Sour Grapes: Random spring small-town thoughts

By Jim Magdefrau

The weather is in the sweet spot of warming up, then cooling down enough to have a small campfire to warm up again.

It also means it’s the time I check the markets, study the conditions and plant my corn. Two kernels. In a tire field with dirt. Joining me in the rabbit watch to protect the corn are two neighborhood hawks. If successful, I will again have a crop that’s taller than me standing on another me.

Across the street from my cornfield is the park shelter. The derecho moved it off its concrete slab last summer. It took a gentle nudge from heavy machinery to tip it over finally. It went back up quickly, under the watchful eye of Tom, the neighbor, who’d wheel over every day to supervise the work done by Josh Janss and crew. To Tom, it’s not just a shelter. His daughter was married there, he and his wife renewed their vows there, and they celebrated their anniversary there. It looks like it will be back and ready to note big and small events in people’s lives. That’s a small town.

With fewer trees, the lights are brighter and the sound is louder from the nearby football field, soccer field and track. It’s the sound of things coming back and things going on.

Even with masks, I can hear the sounds of people. I’m still wearing mine when I can. I’m sure masks are just as hard to get used to as underwear was in the 15th Century. Think of a mask as a loin cloth for the face.

With spring comes school activities and taking pictures. I was in Belle Plaine to photograph high school students working to beautify our town. Colleague Judy Schlesselman was giving students instructions on how to put mulch in a flower bed. As I stood there with my camera, I observed, “Look at us — retired.”

“But we’re doing what we want to do,” she replied.

This is true. That’s a small town.

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