Guest Column: Come out to Dine United event on Broadway

Published 10:57 pm Friday, September 27, 2019

Live United by Erin Haag

Erin Haag


One day, we saw a kitty run into a field of prairie grass.

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My son says, “Mama, what if I was lost in the grass, and when you came to me, you didn’t know who I was?”

“Well, that would be a little sad, but I bet I would fall in love with you right away”.

“Yeah mommy, I bet your mommy heart would see me and love me. And my heart would see your mommy heart and love you.”

I heard a song by Sugarland called “Tuesday’s Broken.” I looked up the lyrics and read,

“What if we try to reach them with words?

“What if we looked in their eyes and asked ‘where does it hurt?

“Would they find all they were worth?”

Those song lyrics, and the story about my son share a common thread. Before we can try to reach each other with words, before we can see their hearts, we need to get to know one another. Let’s start this Saturday at Dine United at the 112 Fall Fest. Join us, get to know each other. Find out the little-known fact about the person you work with every day. (Keep reading to find mine.) Meet your neighbor you’ve never met before. Make connections. When we find our connections, we can see their hearts. When we can see their hearts, we can ask “where does it hurt?” Getting to know someone takes time, but you’ll never get there if you don’t begin.

This Saturday, my son won’t be disappointed. At Dine United, he’ll be able to join the community in sharing a meal. That is — if you can get him to slow down long enough as he and his sister race from activity to activity. If you’re lucky enough to sit at the table with them, my sweet girl will tell you all about the latest book she’s reading, and my son will tell you all about everything. I do mean everything. 

We’ve truly got something for everyone. The Albert Lea Art Center, Schoff Chiropractic, Riverland DEEDS Club and the Parenting Resource Center are hosting children’s activities from 5 to 7 p.m. Crafts, activities and bubbles will be available. A few activities will stretch out until 8 p.m.

There will be entertaining historical displays for people to say, “Remember when?” The Freeborn County Historical Society will set up shop in The Outlet.

Bring a chair and enjoy the live band down in front of the 112 on Broadway.

Later that evening, the Riverland basketball team will help us clear the picnic tables away, and out will come the lawn games. For those wanting a little more of a thrill, try your hand at virtual reality games at The Outlet. There will still be live music, and at 9 p.m. the Beer Mile will start. A little-known fact about me is that I’m allergic to beer. Yet, I’ll be on the sidelines cheering on at least the first round, as racers run up and down Broadway and taste the 112’s fall lagers. I’ve heard rumors of a celebrity making an appearance at the Beer Mile. He’s got really short arms, so I’m wondering exactly how he plans on drinking the beer. However, he does it, I’m pretty sure it’ll be just as fun to watch it as it will be to participate.

It’s all for a good cause. Come, cheer on your friends, heckle them into racing and make signs and generally be obnoxious. Nicely obnoxious anyway. Is that an oxymoron?

I’ve been carefully avoiding the weather reports. Just in case though, know that many of the activities will still be taking place inside the 112 on Broadway, The Outlet and the Albert Lea Art Center. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the most up-to-date announcements.

In the meantime, let’s just cross our fingers for beautiful fall weather. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone!

Erin  Haag is the executive director of the United Way of Freeborn County.