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ART LEE: Yup, those little things in life sure count

It’s easy for bored and grumpy “senior” seniors to loll around the house, contemplating their aged navels and wishing they were young again, like 70. Ahhhh, the good ol’ days! Then along  comes a sudden occurrence (actually there were two of ‘em) Minnesota Nice happenings that make one suddenly rethink their locale very positively. Yes, most folks ’round here are purdy darn nice and helpful. The help received may seem like just a little thing that doesn't count for much, but then it’s the little things in life that count the most.

Failing the ‘smell’ test

About once a month the “smell test” reminds one that it’s time to take out the garbage; to haul those smelly bags to The Dump. Aw’right, no such thing with that name exists anymore; it’s The Waste Management Transfer Station... but Senior seniors grew up always calling it “The Dump”  and are too stubborn for any fancy new nomenclature.

Anyway, the multi plastic bags, filled with heavy garbage, lay in the back of my  aging pickup (’97 Ford Ranger) and soon we were inside the county building, getting ready/strength (sorta) for those heavy bags to be thrown into the huge containers before being being hauled to Fosston’s fiery furnace for final disposal. As to those to-be-tossed bags, well ‘Uff Da’...but then a total stranger sauntered over to the pickup and said only: “Can I help you with them bags?” “Huh? Yah-sure.” And he did ’em all -- zip-zip-- tossing them easily into the containers as though they were tiny bags of light popcorn.

Part No. 2. The month before that,  there was the same situation in the same location and with the same outcome, but this time there were two men who walked over to the little truck, looked things over, never said a single word, picked up all the bags and flipped them into the proper bins. Never one word spoken. Afterward, as they started to walk away, there came my loud voice that hollered “THANK YOU!" This line was “answered” only by two raised arms waving a goodbye.


So many nice things get done by others for our seniors -- like simply opening doors for them -- that it’s too easy to take all the benefits for granted. Regularly, there are senior discounts for either a service or a product. Samples to illustrate: many seniors enjoy sipping on a snort (or two) before eating supper and there are several local retailers in town who offer senior discounts in fancy  bottles for those pre-supper libations. (Note: Seniors eat supper; young people eat dinner.)  And still another Important service: Learning. Michelangelo in his old age gave the famous line “I am still learning,” and so are the many Bemidji-area seniors who regularly fill all the chairs in the weekly free Lifelong Learning programs on Tuesday at 10 a.m. A listing of more  benefits could/should go on.

‘Radio Lutherans’

Area churches, of course, all provide extra services (pun intended) for seniors. And one church, First Lutheran, goes further to aid those of all ages who, for whatever reasons, find it difficult to get to church in person on Sunday mornings. First Lutheran has bought time on a local station that allows them to broadcast their full 8:30 a.m. service. Those many listeners, with tongue-in-cheek, declare they are now “members” of a new church category called “Radio Lutherans.”

On occasion, there are surprises that pop up, or rather blurt out. The  radio station allows exactly one hour of church airtime. No more, no less.  At 9:30 a.m., the station cuts off First Lutheran even when  services are not yet over and automatically cut in with whatever programing there that is going out from the station. This can be jolting for a listener who’s  listening to the choir singing reverently “Abide With Me,” but halfway through, suddenly comes instead the rock music scorching sounds of Nasal Nick and his Nasty Nose-Pickers belting out “We’ll git you yet you little booger.”

Well, sumthin’ like that. But anyway/whatever/regardless, irregardless, Sunday services via the radio remain a good public service for seniors.

PS: Gosh, I can hardly wait a month for “the Smell Test” to get me to the dump again.