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Editor thinks the glass is half full

September 24, 2017
Chuck Hunt - Register Editor , Faribault County Register

Old codgers. You gotta love them. At least I hope that is the case, because I think I am rapidly becoming one. But, that is another story.

I visited with a couple of older, senior citizen type gentlemen this summer, who both shared something in common.

They had once lived in Blue Earth, or at least the Blue Earth area. I think one might have grown up in Frost or Elmore. But, both had moved far away.

And they also shared something else in common. I think it could be called "The Good Old Days Syndrome."

They talked a lot about how wonderful Blue Earth used to be. How many different kinds of stores there were downtown restaurants, car dealerships, clothing stores, shoe stores, a Penneys, Gambles and grocery, drug and hardware stores and so much more. Gas stations so numerous they could not even recall exactly how many were operating at one time. It sounded like there must have been one on every corner.

I agreed with them, to a point, as I have seen the old photos of downtown Blue Earth. It was something terrific, for sure.

But they added a few comments that were along the line of how Blue Earth has been on a downward slide since those heydays of the 1950s and 1960s.

That is where I disagreed with them.

It was on a slide for a long time, maybe, but in the last few years it is has been on an upward climb. Or so I think, anyway.

It will never be what it once was. Nothing will be. The world is changing at a dizzyingly fast rate. Brick and mortar stores everywhere are feeling the pinch of online shopping, Amazon is becoming the shopping behemoth as young and old both browse the Internet for the things they want to buy.

I confess, I have done the same thing myself.

But I digress.

Both of the gentlemen had left Blue Earth years ago. So they hold memories of what it once was. I moved to town 10 years ago, so my memory of it began then. And, as I have written before, I think the city has made a lot of improvement since then.

There is a lot of new infrastructure. A new park (Steinberg) has been built, new pool, water tower, county jail, city safety building, and more.

Many of the bad streets I noticed when I moved here have been replaced, with more to come.

And downtown? It looks so much better than it did 10 years ago. Some old buildings have been removed and those that are left have been improved and look good. Most are filled with businesses, too.

Sure, Walmart is shutting down, and that is a blow to the city and business community. Hopefully it will be filled with a business soon. Ditto for those three lonely sisters downtown.

And when they are, it will be another step of progress for the community.

So will things like the new Chamber of Commerce building that will soon get underway. Like many others I am excited to see what it will look like.

Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce director Cindy Lyon relates how she had an out-of-town visitor come here this past summer and gushed about how wonderful the city looks. That person had never been here before, so she did not have the memories of what it once looked like, just what it looks like now.

It all depends on your perspective I guess. And your attitude. Is the glass half empty, or is it half full - and is the milk still being poured?

When I shared my thoughts about Blue Earth with one of the gentlemen, he disagreed with me, but he did say he admired those who have such a positive attitude and wished us a lot of luck.

I wish him a lot of luck as well. When he left Blue Earth he moved down south as a lot of folks do, and his community just got hammered by a hurricane.

Maybe there is no perfect place to live. But wherever one lives, supporting your community is vitally important.

I totally agree with the letter to the editor writer in this week's Register. Mr. Malchow makes a very valid point, and it is one I?have tried to make in this space before.

We need to support every one of the small towns in Faribault County, just as much as we possibly can. We should consider all of Faribault County as our community.

Think of that next time you leave the county to shop or dine. You are supporting the community where you spend your money.

All of our local businesses do an awful lot to support our towns, schools and organizations. We should certainly support them as much as we possibly can.



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