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Commute 004


Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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Monday, August 13, 2001

I am often asked why I live in a small town and commute forty-five minutes each way to work. I say that I prefer the lifestyle. If the person asking has ever lived in a small town, they probably know what I mean. If not, they often require further explanation, and I find myself at a loss for words.

I have lived in bigger cities, so it’s an educated choice. But I did grow up in a small town: Olivia, Minnesota, population 2623, known as the Corn Capital, so maybe small towns are just in my blood.

I don’t get to visit Olivia much, but when I think it, I often think of our church. I learned two things early in life: my family was Catholic, and Catholics went to church a lot. Fortunately, St. Aloysius Church was a feast for the senses. I still remember the cool feel of the granite pillars; I’d always try to sit next to one and lean into it, if I could. There were paintings, and stained glass windows, and light fixtures that made me think of chandeliers. I still find the smell of incense comforting, and I think I can recite the words that were written in green mosaic tile high above either side of the altar. On the side with the Virgin Mary statue, it said, "To enter heaven you must pray. Do penance. Do good works." Across on the St. Joseph side were the words "What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

In the summer of 1978 when the movie Grease was breaking box office records, our local news reporter, who we kids inexplicably called "Monkey Leaps", somehow convinced the star of Grease, Olivia Newton-John, to come to Olivia, Minnesota, and be the grand marshal in our Corn Capital Days parade. Apparently it was a convenient stop on her promotional tour. She rode a local woman’s prize Arabian horse, with members of the Sheriff’s Posse riding on all sides of her. It was maybe the biggest thing ever to happen in Olivia.

I missed it. I was in my oldest sister’s wedding party wearing a blue bridesmaid dress at St. Aloysius church. Her wedding was scheduled to begin an hour after the parade. I don’t believe she ever worried about being upstaged by the visiting celebrity. My sister was kind of a celebrity in her own right, having sung solos at weddings and funerals and directed the church Christmas choir for a number of years.

The parade passed within 400 yards of the church while we sat around waiting for the photographer to call us up for pictures. All we would’v .....
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"In Those Days You Walked."

Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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Monday, August 20, 2001

The Art of Farming is a project of the Collaborative for Watershed Sustainability to gather stories about farm life in southeastern Minnesota before World War II. Stories have been gathered from individuals near Harmony ..... 
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Butterflies through Binoculars

Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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Monday, August 6, 2001

What creature flies; makes no sounds; does not bite, sting or carry disease; is bright orange with dark bands on its upperparts and silver spots below; and is common in meadows, fields and along roadsides in Fillmore Cou ..... 
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Why Study Turtles Anyway?

Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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Weaver Dunes Field Report Late Summer 2001By John LevellMonday, August 20, 2001

With nesting finally completed, those of us working on the Weaver Dunes Blanding’s Turtle Research Project can at last step back to enjoy a m ..... 
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Harvesting Herbs

Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, August 20, 2001

If you haven't started gathering herbs from your garden, get out there! What could be better this winter, than a nice hot cup of tea brewed from herbs you grew yourself? Many herbs have started flowering ..... 
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Edgar, Nucla and Niwot

Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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By Wayne PikeMonday, August 13, 2001

I am looking out the window at our drought-scorched pasture. I should go outside to accomplish something, but it is too hot. I am just going to let my mind wander back to our trip to Colorado in June. We go ..... 
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Shark Stories

Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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Monday, August 20, 2001

Oh, the shark has, pearly teeth babe...

Sharks have been in the news lately. A few weeks ago, Jessie Arbogast, a Mississippi eight-year old, was attacked by a 6-1/2 foot bull shark in the Gulf of Mexico. Jessie l ..... 
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Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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Fri, Aug 17th, 2001
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