If we were having coffee, we’d be sitting once again in my local coffee shop. It’s busy for a Sunday–but, then again, Sundays have been more and more busy lately. Don’t worry about finding me–I’m the girl by the window with the laptop.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve joined in the coffee share. I’ve been neglecting WordPress lately… I don’t think I’ve even opened the site in over a week. How is everyone doing?
This weekend is our annual summer festival in Lindstrom, one of my hometowns. Karl Oscar Days is one of the highlights of the warm months. The festival is named for the protagonist of a book series about Swedish immigrants by the author Vilhelm Moberg, who stayed in our area while writing the book. The community is obsessed with its Scandinavian heritage. Downtown Lindstrom is peppered with Swedish flags and dala horses. I’m half Scandinavian, so I find it quirky and charming.
Anyways, I had a friend come up from the cities and we joined in the festivities. We wandered all around town, exploring the vendor booths, and chatting with people. The town is perched between two lakes, so we borrowed some kayaks from a family friend and spent a few hours going around the lake. In the evening, we lined up for the annual parade. We ended up walking away with an enormous mound of candy, courtesy of our screaming at every float that came by.
I have been flirted with more in the past few weeks than my entire twenty-three years combined.
When I took a job as the librarian in a small town, my mom teasingly hinted that this would happen. “Word will get out, Amelia,” she laughed. “A young, cute, single librarian… they’ll be lining up to meet you.”
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that things are changing quickly in my corner of the world–so quickly that blogging has fallen by the wayside. My job hunt continues to progress. Some days it moves forward in bounds and others it simply creeps along. I’ve been learning a lot over the past weeks, but won’t say more here…I have a post scheduled about it for tomorrow. So stay tuned! Continue reading →
One of the greatest delights in small-town Minnesota are summer festivals. Every town has one. If you wanted, you could attend one every week of the summer. These festivals often feature a special 5K race, a craft fair with all kinds of food stalls, and an evening parade. Since I was in marching band back in high school, I played my flute in all the local parades.
This past weekend was Wannigan Days–a particularly special event, as it features not one town, but two! Every year, St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin teams up with Taylors Falls, Minnesota. The towns exist in different states, on opposite sides of the St. Croix River. The multi-state participation, in addition to the gorgeous scenery, makes for a memorable time!
The thing about small town parades is that they’re SO small-town. Elected royalty from all the local communities dress up, smile, and wave on their platformed floats. Businesses and organizations make appearances, tossing frisbees into crowds and handing out magnets. Political candidates smile and wave, slapping “VOTE FOR ME” stickers on audience members. Marching bands play patriotic anthems that are slightly off-key. The local football team blasts kids with super-soakers. Finally, all the fire trucks from the surrounding towns steamroll by, signaling the conclusion of another year’s show.
My mother is a member of the Falls Chamber of Commerce, an organization that strives to unify the communities and promote local businesses. Every year, they have a float in the Wannigan Days Parade. This year, they were relatively short-staffed and I was enlisted to help.
The parade was relatively short–ten blocks down the main street of St. Croix Falls, cross the bridge over the river to get to Minnesota, and four blocks through Taylors Falls.
My job was simple: Throw candy. One of the prominent chamber members bought $250 of treats, so I was free to lavish it on all the happy children in the crowd. It was an easy task. All I had to do was smile and toss handfulls of goodies to everyone under the age of fifteen. As I was going to sleep last night, all I could think about was how happy the kids were. They line up along the curb with bags in their little hands, waiting. Barely able to contain themselves, they bounce up and down. Their little eyes absolutely glow. Sometimes, I teased them. “You want candy?” I asked. “I don’t know if you’re excited enough!!” Of course, this only made them squirm more.
Just imagining their faces makes me smile.
I remember being one of those kids. When you’re little, you wait ALL SUMMER for parades. When they finally come, you take your position on the edge of the street and are like, “THIS IS MY MOMENT!!!” My brothers and I were ruthless. We would dive-bomb and shove each other out of the way just for a little piece of candy. When it was all over, we would spread our bounty on the carpet at home, count them up, and make trades to get rid of the varieties we didn’t like.
These events hold a special place in my heart and I loved every second of being part of them again. As my old marching band teacher always said way back when: “It’s a great day for a parade!”
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m incredibly thankful for the past few days of peace, rest, and family. I’m also thankful to finally be able to listen to Christmas music. (Yes, I’m one of those snobs.)
It really has been a perfect break.
The extended family was here on Thursday and I handled the “So Amelia, what’s next?”question as well as I could. I ate lots of turkey and mashed potatoes.
