I’ve got a thing for small towns. Growing up, it was Gaylord, Minnesota. That’s where my dad grew up, and I’d regularly visit my grandparents there. The siren went off at noon every day. On Saturday, my grandpa mowed the church lawn, and my grandma put cut flowers on the altar.
These days, I frequent other small towns: Deerwood and Crosby, Minnesota; Platte and Huron, South Dakota; and Gackle, North Dakota.
The lattermost is where I spent last weekend, with my dear friends, Harry and Brenda Krause. (Here’s a story I wrote about Gackle last year.) Also Pastor Rick Steele, and all the other folks at Gackle UCC and Emmanuel Lutheran (ELCA) — I preached to the combined congregations on Sunday.
I love Gackle. It’s small, and it’s struggling. But there’s such great community among those who are left. People walk into each other’s kitchens to find missing ingredients. When we walked into Dani’s Place — the only food and drink in town — during an NDSU game, the place was packed with people and conversation.
Oh, yes, Harry and I hunted, too. In two mornings of set-ups, we only had one group of ducks approach our decoys, and we knocked down two of them. But we had a lot more luck jumping sloughs, and I came home with a cooler full of ducks as a result. Albert, of course, was thrilled.
It was another great trip to Gackle, and I can only hope that they ask me back.