It was a good week.
I’m not completely sure why.
The weather was perfect, which in some parts of the world is a given, but not necessarily here on the edge of the prairie in western Minnesota. The leaves are changing, creating a crispy world of gold, amber and crimson. A mid-week meeting in the center of the state had commissioners driving in from the western edge of the state and counties stretching from Canada to Iowa. While it was still a meeting that required budget and policy discussions, everyone came through the door in a good mood, talking about the beauty of the drive. It was a great day to be on the road.
That evening I went to a literary event in my hometown. Our librarian had enticed a big shot author to make a stop and the friends of library group put together a fundraising dinner to precede his talk. So much work by everyone – people who already had too much to do put together a meal, a librarian went the extra mile, and an author who really didn’t need to spent time in this small place just because he thinks libraries and librarians are important. It was such a pleasure seeing the event be a success. Good meal, good crowd, great presentation. I’ve always said this is a great place to live if you like to hunt, fish, and play golf, but it’s so much more than that, and it is wonderful watching people not accept limitations on what can be.
I chatted a little with the author. He's about twenty rungs up the literary ladder from me, but we know some of the same people and we got along well. I summoned all my nerve and invited him to breakfast at our coffee shop.
You need to understand what a big deal that was for me. It’s all I can do to ask someone to pass the salt at dinner. Asking a celebrity if he wanted to hang out took a significant amount of courage.
The next morning was a lot of fun. I seldom get a chance to talk writing, and the past few years I haven’t had very many conversations of any kind. We spent a couple hours talking about books, writers, and the vagaries of the publishing industry. A listening bystander might have been bored, but it was big fun for me.
The shack project has been at a standstill while I’ve been waiting for my sawmill guy to turn telephone poles into rafters. Saturday, I found out he had one of them done, so I brought it home. When I wrestled it into place, it looked exactly like the picture I’ve been carrying around in my mind for a couple years. I’m waiting for three more, but I’m feeling optimistic, because three is less than four.
Sunday, we had a birthday party for Number Two. She requested hot dogs on the grill and apple crisp instead of a birthday cake. When I went to town to buy groceries, I had a short visit with a lovely young woman I’ve watched grow up. She still has dimples when she smiles, just like she did when she was three, but now she’s a teacher and she told me of her frustration around the students she can’t help. I encouraged her, but I’ve known some great teachers, and frustration about the kids you can’t reach never goes away. And that’s what makes a good teacher.
The day wrapped up early, with family heading home to get homework and laundry lined up for Monday morning. On my way out to lock up the chickens, I admired a lovely harvest moon and listened to ducks, coyotes and the distant growl of harvest equipment on the move.
It was a good week, and I guess I do know why.
Copyright 2022 Brent Olson