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Photo by Ethelyn Pearson.

A discussion of small towns

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Today I must catch Phyllis before she heads back home. She was born in Balaton in 1934, to David and Emily Anderson. David was a farmer all of his life. Phyllis graduated from high school in Alexandria.

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After working around Alexandria for a short time, Phyllis went to Minneapolis where she first found work at the home of a druggist before working at Honeywell.

Phyllis met Gordon Drum through a friend. They were married in 1956 and have four children. They moved to Deer Creek, where they bought the acreage she still lives on.

Gordon worked for McGarry Brothers, on the pipeline, for the railroad, and for Hide and Fur. He also helped his father farm. Gordon died last October.

Filling her time has never been a problem for Phyllis. She likes gardening and flowers. She enjoys embroidering quilt blocks and to quilt. She is a knitter and she likes to read.

Next, our visit led us to talking about our shrinking small towns, some without even a grocery store. Phyllis remembers when Deer Creek bustled on a Saturday night, families everywhere with their arms full of groceries.

"Now," she said, "surely we miss the stores, but the town hasn't just curled up its toes and quietly died!"

A satisfying quality of life survives.

There are still two active churches in town, our neighbors are still there, and the clubs and groups that have activities and hold meetings still do. Folks still have birthday and anniversary parties or wedding dances and benefits in the Community Center.

Community activities helping other activities in the community is a winning combination. A case in point took place last week when Wadena's Rotary Club invited Fair Oaks Lodge exercise staff to come to their meeting to share and demonstrate the successful "Fit 4 Life Venture" program.

Old Confucius would say, "It is not what's gone, it's what is still there that counts."

There are still thriving businesses in Phyllis' home town. They have the makings of a fine museum.

Spring is right around the corner, when you will soon be hearing bats in Elmer Becker Park cracking out home runs all over town.

Phyllis is looking forward to it.

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