A love for sports

School has been in session for several weeks now, and the kids are well into their sometimes frantic routines. Though I know Grace and Zach don’t have nearly the same kinds of full schedules as Jane Turpin Moore’s children — which she has blogged so well about — when they were still at home, it’s enough that Bec and I occasionally feel challenged to keep up with everything. And to think — when the kids get to high school, they’re probably only going to be busier, and their aging dad more scatterbrained than he already is.

Grace is certainly the busier of the two siblings. She has dance lessons twice a week, piano lessons once a week, Kids for Christ one afternoon a week after school and is a member of K-Kids. She also plans to audition for the high school musical in the spring. Zach isn’t taking any music lessons yet — he wants to play guitar and/or drums, but for now settles for a Wii game in which he aces Queen’s “We Will Rock You” — but loves sports and is currently all about his Wednesday afternoon soccer get-together. I try to head over to Prairie Elementary to watch his “games” when I can, and his excitement upon seeing me show up at the field is always one of the highlights of my week.

It was several months ago that Zach, while wandering with me around a sporting goods store, spotted a soccer ball and asked if we could buy him one. The ball didn’t cost that much, and considering he had already been making noise about having hockey equipment at that point (thanks to former Daily Globe part-timer and WHS goalie Alex Purdy, who is now off at college), we figured we were getting off easy with the soccer request.

Though the soccer ball seems to get played with only occasionally — there have been a few games with neighborhood kids, but most are a little older, bigger and faster than our Z-Man — he was still eager to sign up for the Y’s soccer program this fall. And though I can safely say I’m biased, I think he’s getting better at the game.

The first time I saw him play, he seemed a little tentative about getting in the midst of the action, but was more aggressive the next time following a little encouragement from his parents. He often alternates between running and skipping after a ball. Most importantly, he always enjoys himself, and he seems to like being part of a team. Last week, when a teammate scored a goal, Zach and one of his buddies did one of the coolest high-five and chest-bump routines I’ve seen. Both were nowhere near the play, but no matter.

Even cooler: Our son scored the first goal of his soccer career on Wednesday, and he was so jubilant that he ran over to us for high-fives and hugs. All in all, his zeal for the game — in fact, for playing sports in general — seems pretty high, as does his enjoyment of competition. He already probably spends too much time playing video games, but the ones he appears to have the most fun with have to do with sports. We have a Wii Sports game on which Zach has enjoyed tennis, bowling, golf and boxing, during which he’ll throw rapid-fire air punches non-stop until he knocks out his computer opponent. That achievement usually brings some type of macho (if you can call a 7-year-old macho) scream of self-satisfaction.

Recently, we rented a second Wii Sports game that “Z” has been playing diligently. Though we don’t like him playing for overly long stretches, I have to admit to delighting in his roars of happiness when he succeeds, his disbelief at the occasional failures and his frequent play-by-play accounts of what has transpired. Although there was an upset of sorts the other day (Zach lost, 4-2, to his computer opponent), he wins by lopsided margins most of the time, which he naturally prefers.

So, what is this Wii Sports game our son is really loving right now? Hockey. I can’t help but wonder how that next trip to the sporting goods store might go.

Potpourri

There’s a growing collection of subjects that I want to write about this time around, so I’m taking an unusual (for me, anyway) approach of compiling a few paragraphs on each. Here goes nothing:

‘I’m so crafty’

Those words, intended to be sung in place of Iggy Azalea’s “I’m so fancy” (or the Weird Al Yankovic spoof, “I’m so handy”) were on my mind last weekend when I attended the Sheyenne Valley Arts and Crafts Festival in Fort Ransom, N.D.

No, I did not lose a bet, get kidnapped or otherwise coerced into this activity. My wife and her parents have gone to this event for 15 years or longer, and let’s just say curiosity finally got the best of me.

Overall, it was a pretty significant deal as far as craft fairs go. I’d venture to guess that about 200 vendors were there hawking their respective wares, offering for what the most part appeared to be some attractive, quality merchandise. The setting for the fair was perhaps the nicest part of the experience, as Fort Ransom — a community of 105 people — is nestled in a pretty valley with no shortage of changing-color leaves. The festival more or less took over the entire town, and I’ve been told that at least a couple thousands souls show up over the course of the two-day (Saturday and Sunday) extravaganza.

