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What island are you from?


Fri, Mar 2nd, 2001
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Monday, March 5, 2001

In the movie Cast Away, Tom Hanks, who plays a Type-A executive from Federal Express, finds himself alone on a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific after surviving a horrific plane crash.

It takes a talent like Hanks to entertain an audience solely by himself. We watch as he learns to adapt to island life, turning rocks and sticks into tools. We see how he deals with the emotional loss of human companionship by turning a volleyball into a friend and confidant named Wilson.

Sixty minutes into the movie, I leaned over to my wife and whispered to her, Im sure glad you were with me in the Sols. She smiled back, confirming that she was having the same thoughts - that island life can be pretty lonely.

We lived on the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands twenty years ago as Peace Corps Volunteers, and each time Hanks solved a survival problem on the screen I thought back at our own adaptive evolution to a different society and environment.

When Hanks tries to open up a coconut by whacking at the nut with a stone, I want to give him some encouragement and advice.

I learned how to open a coconut with a sharp stick in Peace Corps training. Prop a pointed stick between some rocks so that it points into the air; then bring the crown of the nut down on the sharp end, piercing the husk; then pull the nut down and away from the stick, ripping the husk away. Repeat this action until the outer shell is gone. The inner nut can be easily opened with a rock, revealing the coconut meat.

When Hanks goes walking off on the coral reef barefoot, I want to warn him. I too experienced the pain of scraped knees and punctured soles from my encounters with reefs. It was my experience that the mishap usually leads to an infection.

When Hanks finds some shoes, he cuts away the toes to make them fit his feet. I remember cutting the backs out of tennis shoes, so as to convert theminto island loafers.

In the tool making department, Hanks manufactures a make-shift ax and a machette from scrap metal that has blown up on the island. From these tools he makes other tools for solving problems. He makes a spear to kill fish with; he learns to make rope by cutting and splitting tree bark. Eventually he is able to build the craft that will take him off the island and lead him back to civilization.

A machette is the island equivalent to a Saws-All. You can make anything yo .....
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Fri, Mar 2nd, 2001
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Fri, Mar 2nd, 2001
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Submit a Letter to the Editor here

Fri, Mar 2nd, 2001
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To the Editor,
Monday, March 5, 2001

I enjoyed Nancy Overcotts interesting article about the little town of Spillville.

I remember in the 1920s when we stopped at the farm to see the Bily clocks. Showing the clocks were tw ..... 
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Henry Ulring

Fri, Mar 2nd, 2001
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Henry Ulring, 93, of Chatfield, retired manager of the Chatfield Creamery, died Tuesday, January 2, 2001, at Chosen Valley Care Center in Chatfield where he had resided since August 1998.

He was born March 14, 1907, in Webster, MN. On Sept. ..... 
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Mildred G. Pekkala

Fri, Mar 2nd, 2001
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Mildred G. Pekkala, 90, of Superior, formerly of Preston, died February 10, 2001, at Villa-Marina Health and Rehabilitation Center in Superior.

Mildred G. Prigge was born Sept. 6, 1910, in Preston to Henry and Helga (Knudtson) Prigge. A long ..... 
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Walter J. Ode

Fri, Mar 2nd, 2001
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Walter J. Ode, 85, of Lanesboro, former co-owner of the Lanesboro Sales Commission, died of complications of a stroke February 26, 2001 at Gundersen-Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse, where he had been a patient five days.

He was born March 14, ..... 
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June M. Marzolf

Fri, Mar 2nd, 2001
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June M. Marzolf, 74, of Chatfield, formerly of rural Fountain, died February 26, 2001 at Chosen Valley Care Center in Chatfield.

June M. Brown was born June 11, 1926, in Orion Township, Olmsted County, the daughter of Carl and Avis (Manning) ..... 
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Mildred F. Johnson

Fri, Mar 2nd, 2001
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Mildred F. Johnson, 97, of Harmony, a homemaker and former teacher, died February 27, 2001 at her home.

Mildred Frances Sauter was born June 15, 1903, in Hutchinson, MN, to Will and Margaret (Harmon) Sauter. She graduated from Hutchinson High ..... 
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