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Root River Diary

By Don Bell, May 21, 2024

Root River area towns have stories to tell. (Map courtesy of Root River Trail Towns)

Root River Diary


Editor’s Note: Root River Diary is a new feature from readers sharing their stories about the people who make the Root River valley such an interesting place to live. Guidelines for submitting your story can be found at the end of this article.


Counting on your neighbors

Valentines Day 2023 was the day I met some of our neighbors and learned more of the reasons we live in a small town.

I was sitting in the living room, reading something on the computer, and my hand started to go numb. In a few minutes the numbness was going up my arm. My son walked in the room and I told him my arm was going numb. Without hesitation, he went to the phone and called 911. A minute later our mailman was at the front door. His car was parked at the mailbox and he was carrying something down our front steps.

He wasn’t delivering a package. What he was carrying was an EMT first aid kit. He had heard the 911 call on his scanner as he pulled up to our mailbox. Perfect timing. He checked my vitals and asked some questions. I don’t remember the conversation clearly but he told me an ambulance was on its way. His wife would be driving.

The ambulance arrived a few minutes later. Our mailman and my wife helped me get into the back of the ambulance. The mailman went back to delivering the mail. To my surprise, riding with me in the ambulance was our neighbor up the hill, a local woodworker.

The ride to LaCrosse was smooth and unhurried or so it seemed to me. My speech was a little garbled. The rest of the day was spent getting scans, talking with doctors, getting shots, asking questions, and seeing more doctors. I spent the night in the hospital and was discharged the next day.

The numbness had gone away that evening in the hospital. Prompt action had possibly averted something worse. I felt mortal but was grateful for the prompt actions of our local people. Nothing heroic, no one grandstanding, everyone just doing the right thing.

Just smalltown people helping their neighbors.


Don Bell, Lanesboro


“Root River Diary” Guidelines

The Root River Diary consists of observations we make about our rural communities that are uniquely wholesome – random acts of kindness, cultural surprises, and Main Street connections – the normal day-to-day interactions that leave us smiling and grateful to be living close to or in a small town.

Your story must be connected to the Root River valley (Fillmore, Houston, Olmsted, Mower, and Winona counties) and no longer than 350 words. The story must be personally known to be true to the author and not libelous, and cannot infringe on the privacy of others (people’s names cannot be used). Hateful content will not be published.

By submitting a Root River Diary entry, you are granting Root River Current royalty-free rights to reproduce and publicly display your story. You are also giving Root River Current permission to edit your story and amend your content for length and style. 

You must provide your name, email, and phone number. Only your name and location (town) will be published on Root River Current’s website.

Send submissions to editor@rootrivercurrent.org. In the subject line write: Root River Diary. An editor will contact you if your submission is considered for publication.

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