First snow a time for reflection

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Well, it finally came. The first snow.

We waited long enough. Anytime you can go until mid-November until the first snow falls, though, it only means a shorter winter...and less time until spring.

It was certainly an eventful summer, with Project AWAYSIS getting into full steam. There were a couple glitches that were finally overcome, but there's no need to get into that. Let's just say that things are on track.

Buena Vista County is going to start building a new jail this spring, thanks to solid voter support. With 73 percent of county voters favoring the jail project, that sounds like a mandate to me.

US BioEnergy should be getting started early next year with ethanol plant construction, with most site preparation work now done.

I couldn't help but think the other night during the Alceco banquet in Albert City how community pride remains strong in Albert City. It was almost a case of deja vu with the dance squad members from Sioux Central bringing around trays of the best pie I've had in years. Here they were, dance squad members, in the Albert City gym where their predecessors had dominated state competition year after year under the direction of Colleen Wabake.

Now, the Sioux Central Community School is jam-packed in a scenario resembling something like the Baby Boom 60s.

As we segue into late fall and winter, it's time to think of the holidays. Some people will look forward to Christmas and the holiday season. Others may not, so much, depending on their station and situation in life.

When both of my parents were alive, I remember that every Thanksgiving they would invite three or four people to dinner who would otherwise have nowhere else to go. It wasn't really pity or guilt but a genuine desire to share others' company.

As a child, I remember these "others", many that society would regard as castoffs and misfits. They were the type of people that just didn't fit in.

They included Fred the trapper and John the gossip and Alan the hermaphrodite. All sworn into lifetime singlehood, when they ate a generous serving of Mother's turkey with all the trimmings and a glass of wine their talk percolated above the Thanksgiving smells into a bachelored cacophony that complemented the Lutheran Ladies Aid like the flip side of a coin. No one ever got drunk. That was strictly against Mother's rules. Mother herself, though, as temperate as she was, could get a lot of mileage out of a single glass of wine to the point that she laughed uncontrollably over such simple things as Alan's beautiful soprano Thanksgiving blessing. We would listen appreciatively to John's stories of the olden days. Fred, of course, would fill in what John had expurgated since they had gone through every year of school together.

As I fast forward to today, I wonder if these sorts of things still exist in our modern world. It takes a concerted effort to appreciate the "others". They can teach us so much.

* Mike Tidemann is the Pilot-Tribune's assistant editor. He can be reached at mtidemann@stormlakepilottribune.com