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Commute 004


Fri, Aug 10th, 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 its 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 dont 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; Id 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 womans prize Arabian horse, with members of the Sheriffs 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 sisters wedding party wearing a blue bridesmaid dress at St. Aloysius church. Her wedding was scheduled to begin an hour after the parade. I dont 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 wouldv .....
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"My mother went to town probably two times in the wintertime."

Fri, Aug 10th, 2001
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Monday, August 13, 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 10th, 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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The Run Has Begun

Fri, Aug 10th, 2001
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Weaver Dunes Field Report Early Summer 2001By John LevellMonday, July 23, 2001

As Spring 2001 draws to a close, the season's exceedingly wet and cool weather is still cause for concern to those of us working on the Blandi ..... 
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Area Farmers Hit By Soybean Aphids

Fri, Aug 10th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, August 13, 2001

Soybean aphids have emerged to raise havoc in area fields. Until now, farmers have had little information about this relatively new pest. During the summer and autumn of 2000, heavy infestations of the so ..... 
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Edgar, Nucla and Niwot

Fri, Aug 10th, 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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Olympic Games With Chinese Tendencies

Fri, Aug 10th, 2001
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Monday, July 23, 2001

If you havent heard by now, China will host the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The country has been working for the last 10 years to get the games believing that the international spectacle will give China the prestige ..... 
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Fri, Aug 10th, 2001
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Fri, Aug 10th, 2001
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