|Entering UMM from the north: fine view (B.W. photos)|
Whither Morris' future?
|Changing of the colors: beautiful fall scene at UMM.|
|A view of Morris from the east, from by the river|
|Les Lindor helped make the WCROC "overlook" possible.|
That curious new fence by McDonald's/Coborn's
Are we seeing "range wars" in Morris? Just kidding, and there's no barbed wire involved, but a fence is piquing curiosity among the local citizenry. That rather odd fence in the Coborn's parking lot - excuse me, Coborn's doesn't exist anymore - is requiring some adjusting.
Of course, that parking lot isn't the beehive it once was. Coborn's and McDonald's together once attracted lots of motorists who filled parking spaces. At that time, in the heyday of that spot in Morris, no one much cared about any property dividing line in the parking lot. Both businesses were doing fine. I guess it's different now.
It seems the property owner for the blighted old Coborn's building wants everyone to know there is indeed a property dividing line. Hey it's just a parking lot! It does have value, though, even with the Coborn's building vacated and tumbleweeds blowing out front. It's nice to have that "breathing space" with the ample paved parking.
There's even an old "no loitering" sign on the lot's edge! We should be so lucky as to have loitering on that end of town. To the extent there was ever any loitering out there, it never bothered me. It's even rather nice to see such activity. People and traffic are what a town is all about, or should be.
Now we see a property owner who apparently sees fit to make a statement about how a certain piece of parking space is theirs. Never mind that those interests don't seem to be serving Morris' interests at all right now. It's just vacated, empty space around a rather embarrassing old building with its sign that proclaims "open 24 hours." That would be nice if it were true. Now we don't have a true 24-hour grocery store.
The "for sale" sign has had the name of Dennis Miller on it. It would be nice if this were Dennis Miller the comedian, so maybe we wouldn't have to take these gestures seriously. One look at the fence and you sense there's a conflict afoot.
I suppose McDonald's has been approached about buying the parking space. Is it a fair price or more of an extortion-type price? Who ever heard of a fence in the middle of a parking lot serving no apparent purpose?
It's common for semis, tour buses and school buses to pull in there. The space is now insufficient for all that.
Really, the City of Morris has an interest in this. And BTW, how come City Manager Blaine Hill hasn't put up any new blog posts for several months? Might he feel pressure to try to explain what happened at the library?
I realize that property brings certain rights - it's an underpinning of our way of life. But there's also such a thing as common sense and civility. We're not in a big city where such principles can be disregarded or blown off. We're Morris. We're a Garrison Keillor-type town. We don't need to resort to lawyers for every little thing, do we?
I do know we have an overly aggressive police department. That's actually rather scary. In these days when news reports of trigger-happy police are surfacing, it's concerning. Those dudes carry guns!
We recently learned of a case where a young guy who pulled into a parking lot and took off his seat belt before coming to a stop, was accosted by a law enforcement person who proceeded to shoot him! That officer has been fired and charged. In Ferguson MO the situation has been more murky.
The way Morris Police give seat belt citations is disgusting. I just hope they keep their guns in their holsters. I'd like to see local restaurants stop serving law enforcement personnel in uniform. That would send a message. Perhaps we need a complete housekeeping from the top down.
Writing about cross country makes me remember the days when I ran 5Ks and 10Ks. Looking back, the 5K distance would have been entirely adequate for all such events. We sought to "tough it out" for the longer distance.
Running hard for five kilometers will tax your body to the max. If you run ten kilometers, just run slower and enjoy the scenery. Of course, many people become possessed to run the marathon. "Possessed" can be interpreted literally. I think it's a strange lure - this desire to run continually (or nearly continually) for 26.2 miles. That's running from here to Benson.
Now that I have castigated marathon runners, let me hurriedly add that I ran three marathons in my halcyon days. However, I never trained specifically for any of those marathons.
I ran the Twin Cities Marathon three times in the fall of the year. It was after the summer in which I made the rounds for doing 5Ks and 10Ks in our placid rural outstate communities. I remember one year having to beat the train across an intersection doing the 10K for the Elbow Lake Flekkefest - really. I also remember that race fondly for how kids in troll costumes would dash out and "scare" you in various places.
