My feet hurt. The aroma of frying onions and cotton candy won’t be enticing again for at least a year. I have the five songs, fake train whistles, and sirens that played on a continuous loop at top volume somewhere on the Midway embedded in my brain. I am hoping this is temporary. As I cleaned the grill after a shift in the hamburger stand on Friday night, I was reminded once again why every teenager should work in a restaurant at least one summer.  You just never know when you’re going to need the skill set you acquire doing that kind of work.

The Dweebs were, once again, a huge hit. Years ago, there was a teen dance on Friday nights and an adult one on Saturday nights in the old arena. Remember? The queen contest and talent show are no longer part of the festivities either, but somehow Deer River always finds new ways to make sure that everyone still has fun. Church dinners, a flea market, a bike rodeo. The list goes on. It all comes together even when road construction makes getting around town a little sketchy. Deer River adjusts, just like it always has.

Some families have reunions every summer.  Ours maybe manages to get its act together for a true reunion once a decade like high school graduating classes do.

Luckily, the Rice Festival brings our crew us together every summer. To volunteer and play. To see dear old friends. To eat way too much and drink more than a little beer. To laugh a lot and be a little stupid on warm summer evenings. In families, it is good to stop mowing and fixing and fussing long enough to do this. It is maybe essential, actually.

Thanks, Deer River. See you next year.



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