Saturday, June 24, 2017

A "life lesson: for a second grader... and all of us!

Sensitivity and learning a lesson..
Years later she has never forgotten the sensitivity of her second grade teacher. 
Here’s the story... as a tiny tot in school, Judy Schlekewy had noticed her friend had left her lunch money sitting in their locker area.  And she couldn’t resist the temptation.
She took it.
But then she was consumed with hiding the stolen coins.  
First under some stuff on her desk.
Then inside her desk.
Then under some cloth.
And on and on...
But she hadn’t been caught.
Or had she?
When the other little girl tearfully explained to the teacher that she had lost her lunch money, the teacher might have figured out what had happened.
But she didn’t accuse anyone.
Although she did encourage the money to be returned or “found”.
And little seven year old Judy, who was feeling guilty, made sure it was found.
But she spent an awful night worrying that the teacher would tell her parents and her friend what had happened.
The next day Judy showed up at school, waiting for the worst... but the teacher just announced that the money had been found.
And Judy recalled that she was so grateful for that reprieve that she has never stolen anything again!
A wise decision by a teacher led to a lovely “grown-up” lady.

Oh No!  You lost your “Hello Kitty” lunch box?   
A report came in to the Cannon Falls Police Department that a pink “Hello Kitty” lunch box was sitting on a street corner.  (In some places of this country you might be concerned and call the Bomb Squad!)
Officer Joshua Colvard located the lunchbox which appeared to have been dropped by a young student after getting off the school bus.  Officer Colvard traced the name on the lunch box to an address in the area and the lunchbox was returned.


Friday, June 2, 2017

 Can you choose who you are?

(Thoughts while watching the 
Little Cannon River rise in all the rain!
Now it's back in its banks again.).   

What do people tell you - about you?

I was the youngest in my family.
Everyone else was bigger and smarter.   
And I rebelled when I was consistently told that I was the “strong” one.
I didn’t feel strong.
I was really scared, lots of times.
(Like when my older sister - we shared a bedroom - told me there was a bear under my bed!)   

Who was “strong”?

And I had really “strong” family members to look up to.
My parents were immigrants.
My mother was an orphan in Europe after WWI.
My father left there too.
He came here and later built up his own business.
They met while taking English classes in the U.S.
My only sibling had serious health issues that she dealt with in a brave and powerful manner.
So as a wimpy little kid I KNEW I was not the strong one.

Why do people tell you these things?

As I grew up I finally realized they were not telling me that I was strong because I really was strong.
I decided they just needed someone to be strong in their lives.
And they chose me.
And so I stopped arguing with them.
Even if they weren’t right.

So what about you?

Now I wonder what you have been told that you are?
Maybe someone said you were “lazy”... or “boring”... or “dumb”.
But it’s your choice if you believe them or not.

Here’s another choice…

It’s my choice to tell you that you are “creative”... “smart”... and “kind”.
One reason is that’s what my spiritual belief system says we are designed to be.
And if you think you’re not any of these... keep in mind why my family told me I was strong.  
Because they needed that type of person around them.

And today we all need…

And I need all these types of folks around me!
So keep in mind that I see you this way.
And just be “creative... smart... and kind” - whether you believe it or not.
And we’ll all be better off!


Friday, May 19, 2017

Much better than 
     the “Toilet Bowl” award!

I consider “Awards” with mixed emotions.
So many people are doing good things and don’t get recognized for it.
So when I found a message on my answering machine that I was to be given a Congressional Commendation for the activities of a group I was with, I debated receiving it.

Actually, the last award I got was from our local 2016 Fantasy Football League.  When the season started I did great and won the first four games.    But perhaps because I’m a Vikings fan... I soon tanked.
So I was awarded a framed plaque stating I had won the “Toilet Bowl Champions” award.

Maybe this would be better

In spite of that I returned the call to the office of Second District Congressman, Jason Lewis, and heard them explain the award.
And I decided I would do it for TRIAD - Cannon Falls Area Citizens and Law Enforcement Partnership.
The award was really a nice thing and TRIAD promotes a safer community by sharing police information, techniques (like CSI stuff!) and concerns with adults and kids.

