Saturday, March 31, 2018

A “detective” badge!
We all are detectives... at one time or another! Whether it’s looking for our cell phones or the name of someone we’ve just met.
I had organized a meeting with a Vice President of the MN Super Bowl Host Committee for our local TRIAD - citizens and law enforcement partnership.
But I didn’t catch one glitch until several hours later.
I had taken a picture of a few of the people at the meeting who were graciously willing to pose for our monthly “Wanted Poster”. This is the promo for our next meeting.
Of course I needed their names for the accompanying newspaper article. You guessed it.
I forgot to ask one man his last name.
I didn’t realize this until I was home and choosing which picture to use.

The “detective” work starts...
As I was enlarging the picture I noticed the stranger, who I knew as Hal, was wearing a cap that identified a local business.
I wondered if he might be known by them?
So I called the company and asked if they could guess who “Hal” might 
Keep in mind that this is a small town and they know me and we didn’t have any security issues at hand.
They gave me a name that was a “possible” but they hadn’t seen the
The next step...
I knew approximately where he lived so I went online and found a person in that area with a similar name.
I tried to find his phone number so I could check with him but it said he didn’t have a land line. (This was apparently not correct.)
Facebook can help?
I went on Facebook and found a person with the same last name from this area and “messaged” them as to whether they knew this person.
They didn’t know him. Their relatives were further north.
I went online again.
This time I found a phone number with the possible location. Called it.

It had been disconnected.
More detective work...
I remembered he had said he had read about the meeting in the Beacon. I had some files checked and found a different phone number for the same address.
But no answer.
Time after time... day after day.
(Later found that this was another wrong number.)

This mystery man is tangling up my brain.
I checked out the plat site on the county’s website ... but couldn’t figure it

Dug out an old plat book - found his property... section number... but it

was an old book. Maybe he wasn’t still there.
Went back on Facebook and asked my local friends if they knew of anyone living in this specific area who was named Hal?
They did!
They recognized the man in the picture!

Not so easy...
The first phone number I received was for another fellow - but that was fun because he was a friend of mine I hadn’t talked to for years!
Then when I tried another number I had to leave a message on their cell phone. But I’ll keep trying.
Unless someone knows differently, it appears I have found Hal Harrison! He will be featured on the next Cannon Falls Area TRIAD’s “Wanted Poster”!
     I think I should get a “detective” badge!  

    Mystery man... Hal Harrison of Cannon Falls, second from left, with some of the folks posing for the next “Wanted Poster” for the local TRIAD group. L-R: Goodhue County Deputy Tom Wolner, Harrison, Kyle Chank, a VP of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee and his girl friend, Jordan Howard.

Monday, March 12, 2018

 The "Ripples" Effect
 Whatever you call it... act of kindness... a day brightener… 
or finding “flecks of gold” sparkling in our lives.   
Share the good things you notice. 

When your days have been going bad…
Her sister was dying. Alzheimers had been affecting her and now death was near.  And so Carol was grieving over the situation.
Although she had been crying, she had to pick up a couple items at the local grocery store and in her defeated condition she went into the store.  She knew she looked sad… tears were ready to stream down her cheeks.  But she didn’t have the energy to change her expression.
She found it was easy to just pick up the items and she soon put them on the check-out counter.

All of a sudden the stranger ahead of her in line told the cashier, “I’m paying for hers.”
This startled her out of her mood!
She looked at the man ahead in line and realized she didn’t know him.
But she got up enough energy to start to argue with him.  But her mood broke into a smile when he kidded her that actually he had checked what she was buying first and since she didn’t have any steaks he figured he could pay for it!
But the result was that he not only paid for her items. You see, now she had a little light shining from her face.
And her road was just a little bit smoother, going home.

 Little things can be crummy… until you meet a friend. 
Thoughts from Rosie.

One of those crummy experiences - the thought of which strangles your mind and you fuss over it.  While I was “out and about” as they say around here - I met a friend who let me complain about it.
In a few minutes we went on our ways.  I felt better but it wasn’t until the next day that I met my friend again and apologized for complaining about something so trivial.
What I had realized in the meantime was that both she and I had gone through much worse things.  
And I figured that since we couldn’t keep on complaining about those - I had attached my thoughts to something much more insignificant  to captivate my emotions.  
And now I can’t even remember what it was!
But it’s a kind friend who realizes that whatever we’re upset about is probably not that important-  but they still allow you to get it out… and even forget about it!
Thank you Audrey.

(Some folks want to remain anonymous. Their stories are encouraging.)


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Ripples of Kindness... busy check-out lanes!

