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Commute 007-Grandpa Brink


Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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Monday, December 3, 2001

In the fall of 1999, I was driving through Preston on the way to my new job in Rochester. Up ahead a couple of blocks, I saw a frail man slowly crossing the street to get to a group of mailboxes. As I passed him, I realized it was Grandpa Brink.

I pulled over to the curb. I knew I'd be late for work, but I really needed one of Grandpa's famous hugs.

He wasn't officially my Grandpa. He was my husband's grandfather. But Grandpa didn't waste a lot of time making distinctions. You received the same rib-crushing, breath-taking hug whether you were a grandson, or just married to one. Or even dating one.

I'd first met Grandpa on the Fourth of July, 1988. He approached me at a family gathering and said, "Are you the one dating my grandson?"

"Yes."

He shook his head and looked off in the distance, like this wasn't good news. Finally he turned back to me.

"I'm just thinking that you must be pretty hard up," he said. After a few seconds he laughed, and I had my introduction to Grandpa's unique humor.

I think all of us who knew him agree he was one of the most talented storytellers. His best stories had to do with animals. My husband has inherited the storytelling ability, and he has lots of Grandpa's stories memorized. Each summer his fishing buddies beg to hear Grandpa's story about Teddy and the Fox. I know I can't tell it as well as either one of them, but I'll give it a try:

Grandpa and his two sons were regular fox hunters way back when. Grandpa's bulldog, Teddy, was an integral part of the group, serving the role as tracker. Teddy would flush the fox out into the open where the hunters were waiting.

One fox was especially "foxy" and doubled back on his own trail. Teddy fell for it and went off in the wrong direction. The hunters were positioned near the fox's hole and saw it make a successful dive back into the safety of its home. Teddy saw this too, from a distance, and came running.

Teddy came charging like a bullet for the fox's hole. "He was so mad, his eyes were bloodshot!" Grandpa would say. Without pausing at all, Teddy went head first down the hole (animal lovers should stop reading now).

The ground beneath the hunters' feet actually shook. "It was like World War III down there!" Grandpa said. Finally Teddy emerged with something resembling a piece of a fox's tail in his teeth. He was so hot and tired that he dragged himself to a snowb .....
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Are You Game?

Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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Monday, November 19, 2001

The NBA season is fully underway. Youd have to live under a rock not to have seen MJ, his Airness, firing away for the Wizards. After all, TNT and NBC plan on having the lowly Wizards on the tube whenever possible; t ..... 
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Neither Snow nor Rain nor Dark of Night

Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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Monday, November 26, 2001

On my usual late morning walk down our Big Woods road, I cross the bridge over the South Fork, pass the road to Jaymour Larson's old place, round the big curve and am nearing the tall post that once supported Pancake ..... 
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Return of the Eagles

Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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By John LevellMonday, November 12, 2001

Despite the unseasonably warm temperatures of early November 2001, Bald Eagles can again be seen soaring over the Root River Bluffs of the Lanesboro region. Their arrival, as much a ..... 
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Is It Really Winter?

Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, December 3, 2001

As I sit down to write this column, I wonder if there is really anything left to say about gardening. This morning we all awoke to see a covering of white. It was quite lovely, but sad, as it does herald ..... 
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My Guarantee To You

Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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Monday, December 3, 2001

I just got up off the kitchen floor. Our five-year-old dishwasher needed my attention. About two weeks ago it started running water out its door. Maybe it was trying to tell us that the kitchen floor needed scrubbing. ..... 
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Noodle Soup

Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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Monday, November 26, 2001

Food is the communication between the person cooking and the people eating, I heard Julia Childs say on a TV program the other day.

I suppose Thanksgiving is the classic example of this axiom: a bronzed tur ..... 
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Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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