So St. Patrick’s Day is Saturday. I know what that means for the die-hards: even more green beer than usual! But at 44 with a toddler, it will more likely look like some March Madness on TV (if I’m lucky) and Dr. Seuss before 9 pm. However, if you’re a little less lame than I am, there are options! And I promise to get to those here in a minute, but first I’d like to do a little St. Patty’s Day reflecting. I promise it won’t hurt.
So growing up, I didn’t eat Reubens or anything involving cabbage nor did I drink beer, green or not. Needless to say, it didn’t really rank in my book as important, but if you were like me and grew up in Oakland, you know who it did matter to: the Finnegans! Specifically, our principal. Most of my St. Paddy’s Day memories involve Mr. Finnegan out of character in his green suit and a jovial mood. If you asked me to do word association with St. Patrick’s Day, I would say Finnegans probably before green! I’m not the only one, right?
Even in college, I wasn’t much of a partier. I thought it was hysterical that they held the Bud Flood on the Hill and people would get up earlier than they ever did for class to hit the bar for Kegs and Eggs. Class was usually especially fun that day with a little extra liquid courage in the classroom! But otherwise, my St. Patrick’s Days are usually about my dad heading to the Ozark Cattle Sale and hoping nothing goes wrong for my mom while he’s away!
But as any girl who loves holidays, I can’t not encourage you to celebrate the big day!
If you’re near UNI, I recommend a trip to the Hill.
If you’re in Omaha, Dubliner Pub or Brazen Head are always the places to be.
But if you’re rural Southwest Iowa folk like me, you can live the dream! You can start off the day with a Seuss-style Green Eggs and Ham in Avoca. From there, you can take your toddler to the Hancock City Park for an Easter Egg Hunt thanks to the Botna Valley Achievers 4-H Club! Woo-hoo! (No, that was not a sarcastic woo-hoo. I will be there!) And then you can find a really great babysitter and make your way to The Station in Hancock. They are having Ruebens and corned beef and cabbage all day along with the better option of $2 Domestic beers! Yes, there can be green beer in your future!
From there, you can finish off your day helping out a good cause! Head down to the Carson Community Center for Trivia Night. The Bar ‘N Grill is serving supper. Take on some tough competition, or laugh into your flask over your lack of ability, but either way, you’ll be chipping in to help out the Carson Community Park Board. Plus, if you get a good team of lads and lassies, you can dress up and win prizes, too! No team? No worries. If it were me, I’d post on Facebook I needed a team or you can simply show up and I bet they get you hooked up!
So there you have it – I have your whole day planned out for you! The luck of the Irish be with you!
And here’s to sunshine and rainbows and pots of gold for all!
For those of you not from my hometown, two people were killed in a bus fire this morning. I pondered whether to post or not about this topic, but deduced that perhaps it is in these times that people need someone else’s perspective and words to put a voice to their own. So here are my thoughts…
First, there are always people who cast blame in these situations. I get that, because part of the grieving process includes anger, and we live in a world where sometimes it’s easier to blame than look inward. But this is not a situation where blame will do anyone any good… It won’t. Unfortunately, it is too late for that. We must now figure out how to avoid this happening ever again and we must take action, and by action, I don’t mean complaining to your neighbors or your family. I mean fixing problems, standing up for injustices, putting good into the world – whatever it is that makes our homes, our community, and our world a better place.
Second, love, sympathy, and if you believe in prayers, prayers for all of those affected and all those who weren’t. Yes, I said “weren’t.” Everyone needs it.
I saw tons of prayers for Riverside posts on my Facebook feed, even from surrounding communities. That’s why we live here. But don’t lose sight of taking part in person. We live lonely lives because we are afraid to reach out. We are more comfortable on a computer.
I went to the elementary today. You can’t know a teacher’s job till you’ve been one. You can’t know the heartfelt thoughts of a child till you’ve heard your own say something that makes you cry. You can’t know how it feels if you have not walked in the shoes of losing someone, but you can love instead of hate. You can provide extra support for those that need it, or food to the families, or donations, or even your services to a school that is going to need direction. Go to the sources. Put your talents to task on helping in the way you can. Don’t complain to your friends. Go to those that can make a difference and make one.
