Just a Good Ol’ Girl, Never Meanin’ No Harm

The weekend started out strange enough. I pulled into the driveway of my cousin’s farm a few miles out of Jasper, and two women were sitting in a car. Thinking they were Haraldson’s in town for the goat races and all-class reunion (yes, I said goat races), I introduced myself.

“Hi, I’m Lynn Haraldson. Don Haraldson’s daughter,” I said as I shook one of the women’s hands.

She looked at me funny and said, “I’m looking for Dean.”

“Oh,” I said. “He’s in Pipestone with his son and will be home in an hour.”

“Well, we’re burying my brother tomorrow and I need to drop him off with Dean,” she said.


“We have his urn in the trunk,” she continued. Dean is the custodian of the Rose Dell Cemetery across the road from his farm. My mother’s family and the Haraldsons went to church there, when there was a church, and many of our relatives are buried there. I knew Dean and his sons mowed the lawn and kept up the place, but I had no idea he was a grave digger, too.

“Well, I guess you should bring him in the house, then,” I said and I led her up the back steps. She set the urn down on the kitchen floor, said thank you, and left.

I stood there for a moment looking at the dead guy in a box and thought, ‘Welcome home, Lynn.’

I’m a redneck, literally and figuratively. Literally in that I have a sunburn on my neck, compliments of the hot Minnesota sun and a t-shirt. Figuratively in that I am friends with good-time people who have fun riding in a small town parade on a flatbed with picnic tables on top and drinking Bud Light, throwing candy to children, and hootin’ and hollerin’ at their aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers, and grandmas and grandpas lining the streets. While I had pinot grigio poured into a water bottle, I also drank a Bud Light. And I’ve got the photo to prove it. The woman next to me? She’s a doctor in Florida. We were the flute section in junior high band. Good to know we’ve grown up, isn’t it?


I’ll be on a plane for Pittsburgh in a few hours. I’ll disect the week into smaller blogs as soon as I wrap my head around all that happened, but for now I thought I’d share a few photos from my week in Minnesota.


Robin, Lisa and Bryce. I have no idea what I said, but it must've been good.


Boy, did Jeanine and I get in trouble when we tried to climb in the kiddy cars. Some woman read us the riot act. I haven't been yelled at like that since the last time I hung out with Jeanine.


BFF Lisa, who was my maid of honor when I married Carlene's father, Bruce; Terry; James (a groomsman at our wedding); me; and Carlene, who is still recovering from riding on the float with the class of '81. She knows her mother (and her father) in a whole new light now. Not sure that's such a good thing!


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