Friday, November 9, 2018

Saving Private... who?

 Saving Private… who?
It was the ravaged aftermath of WWII in europe - with its bombed out buildings haunting its cities - that still captivates my memory.
I was a child when I saw them after the war was over.  I grew up in the U.S., but I was uncomfortable seeing movies that didn’t portray my understanding of the pain and anguish of war in its reality.
I was recently touched by a reference to Steven Spielberg’s movie, Saving Private Ryan, mentioned in the book, On Combat by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman.
He reports that Spielberg’s movie is “an incredibly realistic depiction of the violence and horror of combat.”  
But he makes an important point. 
The story has U.S. Army Rangers going behind enemy lines where each man dies trying to save one young paratrooper: Private Ryan.  
In Grossman’s mind: “that band of Rangers represents every American warrior who ever willingly gave his life to give us freedom, the lives and the liberty that we have today.”
Grossman explains: Those Rangers are the same as the soldiers who died in the Civil War… In the bloody tide at Normandy Beach and Iwo Jima.  They are the police officers and firefighters who rushed up the steps of the World Trade Center on 9-11.  “… and they represent the cop who died yesterday… alone and afraid … somewhere in America”.  
Dying words...
At the end of the movie, when the last ranger lays dying, he looks up at the Private they saved… and his dying words are: “Earn it”.  
“Earn it…”
And isn’t that what we all need to consider when we make decisions that protect these precious ideals they fought for us to have?
In seeing and hearing the accusations tossed around today I wonder:  Who is the enemy?  
They said that?
When researching public attitudes during the Revolutionary War, Civil War, etc. I find some very unpopular statements about those folks that today we think are heroes!
So consider this...
Are we the “Private Ryan’s” those Rangers struggled to save?
If so...What are we “protecting” for the future?
Just a thought… 
Picture yourself in the position of the surviving paratrooper as he listens to the dying soldier who saved his life… and his admonition to protect these ideals for the future.
Can we do this…
Saving Private ___________   (Put your name here).

Monday, November 5, 2018

Knock-Knock... ouch!

Is it just your problem?

Who’s there?
(Remind you of a joke?)

But it was no joke to the speaker on the podium… or to the bird who was repeatedly flying into the long window behind him.  The speaker knew the bird’s attacks would be very distracting to the audience, so he called their attention to it.  
A red cardinal was apparently seeing his reflection in the window and deciding it was an adversary, he flew at the window to attack his replica. 
He did this on and off for about an hour.  (Yes, it was distracting but what could you do?)
Theoretically the bird could have decided not to attack the reflection.  Or after doing it a zillion times he could have decided he wasn’t making an impact on the problem.     
Teaching moment!
So it seems like there is a “teaching moment” in this cardinal/window episode.
Can it relate to our “life”?
Can we find ourselves attacking a reflection of what we think is an enemy?  Or a problem?
You focus on it… you attack it.
But the “enemy’s response”…
But “it” doesn’t attack back.
It just remains there.
It doesn’t go away… no matter how much effort you make attacking it.
And so…
So how much time do we spend in our lives just attacking a problem that is simply a reflection?
Maybe we should ask ourselves:  What does this “adversary” represent?
Is it just reflection of something we don’t like in our life?
  Are we the only one who sees it as an enemy? 
Maybe we should consider this…
  What are we accomplishing by attacking this “reflection”?
  Should we do something different?
Could it be that we might just be distracting others?   
  I probably missed a lot of what the speaker said that day because I was watching the cardinal “attack” its self-designated “problem”!  
But this is where friends can help.  Or strangers.  Someone else might see what we’re doing… and help us identify the situation… and find a better solution.  
And “Knock - Knock” can be a joke again!

(This column was inspired after hearing the authors of the book: How to Stop Freaking the %#$@ Out! by Erin Pasch and Kyle Keller at the Cannon Falls Library.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

"Ghost dog"?

 "Ghost Dog"... 
Explaining the “unexplainable”? 

