Minnesotan in training: June 4, 2014


In case you missed Brute’s Bleat last week, I took another step toward becoming a true Minnesotan over the Memorial Day weekend.
First it was moving here, putting my name on a mortgage here and getting a Minnesota license. But this latest achievement is probably the most important to date.
Yup, I finally got a Minnesota fishing license and I caught my first fish.
Not to toot my own horn, but, “toot, toot,” it was the biggest of the day. Yeah, we were trolling for walleyes, and Sarah’s the only one who caught one of those, but I was the one who reeled in a 3-plus-pound walleye. I probably should have weighed it and measured it, but then it wouldn’t be a true fish story, right? Even a native Iowan knows that.
Harold mentioned in his “Bleat” that I was outfishing him. I’m sure that’s not the case anymore. In case you didn’t notice by the absence of the “Bleat,” Harold’s off this week fishing on Lake of the Woods. Fishing up there is also on my list, but I think I should stick to lakes where I can see the shore from the boat for a while. After all, that’s all we’ve got in Iowa!
On another, more important note, I’d like to reflect on the real reason for Memorial Day. Too many veterans have literally given their all for us to forget about them.
While many of us think year-round of the loved ones we have lost, it’s good to set aside a day dedicated specifically to remember all the military men and women this country has lost. 
For me, I think specifically of my uncle Freddy. Unfortunately, I never had the privilege of meeting him as he was killed by friendly fire in Vietnam. I will never fully comprehend how and why he was taken from our family before I had the chance to meet him.
Even though I never met him, I’ve always felt a connection to him. The photo my mom has of him shows a slight curl in his hair, a characteristic he and I shared. I know that may seem like a silly connection but, since all I have to remember him by is that photo and the flag that once draped his casket, I will always identify with the uncle I never knew in that way. 
Several other relatives passed after their service to this country. I think of them often, especially on Memorial Day. I’m glad that Maple Lake takes the time to put together a thoughtful observance of those who have served and are no longer with us.
On a much happier note, I’m very proud of the class of 2014. In addition to receiving their diplomas on Friday, many of them received awards and scholarships. This is a testament to their hard work and dedication. It is also indicative of a community that values education. Parents have instilled the ethics that have helped their children be successful. Community organizations, and the school itself, are also committed to the success of students beyond their high school years, as evidenced by the thousands of dollars in scholarships.
Congratulations on this accomplishment. Whether you enter the workforce or head to college, never stop setting goals for yourself and working to achieve them.