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Home on the Range . . .

The ‘weather-guessers’ predicted a cool and damp summer in northern Minnesota. So far they have been right on–this morning is cool and misty with heavy rains to come . . . again! And, on another note, the predictions for my beloved Minnesota Twins are right on (see ‘Hope Springs Eternal). Today they are near .500 and only 3 games out of first place in the Central Division. As of this writing, I am becoming even more optimistic in my prognostications– the Twins could very well win their division. That’s right! My individual player’s profiles, however, are not what I expected. Anyhow, my last blog was back at the end of March and we are now well into June with Father’s Day coming tomorrow. (Best wishes to all of the fathers who read this posting).

My next story, ‘The Last Moran’, is being scrutinized by some very insightful friends who will give me a candid critique knowing that I have thick skin. Rich Dinter has already read my preliminary draft and offered many valid character insights. Jim Huber, like Rich, is a member of the Greater Mesabi Men’s Book Club (GMMBC), and he is currently giving the story his scrutiny. I’m hopeful that the final version of this story will become a published book by autumn. It still boggles my mind that this will be my 10th novel!

Next weekend is the annual GMMBC outing at Crane Lake up north. It’s always a great get-together and the book we will be discussing is a wonderful read. ‘Ordinary Grace’ by William Kent Krueger (another Minnesota author) has won many awards–including the NEMBA just weeks ago– but of all his best-sellers, this story is my favorite. Kent is a wonderful man, a great writer, and a supportive friend. Kent has given me a very generous ‘blurb’ for my next book cover. The weekend following the ‘up north’ excursion will be a ‘McGauley’ family reunion down in the Cities hosted by my nephew, Kevin, and a graduation party for my granddaughter, Cali, the following Sunday. Cali graduated from Shakopee HS with ‘special honors’ and I’m so very proud of her. It will be fun to see my relatives and celebrate the two occasions.

Lately, the national/international news has been even more depressing than Hibbing’s weather. I like to avoid political controversies but I’m a news-junkie and a concerned citizen. I think that, regardless of any political persuasion, America is facing some very perplexing problems these days. Last night’s news focused on three major stories: Iraq becoming overrun by the Islamic militants, our southern border being deluged with illegals (tragically, most are children), and the return to the US of a controversial POW along with potential serious implications of the prisoner swap. I bring these matters up only because I spent several hours last week watching some old movies I had recorded. First, I watched ‘Pleasantville’ for the tenth time, and later I viewed ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’–both are throw-backs to an earlier time–a mellower time. Maybe it’s a sign of my age (over sixty already) but I still have a fond nostalgia for how things once were in our wonderful America. I often wish that I/we could turn back the clock about 50 years as the changes we’ve experienced–mostly technology related– in our society don’t strike me as cultural improvements from the ‘Beaver’ days. I get the same feelings when I listen to music on my Ipod (do I contredict myself?)–I’m still stuck on the 50’s and 60’s when my favorites were Paul Anka, Ricky Nelson,Roy Orbison, and . . . yes . . . Elvis! (Many of my favorites include Willy, Waylon, Kris, and Johnny Cash). Call me a generational misfit or pathetic nostalgic if you’d like . . . I probably deserve it.

Being home (Hibbing) offers me a place of peace and the wonderment of our Creator. When I returned from Florida at the end of April one of the first things I did was take a walk through my backyard gardens. Everything– every flower and shrub, and tree–appeared to be as dead and as lifeless as my pickup’s battery. Brown on brown without a single sprout of green. This ugly picture after months in the lush green of southern Florida. Of course, I knew that, given time, my perennials would bloom, new leaves would sprout, and apples will ripen on the trees . . . but for two weeks I wondered if that was likely to happen before mid-July. The spring–if you could call it that–was cool and gray and every plant was weeks behind where it should have been. In mid-May, however, the sun came and the showers, and almost overnight there was the emerging color of many shades of green. My garden is both my pride and my passion in near-equal measure. I spend hours planting and relocating and weeding and mulching and . . . despite a very sore back . . . I love every minute of it. Gardening and writing give me more satisfaction than golfing or fishing or . . . dare I say it? . . . watching the Twin’s games on TV. There you have it!

Not to my surprise, it’s begun to rain again. In closing this post, I’d like to ask your prayers for my family. We are going through some difficult times these days and I believe in the awesome power of prayer. I wish you all a wonderful summer, and . . . if you are a Hibbingite or an HHS Bluejacket grad, I’ll hope to see you at the ‘All-Class Reunion’ in July. I might even be signing/selling my books on some street corner in town durning the event-packed celebration.

God bless . . .

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