I wished there was a little more selection on the food front, and being a gourmet coffee lover was surprised and disappointed at the complete lack of that product’s availability. Still, there was some interesting and appealing contrasts. Youths had the opportunity to take a turn at a pottery wheel and make a bowl, which got my daughter’s attention. For Zach, meanwhile, the booth that sold signs that read, for instance, “No farting in cabin” offered pleasure. And what can be better than making the kids happy? (Although, after roughly four hours, they — and the rest of us — were more than ready to move on out).

A KTD tidbit

My esteemed colleague Turk O’Day usually leaves his well-deserved roost each year to deliver columns throughout King Turkey Day week. In Turk’s Sept. 13 column, he noted that Kenneth Jenkins of Worthington would participate in the KTD parade that day, 75 years after appearing in the very first Turkey Day parade in 1939.

So as not to potentially ruffle any feathers — pun fully intended — the column also noted that others who had participated in that 1939 parade should feel free to share their story. Sure enough, I received a call a few days later from Vonda Lee Meier, who told me she rode on the Habicht Department Store float during that very first Turkey Day extravaganza (at age 5), and had the privilege of riding on the First State Bank Southwest float 75 years later. She’s been in the KTD parade seven times in all, she added.

Thanks, Vonda, for passing your Turkey Day tale along. Maybe you’ll make it to age 105 — and get to ride in the 100th KTD parade!

A positive verdict

Bec and I had the good fortune to attend the “Meet Your Court” event Tuesday night at the Worthington Event Center. All seven justices on the Minnesota Supreme Court were on hand, arriving in our fair city on the eve of hearing a case in front of hundreds of southwest Minnesota students Wednesday morning at Worthington High School.
Tuesday night’s event rates high for many reasons. Not only was the community turnout fantastic, but the justices were extremely personable and eager to share their stories with folks. Their appearance at WHS afforded a wonderful learning opportunity, and the many who worked to coordinate the judges’ time in Worthington are worthy of high commendation.

It should also be noted that nearly every justice — perhaps all; I didn’t keep track — said Tuesday night during their individual remarks that Worthington’s turnout was the highest they’d seen at any of the “Meet Your Court” dinners around the state, and that Worthington appeared in many respects to be an impressive community. Those are the kinds of compliments we should proud of. And to think — we get a chance to make another favorable impression in just a little more than a week, when the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Opener comes to town.

The home game

Filling in for me with this post is my dad, Stanley McGaughey, of Shushan, N.Y. I suppose this edition should be “Tales from the Chief’s Chief.”

The Chief and his brother, Ian, have been engaged in a Whiffle Ball baseball tournament for, dare I say, decades. I know the Chief has written about it. It’s hard to imagine how each brother can “be” a team of nine players; but they’ve worked out the overriding rules (conditions may be a better word) that determine what happens when the ball is pitched and the batter swings. It has always been serious business — they know the relative “standings,” and, when they are together, they will always find the time to play.
The Chief mentioned the McGaughey family reunion in his posting “Celebrating 70.” The reunion was held in Killington, Vt., a hamlet that was previously named Sherburne Center. It was here where my maternal grandparents kept a hardscrabble farm in a narrow, typical Vermont hollow. After the death of my mother’s parents, her sister, Florence, remained on the farm. After Florence’s husband, Oscar, died and living off the land ceased, money was in short supply. To help make ends meet, Florence began donating land to the town in lieu of paying taxes. Now, in what were the small fields of the family farm there is the town library, the town offices and fire station, and a town recreation area, complete with tennis and basketball courts, and a couple of baseball diamonds. One of these became the stadium for the most recent Whiffle Ball game.
It’s possible that nobody noticed these brothers out on the baseball diamond, as it’s a very sleepy hollow. But had they, they would have seen two forty-something men seriously engaged in a baseball game, pitching from the mound toward second base repurposed as home plate and hitting toward the backstop repurposed as the outfield.
I love that these two guys still play together with great, purposeful intent. They have been great friends from the beginning. And I think of this game in Sherburne as the “home” game for both teams. They were engaged in their sibling dual, snuggled deep in a quiet hollow of Vermont, on land that their direct ancestors had worked, within eyesight of the old family farmhouse — that’s still in the family, in the shadow of a bucolic rise on which many of their ancestors now rest.