Third, grieve. Allow yourself to have those thoughts and process them. I will be honest. I knew that the kids on my street would have been riding that bus later in the route. It caused me angst just having that thought. I thought about my sister who fielded all those calls this morning and who loves every kid that walks in the doors. I cried just watching people around me deal with what they have to deal with, but it reminded me that I have a burning desire to make things better. I joined the Oakland Betterment Committee because I am going to do my part. I know a lot of other people that do, too. You can’t make a difference if you’re not in the game…
Fourth, life is all about choices and good decision-making. When things like this happen, a lot of people are left feeling lost and asking “why?” The “whys” don’t usually have answers. But I have learned that when I am lost, the first place I start is by doing for others. No, that’s not a goody-good statement. It is a matter of self-preservation. I feel best when I can do for others. If you need to sit in a bathtub and soak, or sleep for an extra 6 hours, or hug your kids and take them to supper, do what you need to do. But don’t judge others who choose differently. And don’t take your anger out on others or push away a hand that reaches out.
Finally, life is hard. That’s not going to change. But what are they going to say at your funeral? Whether it be painting rocks for the parks, buying pieces for shoeboxes for shelters, leading a 4-H club of future overachievers, being a coach or teacher or a bus driver, do what you can and don’t knock those that are doing what they can. There’s an old quote that I think was Oscar Wilde who said, “Live your life so that when you go, even the undertaker will be sorry.”
In times of tragedy, we must not cast stones, but well wishes. As I always say:
Peace and love.
We are less than a week out from Halloween! My daughter has been practicing her trick-or-treat protocol. All I can say is not to ask her for a trick. It won’t be pretty. Lol. But what I truly love is that Halloween is like a week-long process here. She got to wear her costume to dance. She gets to wear it to daycare. She gets to wear it for the neighborhood trick-or-treat on Halloween, AND she gets to wear it for the Trunk-or-Treat. How freaking awesome is that? It’s like only $4 a wearing! 🙂
For those of you who are from out of town and have no idea what a trunk-or-treat is – well, businesses literally open up the backs of their vehicles and give out candy from them in a well-lit venue. From what I saw last year, I was thoroughly impressed! Some of them had games the kids could play to win their candy, or floating heads moving in the vehicle for the kids to see a show, or they dressed up themselves even. Clearly these people put some time and effort into making a special day for all those kids.
Last year was the first time we experienced the trunk-or-treat. Let me just say “how cool is that?” I think it’s awesome that businesses and organizations show up to give out treats on a quiet afternoon. Carson is having their Trunk-or-Treat Friday night and the Carson Methodist Church is having their soup supper in conjunction with it. A no-make-supper night for mom! Gotta like that! And Oakland is having theirs on Sunday afternoon and if you’re wanting to see the giraffe known as Carley, you’ll find her there. Plus, rumor has it that the Oakland Christian Church is doing a Pancake supper! Woohoo!
We loved it last year. Ellen got candy, and we got to socialize! She was obsessed with Jo and Dick Cates who were dressed up, sitting in rocking chairs, and had a taxidermied jack rabbit that she couldn’t stop petting. It was creepy as sin and she loved it.
What I’m getting at is that if you are looking for the good – it’s right here in front of you. A bunch of people take time out of their lives on a weekend outside of work to make a special day for a lot of kids and it’s a pretty sweet gig for my daughter. We don’t go for the candy. We can buy her candy. We go for the experience, and I hope the people out there that put the love into these events know it is appreciated.
Kid or not, stop by! We’ll be looking for you (well, truthfully, I might be chasing my child, but…)!
Schedule of Events according to Riverside Links:
Halloween Trick-or-Treating around Riverside!
Carson Business Trick or Treat
Friday, October 27, 4:00 to 6:00 pm
Soup Supper 4:00 to 7:00 at Carson United Methodist Church
Oakland – Halloween Trick-or-Treating
Sunday, October 29 – 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Macedonia – Halloween Treats on Main Street
Tuesday, October 31 – 4:30 to 6:30 pm
Questions? Thoughts? Let’s hear them.
