Writer’s Page – January 2015


The group meets every Tuesday at 1pm in room A8 in Cottonwood.

Pondering Thoughts

Margaret Daniels

My pondering all started when I had to go to work in order to have a few luxuries such as housing and food on the table. Working 10 plus hours per week for minimum wage provided me the opportunity to have a very modest life style.

Sometimes there would be a work project that I was assigned that needed a solution. I would ponder every angle in order to come up with the answer. At times the answer would come right away. Other times, I would find an excuse to leisurely walk away from my desk in order to think about the issue as I walked to my destination and back. As my mind relaxed, the resolution would come to me as if by magic.

As the years wore on, still putting in long hours at work, my mind began to ponder more often. From having a tired mind and body, this pondering went awry in all sorts of directions but gradually, it settled more and more on retirement.

I would ponder what it would be like to retire from work someday. What could I do with all that free time?

With kids grown and out of the nest there would be time to do some of the things that I’ve wanted to do and couldn’t because of work. I contemplated the places I could travel; going to the theater and musicals, exploring different forms of art and the list went on in my mind. During this time, not once did I think about climbing the corporate latter, cleaning the house or the responsibilities of owning a home.

The day finally came for my retirement party. Well wishes were made, cards received, and just that quick, I was no longer working. At first I was a little numb from working all those years. I found myself going from room to room in my home wondering what I should do next. The one thing that gradually came to mind was to start viewing all of my DVD movies that I didn’t have time to watch. So for the next couple of weeks I viewed all 56 movies systematically, including the Christmas ones.

After watching all of these movies, I knew that my next step was to start getting my house ready to put on the market to sell. I didn’t have to think about what needed to be done because my realtor gave me a list of projects that was to be completed. While working on these projects or overseeing them, I pondered what it would be like to live in Sun Lakes. I knew that this area had a lot of activities for retired people. Once the house was sold, I moved to Sun Lakes to start a new chapter in my life.

After I got settled, I went to an event that showcased every activity or club. As I walked around the tables, each activity, club or organization beckon me to join. With so many activities, it was hard to decide. Time was spent just pondering what I would really like to be a part of and enjoy doing. So far, I have joined a couple of groups in order meet people and have fun.

It has been almost a year now. However, from time to time, I have found that my mind, also has a mind of its own, so to speak. Questions begin to fill my mind like, what should I eat? Eat in or out? What time should I go to bed? What day is this I wonder? Thank goodness for the phone display! What did I come into this room for? Maybe if I go out, I will remember. How did the day go by so fast? And whatever happened to this week? Come to think about it, time seems to just get away from me. So maybe I should stop pondering and start enjoying each the present moment however it comes.

So when people now ask me, how do you like your retirement? With a smile, I say like those before me, “I don’t know how I had time to work” and I leave them to ponder…

Small Town Surprise

Dee Rysdahl

You are traveling through Granite Falls, Minnesota, just another of those sleepy little towns in rural America. Then you are taken aback as you hear a siren and then spot a WW II D-Day ambulance. Worry not, it has no bloody destination in mind, just out for “exercise” from its home in the local aircraft museum.

Granite Falls, a southwestern Minnesota community of about 3,000, is home to the 114th largest general contracting company and one of the largest builders of ethanol plants in the country, and as fallout from that, an amazing aircraft museum.

The builder of it all is a small-town boy who made really good, Ron Fagan. Ron, a flying enthusiast, wanted to celebrate The Greatest Generation and his favorite member of it, his father, Roy.

That was the inspiration for The Fagan Fighters World War II Museum dedicated to preserving the legacy of the men and women and machines that fought and served in the Second World War.

It would seem that no expense was spared in constructing the museum which consists of two large hangers, a control tower and a copy of the 35th Fighter Group Quonset hut briefing room depicting “The Big Day” January 14, 1945. The largest hanger housing the fighter planes was built by Fagan’s company during the recession, a tornado-proof project he called his own stimulus plan to keep his employees busy. The control tower is 49 feet tall and equipped with authentic World War II communication equipment. The second hanger houses the trainer planes.

The signature display of the fighter hanger is a bronze reenactment of the D-Day storming of Utah Beach complete with a Higgs amphibian vehicle and eight life-size bronze soldiers with his father Roy of the Fourth Infantry in the lead. The sand in the display is from Utah Beach in Normandy.

The scene took me back two years when I visited Normandy and contrasted the solitude surrounding all those white crosses on the carefully manicured green lawn with the mayhem that must have been rampant on that fateful day.

These museum buildings house fully active World War II pristine aircraft and vehicles that look as if they just came off the assembly line. It’s one of the few museums of its type where all items are in working order. A prize is “Twilight Tear,” a combat veteran Mustang with working 50 caliber machine guns, a plane that had flown in an attack on Adolph Hitler’s Eagles Nest. So rare are these working machine guns that they are kept in a secret locked vault. It, too, might be seen overhead on any given day, out for “exercise.”

On display also is a rare WCO glider cut away to show its extensive workmanship. Ground vehicles include a Ford jeep used by Gen. Omar Bradley, a half-track troop carrier, a cargo truck, a Harley Davidson cycle, a Cushman scooter and the ambulance. Added are sculptures, art including large murals depicting battle scenes all done by acclaimed artists as well as a library and archives. Mannequins wear authentic uniforms in the various displays. Interactive touch screens carry an appropriate narrative.

A roster of five pilots, including Fagan and his son, Evan, regularly take the planes and other equipment out “for exercise.” On any given day, one may witness a P-52 Mustang roar into the skies or the aforementioned D-Day ambulance drive by with siren blazing. No need to take cover as that was the purpose of it all.


Don Stevens

I queried if obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told how they died…

I queried if bad decisions make good stories?

I queried, can we all agree on what comes after Blu-Ray? Why would I won’t to restart my collection?

So why do I keep phone numbers in my cell phone I don’t want to talk to those people…because when they call I know who they are and won’t answer the call.

I question if more kisses on any given Friday night would be from Miller’s Light than Kay Jeweler’s.

I question myself why I say “what” before I nod and smile because I didn’t hear or understand a word they said…processing?

I questioned why it took 100 years for a hockey player to realize from 1874 when the “Cup” was introduced to 1974 for the first helmet used for men to realize their brain is also important.

And the last query, I don’t know what I was thinking and asked myself “what I was thinking?” While I was in Dunkin Donuts, I felt a, you know, a passing of the gas feeling? The music was loud in the store and I was in line behind four or five people and I thought I would let little squeakers out with the beat of the music. Everything was fine as I was relieving myself with the beat of Little Richard’s Good Golly Miss Molly…I noticed that people around me were looking at me as I was keeping the beat to the music. After a couple of songs I felt much better, then I realized why people were staring at me…I was listening to my iPod with ear buds…

As the author said kindly, this is what happens when old people start using technology!