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The Commute: Telling stories


Fri, Mar 21st, 2003
Posted in Columnists

I cant really say that I developed my love of stories as a child. I dont remember any gifted storytellers in my family, although we did talk a lot.

In fact, the term "telling stories" had a negative connotation"Quit telling stories," Mom would say if she suspected an exaggerated version of the truth, or an out-and-out lie.

Soap operas were referred to as stories. Grandma Elsie had to watch her stories every day. While not as serious as drinking or smoking, addiction to stories, soap operas, was nonetheless seen as a vice.

I will now proudly claim to be addicted to storiespeoples stories. Who needs fiction when so many fascinating true things happen to us all. I am fortunate in my work as a teacher to be exposed to many stories. In recent years, the stories of my students who grew up in countries far from the United States have really come to interest me.

An amazing story from a current student is the one told to me by Mohamed Jama, who grew up in Somalia. In 1989, when he was seventeen, he and five buddies wanted to travel. They had graduated, and Mohamed had plans to soon become a college journalism major. He didnt know yet that the civil war in his home country would soon turn all his plans upside down.

The Somali culture encourages travel as a way to broaden ones mind. "Nimaan dhulmarin dhaayo ma leh" is an often repeated Somali phrase that loosely translates into "the man who does not go to see the world does not have eyes."

Mohamed and his friends decided to go see neighboring Kenya. Not having money for airfare, they chose to travel by boat. A total of 27 passengers and 5 crew members set out one evening at about 7:15, heading southwest in the Indian Ocean toward Kenya. At first the journey was pleasant, but during the second night, the boat started to shake from the rough seas. After things calmed down, many passengers were frightened and wanted to discontinue the journey, stopping at the nearest island and waiting for a safer mode of transportation. Others, including Mohamed and his young friends, wanted to continue the journey. They voted, and Mohameds group won by three votes. They would all continue.

Two mornings later, the seas were rough again and the boat shook. Mohamed says that suddenly, "the boat disappeared and there was nothing between us and the sea." Each person tried to save .....
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Another one from Flaherty: What happened to the corned beef and cabbage?

Fri, Mar 14th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

It was about that time of the year again and plans had been made. This year things would be different, safe and sane and nothing would go wrong, if Clancy had anything to say about it. There would be no repeat of the Finnegan disaster of the last yea ..... 
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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 didnt 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 fro ..... 
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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 Patricks Day to you and what a sports week it has been. Jim Harrick gets the boot in Georgia, as UGAs NCAA and SEC Hopes slip past their fingers. The Twins are looking like last years 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 didnt 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

Youll never figure everything out. Thats life, no matter how much you hope and plan, there is nothing to guarantee anything will ever work. I guess thats what makes life worth living, the fact you will never figure everything out, and the fact tha ..... 
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