Bread and Chocolate

Pecan cranberry bran muffin. Bought two day-old crème cheese bran muffins–there are my favorite; they are on Tuesday. Just like me to have a favorite that is not so popular. A two year-old girl fell off the stool by the counter. Life is fraught with peril. No, she’s more like a year I guess now as I see the father carrying her back.

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Coffee News

Didn’t have any cash, so I bought a granola, yogurt, fruit thing to go to use my card. Kind of distracting in here because the radio is on really, really loud, and morning commercial DJs are going at it.
Yesterday and Saturday was the Minnesota Sacred Harp Convention. I went to the morning at St. Sahag, Sunday at Murphy’s Landing.
Ah, that’s better. Moved to the back room, which I had avoided because some folks had just gone back there. But, thank goodness, they are not a fraction as loud as the radio in the other room. What a disappointment to have gotten myself here, intact, and then have the super loud radio.

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Your soar where others merely waddle

Is the saying on a card Dorothea bought as a congratulations card for someone. Liam saw the picture, pointed to the flying penguin, and said “That’s Thomas!” and noted that there were twelve penguins (corresponding roughly to the number of siblings?)

Tim’s recollections

I live in Clotho so Thomas, who never lived here while my family was here, was sort of a spiritual neighbor. The first time I met him was probably about 1987 when he walked down to our strawberry field in Clotho from the Hansmeyer house. That’s a pretty long walk but he had little Tony and Monica in tow and they picked some berries and we made a new friend.
I actually don’t remember the details of the next few years but we kept in contact pretty regularly. Once, when Thomas was in Colombia, we got a letter from him. It was addresed, “The Kings” “Clotho” USA. You tell me how that got here? It was pure Thomas to send something like that.
You all know he went of to do his undergraduate work at the U of M in soils. But what you don’t know is what a name he made for himself when he became a research assistant with the guy who was studying earth worms. With sustainable farmers Thomas became the guy to call to talk about worms. Of course he loved soil profiles. Ask him and he’d dig a five foot hole in your field and discuss with anybody willing to listen what all those marvelous stripes were in the soil profile. Then he’d probably laugh at himself for being so crazy. But his love for the life of the soil was infectious and broughtv joy and understanding to many a farmer.
Thomas and the work-a-day world didn’t get along too well, I don’t think. When he got out of college he went to work for Stearns County SWCD. There were some pretty vicious people over there. He came to our house one evening crying his heart out. He cried so hard I never quite knew what they did to him. We went to a movie with my wife and son and he felt better. But he never went back there.
I never knew why he felt he should go back to the University and get his masters degree. I felt the U was like the SWCD. But Thomas maybe understood stuff I didn’t. There were some great people in the soils department — like Dave Huggins and Deborah Allen – and Thomas really got into what they were thinking about and about new ways of doing research. Thomas and I traveled around southwestern Minnesota a little. I remember one long day of visiting farmers. Thomas loved asking farmers what they thought about their soil. He’d touch it with them, smell it, walk around a field with them, and listen to them. Soils experts just don’t normally respect dumb farmers. Thomas did. One night we ended up at the Calumet Inn in Pipestone. For a couple hungry country boys it was a pretty nice night out. Then we drove over to Lamberton to stay with Dave Huggins. He and Huggins talked for hours about carbon ratios and soil quality and porosity until I dropped out of my chair. They didn’t even see me fall.
Thomas’ thesis really challenged the scientists. It was so agro-eco-socio. They just knew you couldn’t count it. I think he really challenged them and some of those good people were ready to be challenged. He invited me to be on the review committee for his oral presentation. That was very strange since I didn’t want to criticize him or judge him and since I didn’t know how that stuff works.
That was the last time I saw him. I’m not sure what happens to friends and why we grow apart. I have missed his friendship for somes years and miss it more for knowing I’ll not have it back. But I did have it and was enriched by it.
One other thing. Maybe somebody found a girl Zapatista doll in his stuff. I bought that for him one warm January night in the market in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapis. When I came back to the airport in Minneapolis it was late and really cold. I didn’t have a jacket and was worried. Thomas came walking down the long empty concourse. He was wearing a warm jacket and had one in his arms for me. Thoughtful guy. I showed him the doll. He laughed

Nina’s, again

Owner compliments me on my jacket. “Great color.” I am being sucked in.
On the chalkboard in the entrance written “Tell us your name so we can cheer you in the marathon.” Bill is listed. He’s the aerobics instructor at the Y.
Yoga last night. Actually a lot of stuff yesterday. Dog groomed. Kid’s violin lesson. Take three deep breathes.

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LIfe is circles.

Thomas was a student of the world and also a wonderful teacher. Over the years, I learned so much from him. I learned about yoga, patience, gardening, music, all sorts of things. He always talked about life being circles, everything was a circle. I find it beautifully fulfilling that he did live his life with so many circles of friends, families, neighborhoods, churches, classes, communities. His funeral was such a beautiful expression of his lifestyle. Every person there seemed hungry to know more about Thomas’ other circles, to connect with his vast networks of friends and family.

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