Four towns

It can be difficult being away from home, and I certainly missed my wife and kids while I was away for a week last month. I’d also be lying, though, if I said I didn’t enjoy being on the road and visiting both new and familiar places.

If I could, I’d travel much more frequently, and to much more exotic locales than I have thus far in my life. I’ve never even been outside of North America, for crying out loud — there’s a huge world out there beckoning me from multiple angles. Maybe when I retire from the Globe (I can’t imagine that being before 75, or even 80, given Social Security will either be broke or non-existent at some point), Becca and I can circle the globe (not the office) and see things we’ve only seen online and read about in books.

Until then, I’ll settle for a few interesting towns here and there. Driving out to Vermont last month, one of the places at which my brother and I stopped — on the advice of coffee-drinking buddy Daryl Bosma — was Galena, Ill. I now know where I’d love to take Bec for a husband/wife-only getaway weekend at some point.

Galena, for those who don’t know, is the birthplace of Ulysses S. Grant. One can visit, though, and probably skip the whole history/Grant element and just walk up and down main street. There are shops galore — the length of the downtown stunned both of us, considering the population of the community is only about 3,500 or so. It’s a historic downtown that’s been rejuvenated in recent years, and though it is a bit touristy it’s definitely great to stroll through.

Naturally, I had to find some java downtown, and wound up at Kaladi’s 925 Coffee Bar, located right along the main drag. I starting chatting with the woman behind the counter and before I knew it, I was learning that she had been a longtime resident of Worthington for some 15 years (I’m wishing I’d jotted down her name). We were only in town about 30 to 45 minutes; I’d like to spend an afternoon there. I’ve since been told there’s much more to do than just window-shop, and the topography of the place alone merits a return visit.

A few days later, while back east reuniting with family, my mom and I took a side trip to Poultney, Vt., and Whitehall, N.Y. Poultney has a pleasant, small downtown with a few nice shops, including a wonderful used book store complete with multiple dusty shelves and a fair share of totally random finds. It has a good coffee shop ­— a must for me in any locale — in Café Pazienza, which exists in large part because Poultney is home to Green Mountain College, a four-year liberal arts institution. I’m not sure if I could live in Poultney — it’s population is about the same is Galena, but it feels smaller — but I can think of far worse places to spend a few hours.

As for Whitehall, it’s the birthplace of the U.S. Navy, and there’s also a Bigfoot statue — but there’s not much else. The town does have its share of intrigue, however, as there are multiple boarded-up downtown buildings and a body of water (Lake Champlain) that has multiple commerce possibilities. If Whitehall has a very rich uncle, he’d be advised to check the place out.

Lastly, Decorah, Iowa, was a stop when my dad and drove back from Vermont to Worthington. There’s Luther College, Norwegian heritage galore, beautiful hills and valleys, a gorgeous park with a walking and biking trail, a downtown with lots of cool merchants and restaurants, a food co-op scene — I could go on. It’s another place I’d like to go and spend a weekend.

We’ll see just when that happens. As for now, I’ll do my best to enjoy everything that Worthington has to offer. And that’s by no means a bad thing, either.

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Celebrating 70

After a road trip that included an 838-mile day of driving — from Elmira, N.Y., to Dodgeville, Wis., to be more precise — one would think that my father would want to do plenty of relaxing upon our arrival back in Worthington a few days ago.

But relaxing is not how Dad — who marked the big 7-0 milestone on Monday — rolls. Sure, he’s a pretty mellow dude on the surface, but if the wheels aren’t turning in his head about something, then he’s up to some kind of work.

