Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Great Dane Delivery and a History of St. Michael

I was in my uncle's driveway with some of my kids. There was this giant, black great dane who had a HUGE lump on it's belly. Katrina was playing with it (the dog, not the lump) and was letting the dog walk over her, just because it could. I told her, "Watch out! I think that dog is pregnant!" but my uncle insisted that it was a boy dog and that it maybe had a tumor. I went over to it, did a sex check, and discovered that it had both...parts (thanks, Michelle of GGR...I'm sure this thought was inspired by your cattle confusion of a few posts ago) but I somehow had a feeling that if I just performed an ECV, something interesting would happen AND IT DID! The dog lay down and immediately delivered a HUGE puppy. I wiped it all up (even though it was born wrapped in bandages and baby blankets) and accepted back pats all around for doing such a good job.

Then I woke up.

I didn't get much sleep last night, because I was reading the book Faith, Family & Farming, by Bob Zahler. (Click here for Bob's site) It's all about the first settlers, first church, and history of the area I grew up in and still live in. It was SO fascinating! He did a really good job researching things and making it interesting. I think that, even if you DIDN'T grow up here or know anything about this place, you would even find it as fun to read as I did. There are many highlights such as the giant, castle-like building that was used as a sanatorium for "health" using the "wasserkur" method (some kind of crazy water therapy). Growing up there, I guess I didn't realize how unique our town was. We were the only town in our county to be built up around the church (and named after it). I didn't realize that the area designated as "The Big Woods" was so small and that we were included in it. I knew that the "pioneers" in MN were a hearty bunch, but I guess I didn't really realize just how hard life must have been for the first settlers who battled fierce winters, overly wooded areas to "break" for farming, and HORRENDOUS mosquitoes that they weren't used to in Germany. Some wonderful priest ministered to the mainly Catholics that came here. There was a totally fascinating parish battle with one of the priests, who was there for 14 years and managed to build up the parish but also managed to totally tick off a good portion of the town/parishioners. He wrote this awesome letter to Bishop Ireland (St. Paul) that could have been written today by an exasperated priest (except for the use of the words "saloon rowdies" and "hoodwinked". Heehee. Here's a great line at the end of his letter: "In a few years it's (the parish's) fate will be like the other German communities where the youth will just have learned enough German to be sarcastic; where secret societies steeped abundantly in Kraut, poison the religious life, and where they seek pleasures in organizations of dubious methods under the guise of religion." He was a very angry man. I think this town wrecked him, though. One of our modern priests came from the town that he went to directly after leaving this parish. He recalls how people remember that priest was super shaky and didn't live for very long after he moved there. There was even an attempt on the life of one of the priests BEFORE that priest came here. The people in this town have ALWAYS been snots to the priests, it seems. They were all a bunch of stubborn, German know-it-alls from the get-go (starting in the mid-1800s!).

I guess the apple doesn't fall very far, does it? ;P

(I am one of the descendants of the founders so I am posting this review because I think it's a super cool book and I learned a lot that I didn't know about the town in which I was raised...not because I was paid for this endorsement in any way! I even borrowed the book from Mom and Dad, for pete's sake!)