Marietta, Minnesota & Yesterday’s Dreams

The first time I’d heard reference to Marietta, Minnesota, I was a college student living in a large, North Mankato, MN, rental house  – 1976, I believe. (The summer of “Afternoon Delight” to add a music reference)   A room was available and in moved a recent high school graduate to the top floor of the old Range Street house.
Me:  Where are you from?
Her:  Marietta, Minnesota
Me:  Hmmm… never heard of it. Where is it?
Her:  East of Watertown, South Dakota and west of Madison, Minnesota
Me:  That doesn’t help – haven’t heard of them, either.

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Main Street Marietta, MN 1999
BW medium format film / processed in darkroom / hand colored
Bronika ETRSi medium format camera
scanned as digital file / dirt texture added in Photoshop CS5

As fate would have it, 7 years later I would find myself living 7 miles west of Marietta, Minnesota and would soon learn the geographical locations of villages and towns that could have been part of the wild west.

By the time I arrived,  Marietta was a quiet little village with very little commerce.  Not always so, according to local historians (AKA relatives).

Circa 1967:

  • Why Go Restaurant: (Kids hangout)
  • Hardware store
  • Millie’s Popcorn Stand
  • Johnson’s Chuckwagon Cafe.
  • Nelson’s Jewelry Store
  • Maas Recreation Hall
  • Carl Raetz Marietta Produce
  • Forest Ward Standard Oil
  • Dahle’s Value Mart
  • Bank
  • Orpheum movie theater
  • Red Owl Grocery Store
  • Elevator
  • Coop station
  • Telephone Office
  • Silvernale’s Drug Store & soda Fountain
  • Don Russell’s Barber Shop
  • Roth’s Cafe
  • Post office
  • International dealer
  • Bud’s Station
  • Kanthak’s Auto Service
  • Idle Hour: bar/pool hall
  • Lily Mills Thread Store
  • American Legion
  • Les Hoium’s Butcher Shop
  • Creamery
  • Hotel
  • A 2nd grocery store?
  • Laundromat
  • Pool Hall
  • Red Owl Store
  • Shackelfords Lumber Yard
  • K-12 High School
  • Three churches

Imagine my surprise as they reeled off such an extensive list  of establishments that have been part of the history of Marietta, Minnesota during the years of love, peace and the Vietnam War ~ the1960’s.

What happened?

The talented Charlie Roth featured Marietta, Minnesota in his music video, Broken Ground, and tells the story well.

Can this town be saved?  Technology and the work ethics of its people may be the ticket to help this town and other typical rural communities.  Living in a slower paced, small  town or rural location may be a lifestyle dream someday for those tired of the traffic and rush that urban living requires.

As Mr. Rogers said so well:  Won’t you  be my neighbor? 

 

A small town bride on the ride of her life.

Thank God if you’re smart enough to live in a small town.

~unknown

I saw the above quote the other day and it started the wheels turning in my mind as to the charm of living in a small, rural community.  Into the photo archives I go to dig up some images that show a piece of life in a small town.  We do know how to entertain ourselves and have some good ol’ fun!

Haas-3973hp20dmvThis carnival ride at the Yellow Medicine County Fair, in Canby, Minnesota, seems to lend itself as a metaphor to the wild ride this young couple have chosen in life. Since their wedding in July of 2010, this small town couple have added two young children (1 1/2 years and 6 months) to their family, hold down full-time jobs, the bride completed a master’s degree, and both serve our country in the United States National Guard. In fact, the wedding was planned while the engaged couple were both deployed overseas in the Middle East.

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Yes, you are on the ride of your small town life.  The twists and turns of a carnival ride can become predictable after you get use to patterns of movement.  Life is not like that.  Bumps and turns can appear out of nowhere and you may even careen completely off of the path.

A small town has a secret weapon that helps us bounce back when the road of life gets rough ~  the people.   When the chips are down and we face a struggle, the community members are there to help pull us through.  During a crisis the small town rallies its troops to bring out the safety nets to help in whatever way is appropriate to the situation. We may not always agree on our politics, religion or philosophies of life, ( some may not even like each other) but we are there for each other.

Haas-3966HawpunchhpcrJust because we don’t rank at the top of the population charts doesn’t mean we aren’t resilient and destined to make a mark in the world.  In spite of the twists and turns…

Just sayin’.