I’ve had this view of my father for a while, and spending a few days with him in the car and then back here with my wife and kids sharpened this perspective somewhat. I must stress that I by no means intend to cast him in a negative light, as we enjoyed some wonderful time together that I imagine both of us will treasure for a long while. Vacation, though, is approached by my dad in a way that’s not quite the same as his oldest (and comparatively less ambitious) son.

We departed from an absolutely terrific McGaughey family reunion in Killington, Vt., on Monday the 18th, stopping for a couple of hours for lunch with my mom and brother before continuing onward about three or so hours southwest to Binghamton. I hadn’t been back to my college alma mater in 22 years, and let’s just the say the place has been virtually transformed since then. There’s no shortage of new residence halls, the student union seems like a completely different building … and yet, there was still a sort of “coming home” feeling to the experience. After dinner at an old restaurant at which I’d enjoyed middle-of-night meals in an earlier era, we pressed on another hour to so to Elmira, where we rented a room at the somewhat questionable-from-the-exterior Mark Twain Motor Inn, which turned out to be just fine despite the Bates Motel vibe.

I’ve already veered off track a little bit, but Monday’s travels set the stage for a full day Tuesday that included breakfast in lovely Corning, N.Y., and — many, many miles later, bed in a Super 8 a few miles outside of Madison, Wis. Dad did the last four hours of driving or so, but it was I who was more or less delirious by the time we pulled over at around 12:30 a.m. The goal has been to have a reasonably short drive to Decorah, Iowa, on Wednesday morning, then make it back to Worthington in time for supper later in the afternoon.

In short, that mission was successful, plus we had a delightful (if a little brief) Decorah stop. We made it home, we relaxed — for a little — and crashed.

The next day started with some more relaxation, as Dad and I enjoyed some good coffee and good company at The Lantern in Sibley before returning. It wasn’t long before he was up to something, though, as we made the first of what turned to be many visits to Ace Hardware. Grace was interested in having a fort in the backyard, and Grandpa was determined to find a way to make it happen.

That project turned out to be a minor investment of time compared to Dad’s second area of focus. He had sent us a fairly advanced (or so it seemed) weather station for Christmas that somehow sends all kinds of readings (temperature, wind speed, precipitation, humidity, barometric pressure, etc.) from outdoors back to your computer. He’d said he’d set it up for us when he came to visit in February, but one — of course — doesn’t set up outdoor weather stations in Minnesota in February.

The main thing I took away from the weather station setup was this: There were several reasons for Dad to throw in the towel, yet he persevered. The manual was horrible, pieces didn’t fit together properly, weather data occasionally stopped transmitting for one reason or another … but in the end, the bloody thing was up and working, and it’s still functioning a week after he left. I wish I had a tenth of the acuity needed to make such a thing happen.

But that’s my dad — it was his vacation, and he was our guest, yet he served us extraordinarily with a fort and weather station. And wouldn’t you know, he even found the time at night to drink wine with us AND read both a short novel and a book of Langston Hughes poetry? Meanwhile, I was looking at my iPad, going back and forth between rotten Twins games and various social media. Perhaps I could be using my spare time better?

What a guy you are, Dad. Thanks for being you — and cheers to the birthday boy.

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Vacation? Not quite

I had the chance to take three days off of work earlier this week, but it was by no means a vacation.

With my wife out of town, it was time for me to fly solo with our 9-year-old daughter, 7-year-old son and not-quite-yet-housebroken Shih Tzu mix dog. I had joked earlier that I might be finding my way to a certain enterprise located near the corner of Worthington’s Diagonal Road and Oxford Street by the first night of her absence, but that never happened. Instead of enjoying the rare quiet moments to kick back with a chilled adult beverage, I either read or tried to chant Buddhist-like mantras to myself in hopes of achieving some degree of relaxation.

Now, this isn’t intended to come across as a rant. All things considered, the kids and I had a good time with each other and, perhaps more importantly, the dog was still breathing when I got home and wasn’t off the strict schedule Becca had just gotten him on in preparation for the upcoming school year. Still, let’s just say I have no plans to become a stay-at-home dad anytime soon.