I remember that in Ashby, I went to the concession stand at the softball tournament to ask directions for where the runners were gathering. They laughed because all the runners were coming there to ask directions. I remember that for the Dumont Centennial, there was a breakdown with the stopwatch and so, after sweating hard to do a good 10K, we couldn't even find out our time. Oh, it's no biggie.
I did a run for the Donnelly Threshing Bee during that brief time when the Bee included this event. I handed my camera to Mrs. Spohr who took newspaper photos for me as I ran.
These small-town runs were charming with their very peaceful atmosphere and the camaraderie us runners felt. It was the stuff of a country music song. From that setting I sprang to the Twin Cities Marathon in three different years, where of course the atmosphere was quite different, quite thrilling really. It was neat running amidst that virtual sea of runners at event's start. There would be TV helicopters hovering overhead. We certainly didn't see that at Dumont!
Yes, I ran those marathons without training specifically for them. I just considered them an extension of the summer running season. I firmly believe you do not need to train specifically for very long distances. What you do, is run several 5Ks and 10Ks with maximum intensity and commitment, and then just "tack on" that marathon experience at the end. You'll be ready. In fact, you'll perform better in the marathon with this approach, as opposed to the approach where you simply get ready for the long distance. Just use common sense and pace yourself when you do the marathon.
It's exhilarating in the Twin Cities to have fans cheering you on, the whole way. I remember a band playing at Minnehaha Park. One year I wore a long-sleeve T-shirt that had "New York City Marathon" on the front, and was acknowledged accordingly by all the spectators along the way. I have been to "The Big Apple" twice but have never done the New York City Marathon.
I remember doing a 10K in Fargo where I broke 40 minutes for the first time. I nearly broke three hours in my first Twin Cities Marathon in 1984. Considering my large and somewhat lanky stature, that was a quite excellent time. I failed to do better in my next two Twin Cities Marathons. However, I did enjoy picking up my complimentary package of Pillsbury microwave brownie mix when registering!
I developed injury excuses as the years went on, like all runners. Today I swear I could "do it again," although every time I try, I quickly run out of gas. There was a time when I felt I could impress women by doing this, but I was wrong.
The best runners are very light and wispy. Carrying minimal weight is absolutely essential. We can fail to appreciate how small these people are, because when they're photographed, they're often with each other.
Alan Page gained note for taking up the pastime after his football playing days. Certainly his body didn't seem to lend itself, but he enjoyed. I did a springtime race in western Wisconsin where Page was present. He has been on the Minnesota Supreme Court for a long time. I hope he doesn't show head injury symptoms.
I have a rich tapestry of memories from my running experiences of the 1980s and into the 1990s. A sore right foot caused me to quit. Today I can jog short-term without having that pain re-surface, but if I try taking it a step further, it's no-go. My right foot will feel like an alligator is biting it. So. . .
I congratulate the intrepid cross country runners of Morris Area Chokio Alberta. Stick with it, guys and gals. And don't worry about trolls.
There was a young man once with a passion for baked beans, although they had a rather unpleasant side effect with him. He met a young lady and fell in love, whereupon he realized that she would stand for none of this and that once he got married, he'd have to sacrifice the beans. Then one day he was driving home and his car broke down. He parked it and decided to walk, whereupon he passed a diner where the aroma of freshly baked beans overwhelmed him. He figured he could have some and then walk off any ill effects, so he ordered three big servings. He putt-putted his way home, where he was greeted by his wife, who informed him that she had a wonderful surprise awaiting him, but she'd have to blindfold him. She led him into the dining room and sat him down at the table, his blindfold securely on. Then the phone rang and she said she'd be back in a couple minutes. In the privacy of the room, the young man had some unfinished business so he lifted up a leg and "let fire," followed by some other blasts until there was a real "prize winner." He grabbed his napkin and fanned the air to disperse the ill effects. Then his wife returned and said "I have the most wonderful surprise for you tonight." She removed the blindfold, whereupon the man was treated to the sight of several of the couple's closest friends, all seated around the dinner table next to him - guests for dinner that night.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - firstname.lastname@example.org