Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Our Family Weekend

Years ago my parents started a great annual event for the grandchildren: Cousins Camp. For 7 days in the summer, the older cousins gathered at Gramma and Grampa Olson's house in Des Moines. My mom was a grade school teacher and has always had multiple activities and craft ideas up her sleeves. She planned activities, outings and meals around themes for the day. This week was a highlight for the kids (and for the parents who had a small reprieve from the demands of parenting.)

About 5 years ago, they discontinued the current form of Cousin's Camp and replaced it with the Family Weekend. Renting pool-side rooms and suites at a hotel, all the u, in-laws and grandchildren gathered for 2 days and 2 nights of fun and family bonding. These have become great opportunities for us to spend more focussed time with our extended family members whom we don't see often enough. The younger cousins love hanging out with their "very cool" teenage cousins. As adults, we chat and tease and occaisionally throw one another in the pool.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Even the Smallest Victories Should be Celebrated!

Some people climb mountains; others perform brain surgery. People make million dollar deals for corporations or run for Senate seats or save children from burning buildings. Every day men, women and children accomplish incredible things. Media coverage shares these victories so that the whole world can celebrate anothers accomplishments.

Me? I got my toilet clean. And I'm really quite happy and proud of myself. This toilet has been a homemaker's thorn in my flesh. Since we bought the house, this bathroom fixture has had layer upon layer of hard water scum and crud. I've scrubbed and tried all kinds of cleaners.

But today was a day for miracles! God's grace was on me. That which was gross is now sparkling clean. God is indeed good to me!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Defeat of Jesse James Days

Every year our small community celebrates a bank raid gone bad.

Most communities have some kind of annual celebration. In Northfield, we host the "Defeat of Jesse James Days" the second weekend in September. As the story goes Jesse James (a bankrobbing outlaw) came with his gang into town with the intention of robbing our fair city's bank. Joseph Lee Heywood refused to open the safe; a towns person alerted those on the Main Street; the gang had been drinking and were not in top form. As a result, Heywood was shot, a gunfight erupted on the Main Street killing a gang member, some of the James gang were captured and the gang broke up. Therefore, we emphasize the "Defeat" part.

I've always enjoyed this weekend. Though we're really Midwestern farmers, for 3 - 4 days we act like we're from the Wild West. When you go downtown, you see lots of cowboy attire. Bridge Square (a small section in the middle of town with a monument and fountain) is filled with food vendors. We went there a couple of times and ate roasted corn on the cob, cheese curds, lemonade, corn dogs, funnel cakes and dippin' dots (tiny frozen balls of ice cream).

Other highlights of the weekend are an Artist's Walk along the river, an arts and crafts sale at Central Park, a rodeo, an old car show, re-enactments of the bank raid, a kiddie parade, Bingo, a beer garden with various bands and the Grand Parade to close out the weekend.

As I said, I like this weekend. The weather is usually good and it's a nice way to finish up the summer. After these few days, the town of Northfield is ready to settle down to the rigors and schedule of the fresh school year.