On Friday, I finally got the Mother/Daughter shopping day that was supposed to come in October. We shopped from ten in the morning till four in the afternoon, taking advantage of Black Friday deals. I also got lunch at Chipotle, which in and of itself is always an answer to prayer.
Our family tradition is to attend the Taylor’s Falls Lighting festival the day after Thanksgiving. There’s a small parade down the six blocks that make up main street of the small historic town. At the end of the parade, there is a countdown and all the Christmas lights in town are lit at once. We also popped in the old one room schoolhouse (the oldest in Minnesota!) to see all the arts and crafts that the local third graders have been working on for the past couple weeks. My aunt and uncle came to the event with us and, so night ended with soup and cider at our house.
Yesterday, Mom and I took advantage of Support Local Saturday and made the rounds in all the cute little shops in the area. We found some good Christmas presents for family and friends, as well as delicious homemade fudge. The afternoon passed curled up on the couch pretending to watch the Gopher/Badger football game. I say pretending because, while the rest of my family attentively cheered for the Gophers, I sat and read Dracula.
Today marks the end of break. I’m not looking forward to going back.
Over the past year, I have not been home for more than a week at a time. It’s always a transition spot, somewhere I go to jump from here to there. As a result, my room has become a dreadful dumping grounds. I long to settle for a while, to clean the mess, to organize the stacks of books that don’t fit on the shelves, and lie low for a while.
Two and a half weeks, friends. Only an Early Modern English recitation, final portfolio, two ten page essays, and two finals standing between me and a month of Christmas bliss at home. It’s the final stretch.
I’ll survive by overdosing on holiday cheer and covers of Taylor Swift songs…
Weekends in Morris are… well… let’s just say they’re not very riveting. Let me elaborate.
The town has 5,000 people, one grocery store, and a one-screen locally owned theater that gets movies two months after they are released. The nearest Target or WalMart is an hour away. The place to go when you get the munchies at 1 AM is the Casey’s gas station because it’s the only place open past ten. However, visit Casey’s at your own risk! It’s usually filled with sketchy townies.
Without a wide variety of places to go and things to do, my weekends are usually spent bumming in my apartment in leggings and an oversized flannel. Which is fun for a while, but a BBC miniseries marathon gets a bit old after the fifth hour.
What can you do, then, to keep from death by boredom?
Stargazing is always a good option. There’s nothing like curling up with friends under a mound of blankets and staring at the night sky. If you go a little ways out-of-town, the Milky Way is especially striking.
Studying in the library is also a safe bet. Meeting up with classmates to go over notes in preparation for a test or quiz always breaks up the day well.
There’s also the option of sitting around talking with friends. But, if you’re an introvert like me, this can only go on for so long before you need to crawl away into your hole to recharge.
The nice things about weekends in Morris, though, is that by the time Sunday night comes around, you’re so bored that you’re almost excited to go back to class the next day.
It’s a bit late in the day for this, but how about another round of favorites to celebrate the weekend?
Yes, another Virginia Woolf novel. Woolf isn’t nearly my favorite writer out there, but considering I’m in a class devoted to her books… they’re kind of all I’ve been reading these days. Orlando is a mock biography. In it, we meet Orlando in Renaissance England and follow his/her life until the time the book was published–1928. He starts out a young boy in the court of Elizabeth I and ends as a wife and mother in 1920’s London. I believe Woolf viewed this book as a joke and wrote it for fun. It’s very different from her other novels, which are highly experimental. After weeks of To the Lighthouse and such, it was a breath of fresh air.
I’m the one on the left, but the lovely girl on the right is my friend, Anna. We met while working at the same Bible camp last summer. She lives in Austria, which is kind of on the other side of the world from snowy Minnesota. I miss her dearly, but made sure to visit during my stint abroad last semester. This photo was taken at Schloss Ambras, a castle near where she lives.
We got to Skype today! It’s amazing that technology enables us to stay in touch with those we love, no matter how far away they are. We talked about camp memories, what God is doing in our lives, school, and cultural differences between our countries. She taught me a bit of German, I helped her speak in an American accent. Although I probably should have spent the time studying, it was an hour well spent. I’m excited to see her again this summer!
This grocery store:
It’s the only grocery store in town, which means they can charge as much as they want for fresh produce. Weekly, this place sucks all my money away. But it’s also endearing. There’s something special about small town grocery stores. And only in Morris will you go looking for grapes and cottage cheese and run into half your professors.
(Then, while waiting for your roommates to finish shopping, said professors gather around you to make awkward small talk.)
JFK’s inauguration. We analyzed the rhetoric in class today and my professor declared that it is one of, if not the, greatest speech ever given. Apparently, Kennedy spent two weeks writing it himself. It’s a rather fantastic bit of spoken word, even without the famous “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” line.