Then I realized that other folks should be included.  

Goodhue County Deputy Tom Wolner... he has been the on-site law enforcement rep for the group - he even comes to meetings on his day off!

Cannon Falls Police Chief Jeff McCormick.  Besides organizing public safety projects, Jeff fills in on emergencies... like the time our speaker was T-boned by a semi on his way to our meeting!  Jeff filled in as speaker.

Then there’s a ‘civilian’ who has been an integral part of TRIAD since its beginning, its treasurer Ray Kimmes.
There are other folks who could have been included but there was concern we wouldn’t all fit in the photo shoot!

Everyone is important in this group!

 But everyone in our TRIAD is important - from those who share their experiences to those of us who learn from them... adults and teens... really cool!
And kidding around with the congressman at the photo shoot was fun.  

 The “real” world

But coming back to the “real world”, after the ceremony... Ray Kimmes came to my farm and helped get my old 8N Ford tractor going and I mowed two pastures before sundown! 

Just like Cinderella... “after the Ball”!


Friday, April 14, 2017

"Ripples"… the good you see ripples onward and we smile!

Wait a minute Sir!
How to get through the security check-in line at the airport without more stress?  Judy Schlekewy has a good hint that she figured out while watching her husband Bob.  
Along with everyone else, Bob had to empty his pockets into a bin and step along quickly to go through security.
All good so far.  
Except when hurrying to pick up his stuff... wallet, etc. Bob forgot his cell phone in the bin.  But an observant worker saw it and called him back.  
Thanks so much!
Now Judy’s idea is to pack all this sort of loose stuff in a plastic bag and you just have to pick up one item... not many.

 Friends like these!
Last Sunday I decided to visit a little church where I attend a book discussion during the week.  But I figured I’d had my share of liturgy over the years and decided I would sneak in late so I could just hear the sermon.
But I guess that’s not possible in a small town!
The “sneaky” part I mean.
First I snuck into the kitchen to drop off the leftovers of my cake  that didn’t get eaten at the book study earlier that week and was really tasty.  Then I headed upstairs to the sanctuary.
I quietly stepped inside and snuck into one of the rear pews. 
So far so good.
Except when I came in they were still doing the liturgy and the pastor stopped and looked at me and announced: Rosie, you can get the book out of the pew and read along.
Oh shucks!  And then I picked the wrong book and he said, the green one... and I got it!
But I looked at the congregation and said, “Gee, you sure can’t sneak into this church!”
Well, they’re my friends and they laughed.
Later on in the service I made another mistake!  At some point everyone sat down and I didn’t notice... until I saw I was the only one standing.  I turned to my friends behind me and said, why didn’t you clue me in!  
And one said, we thought maybe your knees wouldn’t like getting up again and we’re going to stand up in a minute anyway!  
Well... afterwards my cake made a hit! And one person was excited to tell me she had a story for the Ripples column!
You’re doing what?
Ever look inside the cover of an egg carton?   I have no idea why I did recently... but I saw it had a verse from Psalms 118:24 and said: This is the Day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” 
I thought it was a sweet thought... but on the other hand, if I’m reading the insides of egg cartons... I’ve got to get a life!  :)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A perfect match!

                A perfect match!

              But no one guessed who it would be.

            Polycystic kidney disease permeates Lisa Miller’s family she explained.  It’s an inherited disorder, explained online by the Mayo Clinic staff,  in which clusters of cysts develop which are noncancerous and contain a water-like fluid.  As they accumlate more fluid they can grow very large.
            Lisa’s father died from it... lots of her relatives are affected with it... and her brother had been on dialysis for seven years.

            Jeff Skaalrud needed a kidney transplant and was actually at the top of the list.  But the catch was: he had a rare blood type and they couldn’t find a donor to match.
            Family stepped up to be checked... but no one matched.
            Lisa posted this request on her Facebook page but didn’t get a donor.

