The folks in Manson have had a lot to smile about lately.
On Aug. 9, Ashley Quade, daughter of Kim and Paul Quade, of Manson, was picked from a field of 102 candidates to be the 2008 Iowa State Fair queen. I bet she's still grinning, but that grin likely has nothing over the smile worn by her maternal grandmother, Marilyn Oberhelman.
Marilyn was so excited, she could barely get out all the facts when I talked to her about it.
Anyway, a few days later Mary Condon, of Clare, stopped by to tell her her good news - about Manson girls, too.
Raegen Schultz Wagner, of Cambridge, had been named Iowa State Fair senior cowgirl queen in a contest sponsored by the Iowa Associated Saddle Club. Formerly of Barnum and a graduate of Manson Northwest Webster, she is the daughter of Gina and Mark Schultz, of Barnum.
She may not live here any longer, but she's from here - a daughter of the Manson area and graduate of Manson Northwest Webster - and her horse lives in Clare, Mary said.
And, there's more.
A member of queen Raegen's court was Heather Condon, of Clare, daughter of Mark and Marsha Condon. She'll be a senior at Manson Northwest Webster this fall. The Humboldt Saddle Club sponsored her.
Danielle and Samantha Condon, Heather's sisters, also competed in the contest.
It's amazing, I think, that so many young women from one high school did so well in the State Fair contests. I'm proud of them.
These girls are all young, and their accomplishments likely make the rounds when folks in Manson gather to chat. But folks may have forgotten another daughter of Manson whose life is going full tilt ahead.
That's Eileen Peterson, of Frederick, Md., daughter of Roland and Edna Peterson, of Manson. An attorney, she spent three weeks in Kathmandu, Nepal, last spring working for a Belgian company as a training specialist for designing programs for groups who were partners in the training - the Nepalese Human Rights Commission, the Supreme Court of Nepal and the Nepalese Bar Association.
That was in the spring, just before the first election ever held in Nepal.
Eileen was home recently to visit her folks, but took a few minutes to talk about her work. She does financial compliance review contracting now but is transitioning into environmental law.
OK, I can tell you that; I cannot, however, explain what it means. Just nod and say "hmmmm" and pretend you know what I mean - unless you really do know, and then just nod and agree that it's quite impressive.
She was a lobbyist at one time, and taught at Georgetown University and the University of Baltimore School of Law, both times as an adjunct professor.
That's a lot of accomplishment for someone who hasn't reached 50 yet.
She's also worked in Bosnia on women's rights issues, on a law that would help domestic violence victims. She trained judges and attorneys there.
All this work didn't just start overnight, you understand. As a student at Manson High School - before Northwest Webster was part of the equation - she was part of an accelerated program that took her to live in Israel for about a year. She's always had that drive to be part of the international family.
That's a much larger family than her's here in Manson - but she's still living large as the apple of her parents' eyes.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org