Thursday, February 11, 2010

Population 401

Welcome one and all to the beautiful town of Clinton, Minnesota. A lovely little village, with all the essentials. Unless you count things like Wal-Mart, McDonalds and Home Depot essentials. If you do, and if you just can't live without 24-hour shopping and fast food, then you probably don't want to live here. Or in any small town, for that matter.

I like Clinton. There are lots of reasons why, but I think I've nailed down a big one for me--the music. That's right, the music. They (I'm not sure who exactly) play music in the downtown streets during the day. Last week while running errands I was treated to a bagpipe rendition of 'Auld Lang Syne'. This week I heard Elvis Presley sing 'Hound Dog'. An eclectic mix, to be sure.

The grocery store is on the far left, followed by the newspaper, barber, community center, post office and gas station. On the right are the computer repair shop, municipal building, fire hall and bank. Yes, you heard me -- this little burg has a computer repair shop, which is where our main computer resides at this very minute. I'm working on our back-up computer right now, and will be for the foreseeable future. The repair guy knows his stuff and his prices are reasonable, but he can be slow sometimes.

We've gotten a little bit of snow recently. There's about 18 inches on the ground right now. This is not unusual for this time of year. A blizzard bringing two feet of snow isn't really a newsworthy event. In fact, it usually happens at least once a winter. I feel for the folks out east that are getting lots of the white stuff, really I do. But to be honest, part of me wonders what the big deal is. We get those storms fairly frequently here in Minnesota, and no one puts us on the front page of CNN. Which, now that I think about it, is probably for the best.

This is the old train station, originally built in 1885. From 1885 through the late 1920's four trains carrying passengers and freight stopped at the Clinton depot each day. Service slowed over the years and the depot was closed in 1969. The track was torn up in 1981. Since then the building has been used as a local museum. Right now it's raised on blocks awaiting some foundation repair. I'm pleased that the community has decided to take care of this little piece of history.

Clinton is also home to "the world's longest running ice golf tournament"-- the Arctic Open. This Saturday the 31st annual Arctic Open will be held on Lake Eli. The holes are marked with old Christmas trees, which the city picks up from people's yards after the holidays. After the tournament the trees are left on the ice and in the spring sink into the lake, providing some additional fish habitat.

The kids' golf starts at 10 am and the adults' tournament follows at noon. We're bringing the boys and meeting some friends there in the morning. There's snow flurries forecast for Saturday, but that won't stop us. Snow is par for the course here in western Minnesota.


Jessika said...

I've never heard of ice golf! We don't we have that? My husband and the kids would love it. Have fun!

Mama Pea said...

I adore small towns and feel so lucky to be able to live in one. They have their petty little problems and gossip in the coffee shop but those same trouble makers and snoopy neighbors will be the first in line at the donation box if someone loses their house to fire or has a sick child. I'm kinda glad I'm 130 miles from the nearest Target.

A delightful post.

Cat said...

Your town looks very livable! I miss our former residence (in a small town), but being military, maybe we'll get back to one when we retire.

I think the big deal with the snow is that it's happening in so many places not accustomed to dealing with it. I've lived here in SW OK 13 years and never seen a winter like this. They don't even have salt trucks here if that tells you anything. ;) Thankfully, we were able to purchase a generator after a couple of days without power, though ours was back on in 5 days, unlike some folks who went 12-13 days.

Erin said...

sniff, sniff.... homesickness!

Jo said...

Hi Jessika -- I'd never heard of ice golf either, before I moved out here! I guess if you're desperate enough for entertainment in the middle of winter, you'll think of just about anything!

Hey Mama Pea -- Small towns are awesome. I wouldn't live anywhere else.

Hello Cat -- I do feel sorry for the communities that aren't equipped to deal with snow. I hope this winter helps folks realize that maybe they shouldn't be so dependent upon their 24-hour grocery stores and gas stations, and stock up a bit in case of an emergency. That's good advice for us all! Although if the power went out here for 13 days straight we'd be in serious trouble, too. I really gotta get a wood burning stove!

Hey Erin! Don't feel so bad -- in a few short weeks you'll probably be able to start working in your garden, while we'll still be covered in snow! :)

Conny said...

Found your blog by way of Mama Pea's blog today. Just had to say that I noticed you're a fan of Independently Speaking too. I've been reading Brent's columns (and books) for many years - happy that he now has a Facebook fan page. He has always cracked me up.

Glad I stumbled onto your blog today. I'll be sure to visit again.

Jo said...

Hi Connie -- Glad to hear from you. Are you a native Minnesotan? I looked at your blog (very cool) and am sooo jealous of all the green (vs. white) that you have around you right now.

Brent lives just ten miles down the road from me, so he's almost a neighbor according to rural standards! He cracks me up, too.