132 YEARS OF SERVICE to Southern Minnesota
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As I sit here getting ready to write this column, I look at the March calendar. March came in like a small lion. I wonder if it will go out like a small lamb.

Did all of you correct your clocks on March 13? Did anybody change the hour the wrong way?

St. Patrick’s Day is March 17, the same date as the publish date of this newspaper this year. “Erin go braugh” translates to “Ireland go on forever.” My Irish grandfather maintained there were two kinds of people, “Those that were Irish, and those that wished they were Irish.”

Sunday, March 20 is Palm Sunday, the first day of spring and also equinox — equal length in day and night, each 12 hours long.

Friday, March 25 is Good Friday, followed by Easter Sunday, March 27. “He is risen, yes, He is risen indeed.”

March 31 is on a Thursday. Most of the annual migration is completed by then, including the two-legged Minnesota snowbirds.

Only an April fool knows what happens the first day in April.

I was very fortunate to have a Norwegian grandfather and an Irish grandfather. I was the first grandchild for each and each one did his best to spoil me. Seeing as how this month honors the Irish, I will do the same.

Grandpa Henry (and Grandma) McFarland had a farm by Hope, Minnesota. In the summertime I would ride my bicycle from our farm just north of St. Olaf Lake to their farm (about 15 miles). I would stay at their place three or four times each summer for at least a week each time.

Grandma was quite musical, as she taught me piano and guitar. Although she tried to get me to take lessons, I never did, as it was more fun to tag along with Grandpa.

The Straight River went through the middle of their farm, so Grandpa would take me fishing or let me go alone (the Northern fishing was always good). They had a flat field with two mounds in the middle. Grandpa said they were Indian burial grounds. We would search the ground by the mounds and found a few arrowheads. 

Grandpa would let me go along to Hope when taking the milk to the creamer after we milked the Guernsey cows. On one trip we stopped at the Hope Tavern on the way back to the farm. Grandpa knew the owner/bartender as he ordered two glasses of tap beer each costing a dime. T’was then I learned how to put salt between your thumb and first finger as you drank tap beer. Grandpa told me it was about time I learned this, so I did at the old age of fourteen.

Grandpa was not much of a church-going person. He told me that when it was time, the man upstairs would take you—maybe you would know, and maybe you wouldn’t know. I was serving in the US Navy during the Korean Conflict when I got the message that Grandpa had been in a serious tractor accident on the farm. I tried to get an emergency leave to go home, but was turned down.

Shortly after the accident, Grandpa told my mother to get the preacher man, as it was time. She did, he arrived and a short time after arriving, Grandpa died. 

One of the first things I did after being discharged and getting home was to go see Grandpa in the cemetery. We had a long conversation as I talked and heard his familiar voice reply.


Bob is a retired AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans) agent, currently working on his master’s degree in Volunteering. His wife, Genie, is a retired RN, currently working on her doctor’s degree in Volunteering. They have two children, Deb in North Carolina, and Dan in Vermont. Bob says if you enjoy his column, let him know. If you don’t enjoy it, keep on reading, it can get worse. Words of wisdom: There is always room for God.

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