"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gophers

Today I am grateful for our local breast cancer support group and the friends I have there. I am also grateful for my laptop computer's convenience and portability.

GOPHERS is a "g" word that may not cross a person's mind all that often. If you happen to live in Minnesota, however, you will hear it frequently and see it on shirts, sweatshirts, and car bumpers. The Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota. Minnesota: The Gopher State. Apparently back in the mid-1800's there was considerable debate about whether or not Minnesota should be called the "Gopher State" for the many striped gophers prevalent on the prairie, or the "Beaver State."  Long before social media, political cartoons helped give the nod to the gophers.

Minnesota history aside, this Iowa girl wants to talk about the gophers of my childhood. I confess to not being a regular follower of Minnesota Gopher athletics. At one time in my life, however, I would spend some weeks in spring and summer following gophers. Actually we were trapping them. They were numerous and could be destructive to farmland. So the local county extension offices would offer rewards for the paws of captured gophers. I recall ten cents per pair, and then it moved up to a quarter. It was worth our time back then.

The process began by looking for fresh gopher mounds-piles of dirt they create when they make their burrows. The trick was finding the opening, clearing it enough to fit a trap in it, then covering things back up and putting a post nearby to both hold the trap and mark the mound. The next morning we would check our traps and see if we had caught anything. If we had, I would usually let someone else take it from there. It was one of the many ways I learned about life on the farm. I recall the challenge of the trapping and some excitement if we caught a gopher. In some sense, we were doing our part to help out.

From grief to gophers, and now wishing you a good day full of gratefulness.

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