When buying only one thing
 and the checkout lanes are long...
(Sent in by a local resident.)

Carol wrote:
On a recent Saturday I needed a gallon of distilled water, so I made a quick stop at the Family Fare grocery store.  I went in, got my jug of water, and went to the service counter, where there were seven or eight people lined up waiting. 
So what to do?
  I checked the other lanes and saw one where there was one customer finishing her order, and one woman waiting with a small order.  So I put my water on the conveyor belt, and the woman waiting said, "Why don't you go ahead of me?" 
I told her I'd be glad to wait, but she insisted that I go ahead of her.  So, I moved my water to right in front of her groceries, and while the customer ahead finished up, we started chatting.  
Then, when the cashier was finished, she turned to me, and I said, "This nice woman said I could go ahead of her, and this water is the only thing I am buying," and handed her my money.  
Stop!  Who’s paying?
THEN--my new friend said,  "No, put it on my  order!"  So we had this back and forth: “No”... “Yes”... “No”... “Yes”... and all the while the cashier is waiting to see who is going to end up paying for the water! 
I finally gave in, and thanked her, and as she gave me a big hug I told her I would definitely pay this forward and look for an opportunity to do the same for someone else!
It made my day!
(And now it’s “made” our day too!)

Another “Ripple” from the day of the snowfall…
(Just got this email and the writer 
wants to remain anonymous.)

The day of the big snowstorm, I was in town parked on the main street while getting a perm which took a couple of hours.  
When I came out, my SUV was covered with tons of snow and looked like a giant snow cone. I started cleaning it off. 
Jim Pagel from Chicago Ed's was outside shoveling snow and told me to get in my vehicle; that he would clean it off for me which he did.  
I think this was really super nice of him to do this.  
(We do too!)

Monday, January 29, 2018

A kind deed today - and help for tomorrow!

What you do for someone today… 
you may need for yourself tomorrow!

The man walked about a quarter of a mile on the country road to get to Ray Wynne’s house south of Cannon Falls.  He was walking because he had closed up the Oxford Sportsmen’s Club and had accidentally locked his car keys inside!
     After a chuckle or two, Ray gave him a ride to his home on the north side of Cannon Falls to retrieve his keys.  And then brought him back to the club to get his car.
This was a nice thing for Ray to do.
But little did he know that the very next day a similar situation would come upon him!
Guess what happened?
Ray was filling up his car at a local gas station.
No employees were working there at the time.  Ray was using his credit card and proceeded to move to the pump.
Now you should know that Ray is in his 80's and has two artificial legs.  And for some reason - he doesn’t know why - he hung onto the car to get to the pump.
He had shut his car door but then he accidentally bumped the handle and heard it lock.
The keys were inside.
Now he was locked out!
To make things more difficult…
To make it even more frustrating, Ray had left his two canes in his car.  He feels much safer walking when using his canes.
But also at that time, a stranger was filling up at a nearby pump.  He came over to help.
They figured out a plan.
The stranger gave Ray a ride to the store where Ray’s wife was getting groceries because she had another set of car keys.
And he helped Ray walk inside to find her.
And the store had an extra two canes that could help Ray walk!
And the result was…
Then the stranger gave Ray a ride back to his car.
Ray doesn’t know the fellow.  He does know that he recently retired from Gemini.
But Ray does know that there are some really helpful folks around here.

And now we do too.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Ripples of kindness... fallen tree...

Hand made and heart warmed…"
(The author did not want their name mentioned.)

“Oh what a wonderful surprise we received the other day.  A beautiful blanket made by the nice ladies of Wangen Prairie Church.
“Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!”
When you have to exercise…  (Rosie)
The large tree had fallen down over the fence in the horse pasture.  But it hadn’t clipped the hot wire so no horses were getting out.  Plus… I wasn’t sure which way it might “spring back” when I started sawing on it.
All excuses to avoid this project!
With all the rain we had had, I didn’t make it out for another couple of days.  When I did, I saw the tree was sinking into the ground and pretty soon would wipe out the whole fenceline.
Then I would not only have a fallen tree problem but a fence problem and a horse problem, etc.
 I finally started clipping the vines strangling it and using my old bow saw on the branches.  I had a few piles ready to haul off before I started on the trunk of the tree.  
I kept telling myself that this project was giving me good “upper body exercise”.  This idea helped on the smaller branches but I “eyed” the main trunk with dismay.  
All of a sudden I heard an ATV motor...  and I kept watch to see if it was coming down our road about a quarter mile away.  It was!
A neighbor was coming to get wood from his landlocked acreage next to ours.  As he disappeared down the trail into the woods, I jumped back into my old golf cart and drove over to position myself to block his way out!  
  Well, when he came out he took care of my fallen tree.
Now that was good timing... for me anyway!  Thanks neighbor!

