Outside Looking In

Where's the kids?

This past Saturday, I challenged myself to come up with a really neat winter photo or two for the Mascot, preferably one in which kids were outside enjoying a relatively mild January afternoon in Minneota.
My results? Nothing. Nadda. Zip, Zoogies and Zilch.
I'm not sure where all the kids were hiding but Minneota seemed like a children's ghost town. There were a number of adults. Two people were cleaning off ice build-up from their driveways, one man was working on a truck outside his home, one woman was sweeping off her deck, and one man was even grilling.
The kids? In the time I spent cruising through practically every street in town, I saw only two elementary-aged kids outside. They were climbing on a small snow hill and sliding down the other side in their snowsuits. I drove around the block and parked, excited for a chance to finally get some kind of a picture.
I informed the gentleman cleaning the end of his driveway who I was and asked if I could take a photo of the kids for the paper, but he shook his head no and went about his work.
My search continued, but no kids were outside. I went back the Mascot office and worked on a few things before venturing out for one more drive around town before I left for home.
I saw one dog and a squirrel, but even they didn't seem too excited about having their picture taken.
Where do kids go on a fairly mild winter day? Perhaps the recent cold streak spoiled them for the rest of winter. More than likely, a lot of them are playing on youth basketball or wrestling teams, something that wasn't afforded kids in yesteryear. And others were likely playing video games or putting together Lego sets, activities that also weren't available years ago.
When I was a kid, my parents had to yell at me to come in the house in the winter. I would stay out there all day with my friends. We skated, built forts, went sledding, cracked the ice on puddles until our boots and socks were soaking wet. My hands and toes would be numb, but we had a ball.
When I would go in the house, I would be in pain because it hurt so much when I would start to thaw out. Despite that, I would be right back out there the next day.
I can see kids not wanting to be outside when it's freezing cold or the wind is howling in their face, but it was 30 degrees on Saturday. On my way home to Willmar, I decided to go through Ghent to see if any kids were outside there. All I saw was a crow pecking at something on the side of the road by the ice rink.
Speaking of the ice rink. There was no one skating there when I went by, but I hope it is being used frequently. The committee that repaired it and added a new warming house worked long and hard to keep the rink in town.
As I went through Marshall, it was basically the same thing there; I saw very few young kids playing outside, although I admittedly only drove down a couple of streets.
When I got home, I tried to figure out all the reasons why kids wouldn't want to get that thrilling experience of playing outside until their hands and feet turned so numb from the snow and ice that it feels like needles jabbing into them while they thaw out.
I think it's probably because they are a lot smarter than I was!!!

Porter light show
While the Mascot holds a "Battle of the Bulbs" Christmas Lighting Contest each year for the communities of Minneota, Taunton and Ghent, the small town of Porter holds its own contest. And insiders tell me it's a spirited competition.
This year's winner was Austin and Shannon Dritz, who live south of Taunton between Minneota and Porter and qualify for both contests. The Dritz's won our contest of over $500 worth of prizes last year and placed third this year.
The Dritz's received $100 for winning the Porter contest. Second place of $60 went to Dan and Judy Verschelde, and third place of $40 went to Brady and Kayla Watson.

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The Minneota Mascot
Address: 201 N. Jefferson
Minneota, MN 56264

Phone:(507) 872-6492