Iron Range hope more vital than nostalgia

On the Mesabi Iron Range, our society rests upon the achievements of this region’s fading youth. We speak of our ancestors’ hungry demand for better working conditions and pay. We memorialize their desire to build schools and small towns to elevate humans from the morass. Yes, we call this history and print it on our… Read More →

The generational trials of an ‘Xennial’ life

Generational labels, such as baby boomer or millennial, can mislead. Nevertheless, they identify common experiences shared by people your age. Consider the living generations today. The “Greatest” generation grew up during the Depression. They fought WWII and the Korean War and wore high waisted pants and hats that I envy. The Baby Boomers, born 1945-1965,… Read More →

Scandinavian power in Minnesota politics

The Fourth of July is a big deal in Minnesota’s Iron Range region. Really big. Even the smallest towns here throw a parade or fireworks celebration. See, Northern Minnesota exemplified the quintessential “melting pot” of American industrialization and immigrants. July 4 became not just something to celebrate, but a shared cultural experience that brought together… Read More →

Car wash confidential

For me, one of the big realizations of summer is that my car is filthy. I don’t just mean dirty. No, I mean that I can grow potatoes in my undercarriage. I live at the end of a long dirt road in Itasca County, a place where the miles of dirt road exceed the number… Read More →

A dog’s love and loss, all in a lifetime

“It’s inevitable when you buy the pet. You’re supposed to know it in the pet store. You are purchasing a small tragedy.” ~George Carlin Every pet owner tells the story of picking out their dog. They go to the animal shelter. Walk the rows of kennels. Maybe stop at a house with puppies. “I want… Read More →

The heat is on; the lawn is long

Last week a viral online image showed a man in Alberta, Canada mowing his lawn as a sizable tornado spun across the sprawling horizon behind him. “I was keeping an eye on it,” said Theunis Wessels of Three Hills, a small town on the Alberta plains. Though the picture made the tornado look close, it… Read More →

A dad’s triumphant return to baseball ignominy

Something holy emanates from the crack of a baseball bat against a stitched leather ball. Doesn’t matter if the bat is aluminum or wood. That sound represents the unlikely collision of two round objects hurled toward each other by competing athletes. Ball and bat. Pitcher and hitter. Thunder and lightning. Two forces deeply connected, yet apart…. Read More →

Minnesota’s summer clock more ticks than tocks

I’ve heard a version of the following statement from several different people this year: “I’m not worried about lightning, thunderstorms or tornados, but I am worried about ticks.” This from the hearty meat-and-potatoes stock of Northern Minnesota, people who chip ice off their beards to eat food they killed with a crossbow. You know it’s got… Read More →

Hibbing native: save the world, eat bugs

If we’re being honest, we’ve all eaten a bug at one time or another. I’ve dined on a few pedaling my bike across the back roads of Northern Minnesota. And never mind how many crawl into our mouths at night without us knowing. Yet not many of us eat insects on purpose. Our parents told us… Read More →

School’s out for fish: hook, line and existentialism

This weekend brings Minnesota’s fishing opener, Mother’s Day, and the beginning of graduation season. These annual events affect us all, but none so much as local fish. Thus, today’s play in three acts. We begin in the weeds: FISH: Mother! Oh, mother, I am to graduate! MOTHER: Who are you? FISH: It is I, your… Read More →