Barefoot feet in a swirl of color… Hmong traditional dance

People with European descent are not the only ones to dance on the prairie…

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Bright colors swirl, bells jingle rhythmically and  bare feet gracefully step in time with the music.  These dancers call Walnut Grove their home and give the Little House On the Prairie community another dimension and layer of culture.  I had the wonderful opportunity to watch a public performance of a group of young, Hmong traditional dancers at the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council sponsored Artist Retreat which was hosted at the Danebod Folk School in Tyler, Minnesota on May 3, 2014.  I love how their eyes twinkle and their faces reflect the mood of the music showing great pride for the home of their ancestors.  Pride in our heritage is a common thread between us.

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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

Liz-Sanity at Grandma’s Marathon!!

Enjoyed the festivities at Grandma’s Marathon this past weekend as our daughter, Elizabeth, ran the 26.2 mile run along the scenic North Shore Drive from Two Harbors, MN to Canal Park in Duluth, Minnesota.  The Canal Park finish line was right next to the largest body of fresh water in the world, Lake Superior.  The community of Duluth did a wonderful job of welcoming runners and spectators while creating a fun, festive atmosphere for all.

I should have found a banner without traffic signs on it… Oh, well.  It is what it is.  Just make sure you DON’T park here from 3 – 6 a.m. and put money in the meter when you do park!

Waves of runners as viewed through the window of the skywalk.

I would enjoy participating in a community band.  Anyone need a rusty trombone player?!

We almost missed seeing her go past us.  A computer chip was put in her shoe so we were following her progress online. She had picked up speed when she got into town due to the crowds of spectators cheering runners on (She always did enjoy performance arts – bring it on…) so she got to our spot sooner than anticipated. Not wanting to miss a photo opportunity, I ran out onto the street to “catch the moment.”  Security did not tackle me since I had a baby carrier on my back!

Liz can now check “running a full marathon” off of her list of life accomplishments. Way to go!!  What’s next?

As for me, running is on my “use to could” list since I ran Grandma’s in the 1980’s but now I think my body isn’t probably as resilient as my younger self.  However, I was inspired by the number of people in my age group and older that were still running marathons. A guy in our hotel has run 33 marathons in 18 states and I think he was around my age if not older (unless marathon running really ages a person and he was 35!)  That is quite an accomplishment so I’ll allow him bragging rights.  The man who can top all for bragging rights is the 86 year old man that finished it in 6 hours something.  Now that is an accomplishment.  No, he wasn’t in a wheelchair.

Well, I’d better go… I think I’ll do a quick run to the end of the driveway.  (Hey, I have to start somewhere!!)