After visiting with them this morning, I went on a drive up Highway 47 near Goodhue to see their church, St. Columbkill (pictured above). Because they share a pastor with two other churches, they only have one Mass on Sundays. Sometimes, they walk.
It’s hard not to envy people who are surrounded by this type of rural scenery every day. I make any excuse I can to get out into the country.
The Poncelets don’t have to. They can just go into the garage, get out their bikes and start riding. Sitting down with them and four of their five children (their oldest, Laura, is down in Miami where she is studying to be an architect), their wholesomeness was as easy to spot as the cornstalks in view out their back window.
Because both of our families have kids around the same age, we thought it would be fun to get together and compare notes on parenthood, faith and life. I enjoyed the discussion, not to mention the beautiful drive down Highway 52, with a detour through Cannon Falls.
That area seems to have rebounded from the flooding a month ago. In fact, the Poncelets say that the whole region now could use some rain.
Fortunately, rain fell overnight and there was a sprinkle or two left as I drove down. With more forecast for tonight, I think farmers will be in good shape. The corn stalks I saw looked thick and green – and high! The old saying used to be “knee high by the Fourth of July.” It’s closer to chin high now.
One of the Poncelet children has taken a special interest in all things farming. Michael, about to turn 15, has wanted to be a farmer since he was a toddler. With both Pete and Regina having relatives who farm, Michael is getting plenty of opportunity. He seems very determined to do it for a living someday.
We need many more like him to keep farming going strong. There aren’t as many small, family farms as there used to be, but the Poncelets noted that organic farms are now dotting the landscape and doing well.
I just hope the rural landscape stays unspoiled until long past Michael’s retirement!