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Traveling blues

Agriculture.com Staff 01/22/2009 @ 9:38am

If they ever catch Osama Bin Laden, I don't think there's any real need to go through any sort of trial and punishment. I think they should just turn him loose next to the line for security screening at any major American airport.

I'm not sure what would happen to him, but it wouldn't be pretty. Maybe he'd get beaten to a pulp by shoes held by barefooted passengers, waiting in line at a jammed x-ray machine. Most likely, he'd be smothered in gobs of confiscated toothpaste.

I spent a chunk of last week traveling, and it does make me cranky.

You know that saying, "It's not the destination, it's the journey."

Yeah, that's a lie. I pretty much always hate the journey, no matter how much I like where I end up.

When I got my travel papers, I saw I had to get up at 4:00 a.m. to make my plane. I thought about trying to get the schedule changed but then I remembered I was going to talk to a group of dairy farmers. There are people who will sympathize with me when I whine about having to get up in the morning -- however, none of them are dairy farmers.

I whined pretty much all the way to Michigan. Once I arrived, I had a terrific time -- taught a couple writing classes in the high school to some smart, charming, young people, and then spent the next day hanging out with some local farmers and veterinarians. I always have a good time in small towns.

Okay -- that's not completely true. There was one night in a small town in North Dakota where an Oly and Lena joke went very wrong. That was years ago, but I remember it well and all I have to say to that guy in the plaid shirt in the second row is, I'm sorry you're so sensitive about your ethnic heritage and I'm pretty sure you didn’t understand the joke or you wouldn't have been so offended.

Anyway, other than that night, I almost always have a good time in small towns. Everyone I met would apologize for the cold weather and I'd say, "It's okay. I'm from Minnesota."

Then they'd look very sad and offer their condolences.

I was in town to speak at a dairy banquet and it was big fun. I sat across the table from some folks who have the second cutest grandchild in the world. To my right was a gaggle of little girls -- all one family, from about 4 to 14. I'm very proud of my adult daughters, but there is always the tiniest twinge of regret that they are no longer 10, and I enjoyed eavesdropping on these young women.

During the banquet they gave a lifetime achievement award to a guy who's been milking cows for 57 years, all the while raising a family and being a good member of the community. He walked to the front, stumping along like someone who's spent a half century crouching alongside a Holstein and the applause for him was loud, prolonged, and warming to witness.

When I stood up to speak the people from the newspaper who were there to take pictures of the award winners got up and walked out. I try not to hold a grudge, but I probably won't be subscribing to the Sanilac County News for a while.

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