Go See Viking, Minnesota

(I am combining my column and radio program this week-GN)

Life gets funny after 50; not funny “ha-ha” but funny strange. Between worrying about having 6-months’ worth of savings, taking herbal supplements of questionable effectiveness and wondering how long you must work to save enough to pay B of Medicare-people get a little lost.

I was wandering through life a few weeks ago and found myself back in the little town of Viking. I grew up in Viking and take occasional trips on the “mother road” from my place to just outside of town. I think a lot of people still think I live near Viking but the truth is I left about two decades ago so a trip back is pretty special.
Each of us start out concerned for only ourselves. This makes it pretty easy to know what you want from life because you don’t have to take any factors in to consideration other than your only needs. As you get older, you make compromise. You compromise what you want from life because it is too expensive, takes too much time or you just aren’t good enough to play D-1 football.

Compromise is good, it is the substance that lubricates life when used properly. If you apply it too liberally, you lose traction and never get anywhere. When I feel like I’m spinning my wheels, I like a little trip to Viking to get life moving. When I go to Viking, I remember the joy I took from riding my bicycle around the block or through town. I remember all the birdhouses I built in my parent’s shop and how much I enjoyed working with cattle. I think of the good friendships I made driving around Viking, or working at the turkey farm or taking fast trips to Newfolden for two-a-day football practice.I still ride bicycle, still build birdhouses and still have those friends. Those facts make me feel good but the truth is I am often too busy to build or ride and I typically only see my friends on Facebook.

Good Old Days is celebrated every August in Viking. This week-end Viking will appear from the mist of our collective memory like some little Midwestern Brigadoon. I could tell you about the event but the truth is something of interest for all will occur during the week-end. If you go, you will see a beautiful little town and an exceptionally well-run celebration. However, when I see Viking, I see the curative powers of a little town that removes the years, the compromise and forgotten passions It’s a little town that says “even if you don’t remember, I still do-this is you.”
My memories are a little part of Viking as are the many folks who lived, died and left that wonderful little town. Our passions and work were rungs on the ladder that made possible the progression of Viking to where it is today. In between the lefse, parade and other attractions; let yourself remember those who might have hauled grain to an elevator that no longer exists or loaded wild grass on a locomotive that rusted out decades ago.

If you don’t recognize the person in the mirror that joins you while you brush your teeth, then maybe you need a little trip back to those good old days. A lot can happen in a week-end, just go to Viking.

Now here is this week’s Rural Reflections Radio program,
This is Viking!

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