For instance, what the Coke can is to residents of the African bush in the film “The Gods Must Be Crazy” is what my iPad has become to Grace and Zach. Still, taking this technology away doesn’t immediately eradicate conflict; the not-so-loving siblings simply find something else to spar over. Zach has the habit of pestering his sister to work her into a tizzy — a rationale that’s hard for me to fathom, since Grace has a tendency to go from 0 to 100 on a tranquility scale in a matter of milliseconds. This thought may come back to haunt me, but I can’t help wondering sometimes when the day will come when they’ll be so close, they’ll work together to trick their parents instead of tattling on one another. Either way, patience I wish I had abundantly more of is involved.

I would be completely remiss if I didn’t express that I’m in complete awe of my wife, who has had the kiddos all summer long while off from school. I get to spend days (and some nights) at the Daily Globe; she has both the kids and house-related chores (and yes, the kids help, but often with considerable reluctance) to deal with. And now, with the new dog, it’s like we’ve thrown a mobile baby into the domestic cauldron. “Benji, no bite!” “Benji, nice!” “Benji, no!” “Benji, down.” “Benji Benji Benji Benji Benji!”

That said, Benji and I became buddies of sorts this week, though I may not always be the best of company during 5 a.m. trips outside. He sat on my lap as I read, let me tickle him without trying to gnaw at my skin and otherwise showed a decent degree of good-old-fashioned doggie loyalty.

And, while it’s easy to point out the kids’ bickering and general petulance, there were plenty of good moments, too. My favorite, though, lasted just a few seconds: Zach gave Grace a hug — and she embraced him back — after she helped her brother pick up a spare during a bowling outing.

That fleeting point in time, in retrospect, made the time I spent home with the kids worth it. Still, as much as I love them, I hope I remain managing editor at the Globe for the indefinite future. Or else, that business I mentioned earlier would almost certainly become a spot of extremely frequent patronage.

Time to get on the bike

Off and on, for the past several months, my wife has strongly encouraged me to begin some sort of exercise regimen. The problem is, I’m kind of lazy.

I know I’m at an age where I can’t afford to be sedentary, but I don’t want to get up earlier in the morning than I already do and would much rather read or watch a ballgame at night then go to the gym and work up a sweat. I used to run over the noon hour, but used up so much time running and then showering that I often felt like I was starting the afternoon behind upon returning to work.

Yes — it’s excuses, excuses for this guy.

Perhaps my biggest reason for not getting back into some sort of routine, though, has been discomfort in my foot in the form of a bunion that I can only further aggravate while running — the only workout I’ve ever really done. A very brief attempt was made at working with weights, but I didn’t feel very comfortable or confident with them and, in retrospect, was probably too embarrassed or self-conscious to ask for assistance. I know I should probably do some kind of weight training and would only get more familiar (and less intimidated) with equipment with experience, but this kind of workout seems far less enthralling than a good run.

I think I reached a solution to my exercise dilemma, however, after heading down to Sheldon, Iowa, on Sunday. Why not try cycling?

Sheldon, of course, was on the route for the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI), and it was amazing to see thousands upon thousands of cyclists pedaling their way across U.S. 18 and filling Sheldon’s city streets. It was a festival-like atmosphere inside Sheldon’s city park, with plenty of food and refreshments combined with kids’ activities and other goings-on. In short, it looked like a great party for all — riders, their respective entourages and people just showing up to watch. But how cool would it be to take part in, at least, one leg of RAGBRAI, never mind the whole deal?

Maybe that’s a silly question, considering Monday’s high heat index and the overall distance (a minimum of 491 miles this year over the course of a full week). I would imagine, though, that cycling with a large contingent of people — whether they be family, good friends, casual acquaintances or total strangers — would result in some sort of feeling of unity. And while riding RAGBRAI can’t really be put on the same tier of athletic achievement as, say, running a marathon (a far-fetched fantasy of mine even when I was running), it still would be a cool thing to cross off a Bucket List.

And … it would be a cool source of “Tales from the Chief” material, too. Check back next year to see if I can put the ol’ pedal to the metal and make it happen.

