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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Going to the deli at the Grand Canyon

  • Just recently Mason and Maddie were bemoaning the fact that I write about them in my column. They rarely look at the newspaper I produce each week and often times are startled when people approach them to ask about events taking place in their lives.
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  • Just recently Mason and Maddie were bemoaning the fact that I write about them in my column. They rarely look at the newspaper I produce each week and often times are startled when people approach them to ask about events taking place in their lives.
     
    To curb the complaining I have been selective about writing about them this summer. However, by the time this column reaches news stands, Mason will already have left to begin cross country practice and Maddie has only a few days left to stay.
     
    What they don’t know won’t kill them.
     
    As we talked about the Brown County Free Fair, Mason and I found ourselves pondering what it was that Maddie called the Demo Derby we had attended the year she was eight. The other day as I was going back into old editions I came across the column I had written about it.
     
    It was my first year at the Herald and while I was assigned to cover the events at the fair, I decided to take the kids and make a day out of it.
     
    Fairs and town festivals are something of an anomaly to my northwoods raised children. The Canada/U.S. border town of International Falls is about as remote as Death Valley. The nearest town in any direction (besides Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada, which is straight across Rainy River), is at the very least, over an hours drive in any direction.
     
    Our festivals and fairs are drastically different than what a typical festival involves in northland.
    The northwoods celebrate seasons–hunting, fishing and blueberries. The “thrills” you receive at those festivals are being named the winner of a wild game cook-off or winning a weekend at a fishing camp.
    We walked through the 4-H buildings, but they couldn’t quite grasp the concept of showing animals at the fair. In International Falls if it moves, you shoot it and eat it–not bring it to the fair.
     
    I decided to go right into something we are all familiar with–food. We ate, drank and were merry to the tune of about $100. Fifteen minutes after arriving at the fair, I was already $30 down.
     
    “Kids, we have to slow down,” I cautioned them. “We have to make sure we have enough money to go to the Demolition Derby in the Grandstand tonight.” 
     
    Occasionally throughout the day I would utter those words as we bought and consumed more food and drink.
    Page 2 of 2 - When at last it seemed our time at the fair was winding down, I got in line to buy tickets for the derby. I felt a tug at my elbow before purchasing the tickets.
    “But Mom,” Maddie said with a pleading sound in her voice. “You said we were going to go to the deli in the Grand Canyon. When are we going to go there?” 
    I was perplexed.
     
    “Maddie, we are going to a derby, not a deli,” Mason explained, sounding somewhat exasperated. “And the Grandstand is the place the derby is held.”
     
    “oooooohhhhh....” Maddie and I exclaimed in unison.
     
    To my complete and utter surprise, Maddie loved the derby, while Mason was bored to tears.
     
    The world of parenting is intriguing and new every day. As much as our children grow during their lifetime, we, as parents, grow too. I love that I have the opportunity to re-discover my sense of awe and joy in a world not fully uncovered through both of them.
     
    And maybe some day we will visit a deli in the Grand Canyon.

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