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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Winding Roads: Ordering of priorities

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Once again I considered myself to be quite fortunate. The Hohbachs plan on moving to town and I wanted to do some looking around to get some ideas. Hubby was already in Sioux City and didn't have to work so I decided to go and look around in the city.

This boils down to we were in Sioux City enjoying ourselves Tuesday evening. I was listening to the news Wednesday morning on TV at 6:30 a.m., I learned a country church had been destroyed by wind. After the news break, I heard about Maryhill and many crops had been destroyed.

I could not believe my ears. How could this have happened? Even though I'm not a member of the Catholic faith, I have been there several times for special occasions; the famous Maryhill picnics and other interviews. I have always thought the church with its cemetery was one of the most perfect rural church settings a person could find--- very peaceful, simple, yet regal in a beautiful rural setting.

It has had a special place in my heart for all of the above reasons but in addition to having gotten to know Father Eugene Sitzmann---a most intelligent, kind-hearted person. When Clarence returned 45 minutes later, I informed him we had to go home right away and see what had happened.

Nothing was amiss until we neared C38 and the closer we got to home, the more crop damage was visible. I wasn't quite prepared to see our yard. I had thought for a couple of days that once rain would come, it would come with a price. To see our yard that morning, all I thought of was the amount of work it would take to clean it up.

I had to leave to get to the newspaper and take care of a couple of personal items. I was asked to drive by Maryhill and get a photo or two. As I kept driving east, it was more evident of storm damage to crops and other people's yards.

On C38 Swangers and Glassmakers had major damage to contend with. As I turned south I was aware of increased traffic. I kept slowing down because I couldn't take in all the storm damage.

When I laid eyes on what was the Maryhill Church I couldn't believe what I saw. People were just walking around trying to make sense of it. One wanted to cry but felt too numb to do so.

There was a steady stream of traffic. Besides members and former members of Maryhill, many who had no religious affiliation with the church who had always enjoyed attending functions there, hated to see it in ruin. I took a few photos and left because of the pressure to get back home.

I was surprised to return three hours later and find much of the big cleaning up done. A young farmer who rents our farm land, Tom Lehnhoff, came up and pitched in to help. We were so ever grateful for his help which was beyond any expectation. Our daughter-in-law and grandsons came right after swimming lessons and worked like Trojans. We were zonked.

I returned on Thursday morning hoping to speak with Father Sitzmann. If there was going to be mass there on Sunday, I wanted to attend. Everyone could bring their own chair. That's when I learned their annual parish picnic was scheduled for Aug. 6th. It would be canceled and mass should be attended at Immaculate Conception with Father Armand Bertrand.

As I walked around the rubble, I found a number of banners hanging over a propane tank drying out. The banner on top said it all, "He watches over all."

In my conversation with Sitzmann, I commented that a storm of this magnitude should remind everyone that no matter how intelligent, gifted and inventive society has become, we can not be in full control of our world. It's not just bad things happening to good as well as bad people or the elements of nature creating a situation. I believe the Lord is in full control and with storms of this magnitude, he is reminding us who is in charge. We are just a small piece in the overall scheme of things.

When things such as storms and other catastrophes happen, we should be reminded of who is in control. I also feel we can make choices as we go along life's path and those choices determine our future.

Perhaps I'm simplifying this too much. Perhaps the Lord is trying to help determine what should happen--closing of the church. Perhaps the message is that we shouldn't take a church like this for granted. Perhaps we were going to have an overabundance of corn. Perhaps it is to teach us to think of each other and help one another. Perhaps it is in not taking good things for granted and appreciate what we have. We don't know the reason. We just know we need to adapt and think what is important---order our priorities.

One wonderful thing about the storm is that no one was seriously wounded or life lost.

Money has been blown away by the crop lost. Farmers will have a nightmare harvesting their fields this fall. It will be slow going. The farmer has put some serious money into getting the crop in the ground and it will take more to get it out what is there. They are going to need our moral support.

Many joke abut getting farmers to any event if one offers a free meal. Well, I think the farmer will be grateful for a free meal and the agri business folks may need one too.

This week will not be forgotten for some time.