Unplanned adventure, loss, and gratitude (5×8 – 10/22/12)

Unplanned adventure, loss, and gratitude; the electoral college, the lessons of high school sports, rehab from inside rehab, and the North Shore from above.

The final presidential debate is tonight. We hope you’ll join me in this space tonight around 7:30 for the live blogging. Together, we will sit on the edge of our seats waiting to hear something new.

Here’s the Monday Morning Rouser…


Lane Wallace writes today of the fates that await people. Her husband’s oldest son was hit by a car, right around the time she was assigned to cover the Reno Air Races, a year after a horrible accident sent a P-51 into the crowd. She considers the challenges we accept, and meet:

Then there was the family who’d sustained a breathtaking amount of loss from the crash. The mother had been killed. The father had lost a leg. Two of the sons had each lost a leg, and one of their wives had lost a leg. And yet, one of the sons told me, “we just want to thank everyone here for everything they did for our family. We feel a special bond with everyone here. They helped save my family’s lives.” He, too, paused. Emotions still ran high, this year. But after a minute, he continued. “We lost our mom that day. But we also lost any cynicism we ever had.”

In the end, the reason so many of the survivors had returned to a place that surely must have held bad memories for them, seemed to be that the good memories-of just how powerful community can be, when it bonds together, and how powerful love can be, when it is poured out in need-so clearly outweighed the bad. Already, they have learned that. And that truth is, indeed, a rare, powerful and comforting gift to hold in your hands.

Gratitude after loss is also a theme today on “not for the monosyllabic,” the blog written by the unnamed Minnesota public defender, who lost a case last week.

At any rate, so lost the hearing, which was disappointing, of course. But, my client wanted to talk after the hearing so I met w/ him, thinking he had questions or something. Nope, he just wanted to tell me thank you. And thank you to my staff. He said he knew we had worked hard on the hearing and he was really grateful for the effort we put into it.

Losing sucks, of course, but nothing makes me feel like the work I do matters than when someone says thank you. Especially when we don’t get the result that we were hoping for. Because it’s easy to be thankful for the attorney who gets the outcome you are hoping for, but it isn’t always easy to be pleased when you don’t get the result you wanted. So, when clients who don’t get the outcome we were aiming for tell me thank you, it means a hell of a lot. And it feels good to give a voice to someone who otherwise may not have one.

And out in Clarkfield, Minnesota, Jerry Livermore is back at work after a long battle with the West Nile Virus, the Marshall Independent says. His actual career as a carpenter may be over. But he and his wife took care of the church for 35 years. The church, in gratitude, bought him a wheelchair-accessible van.


Today’s experiment. Ask the next six people you meet to explain the Electoral College. Report back here.


Sports has survived many of the cuts that have plagued education in Minnesota, allegedly because sports teaches things to kids. Also because parents like sports more than they like A.P. chemistry. So your parents must be so very proud, Totino-Grace and Prairie Seeds, soccer players.

Here’s an idea, Minnesota State High School League: Nobody advances to a state soccer tournament. You know, if it’s all about teaching kids and all.


Journo pal David Brauer is right. This is the best writing you’ll read today. Don’t let the “oh no, not more Whitney Houston” headline fool you. Long-time MPRer Kate Moos delivers a courageous piece on rehab.

I’ve come to admire my mother and find her noble, having had decades to work on our relationship and let understanding ripen. She helped lots of women sober up back in the ’60s in our small town on the banks of the Mississippi River. After treatment, she was kooky and unpredictable, a much meaner person than the sad, drinking mother I faintly recall from earliest childhood. Sobriety for her, a middle-class housewife in the 1960s, was a tightrope act. She had to shoulder her way at first into the all-male A.A. group that met weekly above a downtown bar but became one of its local legends. She was a hero to the women she sponsored and her friends in the program. And she stayed sober until her death 25 years later. In moments of family upheaval, my mother would interrupt the mayhem and say, “Where there’s life there’s hope,” a sunny assertion in the midst of madness that always reduced me to blind fury. But she was right.


Those Hoverthings are a great way to take a look at the North Shore…

North Shore FPV from StrangerDejaVu on Vimeo.

Related: 60 seconds at Dodge Nature Center.

Bonus I: Should airlines give you a price break for family emergencies? The Cranky Flier blog comes down on the side of airlines in a public dispute over a recent flap with Virgin Airlines.

Bonus II:


The third and final presidential debate of this election year is set for tonight. Today’s Question: What are you hoping to hear in the final presidential debate?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Are you better off than you were four years ago?

Second hour: Restaurant reviewing.

Third hour: Author John Sandford.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): APM’s “BURN” energy documentary. An election special. “The Power of One Election and America’s Energy Future.”

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – Already, Mitt Romney and President Obama traded jabs over blame in Benghazi, support for Syria, red lines in Iran. And the foreign policy debate isn’t until Monday night. Former diplomats Dennis Ross and Aaron David Miller to preview the final presidential debate focuses on foreign policy.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Both major Twin Ciites orchestras have now locked out their musicians in a contract dispute over major concessions the orchestras are seeking. One of the central issues in the Minnesota Orchestra is use of the organization’s endowment funds. Management says they have been tapped too often for too much. The musicians disagree. MPR’s Martin Moylan looks at the dispute over the huge sums the orchestra has in the bank.