Labor Day, 2018

“Home” for my entire life has been North Dakota or Minnesota.  In these precincts, “summer” is usually the time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  In Minnesota, today is always the last day of the State Fair.

The Snelling Avenue Gate, Minnesota State Fair, 2018

Those who follow my “life” know that this has not been a routine “summer”.  (Yes, I did go to the Fair on Thursday.)

Some thoughts, as unofficial “Fall” begins (the day after Labor Day):

Bennie: Grandson Bennie and his Dad were in a horrible car accident the Friday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend.  It has been an entire summer in two hospitals.  Best I let his parents define where things are at at this point in time.  Here is the CaringBridge site.  It is at times like this where you become aware of the tremendous service provided by medical and other staff and volunteers and others, like the Ronald McDonald House, at times of need.  I am grateful.

I also have a heightened awareness of what it means to have health care…or not.  Those who have despised the Affordable Care Act (derisively called “Obamacare”) should be very aware of what they seem to be so actively working to eliminate.  All of us are going to pay a very heavy price for our short-sightedness, and in the not too distant future.

Joni:  I especially single out daughter Joni, today.  Tomorrow she opens Oltman Middle School in nearby Cottage Grove.  Joni is a veteran school Principal.  Last year she was Principal of the old Oltman in St. Paul Park, and also the supervising Principal of construction of the new school, which is described in todays St. Paul Pioneer Press: Oltman Middle School001 I’m proud as punch of Joni.   As I’ve told her, 53 years ago, as a young junior high school teacher, I was one of the faculty who opened the brand new Roosevelt Junior High School in Blaine MN.  Time just races by.

Roosevelt Junior High School, Blaine MN, 1968. Photo by Dick Bernard, pilot of the plane, Frank Bernard.

Two Grandkids headed off to new adventures this summer:  Spencer is in the middle of Boot Camp for the Marines at Camp Pendleton CA.  I suspect that today will be like all days in basic training.  He’s about half way through, I calculate.  Graduation is Oct. 12.  We hope to be there.  Ted is newly enrolled at Wartburg College in Iowa.  I saw him for lunch before departure.  His t-shirt said it all about him: “4 out of 3 people struggle with math”.  He’s one who revels in math – a “pi guy”.  Thought of him, too, when the marimba was front and center at Basilica of St. Mary yesterday.  He’s a music guy too, which tends to ‘rhyme’ with math.

Some serious items, not of a family sort:

This summer brought a kick in the teeth for those of us who feel Unions have brought a great deal of value to this country.  The U.S. Supreme Court took a meat ax to the concept of “fair share”.  The issue is complex, and I’m biased.  An article that seems to be fairly even-handed is here: Fair Share002 .  It is worth your time to read, and to discuss.  I could have highlighted sections.  I chose to leave it as is.

I’m no “babe in the woods” on this issue, having been teacher union staff for 27 years, most of which were under “Fair Share” Law, enacted bipartisan, and found legal by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1970s.

I wrote to the private sector management friend who gave me the article: “I do muse about why unions are so despised – maybe it’s the “I” focus of todays society – ‘all that matters is what matters to me’ – a diminished sense of community.  Forgotten is that much of the middle class prosperity, now diminishing, came from more disposable income resulting (directly and indirectly) from union negotiated wages and fringe benefits.   I remember what it was like before Unions helped fuel prosperity.  The backslide is intensifying.”

And then there’s the matter of being Catholic in this time of stress around misbehavior of Priests and Bishops.  The vast majority of clergy are tarred by the misdeeds of the very few…what is unfortunate is that the evil deeds of some are used to tar everyone, whether guilty or not; regardless of how far back in history.

We seem to have a tendency, generally, to entertain the notion of collective guilt in perpetuity.  At least, that’s how it seems.

Here, for anyone interested, are the positions of our pastor at Basilica of St. Mary and the local Archbishop and Bishop.  These are public information.  For the record, I commended our Pastor for his statement, and subscribe to his number 4.

Here they are: Basilica Fr John Bauer001 and Catholic Bishops Sep 18001

2 replies
  1. Jermitt Krage
    Jermitt Krage says:

    Dick: I, too am very disturbed over the many recent rulings of the U. S. Supreme Court, but not surprised since the ruling “Citizens United” has given control to those who have the power of the purse. Unfortunately, I don’t see an end of this in many years, perhaps decades to come.

    I did appreciate the statement written by Basilica Father John Bauer. It will be the future actions taken by the church that will also make a difference in peoples opinions of the church.

  2. Ellen Brehmer
    Ellen Brehmer says:

    The language of the church really needs to be clarified. Sexual Abuse is the covert word for Rape and Terrorism. As soon as it is uncovered it must be reported to the police, not to the various church representatives. Once the world know that Catholics don’t consider themselves above the law, the more reassured the faithful and outside onlookers will become.

    I am a Lutheran by way of confirmation. When our preachers, who are sexual predators become known, they are ‘usually’ turned over to law enforcement. Because of course, not everyone is ‘found out’ or the Bishops don’t want to be tainted, so they hope for the best and keep silent. These are criminal acts and need to be recognized as such.


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