- Member for
- 3 years 11 months
It's good to be home. I recently traveled as part of the Barnes-Aastad Soil and Water Conservation Research Association to Washington, D.C. My traveling companions were Dean Meichsner, Dan Perkins and Jim Wink. We spent four days visiting congressional and administrative offices in support of the USDA Agriculture Research Service and specifically the Soils Lab in Morris. This trip has been conducted annually by volunteer members of Barnes-Aastad for over 50 years. But now I'm home and happy to be here. Don't get me wrong, I love visiting Washington, D.C.
MORRIS, Minn. - Approximately 30 people gathered at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris on Feb. 21 to try to answer the persistent question of how to build a healthy, vibrant and sustainable community. The meeting was billed as a public listening session for local area residents to gather and discuss how to improve the quality of life in the Morris region.
It's always somewhat startling to me how quickly holidays are over. The day after is just another day and there will be no mention of yesterday. Christmas music ends at midnight Dec. 25. The 5th of July is no big deal. Black Friday has no Thanksgiving in it at all. I thought of this again on Wednesday as I sorted through the half-price Valentine candy. And I wonder if it's too late to tell you of my favorite Valentines? My husband's maternal grandparents, Carl and Ann Olson, were married for 77 years and loved each other to their very last days.
When you think of someone as being extraordinary, often what comes to mind is the kid who can recite Pi to its fiftieth digit, the 15-year-old college graduate or the fifth-grader who can play eight instruments and is hoping to learn the glockenspiel for her 13th birthday. Granted, those are some amazingly talented individuals, but I don't know that I would call them extraordinary. The difference between being talented and being extraordinary, I think, is that extraordinary only comes with effort.
This past Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011, the top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq returned home to U.S. soil bearing the U.S. Forces-Iraq flag. The ceremony to retire the flag was the symbolic end to the War in Iraq. Under Army custom the flag will be retired and either stored or displayed. I watched the brief ceremony several times on many different television networks, and have read and re-read the remarks from the occasion. I was supposed to be writing the annual Dieter Christmas letter so the holiday cards could finally get in the mail and arrive before Christmas.
MORRIS - Every year about this time, I sit down and try to find a new way to remind you of the importance of shopping local. And I've been thinking about it since the first holiday display appeared in stores, right next to the back to school supplies. But I think many of you have already gotten the e-mail titled, "Christmas 2011 Birth of a New Tradition." I know it's been in my inbox at least three times. There are some valid points included in the message, so just in case you haven't gotten this yet, please read on.
I'm not really a big football fan. However, I have come to realize that football season is a special time, for athletes and parents alike, and there's nothing like a Friday night football game to bring the community together. This was the first season of Tiger football for which I have attended all of the home games. In fact, this was the first time since my own high school days that I have gone to more than one football game in a season and stayed past halftime. And honestly, I was only at the high school games of my youth because I was in the marching band and it was required.
You know what is the best part about living in a small town? Two things. First, there's always something to do. Really. And second, you don't have to be an expert to get involved with something. For instance, this weekend I'll be doing announcing for the True Team section meet for girls' swimming and diving. As part of that, I'll be announcing to the judges what dives the athletes will be completing. This will be my first time announcing diving. Truth be told, for every other meet I've been at, I either have left during the diving competition or haven't paid attention.
I have told you this before, but I carry a copy of the United States Constitution in my purse. When I'm questioned about it, I joke that I'm waiting to be the next contestant on "Let's Make a Deal" and hope that Monty Hall will offer $500 for anyone who has a nail clipper and a copy of the Constitution. Truth is, the Constitution is a really important document and I strongly urge people to read it. Then read it again. Both of my children got their own copy when they entered 7th grade. Often, I will make them name their favorite constitutional amendment and tell me why.
Not too long ago, a couple folks from a marketing firm sat down in a circle with folks from Morris and asked us about our town - what makes it unique, what about it do we most enjoy and why do people come here? It's harder than you think to answer those questions, particularly when you try to think of why anyone might come to Morris. I came here to go to college. I was the first in my family to attend college and Morris was the only logical choice for me. I wanted to be far enough away from my parents so they couldn't just drop in on me.