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A potluck picnic

Summertime fun is synonymous with “Potluck Picnics.” When you receive an invite to such a party, what is your “go to” dish and, is it the “go to” because it is what you enjoy making or is it that you have become known for this dish and in some circles, almost expected that you will be bringing that one delectable delicacy for all to enjoy? For my mom, it was her German Potato Salad, and I can say without doubt, it was something she enjoyed making and especially at the Burr and Schommer Family Reunions, Aunt Eileen is brining the German Potato Salad. For me, it is beans and not just beans, but Brian’s Beans, which are kind of like a Calico Bean recipe with ham, bacon and ground beef that are enhanced with maple, brown sugar, mustard, and a few other secret ingredients. Today’s column will be a bit like a potluck picnic as it will have a little of this and that for everyone to enjoy while still having some of the “same old” you have come to expect from “Outdoor Adventures.”

Amateur baseball is in full swing and if you are a fan of the game, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get out and enjoy the great outdoors at a ballpark. On the Minnesota side of the River, the Hastings Hawks are off to a good start and with most of their college guys back, look to have a very fun and productive season ahead. As a “Hawks Guy,” I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to congratulate the local nine on their recent 60 drubbing of rivaled Miesville on the Mudhens home turf. Cottage Grove is home to the East Metro Mammoth 35+ Baseball team who are the reigning Minnesota State Champions for 35+ Amateur Baseball and on the Wisconsin side of the border, you can get your fill of townball in Prescott, Ellsworth, River Falls, Bay City and beyond.

Have you noticed the amount of Pickle Ball that is being played at local tennis courts? Maybe you just assumed they were playing tennis and if so, I encourage you to pay a little extra attention next time you drive by (while keeping your attention on the road as well). I would love to provide at least somewhat of a knowledgeable report to the faithful readers of this column about the game, but truth be told, I know very little. I know that the contest is played with a ball and racquets like its tennis counterpart and, I know that the court is smaller. The fact is, I could do a little research on the internet because, as often stated, everything is true there but… as is my M.O. from time to time, I am fishing here for an avid player of the game to reach out and teach me some of the basics of the game. Interaction is a great way to learn more about things and more importantly, about those you are interacting with. So, calling local pickle ballers… if you are willing to share a little about this game with me, reach out to [email protected] and let’s set up a time to… umm… pickle? I look forward to learning the correct terminology.

Speaking of potluck picnics and pickles, I was at a 50th Birthday Surprise Party that was cleverly disguised as a Memorial Day Weekend potluck picnic and can you believe it, nobody brought pickles. There were cucumbers in a sauce that were delicious, but not one jar of dill pickles. I believe what happened here has become commonplace in society. It was most likely assumed by someone feeling entitled to pickles (namely me) was sure someone else would bring them. I mean, chips and pickles are the easiest “go to” in the realm of all “go to’s” when it comes to potluck, right? As written word has no tone, please know that I am not the least bit perturbed that there were no pickles. Would they have been great to go with the burger I ate? Most definitely. Something as small as no pickles is not the end of the world. What is important is the people there had a great time, there was more than enough food (as is often the case with potluck), the guest of honor was surprised, and vital social connections and reconnections were made. Life is kind of like a potluck and sadly, sometimes people forget something, don’t bring what you had hoped or expected to the table or simply wish to bring something that fits their life better. The important part is that we all get to share in the time together. Instead of complaining about what was missing from the table, let’s be thankful for what is there and enjoy this potluck picnic called life. As always, “Get Out and Enjoy the Great Outdoors.”

June 1, 2022