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The Gift of Life


Fri, May 4th, 2001
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Monday, December 18, 2000

When the phone rang at three a.m. last Monday morning, my husband Joe sat straight up out of a deep sleep, "Baby time," he said.

With one foot on the floor, he then heard me saying, "Yes, you can dry ginger and black peppers.”

After a pause, I asked the man with a deep accent on the other end of the line, "Where are you calling from?"

"Tanzania."

"What time is it there?"

"Noon," he replied.

After answering his questions as best I could, I lay back down. In my Internet-based business of selling food dehydrators, books and supplies, giving advice in the middle of the night is not all that unusual.

Then a few minutes later the phone rang again. This time, we were both convinced it had to be my son, Eric, or his wife, Shayla announcing they were on their way to the hospital, but again it was the Tanzanian devil. This time he wanted to know how to dry bananas.

Everything had been ready for weeks: the crib, high chair, blankets and most importantly lots of lots of room in our hearts for unconditional love. We had talked with other first-time grandparents about the sheer joy of an absolutely fabulous, beautiful new baby.

The responsibility of being grandparents and passing down our traditions to another generation helped Joe and I acknowledge how influential our grandparents and parents have been. We remembered the cookies, the Sunday pot roasts after church, tobogganing on fresh snow and hot chocolate, the family get-togethers, the stories, and the fishing expeditions. We talked about how going to our grandparents meant there was one safe place, when the rest of the world seemed out of control and scary. They provided the rock, the foundation, and the base that we could always count on.

Since Eric and Shayla knew they were expecting a boy, my grandson has already had an identity for quite some time and I think this has helped all of us to connect with him. The wait was all that was left. One night I dreamed of a little boy standing next to the road with two older Indian men, one on each side of him. Eric dreamed of seeing his son lying in his crib, looking up with open eyes.

Then on Wednesday, December 13th at 10:59 p.m. Hunter Evans Gehrke entered this world. At the hospital, I saw Eric and Shayla instantly bond with this little buckaroo, falling into the role of parent as naturally as one breathes. I was overwhelmed with pride watching .....
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Hoffman Stables

Parting Shots

Fri, May 4th, 2001
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Monday, April 30, 2001

Well here we are. It's May and Summer is just around the corner. The school year was fun (note the touch of sarcasm) but, in life, all good things must end. So comes to a close me writing for this newspaper syndication. ..... 
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A New Way of Looking

Fri, May 4th, 2001
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Monday, April 16, 2001

The first bones belonged to a cow and her unborn baby. I found them near a small wetland by the South Fork of the Root River. I trudged back up the hill to my house carrying a huge pelvis that looked like a primitive mas ..... 
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Return to Weaver - Field Report

Fri, May 4th, 2001
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Monday, April 30, 2001

Early Spring 2001

Regular readers may recall my article on the Blanding’s Turtle research project at Weaver Dunes near Wabasha, Minnesota, which appeared in the August 14, 2000 issue of the Fillmore C ..... 
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Spring Cleaning for the Garden

Fri, May 4th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, April 30, 2001

After a little rain last week and a lot of sunshine the flowers are really exploding out of the ground. Tulips and daffodils have been making a beautiful show. I have a few Forsythia bushes that are covere ..... 
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Math Class

Fri, May 4th, 2001
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Monday, May 7, 2001

My father was a mathematical marvel. He could figure stuff out in his head faster and more accurately than anybody I ever knew. I dare say I did not inherit either his good common sense or his ability to figure. That is not ..... 
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“It’s all about roads”

Fri, May 4th, 2001
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Monday, April 30, 2001

“The only thing the county board is concerned about are roads,” one person commented to me a few weeks ago.

And the way in which she said this implied that this was not necessarily a good thing.

About th ..... 
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Fri, May 4th, 2001
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Fri, May 4th, 2001
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