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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Gray Matters: The end justifies the 'Means'

Monday, October 16, 2006

I would like to tell you about two recent happenings which have led me to some interesting conclusions.  

In the first case, my ancient air-conditioning unit developed some problems.  I immediately called Duane Means, plumbing manager at Marcus Lumber, a major industry here in our town which has an incredible service department.  He came at once, advised me judiciously, and now I'm set, in that department, for the foreseeable future.  Duane is good, just as his uncle, Percy and his dad, Vernon were before him.  For generations, the Leavitts at Marcus Lumber have chosen good people and trained them well.  On a personal note, I've known Duane Means since he was a youngster, so that also adds to my "comfort zone."    

            The second incident came about last week when I was sorting through some old boxes of "stuff."  You know, the sort of thing we always intend to get at, but seldom do. Anyway, I found some clippings, get-well cards, and the like, from a half-century ago when we had been in an auto accident.  It was fairly serious, for one piece reported that the then unidentified woman (me) had succumbed to her injuries.  Obviously that was another of those unfounded rumors. 

            Here was the situation.  One Sunday morning in July of 1953 we had our picnic basket in the trunk of the car, and our three little boys in the back seat.  Dad was driving and I was settled in beside him, our precious three-month-old baby girl on my lap.  This was long before the days of seat belts and infant seats.  My memory stops there for I soon became the victim of what the doctors call, shock amnesia.

            We were heading for Pipestone, Minn. to meet former neighbors who had moved north earlier that spring.  Their kids and ours were eager to play together once more, and everyone wanted to see the new baby.  We were cruising along at normal speed, nearing our destination, when an approaching car pulled directly in front of us, causing a head-on collision. 

I had  just "burped" the baby and laid her on my lap when the force of the impact threw me forward, chin on dashboard, shattering my back teeth. She had slid underneath and was protected by my body.  I still shudder to think of what could have happened seconds earlier.  Suffice it to say, we all recovered.  The other driver was looking in his rear view mirror, to be sure no one was coming from behind, before turning across our lane to enter the drive of a country store. He simply didn't see us.

Now, would you believe this coincidence?  The first car that stopped after the crash, 90 miles from home, was our fellow Marcusite, Humphry Means, father of Percy and Vernon, and grandfather of Duane.  He recognized us and rushed to our aid, offering to call family members, and the like.  He stayed with us until our relatives arrived from home to take charge. Then, while we were recuperating  in the Pipestone hospital, he did a lot to straighten out  inaccurate rumors that were circulating here.  We were forever grateful for all he did.

            I know, an auto accident and the replacement of a major appliance are not matters of equal weight. Still, this summer, I was again very much in need of trustworthy, dependable assistance. The coincidence of its coming, so many years and generations later from the same family, struck me as something that might only happen to an elderly resident of a small town in America.  Don't you agree ?

(Attention readers:  Now that it is October, I want to remind you that the Hoeflling's Pumpkin Patch is open again this year 13 miles west of Cherokee, where C-38 and Hwy. 143 intersect.  The hours: Fridays from 5 p.m. to dusk, Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to dusk. Don't miss going there.  It's a treat yourself and the whole family !)