Following are some of the “Ripples-type” stories found in the weekly publication of the Cannon Falls Police Department… “From the Beat”.  You can pick up a copy at the CFPD or get it online by emailing: 
Cannon Falls Police Officer David TerBeest discovered a truck stalled at an intersection.  Officer TerBeest physically pushed the truck out of the intersection (not using the patrol vehicle).  The driver was given a ride to a gas station where they would wait for a tow.

  On December 22nd at 3:15pm, Cannon Falls Officer Dave TerBeest responded to suspicious activity.  A green vehicle was stalled on the south overpass over Hwy 52 between the roundabouts and appeared to be occupied.
The problem:  It had run out of gas on the County 24 bridge. They pushed the car off the bridge. A passerby then gave them gas. 
Good fishing spot?
Cannon Falls Police Officer Marc Fluhrer stopped a vehicle for an inoperable brake light.  As he spoke with the 48 year old male from Maplewood, MN he decided to give him a verbal warning for the offense.  And also provided him with directions to Lower Hannah’s Bend to find a good fishing spot!

Suspicious Activity
On December 21st at 10:10pm, Officer Christine Good observed a vehicle driving slowly and seeming to have no direction.  After observance, the car was stopped and the driver explained that he was driving his two kids around because they were playing “Pok√©mon Go”. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Fan's dream come true!

A youthful looking Rod Johnson started working as the 
Minnesota Timberwolves public address announcer in the fall of 1996. 

A fan's dream come true! 
While driving his 12 year old son Cory home from little league practice back in 1996, Rod Johnson of Cannon Falls heard this announcement on the radio... “Your chance to be the Public Address announcer for the Timberwolves!”  And young Cory enthusiastically encouraged, “Dad, you gotta go for it!” 
Rod had previously left a career in radio broadcasting because it kept him away from home so much and he couldn’t take part in a lot of activities with his family, wife Bernie and four boys, Jesse, Bobby, Nathan and Cory.
But he still missed broadcasting and volunteered his time announcing high school football, basketball and baseball games.

Take a shot!
So the next morning Rod called the Timberwolves and asked what he should do to apply?  Well, they needed a tape of him announcing and it had to be in by the end of that day!  
At the time Rod was working at his lumber business, Northern Hardwood.  He took time to go home for lunch to cut the tape.  Bernie drove up to Timberwolves headquarters in Minneapolis and hand delivered it.

Decision time...
Rod was told over 250 tapes had been submitted.  He was one of eight finalists. 
In the final decision making process he was asked to announce half of the NBA Summer Showcase event held at Target Center.  The next day the Timberwolves called and asked him to announce an entire game the following day.  
Subsequently he was told they had narrowed the selection to him and one other person.  But because the vice president of the ‘Wolves was out of town they needed time to make the final decision and would let him know within two weeks.  
  Then Rod asked,  “By the way, who was the other finalist?” They responded, Jesse Ventura! Rod explained, “He went on to become Governor, but I think I had more fun with my job!”
And Rod believed there were no hard feelings because after his election, Ventura asked Rod to emcee his inaugural ball.

“Like a kid in a candy shop!”
  For the first few years in his job Rod couldn’t believe he was announcing in the NBA... “watching the greatest basketball players in the world and sitting courtside!”
But, he chuckled, trying to pronounce their names could be nerve wracking.  Like center Stoijko Vrankovic!  
“The season went extremely well,” Rod recalled, “not just for me but for the team. That year, we made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history!”
He continued,  “I will never forget that first ever playoff game against the Houston Rockets. It was so loud in Target Center that I could not even hear myself do the starting lineups! 
“I also remember after the lineups, Jesse Ventura repelled from the ceiling of Target Center and taunted the Rockets.
“The team had a great run of making the playoffs for eight consecutive years and even advancing to the Western Conference Finals. I of course announced all of those games and enjoyed every minute of it.”

Twenty-one years - only two misses!
In his 21 years of announcing games, Rod missed only two.  One was due to an injury he received before the game when he took part in a Cannon Falls Alumni Tournament and unknowingly tore his calf muscle.  
Getting ready to announce the Timberwolves game that night, Rod was checked out by the team doctor who told him he was not doing it!  The torn muscle had caused internal bleeding and was quite serious.  Rod was going to the hospital.  