Photo info:  Canon 5D Mark 2, Canon 70-200 L lens, Kubota Actions

El Acebo is far enough ~ Injury on the trail

Really?  This is STILL day two?

After a long and challenging descent we finally see a town. El Acebo lies ahead and we plan to stop for a short rest and continue on to Molinaseca.
Spain-1030503dmvThe grueling downhill descent has taken its toll on a member of our group as Kathy’s knee has flared up and she is struggling to make it down the hill.  Being a positive thinking problem solver, she gets down a steep hill by crab walking on her backside.  Whatever gets the job done, right Kathy?  This appears to put a wrinkle in her plan of completing the Camino.

Randy and I get to El Acebo and sit in front of a building called La Rosa del Agua to wait for the rest of the group.  A cute young couple run the hostal and she brings us delicious, hot coffee to sip on while we attempt to visit with our limited language skills.  We each have just enough skill to get the information we need.  She is hoping we decide to stay tonight and they are ready to provide lodging. Meanwhile we discover we have another 10 kilometers downhill until Molinaseca, it is after 4:00 p.m. and one swelled knee will go no further today.  La Rosa del Agua will be our new home tonight.  I don’t know why I didn’t take a photo of the front of the hostal so you’ll have to click on the link and it will take you to their website with photos and information.

Spain-1030508 Notice stage 25 on the elevation map to the left.  I told you it was steep!

The menu del dia (menu of the day) tonight included trucha (trout) complete with the eyes.

Spain-1030510Fish is not a favorite of Lori’s but she did pull it together long  enough to pose for a photo.  Good to the last bone!  Or, should I say, good to the last eyeball!

A man that claims to live on the Camino joins us tonight at the restaurant and, after enough wine, is quite politically outspoken. I’m afraid we don’t share the same conviction he has so we excuse ourselves and head back to the hostal to settle in for the night. Little did we know he would also be at our hostal and he is not a quiet sleeper!

Spain-1030513dmvWe shouldn’t misplace this key.

Spain-1030514dmvWe waken to find a delicious breakfast waiting for us in this cute little kitchen. Granola, fruit, muffins, toast, milk, juice and, most important of all, hot coffee.

Spain-1030517dmvOur host mom leaves us a nice little note in English to cheer us on and get our day started on the right foot.

Spain-1030521dmvOn the cover of this book is the stamp they put in our Camino Pilgrim Passports and inside we are to write comments and greetings.  Of course, I write a positive message since I’m “Minnesota Nice.”.

Kathy’s knee is swollen and very sore so our hostal mom helps arrange a taxi service to take her  down the mountain along with my sister, Joan, for moral support.  It rained quite hard during the night, but the sun is now shining brightly with just a few clouds.  Hooray for no rain!!  We are going to attempt to make up time from the short day yesterday and plan to meet up with the two that took the “fast forward” in the main plaza of Ponferrada.  We’ll see how well our two-way radios work today.

La Rosa del Agua gets bonus points for the wonderful heaters with drying racks so our soaking wet boots, socks, clothing, etc. are nice and dry this morning as we begin our walk.  You really learn to appreciate dry feet!

Now to continue the descent… ugh, the legs are a little stiff this morning.

It’s Photo Friday ~ Let’s catch some action!

Bryon Slide Show pics 001thought

Canon A2E / flash on camera / 2001?

~Quote by Dan Frisby

If you have kids involved with sports, you have probably found yourself photographically challenged from time to time. Gyms are so varied as far as lighting and white balance issues. Cameras have improved through the years which helps the outcome considerably. When I started taking basketball action shots I used a 35mm SLR with an on camera flash and 400 speed film. My first digital camera was a Canon G5 point and shoot that was extremely noisy above 400 ISO. Now I’m able to shoot a Canon 5D Mark 2 at a high ISO with tolerable noise, shoot raw and make adjustments in Lightroom.

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Canon G5 / flash on camera / 2005

Do the inferior images of previous years bother me? Absolutely not! The main thing is I have an image that caught a moment in time. Life is not perfect and it’s O.K. if your images are not of Sports Illustrated caliber. My journey was a learning process and still continues.

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Canon 5D Mark 2 / ISO 6400 / 2.8 @ 1/500

We all like to improve our photography skills so how can we increase our chances of catching a good action shot?

