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There was a time when this column appeared in the newspaper on a weekly basis. It was from 2005-2007, before the Star and Eagle combined. Since that time we’ve had more and better columnists. There wasn’t really a need for me to crank one out every week, so I didn’t. Now, again, we find ourselves with a space to fill and, for now at least, I’ll do my best to fill it with something worthwhile (or at least worth reading).

I’ve always been a rather private person, so sharing my thoughts in a public forum every week hasn’t always come easy. But, just like life being one day at a time, I guess it’s one column at a time, so here goes.

Can I be honest? The last couple weeks have not been easy, and as I write this Monday night, I can’t see it getting extremely easier anytime soon. There are too many memories for one thing. It was two years ago on Wednesday that my mom died after two long weeks in the hospital in Rochester. And that of course means my daughter, Jessica, turns 19 the next day, August 23. We’re both still recovering and Jessica has had other issues as well this summer.

All of this led me somewhere I hadn’t been in a long time: church on Sunday. Pastor Espe was the guest pastor at our humble First Congregational Church in New Richland, and he delivered a long and poignant sermon. You ever go to church and it seems like the minister is speaking directly to you? That’s the way it was. Come to think of it, that’s happened a lot in church, though I’m sure at least once or twice the minister really was zeroing in on me.

It’s too bad it sometimes takes unfortunate events to draw us closer to God. I want to leave the preaching to the experts, but I honestly believe that’s the way it works. When we concentrate too much on mundane or everyday things that have little or nothing to do with the big picture, it’s a recipe for misfortune.

Like this column, there was a time when I, accompanied by three children starting at age 6, 5 and 1, were weekly regulars at Sunday school and church. When the last of the three was confirmed last year, we slacked off. I don’t plan to let it continue. Things go better when you go to church. I believe that.

A lot of people have been asking about the Band Calendars and athletic schedule posters. As usual, given the tight deadlines we have with getting the schedules, they came in right under the wire, arriving Monday, just in time for Meet the Panthers Night on Tuesday. They’ll be available at the New Richland and Ellendale schools. Get ‘em while they last.

We received an anonymous Letter to the Editor last week on one of the town’s hot topics. We’d be glad to print it, but it wasn’t signed. We welcome Letters to the Editor, but in order to be printed they require a name and address at the bottom.

The Vikings didn’t look bad in their preseason home opener against Buffalo, but it is only the preseason. Just ask Dale Kugath (or read his column this week). But if you ask me, I think Kugie has had his heart broken one too many times by the purple. Speaking of Kugie, it looks like he’s lined up to be the Star Eagle’s sportswriter this fall. The 2012 Fall Sports Preview publishes next week, and it includes Kugie’s Panther previews.

Lastly, there’s an ad on the classified pages this week seeking contributing writers/photographers at the Star Eagle. You don’t need experience, but writing ability and photography skills are a must. It’s an opportunity to get paid while you have fun, or get paid to attend events you would go to anyway. It really is enjoyable work or I would not have done it for the last 31 years. And we’re easy to get along with. I promise.

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