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Welcome to Fillmore County

Fri, Feb 13th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

The Fillmore County Journal has new owners and as a recent transplant to this perfect corner of the earth I want to say, hello.

Jason, huh? You make me feel old right from the start. My son is Jason and I have a deep furrow between my eyebrows that I have named in his honor. I suppose this Jason won't give me cause to wrinkle my brow and say "You did what?" Perhaps his mother has one, too.

I want to thank the folks of Fillmore County for their cautious but willing way of making space for someone not claiming three generations in the area. Well, Jason has and I do too. I play the family Hallum card at every turn so they don't walk around sniffing at me to see if I'm, like, Irish or Italian. Once a familiar name is evoked, an outsider can be placed in the greater scheme of things, like learning that homo sapiens are us. I can't know if being a Hallum is a good thing here or not but I announce it and hope none have been chainsaw murderers or anything. They can't be, I would have heard about that even in Minneapolis.

It's a good place to be, here in the Minnesota Alps. The community works hard, knows about snow and rain and floods and how to make a rescue coop for a chicken that has been pecked by the resident roosters. They appreciate things that someone from the city knows, like good fabric stores and restaurants in the metro area that don't require getting too far off the freeway.

Neighbors come if the car has a flat tire in the garage and I only know the jack is something that lives under the mat in the trunk. At Rushford Foods they connect me to my reusable bags and return them to me if I leave one behind. At Witt's Pharmacy they see me walk in and have my refill on the counter when I get up to the register (really folks, I'm not that heavily medicated). At the flood relief auction people bought stuff they had no use for (I donated some and know it wasn't worth much) just to contribute to someone they may or may not know.

What can we, the newbys, offer in exchange for all this kindness? Bring something back to the community we have chosen.

Jason will do it by continuing to produce the best local paper in the area, in John's tradition. I hope to gradually diminish the fear of city people. Here is a secret. Cities are chock full of good people, too. They clan up in neighborhoods. Within neighborhoods, kids are watched over by other kids parents, corner bars hold all the secrets of the men and women who live in a four block radius, and relatives tend to cluster on one end or another of any given city. They shovel the old people's front walk while they do theirs and worry if the papers aren't getting picked up from the step. Each neighborhood has its own small town publication, full of news that the larger city paper would never bother with. That building that is being torn down? Who bought the lot? What's going in there? The local hero's and their achievements in the junior high school are covered. The Fillmore County Journal is much like The Northeaster that we read, cover to cover, in Minneapolis.

So, all the best to our new owners and let's be thankful that he had the good judgment to keep John at the helm. Our paper is a good one and we all need to support the new owners and cheer them on as they find their way into this good and generous community.

If you need directions around "the cities", call me.

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