The ‘got a dog’ blog

Well, it didn’t take long. A few days back, I wrote a blog about our decision to get a dog. As of last Sunday, we became pet owners, and I guess one way of stating things is that our lives will never be the same.

This, I suppose, is a good thing. The kids absolutely love the new addition to the family, and Becca, I’m confident to report, is mostly enjoying him, too. As for me, well … I’m hopeful that we’ll develop some of type of mutually respectful relationship as we get increasingly familiar with one another.

As for the dog himself, he’s a Shih Tzu mix by the name of Benji, and he’s approximately 1 year old, the vet has confirmed. Bec spotted him on Petfinder.com last week and made a phone call down to Denison, Iowa, where he had been rounded up as a stray and brought to the local pound. There were no real red flags, so we made the slightly more than two-hour drive down the next day to meet him and, ultimately, bring him back to our humble abode. That journey began in somewhat uncomfortable fashion when we saw the kennel we had purchased for our little friend was a bit too tiny. Bec held Benji in her lap from Denison to Cherokee, where we found a Kmart and a more suitable enclosed space for him.

Back in Worthington, Benji was initially excited to explore his new environment. I had to come to work that evening, so Bec and the kids entertained him and took him for his first walk around the neighborhood. We also had our first accident — Benji, who we were told was housebroken — really wasn’t, as he decided to contribute a little dampness to Zachary’s Star Wars blanket. That resulted in the establishment of the “no upstairs” rule. There are other decrees that are seemingly being added by the hour, and I’m waiting for the eventual pop quiz from my beloved spouse. (I fear for this occasion, as I worry that my score might send me to a kennel of my own.)

Benji seems to be a mellow dog, at least most of the time. I think some of this has to do with him currently sporting the infamous “cone of shame,” thanks to his Wednesday trip to the vet to get neutered. He’d been more hyper Sunday (the day of this writing), though, which leads me to believe he’s ready to shed the cone and run without restraint. The neutering procedure, incidentally, couldn’t have been much more timely, considering the night before the surgery he was acting as if he had just been exposed to the canine version of Cinemax.

Our four-pawed pal has also done what I’ll politely call “number two” in the house twice, noticeably gnawed on one of the legs of the dining room table and gotten each of us bit up a bit bug-wise with his necessary trips outside. Bec has easily done most of these excursions, though the kids do assist and I seem to have assumed the final night shift before bedtime. The real routines will begin to take shape once school starts, and that’s when I’m thinking Benji and the former top dog in the house will truly become buddies. That’s the time when I’ll probably start having him for early-morning and lunchtime strolls, as we share our respective joys and woes together, and then — perhaps — sit down together at night for reading or a ballgame.

After all, he’s supposed to be man’s best friend, right? As for now, I’m just happy to see Grace and Zach be so happy with the companion they long wanted.

Blog on a dog

After weeks of combined indecision and procrastination, Bec and I finally concluded this week that there would be an addition to our family. Seeing that a sibling for Grace and Zachary is biologically impossible at this point, we’ve opted for the next best — perhaps the best, at this juncture — thing. Yep, we’re getting a dog.

Bec had a pretty clever idea as to how to tell the kids, since my cleverness is often limited to figuring out new ways of rendering lawn and garden machinery inoperable. She bought a small toy — a tiny, rolled-up, object labeled “The Doggy News Express” and put it inside the door where our Globe usually appears in the morning. “Grace or Zach, could you please go get the paper for me?” Becca asked the kiddos Saturday morning. After retrieving the item, and a few seconds of befuddlement, Grace asked in a voice combining the qualities of a young soprano and a young mouse, “Are we getting a dog?” When we answered in the affirmative, one would have sworn it was 1964 all over again and the Beatles were stepping onto Ed Sullivan’s stage.

