To the Editor,

I’d like to reflect and comment on the roots we plant as small-town people. Our community has brought memories that are incomparable and sometimes even out of reach for those who opt for a different lifestyle. 

I have always held close to my heart the many people who have left footprints in our community. I miss the most the things and people we take for granted until they are no longer a part of our day-to-day life. I still miss the irreplaceable smile and wave that came along with the purr of Junior Blumpke’s lawnmower. I miss people who made a difference such as Hub Norgren who was there as my small-town bus driver on the first day of school and who was there to see me off on my last. I can still hear the playlists that were continuously played from the Bowling Alley jukebox, I can smell Big Bopper’s fresh popped popcorn and I can feel the excitement that came from winning a pinball game at the Dairy Bar. I remember a town with filled storefronts, full store shelves, eager volunteers, and a community who shared a genuine concern for what our town was and how it was regarded by residents and outsiders alike. 

Lately, I’m starting to wonder if that’s just how I remember it and not how it was. Perhaps the pressure and tension of adult life hadn’t quite hit me yet before I left Henning—maybe I was still a naïve, young person who just loved her town. 

Unfortunately, because I left I didn’t get to know or even meet the young people who our community has lost in the last two decades. I was states away when the community rallied for a little boy who fought and beat cancer. I missed a lot, but, as small-town people do, I followed along with these stories. 

From afar, I mourned losses and celebrated wins along with you. There is no denying that our little town never wavers when one of our own is in need. I’ve experienced it first-hand and it is a feeling of compassion unlike any other. 

What I can’t do though, is compare the same considerations for courageous victories and tragic losses to what our town is facing now. There is a vast contrast between the two things. Irresponsible actions made by our elected officials is not relative, in any way, to supporting a grieving family or cheering on a team who is mourning their friend. It. Is. Wrong. 

If we want the sea of orange and the sold-out benefits, if we want the same outcome, we need to show up. It was together we supported. It was together we showed up. Together, no matter how different our views were.

Hope Sapp (Weinhandl),