When it comes to a big heart, a Minnesota little town shines

At last official count, there were only 699 residents of Hendricks, Minnesota, aka “The Little Town By the Lake, ” so the idea of a “flash mob” isn’t a practical notion, especially given the weather these days.

Our pal in the town, Steve Hemmingsen, gave it a shot anyway today, sending out an email to town residents urging them to head for the drug store. He didn’t say why, other than it would be fun.

He said in a follow-up email to residents that about 5 percent of the “ambulatory population” of the community showed up.

Jodi Sagmoe doesn’t spare the birthday wishes when you pop in at the drug store. She wishes me happy birthday every time I’m in there. It means she will be correct once a year, unless one is a leap-year baby, which I’m not.

A couple of days ago, Jay Nelson notified me that today — April 30th — was going to be Jodi’s actual birthday. She claims it’s number 23. We figured we had to do something special, so we concocted what we think is the first “flash mob” performance in The Little Town by the Lake.

Through some vague emails that didn’t let the secret out, and word of mouth in the usual coffee spots, we managed to rally about 5 percent of Hendricks’ ambulatory population in leaky shelter of the old hardware store, at least a shelter from the Wuthering Heights-quality wind.

After explaining the mysterious gathering, at 10 o’clock sharp, more or less, we all marched a couple of doors down the street and into the drug store where Jodi was counting out pills, probably for some of her serenaders, and 30 voices strong, erupted in “Happy Birthday,” without songbooks or anything. Orchestra Leader Phil of Hemmingsen in Hendricks podcast fame commented: “Did you notice they were all on pitch?”

No, I didn’t notice that, Phil. That’s why you’re the maestro. At any rate, we caught Jodi red-faced and flat-footed, and a good time was had by all. Except Jodi, maybe.

Click on the video I’ve attached to join the fun in absentia. Gloria Mueller was a couple of minutes late, but we know there was “Happy Birthday” in her heart. If we’d have waited a half hour we probably could have doubled the crowd.

A flash mob, by the way, is something of a big city phenomenon in which hundreds of people show up, do a song of an act of some kind, and then disappear into the woodwork. Or in the case of Hendricks, the coffee shops. It was darned near lunch time, after all. No sense breaking the rhythm of the day.