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The Last Windrow: After a year with low expectations, here's to a normal 2022

There will be a year coming up where the concerns of this past year are in the past. The dust will settle and we will get back to a normal life. That will be my resolution for 2022. I'm hoping to get back to normal.

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Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

I didn't fulfill one of my New Year's resolutions I made last Jan. 1, 2021. In fact, I didn't make any true resolutions.

With all the COVID-19 restrictions and warnings and different ways of doing business, I felt justified in not promising myself a thing. That release of pressure allowed me to enjoy the year with a clear conscience.

I don't think I was alone in that thinking.

I did promise myself more time in a fishing boat. That didn't happen. It seemed each day I planned an outing the wind howled and the daytime temps hovered in the 90s.

I'm not much for getting up early to fish anymore. I have spent thousands of those early mornings on the water and I've found them to be the most productive times when it comes to catching a fish, but 4 a.m. seems to come earlier than it used to.

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So, this is the first year since 1971 that I did not boat a walleye. Really, I did not boat a walleye! Walleyes are rejoicing, I'm sure.

In the previous year, 2020, our pumpkin patch was invaded by ravens seeking freshly planted pumpkin and squash seeds. Each hill we planted was pecked clean of seeds and hardly a pumpkin plant came out of the earth.

This year, my wife and I developed a strategy and found ourselves covering the newly planted seed mounds with mesh and staking the mesh down with jack pine sticks.

It worked! At the end of the season we harvested many pumpkins and we have squash frozen in our freezer. I'm sure the ravens are plotting next year's strategy as I write these lines.

The year 2021 found me turning the ripe age of 75. Frankly, after a few close calls, I never thought I would make it this far in life. But, I did, and I made a pledge to myself that I would once again inhabit a deer stand during the season.

With a gimpy hip I managed to ready my stand with the help of my brother and my nephew. I sat atop that stand reminiscing in my mind the years I had occupied the woods that surrounded my stand. Some years I harvested a deer and some years I did not, but each year was a little different.

Deer sometimes came to the stand from the west; some years they came from the east; some years they did not come at all. That was my experience this year, and my 75th year went with no venison coming to the table.

But, in my mind I had achieved my goal of actually making it to the stand.

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I did make a promise to myself that I, my wife and daughter would attend my cousin's biannual potato dumpling feast in Westfield, Iowa. I am the oldest first cousin of my 36 cousins and they kind of expect me to show up, do the blessing and toast the day with the traditional Mogen David wine.

I did make it to the reunion, did my best at the opening prayer and took a good gulp of the fruit of the vine. We also celebrated two of my aunts who turned 90 and 100. I noticed that many of my cousins and their kids drank fruit drinks instead of the traditional offering. Some things change over the years, I guess.

And so I went through the year with low expectations and I met most of them. But, there were highlights as there are every year.

There will be a year coming up where the concerns of this past year are in the past. The dust will settle and we will get back to a normal life. That will be my resolution for 2022. I'm hoping to get back to normal.

Happy new year to all my readers! I think it will be a happier year! I'm counting on it.

See you next time. Okay?

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