This posting falls under the category "Why I Like It Here" in rural Minnesota.
One of the things I had to adjust to when we first moved from the city was being greeted by name every time I went to the store or post office. Other shoppers, people waiting to get stamps, or maybe Wilbur Nelson - sitting in the chair by the front door of the store that bears his name - will greet you and engage in conversation about everything from the weather to how your kids are recovering from the flu. Folks know each other, and take time to chat in this small community. After many years of living in anonymity in the city, this took me a while to get used to. But it's the way of life here that I've learned to love.
Although he still works in the store part-time, Wilbur's son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Ginny, have run the business since 1987. Throughout the 20 years I've lived here, I have observed them at almost every community event I can recall. Whether serving on the School Board or City Council, organizing Evansville's fun Fourth of July Celebration, or just showing their support at various church and school functions - it seems the Nelsons are always out there. A few days ago I noticed Scott and Ginny by the town's firehall, pulling weeds and watering flowers that surround the community billboard and antique water fountain. (Whenever there's a charity benefit, pancake dinner, or birthday party for an octogenarian at the nursing home it is usually Scott who changes the signage on the billboard to announce the event.) At the time, I didn't think of taking a photo with my Android, so I drove back the next day and snapped these shots of the beautiful flower beds.
The Nelsons certainly aren't the only good neighbors who care enough to invest their money, time, and sweat to make their community a better place to live. I have encountered other folks like them in little towns all across Lakes Country. Most of them, like the Nelsons, are Main Street merchants or small business owners. In my opinion, they deserve our support. That's why I repeatedly remind anyone who listens: support your locally-owned businesses, and keep your dollars circulating within your own community's economy. Do that, and you will be helping to plant the flowers around the town billboard. Or, at the very least, helping to make your community a better place to call home.
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In our first season we filmed this story about lutefisk, in which all the Nelsons are interviewed. If you haven't watched it already, take a few minutes to watch the story; I think you might enjoy it.
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I haven't written a blog lately, but that only means we have been busier than ever with many NEW stories! Jackie has been editing stories about sustainable farming, an amazingly talented studio furniture builder, and another very unique Main Street business. Lots of fun and interesting things coming your way, so stay tuned...