1. Prepare to use a high ISO. I often use 3200 to 6400 depending on the light in the gym. I try to use available light and avoid flash since I have had better results and on camera flash can be distracting during a game.
2. Use a fast shutter speed. 1/1000 is good but I found I would often need to go with 1/500 to have enough light even at high ISO’s and that yielded adequate results.
3. Experiment with angles. The best shots are often not from a seat in the stands. Try taking the pics from different ends and corners while staying out of the way of referrees and players. Try high and low angles.
4. A long lens helps. I use a Canon L, 70-200 IS lens. 300-400 would be great but I don’t own one.
5. Don’t spend too much time “chimping” (Checking your shots.) You will miss some good action shots if you are constantly looking at your images in the camera. I would do some practice shots to tweak my settings during warm ups and use time outs to check what I had and make adjustments, if necessary.
6. Try to take some of the images with your team’s fans in the background. You may want to zero in on the crowd and catch some fun shots.
7. Try using Al servo focus with continuous action to track moving subject. I would often use one shot focus with the center focus frame selected but, if the action is rapidly moving toward you,  Al Servo focus is useful option. Check your manual to see how to access it on your camera.

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These moments are fleeting and will be gone before you know it. Parents, enjoy these days and capture lots of memories to cherish for a lifetime.bb-6172
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It’s Photo Friday – Bliss…

My world, my bliss

My world, my bliss

Bliss is a viewed as a positive term and something we are constantly searching for.  How far do we need to look?

My guess is bliss is there as long as I pay attention.

  • spending the day doing something I love
  • sipping wine on the deck, overlooking my palatial estate (the cowyard and back pasture)
  • appreciating God’s creation wherever we go
  • volunteering to help someone in need and feeling good about it
  • eating a meal with the primary ingredients coming from my garden and meat raised locally
  • remembering road trips
  • when my grandaughter smiles at me
  • my cozy bed at the end of the day
  • a warm house during a raging blizzard and knowing your family is home and safe inside
  • feeling as though our kids are doing well even if one lives in a college “Animal House” from the John Belushi era, another lives on the other side of the planet in another culture and the other is discovering the joys and challenges of parenting

I’m sure younger people, such as the young man in the image,  have a list that is much more exciting than mine but this is my life and my list.

What’s on YOUR list?

Hidden Treasures in Southwestern Minnesota

Our eyes were opened due to the talents that spring up from our prairie roots at the Southwest Minnesota Arts & Humanities Council 2012 Celebration at Milan, Minnesota on October 28, 2012. The community welcomed us with open arms as we toured their city, shops and art studios within the main street and the two former school buildings which are now used to provide art opportunities and studio space for local artists.  I was amazed at the diverse talent that prevails in this little prairie village.  Pottery, weaving, fiber arts, silversmithing, blacksmithing, photography, mixed media, framing and painting which also includes rosemal, a decorative Norwegian painting style (I apologize if I’ve left an art form out.) may be found within this quaint community.  Milan Village Arts School is a tremendous asset to their community and surrounding areas.

We found the museum on main street especially interesting as it is the passion of one man for his community. The old photographs with their unique frames of depth with inside lighting added a unique twist for the viewer. Walk through a doorway from the museum and you will find a quaint little shop called Billy Maple Tree  that sells items made by local artists as well as handmade items from around the world through the  SERRV project.  SERRV is a nonprofit organization with a mission to eradicate poverty wherever it resides by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide.

Outside the building we found the ArtOrg 2012 project which involved learning about the printmaking process using a steamroller method. The images below are from this “hands on” experience.  We can’t turn down an opportunity to learn by doing!

The final result – Tah – Dah!!!

Throughout the afternoon and evening we were were able to listen to local area musicians and take folk dancing lessons thanks to Tamarack Dance from Duluth, MN. A special performance by visual artist and musician,  Malena Handeen, who was presented the Prairie Star Award at the evening banquet was icing on the cake, so to speak.  Who would have thought an accordian could be so cool with a blend of gutsy blues, hip hop(?), ballads and folk. I’ve just added attending a Maleena Handeen concert to my bucket list and I’m putting a Malena Handeen album purchase on my Christmas Wish List.

A big “thank you”  to Milan Village Arts School, Milan, MN and the Southwest Minnesota Arts & Humanities Council for a wonderful Sunday.  Kudos to all of you!