by the U.S. government's national security paranoia.

Woe to you unprincipled politicians! Woe to you who have forgotten the journeys of your own forefathers!

My first contact with people from Mexico was at the Green Giant Canning Factory in Cokato, where the Mexicans outworked all of us and slept on the straw cots in the bunkhouses.

One of the Mexican guys couldn't tell the woman behind the counter at the Canteen what he wanted.

He said "carne," and I told her he wanted a hamburger. I will never forget the smile he gave me.

There are maybe 12 million undocumented workers in the U.S. now, mostly from Mexico.

I have never voted for a Republican in my life and I promise I never will, but God bless President Bush for his speech on the need for immigration reform on Jan. 7th.

I doubt the Republican Congress will do the right thing on immigration reform, but President Bush did the right thing with his speech.

It's a start in the right direction.

Good hunting

Readers of this newspaper must realize they have the best outdoors writer in Minnesota working for them.

Chris Schultz, week after week, delivers prize winning copy on fishing and hunting in our great outdoors.

I was reminded of him by David Sikes, who holds down a similar job with "The Corpus Christi Caller-Times," when he wrote about hunting with his dad during his boyhood in southern Louisiana:

"Wintertime hunting provides a sentimental glimpse into a time when my shotgun was heavier, shells were precious as gold and Dad was the smartest man in the world . . . a chilled barrel meant a serious hunt in the Louisiana of my youth.

"I just remember that cold weather hunts with my father were the best ever. Runny noses, stinging earlobes, toes and fingers were barely background annoyances when crouching in a crop field in a pile-lined canvas jacket and long johns.

"When stalks concealed us, Dad would kneel beside my brother and me and speak in low tones of partnership.

"Nothing comes close to the warmth inspired by Dad's undivided attention, which he gave so freely in the field. It was as if the three of us were members of an exclusive club.

"My brother and I shared a bolt action .410. Toward the end of hunts, if we were lucky and good, Dad would let us shoot his 16-gauge Ithaca once each.

"Later, I'd show off the resulting shoulder bruise to my less-fortunate friends whose fathers did not hunt."

One more Jay Leno headline

About tongue splitting, a modern phenomenon:

TONGUE THPLITTING CONTHEQUENTHETH CONTHERN OFFICIATH

Tho long for now from Corputh Crithti, Testhath

Jim O'Leary


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