Sharing and listening to stories

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Most people have a story to tell and if you give them the opportunity they will be glad to share it with you.

The Van Stories

After I departed at the Minneapolis Airport I caught an express van going the 100 miles to my small Sauk Centre home.

I’m a gregarious people person so of course it was only a few miles into the trip that talk began. 

At first it was just general stuff, like the weather. But we got into the meat of the story when the man across the aisle told me his company manufactures those big blower fans that keep livestock barns somewhat comfortable. 

Then he told me that he exports the majority of his equipment to Pakistan. That got us talking politics and the rigmarole he has to go through to get that equipment over there.

A Little Herd

Of course I told him that I was raised on a dairy farm and that we milked (by hand) 32 cows once a day. In those days, 32 cows was considered a big herd. 

It absolutely blew me away when he said there are several herds of cows in Pennsylvania numbering 60,000 and they milk them three times a day and night.  Everything is computerized. 

There are no cows that are favorite. For instance, each cow has a computerized chip number and the cow walks right into the milking stall and the machine milks the cow. The milk output is registered and as soon as a cow loses a certain output it is immediately sold off as a milker and becomes hamburger. 

These cows never eat a blade of grass or see a ray of sunshine. They are in huge pens and kept milking those three times in a 24 hour day. Of course I couldn’t wait to tell my Minnesota dairy family about these huge operations back east.

Next Story

The next person to share a story happened on the return van trip. We stopped at St. Johns University and picked up one passenger. Once again we engaged in small talk until I asked if he was a student and he replied he was a Benediction Monk living at the Abbey. He was traveling to India and would teach there for six months.

I shared with him that my uncle Father Ulric was the dean of the university many years ago which morphed into how this young person became a monk. I asked him about this thing called a “calling.”  Like how do you know you have been called? He told me he was called some years back and was very comfortable “in my monk skin.” He told me he had read my uncle’s book on Canon Law, the bible of Catholic teachings, and visits his grave on campus.

I then told him that I had written a note sometime back to their former football coach John Gagliardi (who has the most wins of any coach in college football history). I quickly received a nice note back from him. And then I shared that story with several of my nephews who attend St. Johns.

Lots of Stories

That, my dear readers, is how stories are told and retold. So share your stories and soon they will be shared again and again.

Stay well, stay involved and stay tuned…..

Vi June is past Democratic state representative for House District 35. She is a former mayor of Westminster and a former newspaper publisher. A Westminster resident for more than four decades, she and her husband, Bob, have five grown children and eight grandchildren.