Friday's Weekend Column
A Cold March For Peace

by James Glaser
March 7, 2003

We really don't know how to have an organized Peace march up here, but we did the best we could. Everyone was to meet next to the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues on the shore of Lake Bemidji. This was not the best of places to start because it was about 12 degrees with a strong wind off the frozen lake. The heavy snow made for poor visibility too.

But what the heck it was too late to change the starting point, so that is where we all went. Meeting time was 11:45 am and at 11:30 there were only four cars there. In the next fifteen minutes over 300 more people showed up and we had ourselves a Peace March, even if it was Minnesota style. Because of the cold and snow it was hard to tell just who was next to you and nobody wanted to listen to the people making speeches before we started out.

We all knew that as soon as we started we would be out of the wind and moving people are warm people. It was announced that about six blocks up there was a counter demonstration. and we should be peaceful. Well if any of you have ever been to Minnesota on a cold windy day, you would know any fighting would look like "Stay Puff Marshmallow Men" trying to duke it out. Beside that, in Minnesota everyone is an American and everyone seems to allow anyone to have their personal view.

When we did finally get up to the counter demonstration we found one guy in a parking lot. This guy must have been keeping warm with a quart or so of brandy as he was totally smashed and yelling incoherently. A block past him there were about fifteen people with some American flags and "we support our troops" signs. Well we told them that we did too and with all the WW2, Korean War, Vietnam, and Gulf War vets marching with us they couldn't say much.

I did have to tell each and every man that I met who was supporting the War that they should run right down and join the Marines.

We ended up walking about sixteen blocks and people were constantly stopping their cars and honking horns in support. I was impressed with all the little kids that walked all the way. One man had a puppy and had to carry it the last half of the march. We walked to Bemidji State University where we listened to speakers.

Winona LaDuke the Vice-presidential candidate for the Green Party with Ralph Nader gave a real fine off the cuff talk and I must say I was quite impressed with her words. She did dwell on "war costs" for some time and was wondering just why American citizens didn't get to know what everything was costing.

While she was talking I was wondering how much it costs to keep over 200,000 troops training in the desert for just one day. I was also thinking, some body was making BIG money off of this and heck we are all Americans. So would it be that bad to tell us who is making this money and how much? After all we are paying the bill, I think we have a right to know.

It is kind of nice to have a Peace March or anything else to do in the middle of winter up here. If you don't get out and about one day follows the other and days start to drag. It is good to meet new people and hear new ideas.

This week was another record setter. International Falls had -30 below zero and Tower was -39 on Wednesday, which was a new low for that date. Fall was so nice and everyone thought this would be another easy winter. Well think again.

I am still working on the Quilt Show for the Northome Centennial and as with every thing else, it is always more work than you thought it would be. To have a quilt show, you need display racks. I have talked to several quilt clubs and they all have their own method of displaying quilts. Some are very low tech with ladders and 2x2s, others have a series of pipes that form grids you can walk through. The pipes are electrical conduit and seem to be fine if you want to be able to reuse them for other shows.

Now because of this added cost we are thinking about renting out tables to Quilt Shops of which there are many. Also everyone has stressed that we need lots of signs reminding people not to touch the quilts. Yes, I am writing this all down. Also we need to advertise, talk to Quilt Clubs, and recruit people to help. Oh Yeah, we need to get people to bring their quilts in.

This is why they say to not volunteer, but I think it is OK and you do meet people you never would have if you didn't want to help. I guess that is what "community" is all about.

As I am writing this I am watching the squirrels on the feeders trying to stay on with an incredible strong wind blowing. All summer we had one black squirrel that came over here to eat. Her home is about two hundred yards down the road in a big maple tree. Well she hasn't been here for months, but today she is back with two tiny offspring. It is kind of fun to name all the animals that come here, but make no mistake about it, squirrels are mean and nasty animals that fight constantly. They have a real pecking order.

The other night there was a real row out on the deck with thumping, bumping, and some blood curdling screams. I am guessing that some of the raccoons woke up and started foraging for anything they could find to eat. Our deck had a tray of sunflower seeds and two or three of them got there at the same time. The interesting thing is that they all den up together for heat and seem to be able to get along there.

Because I am so desperate for spring, I bought a old cedar strip canoe this week. It needs to be refiberglassed and I have already talked two friends into helping on that. This time of the winter everyone is looking for something that reminds them of summer in hopes of seeing another one. This summer my grandchildren, Jazmin and Mia will be able to zip around the lake in this canoe. At their age the water never seems cold and they are filled with energy. Two girls with a canoe in Northern Minnesota, sounds like a good time to me.

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