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KATIE ZERR: Interviews trigger appreciation of life

I’m not much for social media. I‘m not a tweeter, don’t spend much time on Facebook and find some comments made by trolls on newspaper or online stories quite disgusting and disheartening considering they are supposed to be written by humans.
There are, however, some places that I check out regularly, including the “You know You’re From Mobridge, S.D. if…” It is nice to read some names that bring back memories of growing up here.
There are some people who have chirped in with nasty posts about “that crappy little town.” I know not everyone’s memories are sunshine and lollipops, but I read several posts that were nothing but nasty, trying to throw cold water on other’s memories. I stopped reading the posts at one time after an especially nasty comment from a former resident. I have since been able to go back and enjoy the site again. It is great to read those remembering exactly what I do about life in a small town.
I was one of those who left here at age 18. I don’t think it was so much about leaving Mobridge behind as it was needing some adventure in my life. Two of my best friends and I jumped on the bus and headed for Minneapolis.
Living away from here was exactly what I needed to appreciate what we have. After living away from Mobridge for nearly 20 years, a stop at home for a couple of months has turned into a 26 year stay. It is my hope to be able spend my retirement in our community, giving back to the place that has meant so much to me and my family.
Included in this week’s edition of the Tribune is the spring Lifestyles section. This is our “Where are They Now?” which stars former residents who are outstanding in their fields of choice, who have made a difference in the lives of others or have left their mark on the youth of our country.
Three female former residents are featured in this section. One is serving the state as a cabinet secretary, one who touches the lives of people facing sometimes frightening medical issues and one, most appropriately for this week, whose mission is to teach the youth of two nations about the importance of remembering the sacrifices of our military personnel.
These are three different stories with one common thread; they all three have deep roots in Mobridge and understand what it means to be raised here.
The stories are different, but the theme is the same; the people of this area they encountered in their youth had a lasting impact on their lives.
This year I laughed and cried with these ladies. Memories of Julie Weninger and her family that has such a connection with mine (Joey was a good friend of my brother Kevin and was a part of my family) were relived while reading Kaye’s beautiful tribute to her family.
I remembered when my mother became ill and had surgery in Bismarck, the connection to home and incredible care provided by Audrey was such a comfort during that time.
I was not living here when Shawnie was part of this community. Her life in Mobridge was during the time mine was in Minneapolis and Aberdeen, but she remains a part of Mobridge through her lifelong friendships that started here.
In talking with Audrey, our memories intertwined, and we laughed and cried, reminisced about people, about the tough times and the great times. We both agreed it was the people in our community who played a part in raising us. In fact, Audrey had a long list of people who played a role in her life and they are a roster of people in this community who left their mark on Audrey.
For me it was the ladies in neighborhood, Betty Stablein, Margaret Davidson, Ida Miller and Marge Bridenstine to name a few. It was the Cameron family, the Mogen family, the Stiles family, and in my early childhood, the Jack Pier family. My oldest brother Pat’s friends were a huge part of my life. They were like rock stars to me. Donny Mott, Jeff Loll, Steve Glader and many others remained part of my family even after Pat’s death.
I have encountered people who don’t have the same appreciation of our lives in Mobridge. Many, many times. Life here was not always great, but it was better than so many other’s.
As we remember those who have gone before us on Memorial Day, let’s also remember those who touched our lives in profound ways.
Thank you to our veterans who sacrificed so much for us and our nation. No words are adequate for what you have done and what you are doing. Thank you to law enforcement, dispatchers, fire fighters and first responders who work hard to keep our community a safe place to live.
Thank you to those people of this “village” who helped to raise many a child.