One of the markings in the Jeffers Petroglyphs.

Ole Pappy

Long drive discoveries

Nothing gives you a better perspective on life than taking a “road trip” somewhere you’ve never, or seldom been. Last week, I was forced to make TWO ... not one ... but TWO road trips to St. James, Minnesota.

Some Minneota fans made THREE trips. When people asked me where St. James is, I told them, “Just a little past Darfur.” Little Darfur wasn’t much bigger than Taunton — but it got my attention. The closer I got to that little community the more I began to feel for them.

“They really got socked with a hard-hitting hail storm,” one guy told me. He wasn’t wrong. I was astonished at the way the corn crops were “stripped”, with corn husks gone.

Field, after field was destroyed. And the soybeans, well, they were shattered in fields of mud.

Back in Minneota, we didn’t have a clue. Nothing like this happened in our area. During my first trip to St. James, I noticed this sign pointing to the site of the Jeffers Petroglyphs.

I’ve always wanted to see them, so I took the exit, followed the signs and ended up at this small Historical Society visitor’s center. The lady there gave me background on the carvings in the rock made by ancient Native Americans.

She said they were hard to see in the “overcast” light that day, but a tour leader would give us a better idea of the carvings.

So I took the tour, and it was amazing.

The tour guide poured water on the markings to make them visible. And the whole thing began to come to life. There were animals like buffalo, moose and others carved in the rock.

Snakes, wolves, even footprints also were visible.

There were stick people, some with circles for heads, others with circles for feet. To the Native American population, each of these has a different meaning.

Paula Paplow, who wrote a book called, “Hands Upon the Rock,” wrote: “I wondered if the people who drew them dreamed that thousands of years later, someone would admire and ponder them.”

There were bear tracks, turtles, elements from the universe, dragonflies and so much more. To the Native Americans, this place is sacred. The tour guide even took off his shoes when walking on the rocks, out of respect to the ancestors who made these drawings.

It was a powerful adventure — and I’m glad I took the time to see the Jeffers Petroglyphs.

LAUGH A LITTLE: What are you thinking? Two men went on a camping trip.

After a good dinner, they retire for the night, and went to sleep. Some hours later, the first man wakes up and nudges his faithful friend.

“Hey buddy, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”

The second man said: “I see millions and millions of stars.”

First man: “And what do you deduce from that?”

Second man: “Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo.”

“Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe.”

He asked the first man, “What does it tell you?” First man: “You idiot, it means that somebody stole our tent.”

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: As my Ole Pappy used to say, “When one door closes, another opens. Don’t get caught looking too long at the closed door or you’ll miss the one that opened.”

I thought Ole Pappy was talking in circles. Then I figured out he was telling me not to dwell on the bad things, but start looking for the good things.

Thanks Ole Pappy!

Byron Higgin

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