Yesterday was Community Pride Day here in Windom.
As with most things in town, I'm a little behind the curve. I'm slowly learning the importance of the local paper, the Cottonwood County Citizen and the school calendars as they obviously report and set most of the major events around here.
So, yesterday was the last day of school in town. When I was in high school - oh so many years ago in my suburban jungle - I remember watching videos and signing yearbooks on the last day of school. But not here in Windom. The kids were farmed out to sites around the city to do general clean up duties, the locations and challenges of the sites varied depending on the age of the student, along with the degree of independence they had in executing their activity and their lunch time.
I figured this out at about 10 am when I noticed that picnic tables were being set up on the Courthouse lawn. Then, about noon the dull roar of a few hundred high schoolers drifted up through my open window as they sat down to enjoy their bagged lunches and fresh carnival popcorn.
Calhoun also happened to be across the street at our new favorite place, The River City Eatery, and I decided to run across the street and meet him there for lunch. The place was packed, filled with people of all ages enjoying their lunches, complete with high schoolers indulging in ice cream and cupcakes during the Community Pride Day free-time.
And even though I'm not in high school anymore, and even when I was in high school there was not a local restaurant that served up pesto pastas along side delicious cupcakes, I still eat like a higschooler. And lucky for me, Calhoun does to. After enjoying our healthy lunches we were so tempted by the sweets around us we indulged in a turtle pecan chocolate deliciousness cupcake.
Not only was it great to run across the street to meet Calhoun for lunch, and support our new favorite local restaurant, it was really incredible to look around our new small town home. Windom's population is a little more than 4,600 people, which might be just about right. While we were in River City we saw the community connections that exist between the people here - high school kids greeting what I can only assume are older church ladies who are out for lunch is something I'm not used to seeing.
One of the things I loved about Minneapolis was that we could go to places filled with people like us, young folks who like craft beers. In Minneapolis, I never had to see anyone who didn't fit in well with my demographic, I could even select my grocery stores and modes of public transportation to further refine my urban experience. In Minneapolis, I never knew when the last day of school was because that seasonal change didn't affect me, and if I did notice a change I was sure to steer clear of any sign of highschool students. But not so much here. People like each other. People like people of other ages. People like people who are different from them.
This is going to be great.
Maybe next year I'll have my act together enough to be someone helping out with Community Pride Day, this year I was just happy to get to see a small part of it.