No back-up announcer!
But they didn’t have a back-up announcer. Their TV announcer had the night off because it was nationally broadcast and they couldn’t get hold of him.  But five minutes before the game started he came walking into the arena - just to watch the game!  Or so he thought! 
The only other game Rod missed was when the air conditioning in the stadium in Mexico City malfunctioned causing smoke to pour into the building and the game was postponed.  But it was rescheduled when Rod had previously committed to be the auctioneer at a huge benefit auction in Chicago for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  

His reasons for leaving his beloved job...
It was his other job as an auctioneer and missing family activities that were the main reasons Rod gave up announcing the Timberwolves games after 21 years.  He explained that Bernie “...sacrificed a lot so I could do what I loved... Now it’s time for me to spend a little more time with family.”
For example, When son Bobby got married, Rod was announcing and missed the groom’s dinner.  He got up at 3:30 a.m. to drive to the wedding and by the following 2:30 a.m. he was driving back to announce game two of the Western Conference finals... and so it went!

Some other memorable moments:
* Back In 2004 when the Wolves’ defeated the Sacramento Kings in game seven, to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
* Seeing his son, Cory (who had coached in the college ranks for seven years) go to work full time for the Timberwolves in 2013 in basketball operations. 
* The return of Kevin Garnett to the Target Center and when Garnett stopped at Rod’s announcer’s table at courtside and asked Rod: “How the hell old are we?” 
* And the time Rod was asked to be in the movie “Joe Somebody,” starring Tim Allen. Rod recalled, “What an experience as I played myself, the Timberwolves’ announcer.”

At the end...
Rod reflects:  “So, that was it…after 21 years I was done. I’ve always said, the year I give it up is the year the Wolves will go all the way, so if that happens, remember to thank me! If that does happen, I hope they’ll let me be involved somehow.
“I’ve always been very passionate about the Minnesota Timberwolves and definitely see that continuing as I’ll now be at Target Center cheering them on as a fan.”
Rod added, “Not only have I been the voice of the Timberwolves the past 21 years... I’ve been a season ticket holder for 25 years!”

It was a fan’s dream come true... for Rod Johnson of Cannon Falls.

Rod and his wife Bernie with his old microphone 
received as a token of appreciation from the Minnesota Timberwolves.


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Speaking "Minnesotan"!

 When NOT to speak “Minnesotan”!

When reading the description of the pain I was having, I had written: "discomfort".
Not right!  I actually thought I could be having a heart attack.
 And it appeared to me that very likely I was going to die.
And then I realized I wasn’t afraid of dying.  It was the piercing pain streaking through my chest that caused me to be unable to breathe normally that made me wonder how long I could stand it.
It started...
It began after 9 p.m. when I had taken the dogs I was “babysitting” outside to do their “business”.... (“Minnesotan” for - you know what.)
The temperature was way below zero.
I didn’t dress as warmly as I do when feeding horses.
This task should be quicker.
But apparently not quick enough.

When I came back inside I noticed “discomfort” in my chest.  
It got worse and I decided maybe the cold air had affected my body.  So I went to bed with a heating pad.
When it kept getting worse I decided to make some notes as to my condition.  I also considered that I might not get better and when someone would find me I wanted them to know what had happened.

What happens when people 
die with their pets?
Then I had a flashback to a speaker I had heard: a medical examiner who explained what happened when bodies of folks who had pets were not found for several days. 
It appears that the pets started eating their owners.  Dogs went for fatty butts and little “Fluffy” the cat went for the face.  Or the other way around.  Or so I remembered.
I decided that the dogs I was taking care of were so big that there wouldn’t be much left of me.

I decided to make more notes.
But in the notes I didn’t explain the sharp stabbing pains that left me wondering if I would get enough air in to stay alive!
You see I’ve been raised “Minnesotan”!
And the pain didn’t reflect all the symptoms I had heard about heart attacks.  
So I decided I would wait and see what happened.
I remember hearing local EMT’s warn that folks did not call them as soon as they should.
Guess we were all raised “Minnesotan”.

Later on...
After a few hours, the pain had subsided so I could breathe through my mouth a little better.
It was in the morning that I finally contacted a friend to talk over the situation.  We decided to go to the hospital and get some tests run.
I avoid doctors as much as I can... except for being good friends.  I’ve found that although they may be good at their craft, I’ve had many incorrect diagnoses over the years that left me struggling.  But who knows how many times I spoke “Minnesotan” and they didn’t understand!
But this time we worked together and the test results relieved me.

Back home...
So I’m back doing chores on the farm.
Although I’ve been sleeping on the couch with the Christmas tree lights on instead of going to my own bed and reliving the pain.
So my wish for you this New Year is that you find peace and love and health!  

It means the same when you're speaking “Minnesotan”!