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Monday, May 2, 2016
Bloom where you're planted!Posted Sunday, February 3, 2013, at 5:50 AM
Three of my four Minnesota grandchildren brave the cold in a Maple Park activity, despite the bitter January, 2013 temperatures! They obviously left the youngest at home!
I'm sure that my son didn't have the kids out in those temperatures, but, judging from the snow suits, heavy jackets, gloves, caps and face masks, it was pretty cold, as they took part in a community sledding activity.
Though Todd was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, I doubt that he can actually remember hiding Easter eggs in the snow, when he was three.
I think his father would be proud of him in so many ways, not the least of which is his determination to raise his children to pursue both educational goals but also to adapt to the climate they have been "assigned."
There's a unique discipline in the decision to live in extreme climates. We noticed that quality immediately, when we moved to Alaska in 1969. Throughout the seven years that we survived in that alien land at the top of the globe, we admired the families who raised their children to ski, to snowmobile, and to take part in winter sports.
Though our son was too young to remember getting garbed up in layer after layer of warm winter wear, he has seen the photos and heard the stories, and I believe this background has prepared him for this life he has chosen in the North.
He wasn't born when I went out in the -75 degree temperatures to toss a pan full of water in the air to see if it would freeze, mid-air. (It did.)
He wasn't born when my husband and I came back from a trip to the Lower 48, and I bumped into the heavy-duty extension cord that had kept our car's engine from freezing--and the cord shattered like brittle candy.
He wasn't there the morning his dad went out to get in the truck to go to work, and he had to come back in and wait for the moose to leave the driveway.
Our son wasn't there, but he heard the stories, and he saw the old photographs.
From the time he was born, I believe he was preparing to return to a cold, northern climate.
He has, in fact, returned to Alaska as an adult several times. His Minneapolis engineering firm has sent him to North Pole, Alaska several times to consult on a project. North Pole is so close to his birthplace as to be almost a subdivision of Fairbanks. I wish I could have been with him, as he saw the old familiar sights for the first time.
Todd was finishing up his first engineering degree, when his father died of pancreatic cancer. He obtained special permission to take his finals late, so he could be at his father's side the day before he died.
Though he can no longer sit and listen to the quiet, steady wisdom that he gained from that relationship, I know that his father would be proud of the father his son has become.
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.