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The first musical instrument sound I probably ever heard, outside of the organ at my church baptism, was probably that twang of a rhythm guitar. My dad picked up the guitar during his hitch in the Army Air Corps in World War II and he brought the guitar home with him to the western Iowa farmland he called home. I can still hear the St. Louis Blues being played from that old farmhouse parlor. That sound must have impregnated itself into my infant brain cells because I've never tired of hearing it.
I still change my own oil once in awhile. Don't ask me why, because a person can have most any garage change the oil in your car or truck at not much more and maybe even less money. But I just like the feel of unscrewing that drain plug and listening to the dirty oil gurgle out of the crankcase. I like feeling the oil filter break loose from its housing and then the feel of warm oil dripping down my lower arm.
Those of my generation who grew up in the countryside can attest to the value of our paternal and maternal aunts and uncles. I had the privilege of welcoming my Aunt Vera to our home last week on her annual sojourn to visit my mother, her sister, and my dad, her brother-in-law. Aunt Vera and I share a certain common bond when it comes to family. She is the oldest of nine children and I am the oldest of all the grandchildren on my mother's side of the family. Being born first comes with a certain amount of responsibility.
Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! (Expletives deleted to protect the innocent!) That was my reaction last week as I was crawling through my electrified garden fence. No, I did not touch the wire. I was stung by two bald face hornets in the fat part of my hand between my thumb and first finger. The bees lingered there, implanting me with their venom while I slapped them into their eternal home. But, they left their mark and it took a week for the swelling to recede. I am not a favorite of bees.
Our community is going to try a new festival this week. It's going to be called the Zany Zucchini Street Festival. It may be interesting. Small communities all over the country come up with odd ways to bring in an extra body. This is what we small communities have resorted to with the gravitational pull of huge, regional shopping centers. Well, we don't give up easily out here in the hinterlands, and even a small dog can put a big dog on the run by nipping at its ankles.
Ahhh ... what to do at this mid-point of July? The days are getting shorter. The Fourth of July fireworks are history. Some of the summer festivals have wrapped it up for another year and walks in the woods are accompanied by 10 million mosquitoes and, in this country, an equal amount of deer flies. Life gets less complicated at the midpoint of summer. Baseball and soccer camps are about over and I see ads on television hinting at "back-to-school." I hated to see those appear when I was still attending schools of higher learning.
I passed by an upland hay field last week and noticed the mowers were busily taking down that first cutting of high grass. It's that time of year in the country. The Fourth of July has passed and now it's time to get down to business. What this time of year meant to my Little League Pee Wee team was Watermelon Night at the ballpark.
To all who worked or visited Pine River during the 36th annual Pine River Summerfest, a hearty thank you from the Pine River Chamber of Commerce! What started out as a mere sidewalk sale in 1978 is now a time where multiple organizations, businesses and individuals do their part to make this a memorable time for so many, both resident and visitor!
The Fourth of July seems to have come early this year. For some reason my mental state is still stuck in a May 10 frame of mind. It seems as though we've missed the bus when it comes to normal weather cycles. What was dry is now wet; what was supposed to be green is yellow from lack of sunshine; and the loons have had to re-nest in some cases. It just doesn't seem time for sparklers and bottle rockets. But it is. This week will see more illegal fireworks cross the borders of Minnesota than any other time of year.
Ralph had never been asked to do this before. In a way he was excited, yet scared that he might screw up. After all, he was a farmer and only went to town to get supplies once in awhile and he never really mingled with that urban crowd much. But, he had joined a fraternal organization over the winter when boredom drove him from his farmhouse. Other than a short stint with the National Guard, Ralph had never really done much with groups.