They act as “Go Betweens” - meaning between humans and the supernatural.
Several members of the Dakota County Paranormal Society (DCPS) explained their position at a presentation recently at the Cannon Falls Library. 
Their website explains, they gather the data that leads to a better understanding of ghosts, hauntings and the paranormal in general.
It explains they are not professionals.  They are a “group of men and women committed to the study, research, and investigation of the Paranormal.”
Juli Glazebrock, team leader, commented: they also want to help anyone having problems with or understanding these situations.
Or they will put them in contact with trained professionals who can assist them.  This could be others in their field or medical help professionals.  
They avoid situations where people have used Ouija boards because, Juli explained, that is like opening a door and other types of entities can come in.   
They do not charge for their services.
They operate in Minnesota, western Wisconsin and northern Iowa.
Is something wrong with me?
Sometimes the person requesting help explains the weird situation they’ve experienced and asks: “I just want to know I’m not crazy.”  
The members of DCPS are very serious about investigations.  They use a variety of electromagnetic field equipment including voice recorders, a variety of cameras including a Polaroid, etc.
The hours of recordings are later reviewed as they compile their insights as to sounds and images.  Some of these they may not have noticed during their investigation.
Favorite haunting places…
One of their favorite places to investigate seems to be the previously known Mississippi Belle restaurant in Hastings.  A recent investigation was held at the Le Duc Mansion.
“Ghost dog?”
After returning home from the meeting of the “ghost hunters”, I settled down at my kitchen table to read awhile before calling it a day.  
It was quiet as I chose the book: Killing the SS.  It’s about the hunt for Nazi death camp officers over the many years since WWII.  
It’s a vivid tale of intrigue and suspense.
It’s also probably not the best choice of reading material after the meeting about spooky experiences. 
The light over my table highlighted the brutal events.  All of a sudden in the silence I heard the growl of a dog.
This was curious because I don’t have a dog.
It wasn’t a scary growl… kind of like a vibrating motor running.  Or like a “purr” from a cat.
So what?
I didn’t pay much attention - except noting it at the time and I kept reading the book.
About two minutes later I heard the “growl-purr” again and I actually looked under the table to see if some kind of wild critter had gotten into the house out here in the country.
Nothing there.
I thought it was curious but that was all.
A couple minutes later it happened again. 
Then a fourth time.
OK folks!  Now I'm paying attention!
German Shepherds
I thought of all the German Shepherd dogs we had over the years.
Was this a suggestion to get one?   
        Or is there a dog already here? 
*** Let’s get back to the book…
I went back to reading about the concentration camps but I freaked out with the next page explaining how women guards used vicious German Shepherd dogs to control their prisoners.
I decided to do some other chores that night.  
Explaining the Unexplainable…
I thought about the paranormal investigators and their deductions as to what the sounds and/or pictures they were studying really were. 
The audio they interpreted to be voices from the supernatural was not understandable to me.  But could it be that the difficulty in discerning this is that we are trying to explain the “unexplainable”? 
Many ancient belief systems seem to have tried to do this.
Are we all trying to interpret this “voyage” we are on in ways that make sense to ourselves?   Even though it doesn’t make sense to someone else?
But maybe that’s the challenge we are to take.

Is this where all the "lost" socks in 
wash machines have gone to?

Graphics from the CDPS website.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

They did WHAT?

Surprises at candidate’s meeting!

A couple days before the panel discussion introducing the two candidates for sheriff was held, I was informed that we had no moderator.
Not good.
Actually, I had tried to get about seven different people to be the moderator and all had excuses. (Some of them were really lousy excuses in my mind.}
So… since I have interviewed many people over the years - I could do this.
And then I decided it’s not going to be a debate.  Reason?  I hate debates. I have a short attention span and lose concentration easily!  So their responses were limited to two minutes. And not every candidate is good at debating.
  Plus, it was “my party”!  That’s what I call it when I have to do all the planning.
Candidates accepted.
Anyway, I had already invited the two candidates for sheriff to participate at a meeting of the Cannon Falls Area TRIAD.  It would be on Cable TV and Youtube.
The night before the presentation I was told that there was a problem for one of the candidates. He had just been put on administrative leave from his police department and had his gun taken away.  (That last part seems a little dramatic but that’s the way they play it.)
The problem was that neither the candidate nor the public could know what he was being accused of.
Didn’t we just go through something like this out in Washington, D.C.?
What do we do with this?
So I thought it would be best if I mentioned the situation to the audience before the program began.  Both candidates agreed to let me do it.  One wanted to express his understanding of the problem and the other one wanted to say that he had nothing to do with the accusation.
My problem was that I couldn’t think of any words that weren’t sensitive to the issue!   I asked a couple other folks and we were all stumped.
So it was suggested I just let someone in the audience ask it.
And I did.
Googled the questions!
Now I had already “googled” other questions and run them by members of the TRIAD board.  
We came up with some real “stoppers”!
Example.: Why do you want to be sheriff?
OK.  The other questions were a little better.
Then came input from the audience…
First was the question about the administrative leave.  That was handled as mentioned.
Then another member of the audience had brought a sign to emphasize his point.  He wanted to know when the deputies were getting body cameras.  
This got to be a little tense as he had his own concerns and was vigorously defending them to local police.
I was getting a little uncomfortable with the situation and got up from my chair as moderator to be prepared for… I didn’t know what!  
And I didn’t know what I would do since I liked both of them and also realized that they’re both bigger than me!
But everyone settled down and the “party” went on.
Vote for…?
So… now do you know who to vote for?

