As bad as it is, there are a few good things associated with the coronavirus. I realize it’s difficult to remain positive, but what other choice do we have? Here’s a suggestion. Because you are more likely to think twice before you go any place, stick around the house and enjoy the good tidings that spring has to offer including those stories stored in your memory bank.
When I was young my friends and I would look for the hillsides facing the south. On a sunny day we would lie on the dry grass and just soak up the sunshine. The fragrance of spring was in the air even though it was just decayed grass and leaves. Spring welcomed us. A new day was dawning.
These new days meant getting the bikes out of the garage or helping the water to run on the gravel roads. They meant spotting robins, riding to the lake to see how far out the ice was melting, oiling our fishing reels and picking some pussy willows for Mom.
Dad would be eager to rake the lawn and we would help him burn the dry grass. The smell of burning grass and weeds permeated the town. Just like the critters waking up from a winter’s hibernation, city folks were coming outdoors to say hello to spring. At times we all wondered if it would ever come but it always did. And, yes, the coronavirus will end, too.
About this time of the year our local Ben Franklin store would get in a supply of pea shooters. Word spread and before long white beans were multiplying on the classroom floors. The trend lasted maybe a day or two before teachers would search your desk and remove the weapons.
Look around. What signs of spring do you see? I noticed more swans in the open water separating Big Turtle Lake from Little Turtle Lake. Before long I will be getting pussy willows for Kathy. I also need to think about tapping some maple trees in my yard.
I have been noticing eagles and ravens in the creek as it flows out of Crane Lake into Lake Julia along Irvine Ave. I assume they are after small fish on their way upstream or maybe some fish smothered out over our long winter. If the fish are as abundant as the many small perch I caught this winter, the birds are having a feast.
I will miss March Madness. I will miss the Twins opener. I especially will miss the girls and boys high school basketball tournament. Like you, I feel sad for all of the students who worked so hard to get to the state tournament only to have it called off. It was especially hard for me this year because my hometown team, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown girls made it to state. They were to play Minneota, the same team that beat Red Lake. For me it would have been a revenge game.
Spring means a rise in temperature and it also means ticks. As you dog owners know, once the temperature gets above freezing, the ticks will be out looking for some critters to munch on. It could be you. Interesting but when we were growing up and laying in the dead grass on those sunny hillsides, I can’t ever recall getting a wood tick. It has now become the norm to check over your body if you have been outside in the woods. Make sure your dogs are safeguarded against ticks.
Spring means that Kathy and I celebrated another anniversary. It has been 52 years since I saw Kathy carry a bouquet of white daisies down that Catholic church aisle in Livonia, Mich. Wow! I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to repeat the vows. I could hear myself saying to the priest, “Ah, ah, could you, ah, repeat that again?”
Obviously, I made it through and we headed out to New Jersey for a job interview. I have to say that it was the best spring of my life. When we reached Philadelphia and Camden that night, it was raining hard. I had absolutely no idea where I was going. This wasn’t like my hometown of Waterville, population 1,600. We finally stopped at a diner in New Jersey to get directions and the waitress gave Kathy some curlers because she had forgotten hers. We had our job interviews the next day. We were hired and if it were not for that Jersey experience, we would not be in Bemidji today.
Speaking of celebrating spring, we have to give a shout out to Daniel Roberts who recently became an Eagle Scout. That is something! It is especially noteworthy that his brother, his father and his grandfather were all Eagle Scouts. That has got to be some kind of record. By the way, only 3% of scouts become Eagle scouts. Way to go, Daniel!
If you think about all of the springs you have been through in your life, there will always be moments that shine and even after many years, these happy times still shine. It is those happy moments that we need to think about as we weather the coronavirus storm. While you settle in and wait it out, get out your binoculars. Those robins will be coming around before you know it.
Riddle: What is a locomotive? (Answer: A crazy reason for doing things.) You might go a bit stir crazy cooped up for a while. Consider the good things that spring has to offer and you will be just fine.
Hardees is the recent organization to join the 100% movement. Thanks. Due to the coronavirus we have to postpone our April 16 conference on “Helping Kids Find Success” until fall. We have a great line up of speakers. Stay tuned for more as we get closer to August.
John R. Eggers of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.