When people ask where I’m from I say, “East Grand Forks, Minnesota,” adding, “I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”
I’ve said it many times in the past and I said it again over the Memorial Day weekend.
Here’s one of the reasons.
This week, not long after returning from five days away, I jumped on my yellow Trek Cruiser bicycle to rack up a few miles. Every day when I ride, I’m on both the bike paths and the streets in my neighborhood.
People I don’t even know who apparently saw me out there last summer are calling out, “how many miles so far this year?” When I tell them I hear such remarks as, “attagirl.” Teen-agers and middle aged women call out, “nice bike,” and little playmate boys on their bikes inquire, “what’s your name?” as we pass.
What I like about living here is the friendliness of both the young and the younger and this week I got a little icing on my cake.
When I come off the bike path, I circle a cul-de-sac on the outskirts of my neighborhood and this time as I rode by one house a gentleman, who always calls out a friendly greeting shouted, “Hello! Welcome back!” He apparently noticed that I hadn’t ridden by for a few days. “Oh thank you,” I called back, with the warmest of feelings in my heart thinking how nice it is to be missed by someone I don’t even know.
We were away for such a good reason – the graduation of our oldest grandchild, Amelia, from Concordia Academy, Roseville, Minn.
CA is a Christian high school and commencement was held in North Heights Lutheran Church. The song, “Pomp and Circumstance,” has always tugged at my heart but the pull was even greater as I watched the smiling daughter of our son march in with 99 other students who would receive diplomas.
Every moment of the ceremony was moving, from the song, “Build Your Kingdom Here,” by the worship band, to the addresses by the salutatorian and valedictorian, to the concert choir’s closing benediction, “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.”
These seniors chose Philippians 4:8-9 for their class verse. What a send-off they gave themselves through these words by the Apostle Paul. Please look them up. I think you’ll agree it’s a mountaintop message.
The fun continued the next morning as Amelia chose to have a flapjack and sausage brunch for her graduation open house. Jim’s and my job, the day before, had been to fry sausage which we did from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Four hours at the stove – well worth it.
During the open house, the griddle was set up in the garage, a 40-foot tent covered all the tables and chairs on the driveway and when it was all said and done, they figure upwards of 200 friends and family stopped by to enjoy the food and festivities.
Amelia’s family lives on a cul-de-sac which was packed with cars. As Jim and I were eating pancakes he looked up and uttered, “Oh no, what are the police doing here?”
Then from the squad car emerged a smiling officer. Turns out he’s a close family friend who is a member of the St. Paul police force.
In the back seat was his K-9 dog, Gabe, a friendly, obedient and extremely well behaved German Shepherd.
Not to mention photogenic.
Graduation – what a bitter-sweet passage of time. One minute your graduate is a tiny baby and the next minute she’s a grown woman ready, willing and able to face the world.
On Amelia’s graduation announcement were printed the words of Proverbs 31:25 which read: “She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.”