More than one person said… either way we’ve got a good candidate for sheriff!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The most beautiful 
Christmas tree... 
I wish I had never seen!

Many 30-40 foot pine trees 
went down at our farm. 

This is the top of one of them. 
It was shorting out the fence line 
and endangering the critters.

It’s fresh pine boughs 
and perfectly shaped cones 
make it a beautiful Christmas tree… 
but one I wish I had never seen. 

I would like it to still be alive.

It’s all lit up now. 

Like a sentinel… 
to the many trees and dreams

that were lost in the storm...

that dark and windy night.

(See it lit from 7-9 p.m. for a while.)


Thursday, September 27, 2018

After the tornado...

                              You never know...
         At a meeting the night before the tornado hit the Cannon Falls area, I was discussing a situation with a friend.  He didn’t see my point of viewl.  No problem with this except I was feeling “squirrely” and couldn’t let the topic drop!  He had every right to his opinion, I told myself. But I still fussed.  
The next day I was home alone when the storm hit. Afterwards I went out to count animals but in the dark I couldn’t see all the damage until the next morning. 
Then I started sawing through branches and vines to get to the trunks of all the trees that were smothering my fence lines.  Hour after hour I kept on.
I was bushed.
All of a sudden I received a call that a group of adults and teenagers would come out if I needed help.
And later that day I looked up and saw that the first man to arrive was the very one I had been fussing with! 
That’s the best part of a small town!
Share your notes of thanks 
to the helpers you’ve seen working relentlessly 
during this devastation in next week’s 
Ripples column. 
Drop them off, call them in, email, 
use pigeons, etc.!  
Thanks so much!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Along the way... with Rosie

Hideout needed!

A place to hide.  It’s not just for law breakers or bandits you know.  
Good ordinary folks may need a place to get away.  Maybe their family asks them to solve every little problem.  Or they just need a change of scenery for a break.
But I have decided it could help me too.
You see, I’ve been hearing snatches of conversations that my family would like to celebrate my coming birthday.  It’s kind of a landmark occasion…at my age of 80… at least to them! 
Kind of a surprise to me too.  (And it’s the “new 60” now, you know!)
It’s kind of cool actually because many years ago I had health issues that made me dread the thought of living on.  
But back to the present time… now I’m concerned that since I said I didn’t have any plans to celebrate, and didn’t want to… these folks might decide to have a surprise party for me.
Been there… done that.
My husband tried that once.
It was my fortieth birthday.
Somehow I caught on to the plans and wouldn’t leave the farm when everyone was trying to get it decorated.
Finally, one friend took me aside and explained the situation and got me out of there.
But I was steaming mad!
The roles are reversed.
Keep in mind that I love planning surprise parties for others!  But I don’t know why I thought they would like it any better than I did!
I had better remember that.
But being sneaky and doing something nice is really so much fun!
History shows…
Oh well.
I remember how much fun it was to celebrate birthdays when I was a youngster.
As a child you had occasions to look forward to - like the first day of school - because your friends were there and you were a big kid now.  Then you looked forward to graduating.  Then you looked forward to a new job.  Then maybe a family.  And then you retired and could have time for yourself.
What is there to look forward to after that?
Seems like we should have something else to think about besides your funeral!
Well… right now I’ve got work to do, problems to solve and roses to smell.
Like this one…
OK - back to my first dilemma… my birthday.
What can I say to folks who ask me how I’m celebrating my birthday?
That I’m taking a trip?
But one where I can get home in time to feed horses?
So - I’m back to my first question: 

Do you know a good place for a “hideout”?