            Then one day she was having a friendly conversation on the phone with her ex-husband, Dan Schneider, who lives on the west side of the twin cities.  She  accidentally mentioned that her brother needed a kidney transplant and they hadn’t been able to find a donor because of his rare blood type.
            On the spur of the moment Lisa asked Dan what his blood type was?
            You guessed it.
            It was the same rare type as her brother.

            So Dan went to be tested and everything fit.  This was amazing as he is not a blood relative.
            Now by that time, Jeff’s two kidneys were as large as footballs.  Lisa said they found later they weighed 40 pounds!  
             On February 10  the surgeries took place and Lisa explained that the kidney transplanted to Jeff started working right away in the operating room.

             Dan had some health concerns after surgery but is recuperating well now.

            Jeff is recuperating at the Gift of Life Transplant House in Rochester.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Ripple Effect #2

"The Ripples Effect" column 
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.   

Lights in the night...
On a cold dark winter’s night...  on a lonely country road... it’s so heartwarming to see the multi colored lights sparkling brightly after you come off the “stupid” (my thoughts!) roundabouts on Highway 52 and cruise about a half mile down the pitch black roadway of County 24 Blvd and reach the corner of Willow Trail.  Thanks so much!
“Chain of Kindness!”
Teacher Barb Templin recalled that in the past her class in Cannon Falls had been reading the story,  A Christmas Carol.  As part of their study the students made a “Chain of Kindness”.   Each one would write a kind thing they had done on a strip of paper which would be added to the chain links and these would be hanging around the room.  (This could be fun to do in other situations all year long!

         Good neighbors...
Marv and Lois Nelson caught me at the Grow Cannon Falls meeting and enthusiastically talked about their neighbors.  One had taken care of his wife who had Alzheimers and he also picked up the mail for another elderly neighbor and when he delivers it he checks up on her being safe.  

Then there’s another neighbor who had knee surgery and now is “a fanatic about walking” to stay in shape.  As he goes about his exercise routine he picks up any debris he finds along the way... and cleans up the city parking lot too!  

Leave your phone number at the Beacon 263-3991 or email your suggestions to Rosie or drop them off at the Beacon front desk. Enjoy! :)  

Friday, January 27, 2017

Small towns impact new president...

 Small towns impact 
new president...

I didn’t join a “March”...  
(Some of my friends did.)
I didn’t trash cars or windows.
(My friends didn’t either.)
So what did I do?
I emailed the president.

Why do that?

You see, I had read on the internet that part of the Trump campaign strategy was to focus on small towns in America.  
Saleno Zito wrote in the New York Post this week that the Trump campaign went through town after town.  He saw them “worn down by neglect”.  Main Street shopping districts were half boarded up... etc.
So I wrote the president to encourage him to keep up his contact with small towns.  There are smart folks living out in the back roads or off the highways (and silly roundabouts) and our nation can’t afford to overlook this bank of talent.


I remember years ago after moving from a big city to rural Cannon Falls that one retired professor of journalism took to reading all the rural newspapers in Minnesota.
Then he would write a review and include some of the best articles he had found.
(Yes, I was pretty pleased to have him include some of mine.)
So I suggested to the new president that they have someone compile the information and ideas expressed in weekly newspapers all over the nation.
These insights might just be some of the most practical and wise pieces of advice he can get!  

But also

And I also suggested the president share his plans with these small newspapers too... but to keep his writing to “twitter-sized” columns.  
  But... I didn’t invite him to visit Cannon Falls.
We had another president do that a few years ago.
A nice enough fellow.
But it was exhausting for those in charge to make sure he was safe.

Previous suggestions

Now, do you think the president will take to heart my suggestions?  
I remember many years ago when I complained to Governor Harold LeVander about his budget.
Soon afterwards I got a large package in the mail.  It was his budget!
In other words, he was telling me to show him where to cut it!
I realized his point.
I’m still smiling.  
So if the president agrees to getting information from rural America... do I have any volunteers to help me read a zillion weekly newspapers?