Back Home

As the title implies, I’m home from five months in Florida. Yes, I was greeted with a beautiful, but wet, snowfall on Monday . . . but, today it’s mostly gone. Over these past years I’ve come to expect Hibbing looking winter-worn, and unattractive in a colorless way. Traveling here I left behind palm trees and flowers, drove through the green mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky, and green fields of sprouting corn in Illinois. Along the way I was stopped a quarter of a mile away from a fatal accident between Birmingham and Nashville and just missed tornados south of Peducah, Kentucky. I did get heavy rain and winds of 70 mph. As crazy as it seems/and is, I made the nearly 2,000 miles in two days. Adrenalin or stupidity?
Back home feels good. Despite five months in the near-tropical climate of Naples, I get homesick. Most of involves the familiar faces people I know. And I come home with a story on my computer. It’s going through a rewrite now but, if I keep up with my 3-4 hours daily, I should have something to pass on to my preliminary readers in June. If that schedule works I’ll have a new title on the market by this fall. (Patty Shafer at the Mulberry Bush has done a marvelous job in marketing my previous books through the winter). My working title is TWELVE. While in Naples I did have one gig and am slowly developing a readership there. Slowly! It’s not really that important to me as I realize that I’m just a regional writer–and I’m perfectly content with that.
I’m looking forward to watching the Twins on TV every night. I did get to Spring Training in Fort Myers several times and got an autographed baseball from Brian Dozier–one of my favorite Twins. Besides the daily news, a good movie now and then, I have a baseball passion. I’m optimistic as always. A winning record in April is very encouraging. Tonight the Oakland A’s are in town and I’ll be glued to the set.
Still not much in the way of summer plans. Just attended my grandson Noah’s first communion and my nephew Matthew is getting married in July. Still recovering from prostate surgery but my last PSA was excellent!
Not much else is new or exciting. I do look forward to seeing many of you over the summer months. God bless . . .

  1. Ryan BeckersRyan Beckers05-03-2017

    Hi Pat,

    Like the swallows to Capistrano, snowbirds return yearly to the great northern tundra. (I’m admonished to use “Northern,” rather than “Upper Midwest” due to the state’s latest marketing strategy.

    So welcome back, and well done avoiding the twisters! Our native gal Frances Gumm should have been so lucky! Moreover, Hibbing is not the same without you, for sure.

    I was home a few weeks ago, and it brought to mind a Tolkien phrase: he described his beloved Middle-Earth elves as a declining society, fighting what he called “the long defeat.” Yeah, that’s Hibbing. It’s on a forever decline, and you can see it in the very nature of the town. It looks…tired.

    Even when, say, an emerging far-east economy is buying steel by the megatons, it simply doesn’t take as many people any more to dig all that ore out of the earth. So there’s less reason for folks to hang around, so as you can probably see every time you come back home for the summer, the town is perpetually getting a little more hollow. A husk.

    As I get older I keep thinking how much fun a place the Range must have been when you guys were growing up there. Lot’s of kids, chaos, hot rods, rumbles, rivalries, bustling. I grew up in the 80’s, when there were seven “For Sale” signs on every block. I don’t know that I would have ever stuck around anyway, but it would have been more tempting if it wasn’t such a dying place. Hard to get excited about performing CPR on your hometown for the rest of your life.

    What do you think? How does she look to you coming back this year? It’s the nature of an evolving economy for regions to be left behind if they don’t evolve as quickly as the market, but this leaves a tragic mark on the flesh and blood of a culture. Tough luck? Or do we handle these things incorrectly? I see it out here as well: San Bernardino in the 1970s was an “All American” city, buoyed by the Air Force base in town. Now, it is a bankrupt city, a vast ghetto that has the very highest, or close to it, crime rate in the entire Western Hemisphere, north of San Salvador.

    Say hi to dad…he’ll love to see you!

    And go Twins. If Buxton can ever figure it out, he and Sano will carry them to a few titles of some sort.

    • pmcgauleypmcgauley06-24-2017

      Hi Ryan,
      I rarely check my web site but did this morning and found your insightful commentary. I was reminded of how bright you were as a student–not blowing smoke, Ryan. Each year I come back to Hibbing I find contradictions and disappointments. Highways are being closed to yield to expanded mining operations in the Virginia and Hibbing area–and at a great cost. Mining’s back on track yet the towns aren’t prospering. My latest novels and my blogs have been heavy on ‘the long retreat’. I don’t see your dad as much as in ‘the good old days’ but we were together at Dinter’s cabin earlier this month. As you and Reid both know his memory is slipping quite rapidly and he is becoming very dependent on Molly. It’s sad to see in both respects. When we talk he inevitably goes back to your mother and his never-ending pain. His love for her will never end . . . reminds me of a country favorite of mine sung by George Jones (‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’).
      Always good to hear from you and see you on those rare occasions you return to the old turf.

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