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The commute: My friend died


Fri, Dec 27th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Id planned to write this column about New Years resolutions and my aversion to physical exercise, but every time I start to write it, I am thinking about Deanne, who died December 16.

At the age of two, she was diagnosed with an old persons diseasearthritis. She battled it until she was forty three. For the twenty years that I knew her, she was in a motorized wheelchair.

Back when we both made our homes in Fairmont, I accompanied her on one of her many treks to the Mayo Clinic. I remember riding an elevator with quite a few other people, and suddenly noticing that she was leaning forward in an awkward manner, and the look on her face was pure discomfort.

What was wrong in there? I asked when we got to our floor.

Didnt you see that man leaning on my chair?

Yes, I had noticed a silver-haired gent leaning lazily against the back of her chair as we rode up. I was surprised that she had seen him. Shed felt him, she explained. I think she would want me to tell you that when a person spends life in a chair, that chair is an extension of their body, and you should no more use the chair as a leaning post than you would rest against a strangers back.

At her funeral, the pastor described her as a beautiful, radiant spirit, in an impossibly twisted, pain-ridden body. I agree. Her radiance was so dazzling that people often didnt notice the twisted body. That was how she wanted it. I think she knew that her illness made the people who cared about her often feel helpless to do anything, and she tried hard to put others at ease. Once, about eleven years ago, she uncharacteristically complained that she got tired of helping everyone else feel okay about her illness.

Though she kept up such a brave front, she expressed herself in poetry. Randy, her brother, daily physical assistant, and best friend, felt she would want some of this poetry read at her funeral. A lot of it was raw, difficult to hear, but it told the truth about her illness.

But I must embrace

my fellow one

who blocks the sun with rain.

For eternally beside me

is my old companion, Pain. (from Constant Companion)

She attracted a lot of religious types. If there was anything she hated, it was being told that if she .....
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Prairie Notes: Clearer vision

Fri, Dec 27th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Coming of age during the 70s when we stopped using outdoor lights and started driving 55 in order to save energy makes me hesitant to applaud the proliferation of Christmas lights, but I am awed by the extent to which we will go to celebrate the sea ..... 
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Notes from a country kitchen

Fri, Dec 20th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

I'm thinking of   our Christmas tree  of many years ago,  a lovely pine, tall, freshly cut,  with candles all aglow.

Went drivin ..... 
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Journal Writing Project: Eric Leitzen

Fri, Dec 20th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Ah yes, the time is here again. Christmas. Just the mere mention of that word brings thoughts of warmth and love, doesnt it? For me, I see my family at the table for Christmas dinner, all ten of us now. However, there are many people outside my fami ..... 
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Notes from a country kitchen

Fri, Dec 13th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Are you done shopping? I remember years ago it was almost Christmas and I hadn't done any shopping for my kids, so my husband baby-sat and I ran uptown late afternoon and shopped. I got the kids a little gift, my mother some cotton stocking, and my d ..... 
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Another One From Flaherty: Things are different in the country

Fri, Dec 13th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

One of the many things that I have learned since moving to the country is that things dont get done in a day and sometimes things dont get done at all. There is an advantage to that in that there is always something to do, even if it doesnt get do ..... 
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Journal Writing Project-By Andy Wolter

Fri, Dec 13th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

What mineral used in soap, building materials, glass and fertilizer was mined in Death Valley in the late 1880s?

Two motorcycles simultaneously leave an intersection traveling in opposite directions. They are 360 miles apart in ..... 
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Township Roads: Christmas giftware

Fri, Dec 13th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

It is that time of year again. Crowds of people working at their Christmas shopping choke the roads into and out of shopping centers and malls. Our township road has been clogged, too. Ill bet eight cars went past this last Sunday. Most of the occup ..... 
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At Home in the Woods-What Kind of Truth?

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

My recently published book "At Home in the Big Woods," has taught me the importance of advertising--media coverage, press releases, fliers, book signings and books placed in windows of stores. I enthusiastically joined in the promotion of my book, bu ..... 
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