I love a relaxing Sunday in the summer.

Maybe church in the morning. Maybe somewhere nice for a leisurely lunch. Maybe a nice drive admiring the countryside. Maybe a nice, perfectly chilled Grain Belt Longneck while watching a ballgame. Ah, taking it easy getting ready for the new work week.

Or we could spend the day burning down a house.

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See that person up there in the picture? That's my daughter Jessie.

She's a member of the Clarkson, Nebraska Fire, and Rescue team. And on a recent summer Sunday they burned down a house. And no, not for fun, but for training.

Clarkson is one of those small towns that I love. With something under 700 folks, it's a great place to live and raise a family. It like many small towns, it's not necessarily easy to have and maintain a volunteer fire department and first responders. After all, people are busy and my daughter Jessie is no different. Married with three kids of her own, she's the Postmaster in Clarkson and has a full, rich and busy life. So it's not like she didn't have anything to do, not like she had a lot of downtime on her hands.

But she stepped up, took the classes and training, and is now a member of the Clarkson Fire and Rescue team. And so it was, that on a summer Sunday, she and her teammates trained...on a burning house.

Now, I assume they don't go door-to-door asking if it's ok if we burn down your house. No, this was a house that was going to be torn down and so it was arranged to burn it down instead and give this local Fire and Rescue team valuable training. Because when the 'real deal' happens, when a house is on fire, they'll know what to do to save not only a house but maybe lives.

Can you tell I'm proud of her? Yeah, I always have been and even more because of this.

And if you live in or near a small town, be sure and thank a member of your local volunteer fire department, a member of your local fire and rescue team. And I know you're busy, but maybe consider becoming a member. Jessie tells me it's very rewarding.

Randy's Minnesota Memories

Randy McDaniel grew up on a small farm near Leota, Minnesota during the classic baby-boomer years of the 1960s and 1970s. These are his stories of growing up in the idyllic world of southwest Minnesota.