No matter when the mind stops, help is a good thing

He was born on my birthday, so I call him Sandy.

This perfect little bull calf, a purebred polled Hereford, is part of Leland Dencklau’s newest venture of raising beef near Vincent. Sandy was sired by a national champion, so that’s a good start to this venture. Besides, he’s a cute little thing.

Leland’s Herefords take me back a whole lot of years to showing cattle in 4-H. Maybe because my mind already was back in time, slopping around in all the fun.

Like the time Ralph and Margaret Michehl and their kids came to the farm for an afternoon visit. The adults played cards, but rain had left large puddles as yet unexplored, and the gravel road continually beckoned. So it was, we were outside, dirty and getting dirtier, when someone – and I refuse to believe it was me – had the idea of dumping Mike into a puddle.

Linda Michehl, my sister Cindy and I were in on it, but I can’t remember who else was there. I just remember they wouldn’t let us in the house until we’d been hosed off.

That memory came to mind Monday when I stopped to tell Ralph and Margaret how sorry I was for their loss. Mike died.

He lived in Laurens with his family and had been suffering the effects of Agent Orange, that deadly chemical used in Vietnam. He died in his sleep.

Mike, like almost every person who served the country, was an unsung hero, despite the Purple Heart and Bronze Star he received during his two-year stint with the Seabees, despite the life he made as a loving family man. He was buried Thursday.

It may be too late to look him in the eyes and say thank you, but there is a way you can say thank you to another group of men and women who served the nation. The Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight plans to send another planeload of veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the war memorials.

No date has been determined because the $100,000 isn’t available to rent the jet. But in just two weeks, 80 names were received as candidates for the free trip. And though this trip was initially set up for veterans of the Korean Conflict/War – some people call it one thing, some the other – there remain a few World War II vets who for one reason or another were unable to go on one of the five earlier flights.

“If we get World War II vets, they go to the top of the list,” said Ron Newsum, one of the organizers of the Honor Flight trips. “It’s a first-come first-served basis. There’s no shortage of applications.”

What’s short is the bank account. So, if you ever wondered how you could honor all those who served their country, here is the place to do it. Now is the time to do it. And the donation is tax deductible.

Send donations to Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight, 320 S. 12th St., Fort Dodge, IA 50501.

And bless you for doing this.

So long friends, until the next time when we’re together.

Sandy Mickelson, retired lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at