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Local Columns

Scent checked

In the headlights, the yellowing leaves of fall in the ash tree alongside the approach on the gravel country road were pre-dawn reminders of the ongoing seasonal shift. The cool air that curled into the truck as I opened the door was the second, and the third was the ritualistic walk around the ...

One day

I believe music is the best medium to bring people together. Recently, I’ve heard a lot of people say that, one day, we’ll get back to normal. The two words — one day – have become almost a chant for us. We say it without thinking about them — it’s just, one day... Then, I ...

The purple season

You know that it’s time to harvest your grapes when you start to see purple bird doots on the windshield of your pickup. In any case, that’s the system I use. There are about half a dozen grapevines scattered around our farmstead. Most of them are the Valiant variety. This particular ...

The shot not taken

The eastern bank of clouds meant that my friends on the far side of the state likely would not see much hunting action as my dog and I traversed the gravel roads south and west of town away from the shadow of the frontal boundary. The sun slowly climbed over the gray bank and dawn was delayed ...

They’re laughing with you

The day after I tagged my deer last season was warm but windy and there was no snow on the ground. It was more like a September scene than one from November. With temperatures in the mid-50s and gusty breezes at 25 miles per hour, I watched the hillside grasses bend as the northwest gales ...

Meeting our grandson

My wife and I generally look forward to road trips. There’s nothing like a bright, new morning with an open road stretching out before us, a steaming mug of coffee in the cupholder, an order of French toast sticks balancing on the armrest. Our recent journey to Kansas City seemed a bit ...

Books and Beyond

When I started reading “Seal Morning,” I knew it was the right book for me now. It was written by Rowena Farre, c 1956, about living in a croft in rural Scotland for seven years when she was a young girl. She was with her Aunt Miriam. Most of the time they are by themselves, and enjoying ...

The algebra agnostic

With the arrival of the back-to-school season, it’s all but inevitable that your youngsters will come home with some embarrassingly uncomfortable questions. That is exactly happened to me back when our youngest son began seventh grade. Seemingly apropos of nothing, the boy up and asked me ...

And justice for all

In the midst of a conversation about current events, the comment was made there should be justice for all. There was a fair amount of head nodding after that statement, and then a comment was made about the Minnesota wine we were sipping. It was said the wine was too tart and harsh tasting to ...

Stargazing time is expanding!

Marshall summer stargazing can be so comfortable! However, for a lot of folks with Monday through Friday jobs, the wake-up call for work restricts extended nights under the stars to the weekend. In September though, nightfall begins much earlier, especially later in the month. That’s really ...

The COVID-19 blues

As the captain of the Titanic could attest, things can go swimmingly until they suddenly don’t. Things had been going swimmingly for my wife and me regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been diligently wearing masks whenever we went grocery hunting. We have been giving other humans a ...

Welcome leads to discovery

Welcome! Such an easy word to say but, in so many instances, so hard to fulfill. Growing up a very quiet and introverted farm boy, I was always hesitant to talk to people — especially, those folks I didn’t know. Our family farm and life style allowed me to kind of isolate myself, ...

In good standing

I’ve never been fond of heights. Despite being marketed (and statistically confirmed) as the safest way to travel, airplanes have always made me uneasy. Even the top of the Ferris wheel in the Fargo Scheels makes my stomach drop a little bit when my son and I reach the apex on the ...

Jupiter’s four little diamonds

There is no mistaking Jupiter in our Marshall summer evening skies! It pops out even before the end of evening twilight in the low south-southeast. It’s by far the brightest star-like object in the evening heavens. Jupiter has a buddy in the sky this year. Just to the left of the behemoth of ...

Reducing waste

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has a goal for all Minnesotans to reduce its waste going into a landfill by 75%. An easy way to think of this is that 3 out of 4 trash bags would no longer get thrown away. Let’s think about the impact of that statement for a couple of minutes. If I told ...

Remembering Janet

My sister Janet arrived on July 6, 1954, the first of what would become a brood of eight children born to Leonard and Anna Nelson. Janet swiftly adopted the attitude that she was in charge of the rest of us kids due to the fact that she was the eldest, even though she was only two minutes older ...

Red boots and wine

One never know when or where inspiration will appear. During a recent conversation with a health care professional and after the professional “stuff” was past us, we turned to some personal stories. I like to know with whom I am interacting. I told my new found friend a bit about me ...

The importance of vaccines

Three big items have occupied the news lately: Protest marches, coronavirus, and Politics. Even though I believe there was another protest demonstration in Portland, it seems that that big item is going downhill at least a little and as the weather gets colder or wetter, we may find that ...

A time out of place

Even in the dim start of the day which hinted back to how many seasons in the area had begun, with low clouds hanging over the rock-and-cedar covered edges of the small stream on Lake Superior’s north shore, it was evidently summer. The humidity stuck to everything like the rust-colored algae ...

Jim Jansen, a true hero and veteran

Just exactly who are our heroes? Growing up it just seemed like the athletic stars were our idols. Best basketball, baseball, football, etc players seemed to be our heroes to look up to and emulate. That is just how it happened back in the ’60s... We all aspired to be a star. It changed ...