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Prairie Notes: For the love of books


Fri, Mar 14th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

I do not remember a time I didnít know how to read. Being the fifth of six children gave me four older siblings and my parents to read aloud to me, but memories of their voices saying the words faded long ago. My earliest memories of reading stem from the birthdays and Christmases where Heidi and Little Women headlined the gift list. In our attic stood a three-tiered bookshelf where a small collection of books from the old country school rested. The Bobbsey Twins and some volumes of Prose and Poetry provided Saturday afternoon entertainment throughout most of my elementary years.

High school and college brought more reading, but not always the Agatha Christie mysteries I craved. When I began teaching, reading meant focusing on study guides or test questions, always with some educational goal in mind. As my own children came along, I became reacquainted with picture books, fairy tales, and Mother Goose; but rarely did I find the time to sink into a chair with a book I chose for myself. If I did sit down, no doubt Iíd be plagued by the layers of dust or the guilt of not "getting something done."

No more. Thanks to technology, drivers with long commutes, and some publisherís inventiveness, books on tape line the shelves of my local library and cover an amazing range of topics and genres. And, best of all, the publishers hire professional actors and actresses to perform them. Thatís right. Perform. What could be better than having someone who can play both the crotchety neighbor down the street and the whining witness to the murder at the same time? This beats my brother Jeffís warped version of "The Night Before Christmas" any day.

The benefits of listening to books donít stop there, either. Imagine being raised in the "work-till-you-drop" atmosphere of my home, and what is your worst fear? Wasting time when you could be working. Most people might automatically think of driving time as wasted time, and, according to many listeners, that is prime time for popping a book into the cassette player. But I donít stop there. I think most housework wastes time because, really, just about anybody can dust furniture, wash dishes, or vacuumónot necessarily well, but adequately. How amazing to have Judy Kaye as Kinsey Milhone narrate Sue Graftonís E Is for Evidence as you scour the bathtub! If you throw in a load of laundry at the same time, you can accomplish three things at once!

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Journal Writing Project: Eric M. Leitzen

Fri, Mar 14th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Here we are. St. Patrick's Day. The time for the wearing of the green. Time for everyone to feel just a little bit Irish. Bust out the corned beef and cabbage, Mom, and top off the tankard. I love the Irish. I love them to pieces, everything about th ..... 
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Are You Game? Spring, the harbinger of great things to come

Fri, Mar 14th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Happy Saint Patrickís Day to you and what a sports week it has been. Jim Harrick gets the boot in Georgia, as UGAís NCAA and SEC Hopes slip past their fingers. The Twins are looking like last yearís ALCS squad.   First with C ..... 
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Township Roads: Almost the right word

Fri, Mar 7th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

When our second son, Matt, was just a little guy, he went on a school field trip. They were gone for the day to the Twin Cities. We didnít know the trip itinerary so we quizzed him about his activities when he got home. We asked him what he had seen. ..... 
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Journal Writing Project: Andy Wolter

Fri, Mar 7th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Youíll never figure everything out. Thatís life, no matter how much you hope and plan, there is nothing to guarantee anything will ever work. I guess thatís what makes life worth living, the fact you will never figure everything out, and the fact tha ..... 
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Journal Writing Project: Jamie Rose Howe

Fri, Feb 28th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Eighteen years I have experienced life here on this planet. In this world there is hunger, wealth, poverty, divorce, terrorism, hate, and love. Iíve experienced eighteen years of it, of pure...life. And as I approach graduation, it gets more and more ..... 
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At Home in the Woods: For the birds

Fri, Feb 28th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

One morning in early February, I saw a sharp-shinned hawk perched on one of our bird feeders. The sharp-shinned is a small agile woodland hawk whose favorite food is small birds. The feeder birds immediately disappeared into the nearby bushes. [Read the Rest]
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