Tales From Normal, Mn.--FICTION

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Tales from Normal, Mn. Headline News---FICTION

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Dateline Normal: "Field Exercise Days"---FICTION

Recently I have been up to Normal, Mn., up that long and winding road, Hwy 10, to a little spot of heaven just south of Brainerd. After my usual night's rest at the Spruce Goose Motel I headed across the street to the diner for coffee with Herman, my old country boy lawyer friend. Herman had recently been nominated to head the Police Commission as well as the Public Safety Committee of Normal. They had been combined to be more efficient.

Over a strong, black coffee, with lots of sugar and whipped cream, I mentioned that getting older was really a bummer---that one had to be an exercise fanatic just to maintain ones weight. I mentioned that I had noticed that Herman as well as most all of the police officers in Normal seemed very thin. I wondered what their secret was.

"Well, Wolfman,(that's what he always called me) we pride ourselves up here as being the "Champion of the Field Day Exercises."

"Huh?", I responded.

Then Herman went on, "For the past 40 years or so, the last two weeks prior to school getting back in session is called "Field Exercise Days." It is a real sacred time.

Police from all the surrounding communities get together to do exercises to become more effective in using their radio gear, their manuevering techniques, and yes their fitness. It is just wonderful! You must realize that up here in God's Country we don't have any of them 5k runs for fitness. That's for the metro folk. Not us.

"I still don't get it," I exclaimed.

"Well," he said, "let me explain further. Up here prior to school getin in session, there is a real problem with underage drinking. In fact, every single night during these two weeks, there is some place where young teens are gathered in the fields to drink illegally and defy the law."

"So, up here, we dress up all the police from all the communites in "full battle gear" so to speak, and then raid the beer parties. It takes real skill to detect where the party is going to be held, and when, and to make the bust. Most of the time we end up chasing young folks in the corn fields.....in full battle gear."

"I can't imagine police staff in full swat gear running in the corn fields," I said.

"It's a thing of real beauty," Herman replied. Kind of a cross between a Rocky IV and a Prefontaine movie. We even listen to Rocky music before each raid. It really gets the guys pumped."

My mind raced ahead as to the revenue possibilities in the concept. "So, there must be tons of fines and revenue for Normal involved?" I asked.

"Shucks NO, Wolfman," It's about the EXERCISE. All the young folks have parents who know parents and it is just not worth our time to prosecute anyone. We just do it for the EXERCISE."

"And for the TROPHIES," he went on. Then he pointed to a huge trophy in the diner that was inscribed "Champion, Field Exercise Days, 2005."

It sure is good to be back in good old Wisconsin where we DO have 5K fun runs for fitness. And where folks don't have to get in full battle gear and run in the corn fields just to get and stay trim.

Friday, August 11, 2006

"The Castle and The Moat"----FICTION

Well, we've been doing a lot of nostalgia lately, with the new brick downtown street here in our fair city, and I spent some time thinking about it during a long drive last week, up that long highway to my favorite fishing village up Hwy 10 from Mpls, just south of Garrison, yes, Normal, Mn..

There was a real flat bit of highway for an hour or so, and my mind went from thinking of the bricks, and the good old days, to the land of big brick---the land of castles and moats.

After cruising into Normal, I met my old countryboy lawyer friend, Herman, at the local coffee shop, right kiddiecorner from the Spruce Goose Motel, and ordered my regular---- the dark roast coffee, straight, extra sugar and lots of whipped cream.

Then I got directly to the point. "Herman", I asked, "I realize that these are pretty fine times with all the fishing and all, but don't you think it would be grand to be back in the days of castles and moats?

Herman paused for a moment, and seemed a little shocked by the question.

"Wolfman", he replied, looking a little stern with me, "you are just in a real looney nostalgic mood. There was really very little difference between THEN and NOW!!!"

I could not believe my ears.

"Herman, how can you say that? There are HUGE differences," I shouted.

"How so, Herman retorted. In those days there was a brick castle surrounded by a moat----a moat where folks from the castle threw their sewage. It also served as a source of their drinking water."

I took the leisure to interrupt: "See. That is my point exactly. It was a real backward time. Not modern like us."

Herman replied: "You are wrong Wolfman. Even in your own town, and in historic towns all over America, they are historic at the core, and all around them, they are surrounded by polluted--- nitrate polluted water. Folks are just as dumb about it as folks were in the middle ages. They did not get it THEN. They do not get it NOW. See."

Well. That really stoked me up. I just got right up and headed out of town. It sure is great to be back in good old Wisconsin. Where we do NOT have our fair cities surrounded by animal manure and polluted water. Where we have a strong tradition of Fighting Bob LaFollette and clean air and clean water---even if we disregard the law....we still love to talk of the tradition.

(Ed.note: Click on the post for the documentation of the use of the moat for drinking water as well as waste recepticle.)

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

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