Unplanned Minnesota Reunions

The Little Rascals - basically my childhood

This past weekend was a Minnesotan’s dream weekend.

Two big events occurred on ice: the Brainerd Jaycee’s Ice Fishing Extravaganza on Gull Lake AND the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships on Lake Nokomis.

The two events are recognized and revered around the world.

Freezing temperatures, as in double-digit negative numbers, were not enough to keep hockey players and anglers off the anything-but-thin-ice.

Hockey and fishing.

A Minnesota paradise.

A year ago, I was on the ice.

This year is so different from last. In a good way. And so, I was not on the ice. Not this year.

But, before you think that I am losing my Minnesota pride, think again. Because I was still part of something truly Minnesotan in nature.

Someone who touched my life, and the lives of hundreds of my peers and our parents, passed away. She won her battle with cancer and is now cancer free – forever.

We gathered. Over 700 (possibly 800) of us. To remember. To recognize.

The traditional American ceremony I attended on Saturday brought me back to a place I haven’t been in a long time. It brought me face-to-face with the gang I grew up with. People who swapped bottles, bracelets, and books with me for many years. Friends who know how I got the scar on my right knee. Girls who know my first and last childhood crush. Adults who held me when I was a baby and drove me around when I was an annoying middle schooler (I was kind of obnoxious back then…).

There were lots of hugs, handshakes, and tears.

Lots of “how-have-you-been’s-and-we-should-get-together’s.” Many memories and laughs. Quite a few “you-haven’t-changed-a-bit” remarks and “I-can’t-believe-you-have-a-KID” exclamations! A number of “last-time-I-saw-you’s” and some “who-is-that-again?” questions. And, of course, “I-can’t-believe-you-dated-him” statements.

Minnesotan all the way.

This cold, cold Monday, I reflect on the years. The mental scrapbooks and videos playing in my mind of childhood sleepovers, car pools, pranks, and vacations. Because the weekend I experienced was unplanned. A Minnesota reunion that is bitter sweet in so many ways. But it happened. And I’m thankful.

Because I can never stray too far from my childhood and youth. It’s always with me. Always reminding me. To slow down. To appreciate others. To look Up. And to say, “Thanks, childhood.” For the friendships, camping trips, summers, retreats, sleepovers, bike rides, lemonade stands, snow tubing, broomball, laughs, and tears. For teaching me how to live, love, and laugh.

With or without the ice, I am thankful for my very sad and happy Minnesotan weekend.


I ask. You answer.

  1. Where do you run into childhood friends/memories? Is it unplanned or planned?
  2. Why does it take sad, unplanned events to bring us back together with the people who were once so influential in our lives?





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