Do you know what this weekend is? Okay, yes, it’s tax-free weekend in Iowa which I am all for, but it also happens to be rodeo weekend in Carson! I know a little cowgirl who is awfully excited for the parade and a college cowgirl who’s excited for the pre-and-post-rodeo events! Lol.
People in metro areas seem to make fun of the excitement that comes with rodeo weekend for the locals around here. We get that it might sound a little hokey, but it is the highlight event of the summer in Carson. Friends and relatives actually put it on their calendars to be home this weekend! And in a world where there’s a lot of terrible things happening, it’s nice that we can all hang out and be happy to see each other.
But I have to admit I’ve never been to the parade. It wasn’t exactly on my radar in my high school and college years! Lol. But I have been to the rodeo. I used to go to the one at Ak-Sar-Ben/River City Roundup every year and I’ve made a few appearances at the Sidney one, too. As a cattle girl, I definitely made it as often as possible to the Carson Rodeo in my younger years. It wasn’t very often that my boots and Rockie Mountain jeans were considered cool so I definitely took my opportunities! As a cattle girl, I appreciated the rodeo even if I didn’t fully understand how they managed to do all those things. I remember our neighbor girl riding in it, and I was so impressed. Now days, I think more about my little girl mutton-busting. I’m pretty sure she’d love it! But, my husband, not so much! Lol.
With or without mutton-busting, I think it’s pretty awesome that Carson puts on a kick-ass rodeo and I dare say, a pretty good party, in the process! The whole town gears up for this weekend. It’s like the lights come on, everybody rallies, and ta-da, we have a rodeo! We all know it’s truly not that simple, but I love that the town goes all out and everybody chips in to make it great. That’s something pretty special in my book.
As I have said many times this summer, there’s a lot of people behind the scenes that do a lot of work to make one weekend of the year a great weekend for everybody who attends! I have seen a million flyers. I’ve heard it on the radio. I’ve seen it on Facebook, and I have definitely heard it via word-of-mouth. Like I said, I’ve got a couple of cowgirls who are pretty excited!
So if you’re needing weekend plans or just wanting to support a great event on a beautiful weekend, swing by. I promise it won’t disappoint.
Got a good rodeo story for me? We’re listening!
So if I had to wage a guess, I’d have to say that the Dreamland Theater might have been the first place many a Riverside/Carson/Oakland/Griswold/Macedonia kid first held hands (or something more significant, but we will refrain from talking about that)! I have to say that I remember a couple of friends begging their moms to take us to Carson to see a movie, and I can pretty much assure you it was never because we were dying to see the movie that was playing. That was totally secondary! In fact, I’m pretty sure there are generations that could say the same thing!
It’s a lot easier to beg your mom to drop you off 6 miles away than it is to convince her she needs to head to Omaha and entertain herself somewhere other than where you are! Lol.
So when looking for the good around me, it doesn’t take long to see the Dreamland Theater as a prime example. First of all, a movie theater in a small town is always rockstar! There’s never enough to do in a small town! Plus, they actually get the good movies in a timely fashion. (Go ahead and keep in mind that I have a toddler and don’t get out much!) But I love that it is even an option. I also love that on any given Saturday night, you can find families headed to the Main Street for what Chevy Chase would call good-old-fashioned-family-fun and while there, you can chat with your neighbors or spy on the neighbor’s kid for them! I kinda think that’s awesome!
And as a mom of a toddler, I’m excited that I don’t have to pay a fortune to take my kid to an animated movie that she might not sit through!
If that wasn’t impressive enough, I happen to know there are a whole lot of people who donate money and time to help keep the theater running. Probably they wonder why they bother at times because the headaches are greater than the rewards in most cases, but from where I sit, I couldn’t be more thankful to drive by and see the lights on. I’m guessing that I’m not alone in my thinking.
Sure, you could just hop on Netflix, but there’s something special about a night out, a bag of popcorn with lots of butter, and a big screen. So mad props, Carson! Way to get it done right!
Got a story about a trip to the Dreamland Theater or some other small town movies? Let’s hear it. Got something else to say? Go ahead. Find that good, people. It’s here for the taking.