Herald-Journal Herald and Journal, April 6, 1998

A reminder of what we have


Here we are again in what is often called the "Theater of Seasons."

Anyone who lives in Minnesota is very familiar with Mother Nature's fickle ways.

Last week we enjoyed a beautiful day of 72-degree weather. I couldn't believe how humid it was that afternoon.

Seventy was always the benchmark my kids waited for in the spring. That was the temperature the thermometer had to reach before they were allowed to wear shorts. It didn't matter if everyone else wore shorts before then. Seventy was the law

If all six Fink kids had still been living at home, they would have been dancing around in shorts that day. As it is now, there is only one child left at home, our 18 year-old daughter, Jesy. The 70 law has become obsolete.

Everyone knows the youngest child in the family always gets to do whatever they want to do. Isn't that right, all you older siblings?

Of course, being a native Minnesotan, I wasn't thinking about wearing shorts. That 70-degree day just made me wonder if we would have to pay later for having nice weather.

I didn't have to wait long for the answer. On Sunday afternoon we were driving back from Anoka, heading south on Highway 169. We seemed to be driving through bands of heavy rain. It would let up somewhat and then rain hard again.

As we approached the Medicine Lake area of Plymouth we noticed that the ground was white. We wondered why there was snow in that area, until we realized that it was not snow on the ground but hail.

I was a little nervous because it looked as if we were driving toward the darkest skies. We were lucky to have avoided the hail. At that time I was only thinking that I was glad that I did not have to drive my car through a hail storm.

Of course, we had no idea what was happening farther south, around St. Peter. The TV news coverage that we have seen since then from St. Peter and the surrounding countryside paints a very grim picture. It is impossible to imagine what it would really be like to lose everything you own.

Once again we are amazed to see just what a tornado can do to farm buildings and equipment.

It is at times like this that things can really be put into perspective for you.

So it was today. I was complaining to my co-workers over lunch that I was especially tired today.

"No, I just didn't want to get up today. Then we went down to the barn to do the milking and one of the cows had gotten loose. She made the usual mess that a wandering cow makes in the barn She tore up the extra bales that were stored along the barn wall.

"Yes," I continued, "she left behind some cow pies for me to shovel up out of the manger. I was not too happy about it."

And so I was lamenting all this to my co-workers in the break room.

One of them summed up the situation pretty well when he replied, "Well, at least you have a barn and the cows are still in it."

That remark was right on target. I don't have anything to complain about. I should be thankful that our farm is still intact.

That reminded me of the plaque that Mrs. Peterson, my sixth grade teacher, had on the shelf in her classroom. It was more than a few years ago that I first read it, but I remember it well.

It said, "I complained because I had no shoes. Then I met a man who had no feet."

I was very impressed by those words the first time I read them. I turned them over and over in my mind. I remember imagining the one man with no shoes and the other with no feet. As I grew older, I began to realize what the saying on that plaque really meant.

Yesterday, I was reminded again.

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