It was over 30 years ago that I sat with our neighbor Elton Redalen at our kitchen table drinking coffee. Elton stopped by after plowing snow. I asked him whom he’d plowed out and he listed several people. I knew from a previous conversation that one of those people was not one of his favorites.

I said, “Elton, didn’t you say you’re not particularly fond of that person?”

He replied, “Well that has nothing to do with it – their driveway needed plowing!”

At that moment I felt that I just might belong in this community – that I was in a place where people cared about one another.

For those of you who did not have an opportunity to know Elton, he was a fifth-generation farmer, a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, served as the Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture, a good husband, proud father and grandfather, and an old-school Republican.

I cannot but wonder what Elton would think about the lack of grace and dignity that seems to be present in our political world today. I pray at this time, when we have the opportunity to vote, that we choose leaders with the depth of character that reflect Elton’s good example.

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Mary Bell, Lanesboro