Happy Thanksgiving on the Iron Range

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving!

To you, reader of MinnesotaBrown.com, however you got here, I am thankful for you.

This blog doesn’t make much money and it hasn’t made me famous, but it has become a authoritative source for news, commentary, and discussion about Northern Minnesota, my home and the place I love. I didn’t make a big deal about it, but a few weeks ago I passed nine years of writing this blog. That’s a pretty long time in internet years. It’s only possible because of you — reading, sharing, thinking and responding to the things I write. Thank you.

My native Iron Range now enters an economic winter to go with the meteorological one. They say El Nino will make our weather warmer and dryer than usual. The same does not apply to the storms and deep freeze in our economy. It’d be easy to sit here and list disappointments about what’s happening on the Iron Range, to name enemies and throw stones. Instead, sitting here today on Thanksgiving Day Eve, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all the reasons I love living here.

I am thankful for the sounds lakes make when they freeze, the science fiction groans, the pops, bangs and mournful howls. The lake may seem dormant from our point of view, but underneath rises an inverted mountain range, full of air bubbles for otters and quiet respite for fish and frogs.

I am thankful for winter concerts, the way dress coats feel in the cold, the crunch of snow as you climb the steps of the local high school or theater, the warm interior and sleek, dark dresses of the women inside. The voices, the orchestra, the band, the lights. Outside is silence, inside is life.

I am thankful for the hope that working in education provides. Every day you get a chance to inspire someone. Maybe just one person. Maybe for only an hour or two. But every moment of inspiration guides us to our purpose in life. Teachers meant so much to me, and I get to be one. Even on a bad day, even when I’m a hot mess of papers and ill-fitting clothes, I can make someone’s day better.

I am thankful for the sound snow makes when it falls. A fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a decibel. The strange sensation of frozen water insulating you from the cold.

I am thankful for music: for polkas, bluegrass, and folk, for big banging drums and smooth cellos, for the way rock ‘n’ roll can soothe and classical can excite. For one girl’s voice or the harmony of 100.

I am thankful for the workers, the people like my parents, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles. The people who do jobs I don’t know how to do, who help people I can’t help. They make me want to try harder at the things I know how to do, to help the people I can help.

I am thankful for my wife and sons, for the way we laugh together and share a unique lifestyle fully compatible with our many varied neuroses.

I am thankful for the food, too much food, really. It’s easy to be fat in America. No matter the strife, people can live. Now they have to live in harmony and they really can if we all try. Let’s do that. Let’s try to get along. Let’s try to understand each other. Let’s try welcoming. Let’s try kindness instead of fear.

Let’s have a good long weekend. Unless you have to work. In which case, thank you. We need gas, we need groceries, we need safety and the work you do. It sucks, but we’re alive. That is good.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.



  1. And thank you, Aaron, for your insights and solid information. Best wishes to you and yours.

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