Storm



These clouds were swirling with unusual vehemence this evening. A big storm cell passed just north of us. We only got a brief drizzle; I am hoping that they got doused up north.

I found myself hoping a funnel cloud would come down out of this thing so I could photograph it. That's not smart, I know.

LAST NIGHT I performed in Perham, MN for a reunion of former Federal Land Bank employees. They didn't know I was coming--I was a surprise.

When I got there, there was a little electronic keyboard for me to use. I managed to play a couple of songs on it, but those things are so hopeless. It's like squeezing blood out of a turnip. So, I just did monologue for a while. I used some different material. It went real fine.

TODAY, AT THE history seminar in Thief River Falls, we had good discussions about area history. There was a man--or a boy--who lived in TRF in the 1920s who was so taken with the lifestyle of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa that he joined them at age 14. He visited home later, but never returned for good.

The topic came up due to a history document that talked about the many white men who joined Indian tribes in the 19th century and never went back. One man cited their "superior integrity."

We also discussed, at great length, Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. I had to admit I had never read any of it before we were assigned it for this class. I avoided it because I thought it would be maudlin and preachy. But it was anything but. It was brilliant fiction, based upon reality, and, as Abe Lincoln told the author, it helped start the Civil War.

One of the class members teaches the book and gave a little talk on Stowe and the history of the publication. The book was so popular that at one time, there were four paper factories working around the clock to make paper for that book alone.

I decided to have the class divide into five groups and each of the groups could create the outline of a book which would, if properly written, have a similar effect on some social problem today. They came up with some interesting ideas. Health care, immigration, gasoline prices--some pedestrian-sounding problems, but the class used them to come up with some real pot boilers.