I finally did it. I tossed all of my notes and scribbled remarks that have been around in my file basket for many months. Just trying to start the New Year from scratch. So here are some of the thoughts that I tossed to close out 2017.

Yes, I owe my mother and others for these wise words: My mother taught me to appreciate a job well done. “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.”

My mother also had foresight: “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”

She taught me about genetics. “You’re just like your father.”

There are a number of people who touched my life in a special way. I had a great aunt who lived in, of all places, Whitehall, Montana. Religious she was. An inspiring woman of faith who made everyone who came in contact with her feel better. Her engineering husband was killed when two trains met head-on out west.

Uncle Ted and Aunt Anna lived just across the alley from us. Neither learned to drive a car, so Dad’s little Chevy became their taxi to Sunday Mass during winter months. Dad would often grumble when Anna, quite a plump lady, would just plop down in a back seat and rock the car. I had many pleasant moments visiting them. They had a porch swing on which I could lose the time of day as I swung back and forth. And Aunty was a good cook. Her cookies just melted away in my mouth. As to Uncle Ted, during family picnics, he would often offer me a mug of suds disguised as goat’s milk.

Paul Sokol was our school’s basketball coach and phy ed teacher. He allowed me the necessary time to hone my athletic skills following a battle with polio and a one-year sabbatical imposed by my doctor. I hated to see him leave for a college coaching job after our basketball team won state honors.

Brother Don was always a hero to me. He was a Navy aviator who spent time in the South Pacific during the height of World War II. I sure missed his presence during my growing up years.

Can’t leave out Sister Norbert Ann. She taught drawing, and in those earlier years, I thought my left-handed architectural finesse may lead to a career. If there were such things as “crushes” on nuns, she ranked at the top of the list.

As to military service, I met some neat individuals who I later visited in Chicago and Madison. Battalion Commander Frank Battle was an African American officer who I respected. His presence softened the culture shock for this white kid from Minnesota.

I’ve got to get back to discarding those items that have lingered way too long in my file basket. So here goes a bunch of fragmented items:

  • When you wake up in the morning, pause for a moment to honor the gift of another day.
  • A woman has never said: “I have enough clothes and shoes. I don’t like to go
  • shopping.”
  • You know you’re ugly when it comes to group pictures and they hand you the camera.
  • When you truly love someone or something, there is no room for hatred.
  • It’s often been said that “men don’t cry.” Author Robert Brenning of Duluth once said: “Let’s turn the myth around. It takes a strong man to be able to cry.”
  • Did you know that Ole was a dairy farmer? He adopted a slogan that hung on the wall. It said: “All dat I am ... I owe to the UDDERS.”
  • A good laugh is like manure to a farmer — it doesn’t do any good until you spread it around.
  • The most memorable people in one’s life will be the friends who loved you even when you weren’t very lovable.
  • “The world will not change until we do.” Sr. Svoboda SND
  • “The three wealthiest people on earth control more assets than the combined incomes of 600 million people in the world’s 48 poorest countries.” Jim Wallis
  • “Poverty is the new slavery. Poverty and inequality are the fundamental moral issues of our day.” Jim Wallis
  • For the rich, there’s therapy. For the rest of us, there’s chocolate.
  • Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.
  • “A baby is God’s opinion that life should
  • go on.” Carl Sandburg
  • Laugh until your socks drop.
  • In the twilight of my days, I’m still leaving space for new growth.
  • From a 5-year-old: “Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.”
  • We do not need to learn how to live. We need to remember.
  • More things Mom taught:


  • : “This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.”


  • : “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”


  • : “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

And for 2018: You hang in there, Sunshine!

Steve Henry is a former radio and TV news director, and outdoor writer and photographer. He can be reached at henrysteve84@yahoo.com.


Chippewa Herald editor

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