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Letters - Grateful for gifts of happy memories

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A great many kindnesses I receive throughout the year make me feel grateful. It doesn't have to be Christmas to make me feel appreciative.

Those of us working in "service occupations" often never know what kind of an impact we are having on a group or an individual.

Two surprise "gifts" during 2012 are noteworthy, and, to the giver, cost nothing but gathering up the gumption to offer the verbal bouquet. Everytime my memory harkens back, I find myself happy, smiling, and an internal feeling of satisfaction.

One was right here in Detroit Lakes. The young man is Mike Sorenson. Very honestly, the letter from him was just about overwhelming. Not only did he express gratefulness for what I did with "formation and maintenance" at Sucker Creek Preserve, but his letter relayed skilled powers of observation of adults as he noted the time and energy I put in. Such regard is exceptional for a very young, at that time, secondary student.

Now a senior in college, targeting an environmental science degree, Mike has a specific plan for future study: in freshwater ecology (challenging, indeed). His inspiration was the legacy of the natural woods park. Thank you, Mike! How gratifying it is to know I made a positive impact in the next generation's world.

The phone rang and the female voice at the other end asked, "Is this Sally Hausken?"

"Yes-s" I slowly admitted. "This is Deb Smith, remember me?" I did not and in my sheepish voice had to admit that, too. The conversation that followed awakened my memory.

In the work force, I was a counselor at Minnetonka. In 1974 (I think), this young Georgian lady was a 9th grader. She was staying with an uncle just for this school year.

A smart cookie, studying and learning was not exactly this attractive blonde's cup of tea.

The sentence I remembered using most of the time was, "I haven't much time; I have to work fast." Of course, I was encouraging her to make a plan; to go to college. She left at the end of the school year. Amen. Amen?

Now, in 2012, I hear from her! She had been married for 18 years, was unable to have children, but seemed to gather as many elementary children as she could to her house, and delighted in it.

How did Deb happen to find me? I don't know how much, if any, college this took, but she had become a private detective! While I was remembering, "I haven't much time to work with you," what was she remembering? She remembered that Christmas I took her to The Nutcracker at Northrup Auditorium on the U of M campus.

These two experiences alone awash me in gifts and permanent happy memories engraved because of them. -- Sally Hausken, Detroit Lakes

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