I had a dog when I was a kid, albeit briefly, but it had to be put to sleep for reasons I suppose I’ve blacked out. Then, for years, both my mom and dad had various cats, though it’s safe to say the cats my father had were essentially forced on him by my stepmother. While my mom’s cats were generally tranquil and more or less unobtrusive, my stepmom had one cat that was well-mannered, quiet and reserved (Eleanor) and one cat that was seemingly possessed with the spirit of Mephistopheles (Rhuburb). That (insert your curse word of choice here) cat would perch itself near the coat area, wait until my brother or I walked by, then jump out with a claw extended and an accompanying hiss that would in all probability frighten an assassin. Jeannine, our stepmother, claimed the animal had been treated cruelly by children in an earlier age, but we didn’t buy it. I always thought that if one shaved off all the fur, the numbers “666” would be located.

As for Becca, she had a dog, Lady, that she loved for many years (from elementary school and into college) before she got old and unwell. The day Lady had to be put down was a very emotional one for her, for obvious reasons. The type of relationship she had with her dog is something I honestly have nothing to compare to, so it’s safe to say we’re coming at the whole “family dog” experience from entirely different angles.

And yet … I’m honestly excited about the whole thing. Mostly, it’s because both the kids are pumped to be dog owners, especially Grace. Heck, Bec even gave Grace a homework assignment including all kinds of questions pertaining to dog ownership, and Grace looked up everything online and answered them all. If there was any doubt about getting a new pooch before that point, our daughter’s determination and dedication in demonstrating she was ready to assume at least some responsibility for it helped seal the deal.

We’re now looking for a dog that doesn’t shed, is preferably house-trained and would make a good companion for our children to grow with (Bec would like a byline for this sentence). We went to the Humane Society this past weekend in Sioux Falls and came away empty-handed, much to Grace’s chagrin, but plan to try again in Mankato and perhaps Blue Earth this coming weekend.

I’m sure there will be a blog or two in the coming weeks and months about adapting to life with a dog (Perhaps that’s another good argument for getting one; it should make for some remarkable writing material). Most of all, though, I look forward to the joy our new companion is going to give all of us — and doing all we can to ensure he doesn’t become the canine version of Rhubarb.

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An assist from our readers

After measuring 4.51 inches of rain over the previous weekend at the Daily Globe, I seriously didn’t expect any significant moisture to come our way June 16. Yes, I’m well aware the forecast said some awfully damp — and potentially dangerous — weather was likely, but I guess I was in denial. After all, hadn’t we gotten enough already?

Apparently not. Now, following those downpours throughout southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa, we’re looking at all kinds of damage, with some communities in varying degrees of rough shape. Driving around Worthington on the evening of June 16 with Julie Buntjer, we saw plenty of standing water and downed tree limbs, but it turns out that’s nothing compared to what — say — Rock Rapids, Iowa, and Luverne went through.
It’s hard to believe it wasn’t long ago that my wife and I were walking down near Centennial Park and commenting to each other on how low the water levels looked. Driving “the grade” after the big storm, Lake Okabena was an entirely different entity. While I can’t harbor a much of an educated guess as to whether the deluges will result in a quick lifting of Worthington’s non-essential watering ban, I’m guessing that not much watering will be necessary for a few days.

For a good chunk of June 16 — from late morning into early afternoon — the skies kept getting more and more ominous, and it was tricky to plan what the front page of the newspaper was going to look like without knowing just what the weather might do. Then, almost before we knew it, we were all being encouraged to go to the basement after receiving word of a tornado warning. There was no doubt we were going to have a significant story on our hands, but it can be a bit challenging figuring out who’s going to do what while covering a major rainstorm when we’re all standing in the basement, thinking not so much of work but of loved ones, friends, homes and farms that are important to each of us.

Compounding matters was the fact that our photographer, Brian Korthals, was out of the office. We knew that at least one person in the newsroom would have to go find photos, but there was another solution — let our readers help us cover the storm. We asked for help over social media, and it wasn’t long before emailed pictures were coming our way. We ran a few of those photos in the June 17 Daily Globe and put many more of them online.

It’s terrific knowing that we have readers who not only value their newspaper, but are willing to also contribute to it. Our coverage of Monday’s storm wouldn’t have been as good without the assistance we had from folks across from our region, and we’re grateful for it.