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Thoreau had right idea about listening to own drums

June 26, 2011
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

A person's head can go totally blank when there's too much input. Just ask me. I know. I can't remember a thing.

I blame it, of course, on too much fun last week when my sister, Barbara, came home from Springfield, Ill., at the same time my good friends, Vicki and Dave Bailey, came back to town from Dallas, Ore., and a friend of Barbara's, the former Barbara Hoyt, came down from Luxemburg, Wis.

On top of that, the Eagle Grove All-School Reunion took place on June 18 and I ran into lots of people I knew but hadn't seen in years. The reunion was married to the town's annual Summerfest.

We missed the bathtub races, even though we got there during the time the races were scheduled. Those tubs must have gone fast this year - right out of sight before we sighted them.

I might still be affected by the two beers I drank that Saturday. I haven't had two beers in 30 years and when I did, they were on the same day. Quite close together, actually. Ah, me.

Barbara and Barbara spent their high school years together. Some might say joined at the hip. Their lockers were together - Hansch and Hoyt - and they had the same look, slim with long, brown hair.

They're six years young-er than I am, so I never was in school when they were. But I heard the stories.

Once they had to make outfits for something at school. A skit or something. They didn't have a lot of fabric, and I'm not sure where they got what they got, but they took turns lying on the floor with the other one drawing around them to make a pattern. Then they cut and sewed, and got just what they wanted.

One night Barbara Hoyt stayed overnight with sister Barbara, and they went to school the next day as look-alikes. It was the time of wigs, and Sister B had two long blonde wigs. Each wore one, styled alike. They wore nearly matching outfits. You're never sure what people say about things like that, but the Barbaras certainly got a kick out of the reaction of students and teachers alike.

I'm saying it's Sister B who gave my daughter Dana the live-how-you-like attitude she has. Easy going, happy for the most part, and oblivious to what people might complain about them. Or it might have been Dana's birth announcement that gave her such carefree existence.

We owned a small weekly paper in Colorado at the time, and Walt printed her announcement. On the back was her footprint - such a cute, little thing - and Henry David Thoreau's quote: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

Maybe Sister B lives by that motto, too. Why not? I do, and I love it. Though I've never laid on a floor and had somebody cut cloth around me.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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