Goodbye To My 103-Year-Old Great-Great-Aunt Olive

She was 103, but to me she was only about 5. Because 5 or 6 years ago, I got an email from a relative letting me know that my Great-Great-Aunt Olive had been enjoying my stories about China. “Great-Great-Aunt Olive?” I thought. “My Great-Grandpa Ferdig’s sister? No way.” Yes way. And she lived in the…
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Change And Endings: Truths Of Life We Struggle To Face

“I don’t know if God plays favorites. But if he does, Dorothy would be at the top of his list.” The priest said these words Friday morning to funeral attendees filling the first several pews in the massive, decorative cathedral in St. Paul, Minnesota. Dorothy had passed at the age of 76. I knew her son…
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The Lord Taketh And The Lord Taketh

Sunday morning I went to church, where my new niece Emery was baptized. “Rise again to life,” said the pastor, “a pure gift of a new beginning.” Sunday afternoon I went to a memorial service, where my dear friend John was remembered. “Gracefully enter that temple,” I read aloud to family and friends in attendance,…
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Two Indian Hitch-hikers In Bemidji, Minnesota

Saturday night I picked up two hitchhikers. I was leaving Bemidji, MN heading home to Minneapolis when I saw two Native American men with their thumbs in the air just before the entrance ramp to the freeway. In the dark of 8pm, I saw they had grocery bags at their feet. A split second decision…
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Learning About–and From–the Elders In Our Lives

Over the last few weekends I visited my three living grandparents and my 99 year old great-great-aunt. Doing so revealed lessons in how the world changes, how elder relatives teach us about ourselves, and what it’s like to grow old. Like a lot of American families, we Ferdigs are interested in our ancestors—their countries of origin,…
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A Native Memorial

On Sunday I was driving south on County Road 18 near Red Wing, MN. Hilly and green, I was enjoying the scenery despite the lousy weather when I saw a middle-aged woman in military gear standing along the left side of the road. She stood with a purpose, but with no one around and a…
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Lawmakers Should Be Held Responsible For Harmful Laws

In America, people are required to repay others when they harm them–intentional or accidental. If a bicycle manufacturer produces a bike with a bad pedal, and it causes you to break your leg, you have a case to sue the manufacturer for damages. The same is true for individuals. If I back out of the…
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Life At A Funeral

Grandma’s funeral was Wednesday. When she was being lowered into the ground, I looked over and saw my three brothers and sister standing by. “Gosh”, I thought. “This is really happening.” We five were once all children–Grandma’s grandchildren–and she was the living, breathing, active woman in our lives for summer visits, holidays, and all the…
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Anger Of Muslims

The narrative surrounding the protests and violence in the Middle East is that it is occurring because a film called Innocence of Muslims depicts Mohammed. It’s against Islamic law to create images of their prophet, and this movie certainly crosses that line as it has an actor portraying him. This same reason was credited for…
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