Get out of the norm and meet new peoplePublished 10:12am Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Column: Sara Aeikens, Creative Connections
I find fun in the unfolding events of a day, but not as much in preparing, planning or purposefully choosing what I do or even prefer. When an opportunity appears at life’s little intersections, I enjoy responding spontaneously.
A friend came to this year’s Art & Garden Tour at one of the six homes where I had a photography exhibit. She mentioned she and her friend planned to go dancing that evening to hear to one of their favorite old-time bands. About an hour before they might have been headed home after an evening on the dance floor at the Eagles, my husband and I decided to drive downtown Albert Lea to take in a few familiar songs and cool off from the still overly warm evening.
The four of us sat at the same table, danced to a few tunes and laughed lots. We all left at the same time, satisfied with our short stint. Just outside the exit door, my friend told us the Eagles planned a picnic at noon the next day in Emmons.
I’m reminded of a written message about choosing to spend time on a new or unique event rather than a familiar or repetitive one. We’ve never been to an Eagles’ picnic or an Emmons park, so I asked my husband if we could pick this couple up and he said he thought so.
The next day we changed our previous plans and drove our friends south to the picnic for a fun adventure for all four of us. The picnic park was packed with all ages of Eagle members we’d never seen before because we usually go only to the dances on weekends.
The gathering’s announcer asked attendees to make room for new faces around crowded picnic tables and share in fellowship as well as brats, beans, sauerkraut, potato salad and snow cones. Our table conversation covered the hard work of peeling more than 400 boiled eggs and 200 potatoes for the homemade potato salad.
When two hungry men sat down at the sunshine end of our table of four, we managed to move over to make room so they could seek out the shade.
After a bit and some bites, I asked them where they came from and learned two separate tales relating to what they do for livings.
David hardly seemed a half-a-century old, yet said he’d been a trucker over 50 years. He explained how he hauls containers coming from every corner of the world to all over the U.S. and told amounts to carrying any possible product. His explained his Volvo hauler is for left-handed mechanics, which means making major awkward adjustments body-wise for do-it-yourself mechanics accustomed to right-handed tools and techniques.
The trucker also described both a cargo’s wheel addition for transferring or transporting a load by truck to train or ship, as well as details of a backward-looking tractor with a claw device for lifting loads from one mode of transport to another.
David also shared his unusual Rolls Royce story of how this special brand-new car became victim of an ocean storm and lost at sea. The owner received insurance coverage for his costly treasure and the story’s suspense ended more than 20 years later when the buried container re-appeared with the contents intact. Our storyteller also noted that occasionally in winds and waves, a high seas container accidentally ends up in the drink.
The trucker’s friend, Dan, lived most his working life in Albert Lea and only travels to the north side of town to his job at the industrial park. His company consists of around a dozen employees who handle millions of pounds of honey each year. The liquid is imported from such far-a-way countries as China and India and may be heated, filtered and made into a powder form at this local company.
In processing honey, wheat may be added as a carrier and honey varieties from locations all over the world, may be mixed together, coming from wildflower plants or even soybeans plants. The honey products serve as sweeteners for many kinds of food products. After listening to explanations of processing procedures and levels of purity, I decided, if possible, to only buy local honey and carefully read honey labels.
If I hadn’t asked about what my friends planned on doing on a Friday night, and if they hadn’t told us after the dance about the picnic, I doubt we would have gone. If so many people hadn’t shown up, the two hard-working fellows might not have sat at our table, we’d never have known about their interesting life adventures nor shared such a spontaneous and appreciated afternoon with our friends.
Consider treading a seldom-used pathway for a refreshing and connective experience!
Sara Aeikens is an Albert Lea resident.