Serving on a local school board, city council or county board can often lead to making connections and new contacts and it’s amazing how often those connections can serve your community’s interests. You never know when, or how, those connections might be helpful or handy to have. That alone is a good reason to make and keep maintaining connections.

When the newly elected mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis attended a recent League of Minnesota Cities board meeting and legislative reception at the state capitol, we made it a point to connect with each of them. Both St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey were interested in learning more about our cities in Greater Minnesota and how they had, in recent years, worked with Minneapolis and St. Paul to stand up for and protect the state’s Local Government Aid (LGA) property tax relief program for our cities. Both mayors are young but they have some very good experience, are energetic and eager to reach out and connect. We’ll look forward to keeping those connections handy and be sure to help those young mayors learn more about what life is like in small towns all across the state. Cities of all sizes have a surprising amount in common. We all need to stay connected. 

Humility can be found in many ways it seems and so it was this past week. Two weeks ago this column extolled the experience of the 1968 Granite Falls High School boys basketball team’s run to the single class eight team state tournament. A look back on that experience 50 years later seemed like an appropriate thing and a number of readers took note and responded. One of those readers pointed out, while sitting across the kitchen table from me, that I had misspelled Leland Abel’s name. Dutifully, I made sure to own up to the error and correct the misspelling in last week’s column. Duty done. Not so fast! There was a bit more to the story and, as seems to happen so many times, that snippet of news caught me off guard.

The text message was cryptic, spel-ling out a person’s last name that seemed to separate it into consonants but in a way that drew attention to a single letter. I responded with multiple question marks, then soon rolled my eyes and dashed for the stack of newspapers. Grabbing that March 29th issue, on page five, I scanned those names and sure enough, basketball team member Gary Pederson’s name was misspelled as Gary Peterson. It seems hard to believe that you could misspell the last name of a close friend’s brother, but there it was, black ink on newsprint, for the ages. And, after I had so proudly claimed the high ground when I made the correction with Leland Abel’s name.

Recognizing people for their good work or good deeds is a fun thing to do. It can also be a bit risky. Missing someone or mispronouncing their name erases nearly all of the glow of the moment. The same holds true with misspelling names, and that’s especially true when it’s someone you know well. Fingers on the keyboard can sometimes get into an automatic mode. I’ve mixed up Volstad with Volstead and probably will again, despite plenty of familiarity with both. The same thing with Pederson and Peterson.

It’s a lesson in humility. We’re just glad to have readers care enough to point out our mistakes. 

Spring weather popped into my mind when I opened the birthday card from our oldest son Cody last month. He had slipped a couple of early season Twins tickets into the card and that was enough to trigger thoughts of green grass and sunny days.

The tickets were for last Saturday afternoon, the second game of the new baseball season and we made plans to hit the trail to Target Field in Minneapolis. We’ve gone to a lot of Twins games over the years and but we’ve never prepared for going to a baseball game quite this way.

Layers became the word of the day after we heard the weather forecast. Several layers and winter coasts would be required. So, we bundled up and joined about 12,000 other folks there on a sunny but chilly afternoon. (The official attendance was listed at just over 18,000 but there were plenty of empty season ticket seats.) The grass on the playing field was amazingly green and really did give us some feeling of springtime but that was buffered by the steam wafting off the infield gravel after the grounds crew sprayed it down just before the game.

With a temperature of 27 degrees at 1:15, it was the coldest game-time temperature in Twins’ history. Thankfully, it was sunny and there wasn’t much of a breeze. The stadium’s indoor gathering spots overlooking the field were crowded before and during the game and the concourse heat lamps were on. We huddled under them and, along with most of the crowd, moved with the sunshine during the game. Except for the crushing Twins loss, it was a fun day and did give us a hint of what spring might eventually look like.