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She's less mobile than she was, but still plenty active

Barbara Linkert has a standing lunch date on Tuesdays. She cooks. Her son-in-law comes to eat. He gets a good meal, and she gets some company.

That's a good deal for Linkert, who can't get around as well as she used to. She uses a wheelchair to get around the the townhome where she's lived for the past nine years. She has an electric scooter that will get her across Shannon Parkway to Cub Foods, but she can't drive.

Linkert still leads a monthly Bible study at her church, and she is involved with the Rosemount Area Seniors. But more and more her biggest contributions are making phone calls to remind people of upcoming meetings.

"I've got the time, and I love to talk," Linkert said. Linkert grew up in Brainerd, and she loved it. She could walk to a nearby park for swimming in the summer, and in the winter there were skating rinks and good sledding hills nearby.

"It was nice," she said.

When Linkert was in high school, her grandfather died and her father decided to give up a career as a mechanic and take over the family farm. Linkert spent her last two years of high school on the farm in Hutchinson. It was a change for a girl who had grown up in the city.

"We had a long walk, because we had to walk out to the main road to catch the school bus," Linkert said.

She also had new chores. She was in charge of feeding the cows and making school lunches for her siblings. She tried to do some growing of her own her first year on the farm, but it didn't go well.

"I planted so many gladiola bulbs," she said. "I wanted to have flowers around. Then my dad got some little pigs, and I had no gladiolas. The pigs rooted them all out."

After high school Linkert moved to St. Paul and studied to become a nurse.

It was one of Linkert's patients that helped her meet her husband. The woman invited Linkert to Thanksgiving dinner, and the man Linkert would eventually marry, the patient's brother-in-law, just happened to be there. Linkert figures it had all been arranged ahead of time. They had a long-distance relationship for a couple of years before marrying in February of 1957.

"He was special. He was so good to me," Linkert said.

Linkert and her husband had three children, a boy and two girls.

The couple lived in Apple Valley for more than 40 years before Linkert's husband died. That's when she moved the four miles to her current home.