Rural Reflections Redux and Review

Many of the television programs I watch end their broadcast year with a retrospective. In other words, they re-run selected portions of episodes from the previous year. It’s a lazy bit of indulgent navel-gazing that hides the fact they are basically re-heating leftover programming. Now, the whole staff of Rural Reflections, which includes me and whichever cat is walking across the laptop, are on hiatus for Christmas and New Year’s. With this is in mind, we now present Rural Reflections Redux.

Last January I was talking about frozen bale twine. Frozen bale twine is a memory as I no longer feed hay to cattle. Frozen twines are a good metaphor to describe how hard cattle farmers work during the winter. Bale twine, frozen to a hay bale, is like trying to pull the rebar out of partially-set concrete.

February I spent building an overhead light made from a hay trolley, an old kerosene jar and a piece of steel rail. It worked out nice and still hangs above our kitchen sink. I also wrote of the work involved installing an overhead door. The one thing I found from these projects was that you build as you live. I prefer to do both in small complete steps.

March was a sad time as singer Joey Feek died. Lisa and I just watched a feature on her life last night and it’s incredible to think that Feek has be gone almost a year. Joey Feek was one-half of the country music duo, “Joey and Rory.”
I wrote of my love for country music

One of the best, Merle Haggard.
One of the best, Merle Haggard.
as what it really is-poetry for rural people. We found out together that Pastor Ralph Hofrenning had passed away at the end of May. Pastor Hofrenning was a large figure in my life and I was sad to see him go.

In June, a group of us bicycled the trail at Itasca State Park.

It was a lot of fun in one bite but I managed to digest the task. Next time I plan to bring a rickshaw and allow my buds to take turns towing me.

July saw me focused on the Beard and Mustache competition at the Pennington County fair which I emceed.

Devon Grandbois and his beard.
The competition was a blast-give me a microphone and some cold beer and I am so there.

I hauled sugar beets for only two days this year. Nothing I ever do stops abruptly and the beet harvest did not break with tradition. I just slowly faded away-unlike the Curt and Dave morning show on KKAQ which came to an historic end on September 30th.

One thing you would not have read was my letter to the editor about my view of our national media. I try to keep politics away from my newspaper column however I did publish this column in my online blog. It did get featured as a Letter to the Editor in the Thief River Falls Times newspaper.

I ended 2016 like most years with a handful of Christmas columns. I always try to approach Christmas from a different perspective and reach inside people for good memories and nostalgia during my favorite holiday.

I like to look back at each year, I am fortunate to be able to document them for you to read. It’s enough though, as it is important to be ready for whatever 2017 has in store.

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