I still treasure that one slipper

Published 6:31 am Wednesday, March 17, 2010

“The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.” — Albert Einstein

It appears that winter is behind us, and it looks as if Austin will not flood as predicted earlier this winter with all the snow. Slip, my friend in the service used to say, “Let natures takes its courses.” He was from New York and he always added a couple extra s’s. A good thing about the service is the acquaintances you make. One of the dark side’s of the Vietnam conflict was the Vietnam conflict; at least for many of us it was hushed.

My hope when I was there was to adopt a young girl from the Duc Pho Catholic Orphanage. She always had a warm smile on her face when we would drop off jungle fatigues to get washed and starched at the orphanage. The Vietnamese men would soak our clothing and then stomp on them with their bare feet on the cement floor. This was their washing machine. A couple days later we would return and pick up our starched fatigue shirts and pants and t-shirts, socks and shorts.

One day I stopped in Duc Pho at a little room where a Vietnamese made Ho Chi Minh slippers, slippers cut from tire treds and then cut straps from intertubes to hold them on. I still have one slipper in my little office in the basement that I treasure. The other one slipped loose when I dove from the diving board at Beaver Lake with friends one summer night. The other slipper may still be resting on the bottom. I was depressed in those days, and losing the Ho Chi Minh slipper only made it worse.

A friend from Rochester just sent me a postcard from Vietnam.

I know there was talk earlier about the threat of high water early on that probably alarmed residents, but instead we’ve had a gradual melting process and the likely hood of flooding is less likely. However, our daughter who lives in Winona, called the other night and said she thinks Winona could get high water from the high Mississippi water further north coming her way.

I see they are lining up farm equipment in Mapleview, much of it new age equipment that probably cost more than the price of a farm in the days gone by. It was the days when people had 40 acre farms like Uncle Nate. He also worked in town. Those were the good old days when Roxy, Gog and Denny went to a country school across the road.

My mother used to teach country school northwest of town until it closed. She then taught in Dexter until that closed. Now that one is an apartment house. Actually my Mother and Dad eloped when she first taught in the Bohemian settlement where they met. They got married around new years in Iowa, and it had to be kept a secret or she would have to give up her teaching position.

The past has passed, and now we have discovered new ways with laptops and cell phones. Letters are pretty much history and instead there is “texting.” I think that’s what it’s called anyway, and we now go everywhere with cell phones.

I read the other day in the paper that a teacher required her students to stop using all these items that students rely on and have began to talk with one another again.

Bob Dylan has a CD entitled “The World’s Gone Wrong.” Perhaps he’s right.

In other news, I stopped by Bud’s Books on Main.

Bud is always interesting to talk to, and he also has a collection of books, magazines and old newspapers from way back and his own share of wisdom. He told me about a somewhat recent drive he made to see his doctor in Adams on one of those awful whiteout days with the snow blowing heavy and crossing the road making it difficult to see and how he drove slow and sometimes in the middle of the road when it was safe to do.

He finally pulled into the doctor’s office and was followed by a State Patrol Car that sighted him for his driving and required him to drive to Owatonna to do something regarding it there. Bud also introduced me to The March of Folly from Troy to Vietnam by Barbara Tuchman.