Jun. 10—My Uncle Don had a cabin out in Colorado, so when I was growing up, we'd often go out there and do mountain stuff.
Hiking, campfires, fishing. As a family, we unplugged. Not that there was a lot to unplug from. We owned a video game console, but it was Pong. Yes, I'm that old.
In fact, I come from the "come home when the street lights come on" generation, where my bicycle was my most important possession, not my phone, which was attached to the wall and had an actual dial, not push buttons.
Winona State administrator working on mental health initiative
National Eagle Center hooks kids with free fishing program
Eagles, fish and water
At the National Eagle Center, they've got a program to let kids fish from the dock on Thursdays and Sundays. While the kids were all having fun practicing casting their lines, the adults on the scene were happy to see some unplugging going on.
One family mentioned their kids had pretty much never fished before, and while their results were not successful (no fish were harmed in the process), they were thrilled to have the opportunity to do some fishing without having to buy a bunch of tackle.
Another adult watching his granddaughter fish talked about how fishing was just what you did on the river growing up. But that's not really the case anymore. Kids today (the most geezerly phrase I'll ever write) spend more time on YouTube, and their only experience fishing comes from an app on their phone.
The church on time
Fishing poles are the only sign of a Mayberry-like existence around here. Places of worship, it seems, are slowly returning to their pre-COVID days, with fewer masks, more singing and less social distancing.
That's a story that's coming your way in about a week or so, though I'll be done writing it tomorrow.
It's nice to see a return to "normal" out there, though it's something of a process. No one is flicking a switch, and we all suddenly go back to our pre-COVID lives.
Dressed up as new
Not everything is a throwback in the news. Winona State's Kate Noelke is working on a project designed to help students deal with their mental health concerns by being more active in their communities. There's talk of developing a texting system that connects students to everything from venues where they can enjoy the arts to opportunities to volunteer in their communities.
That might sound new-fangled, but really, it's a project designed to get young adults to focus a little more on others, whether that's friends or those in need in their towns. Or — and I'm paraphrasing Noelke a bit — getting them off the couch, out of their apartment or dorm room, and getting them involved in something bigger than themselves.
We can all take that bit of advice, even without a text telling us about opportunities to do so.
As for me, I vow to spend a little more time walking Sir Pickles around the block. Both he and I could use the exercise, and anything that gets me back out in public and outside the various four walls that have trapped me for the past year can only be a good thing.
Regional Reporter Brian Todd covers Goodhue, Wabasha, Winona and Houston counties along with some cities in Olmsted County. In the After Deadline column every Thursday, he shares behind-the-scenes tales from the newsroom.