Editorial/Opinion Page-May 4, 2001

I just "celebrated" 25 years of being a Minnesotan last month. One of the few neighbors that would talk to me when I moved here told me it takes 25 years to be considered a local. I thought he was kidding, and maybe he was, but he may not have been right. It probably will take longer than that, like 100 years. Ralph Jarvi was the neighbor, and I liked Ralph like a lot of people did. Ralph was the one who came up with the idea for the steering on a vehicle called the Positrak made by Asv inc. Asv became very successful and a lot of local rich people got a lot richer. They succeeded because of people like Ralph and because of a town like Marcell that backed and supported them when they were no more than a few people with a good idea. They received low interest money because Marcell desperately needed jobs. They promised to stay in Marcell to provide jobs. They lied. They left Marcell behind, and they didn't do heck of a lot for Ralph's descendents either. He died before he could benefit from his hard work so they didn't have to. Marcell has been dying economically since Asv left, but I'm sure they don't care because it will only drive out the poor people. Marcell is becoming more and more a playground for rich people, and they don't need jobs. I've met a lot of great people since I moved here, but you won't find their names in Who's Who. They were all survivors, real ones not the TV ones. They were people who overcame the hardships of living here as well as some real obstacles of their own. People like Darrell Snell for example who was blown out of a tank in WWII. Darrell only had the use of one arm plus some other problems, but he didn't whine, he worked hard, endured and made the best of things. People who met him sometimes didn't even notice he was handicapped, like the guy who asked him what the hell he was doing parked in the handicapped zone. Darrell just smiled and said "Look at my plates". The guy grew a foot shorter. He'd known Darrell for years. Darrell broke the silence by telling a dirty joke. I liked Darrell too. Meeting people like Darrell put things in perspective, and reminded me what was important in life, and gave me strength to handle some of my own problems, like being poor or being diagnosed with MS. You may wonder why those of us who have to endure and survive stay here. If you've been here you know. If I could have got my camera out in time to get a picture of the huge shaggy Bald Eagle sitting in a birch tree ten feet away overlooking a blue lake you'd have an idea. Maybe being a local means taking those things for granted. If so, I hope I never am one