Friday's Weekend Column
Things Are Different Up Here

by James Glaser
February 21, 2003

I can't believe that Tom Ridge our Homeland Security Czar was on the radio telling people they should have three days worth of non perishable food on hand. It is so hard for me to believe that people don't have that now. If not, our country is in much worse shape than our government has let on.

Here in Northern Minnesota people still can vegetables and meat. Listen to this. People in Northern Minnesota might only go to the store one time a week and some people one time every two weeks. I think our government should hire Northern Minnesotans to show America how to be prepared.

Up here the power could easily go off for a few days or maybe it is just too cold and there is too much snow to go to town. Maybe the rest of the country is just plan old dumb and can't take care of itself without lessons from those in government, or maybe those people in our government are just that dumb and figured everyone else was too.

Northome is still getting ready for their Centennial in August. The committee working on this is trying to have something going on, about every month. Next month will be a pie social. Women decorate a box, put in a pie they baked and then men bid on them and get to eat the pie with that woman. Cooking skill plays into this as much as personality and good looks. Also there will be the prettiest girl contest.

Don't you even get the idea that women up here are not liberated. In fact women up here are actually in charge and you know what, the men know it..

Some how I volunteered to work on the Quilt show in May. It seems like every town up here has their own quilting club and many people have family quilts from the early settlers. I got interested in quilts through my stomach. The Mennonite ladies up in Reedy Township, right on the Canadian border would use the Grand Mound Interpretive Center once a week for a quilting bee. I was there one day and their quilt frame broke and I fixed it. Well these ladies quilted all day, but they also brought food and tried to out do each other. They asked me to eat with them and it was a real treat. They said to stop back any time they were quilting and have a bite to eat. I did and made them some quilt racks as payment for this honor. Great trade!

Angie from right down the road is in charge of this quilt show and her husband George and I will be her laborers. We are looking at way over a hundred quilts and we are hoping to use the school gym. There is a group of local ladies making a Centennial Quilt that will be raffled off.

Like I have said before, we are out in the woods and this Centennial celebration will be a big thing. At the same time we will be having an all school reunion and the county fair. Plus the annual Northome Bear Festival. We have the Bear festival because a 15 year old kid killed the biggest black bear in the history of Minnesota right near here about ten years ago. Charlie Brown, I kid you not, that is his name, shot it and the bear weighed 635 pounds. That is one big black bear.

I planted the first of my tomato plants yesterday. I picked Beefsteak because to tell you the truth, they just sounded so good and I had real success with them last year. I would love to have a ripe tomato by June 1st. Last year my first was June 24th and it is a real source of pride to tell the other growers, "yeah, we have been eating BLTs for a while now." That was on the 25th.

I look at the green house and it looks pretty cold. I did manage to clean it all out last fall, tilled the soil in the banks, and it is ready to go. Of course I will have to wait for it to warm up a little. Sunny days and it is 80 degrees in there, but it still freezes at night. I should be able to transplant starting about April 15th and at the same time start to get the outside garden plots ready. Every year it seems like it is a little harder to get started, but every year every thing tastes a little better.

I just finished the VFW monthly report on volunteer work. This includes visiting people in the hospital and nursing homes, donating blood, Honor Guard at funerals, and driving vets down to the VA Hospital that are too sick or too old to drive any more. Also some Posts deliver Meals on Wheels to the community. Now this is just twelve Posts reporting for one month. Totals were 1638 hours donated, 231 members participated, they saw 448 patients, drove 15990 miles, and donated $3870.00.

This is just the VFW, there is also the AM Vets, American Legion, and Disabled American Veterans all volunteering in North East Minnesota. This is a nation wide project by these veterans groups and they help anyone, not just Veterans.

But you know what? A world War 2 Veteran that stormed the beaches of Normandy will have to wait an average of two years if he wants to start going to the VA for medical treatment. Who knows how long a new Gulf War vet will have to wait, but still veterans are more than willing to help any one in this country again.

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