Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sauk Centre Americana: Sawdust Plant, Basketball Nets, Gardens, Race Track and All

This post is mostly for people who don't live in Sauk Centre, or any other small town: which is why I'm pointing out some obvious things.

Sauk Centre, like most small towns, doesn't have the heavy industry that places like Detroit have. Considering the way things are going these days, I don't mind a bit.

We've got 'industry' here - but it's more along the lines of 'light industry.' Like Felling Trailers Inc, the Minnesota Sawdust & Shaving Company, Engle Custom Tank Builders, Kane Transport and Advanced Lighting Systems. (ALS got acquired by Nexxus Lighting in September, 2007 - not bad for a small-town outfit).

Like most small towns, this isn't the sleepy - or festering - backwater you read about in stories. We're pretty much like New York, Detroit, or Los Angeles. Except the air's cleaner, there isn't as much crime per capita, our traffic jams clear up in minutes, and the cost of living's lower.

It's rough, living without all that major metropolitan areas have to offer: but I can stand it.

Like most places in America that I've been, you'll see basketball hoops on driveways: permanent ones like this, or something that can be taken down and stored in the winter.

Quite a few folks around here have the usual flower gardens: and sometimes their own produce. You won't be able to feed a family on what'll grow on a city lot: but it does help with the grocery bills.

Speaking of groceries: this is Coborn's, a couple blocks down from where I live. Don't let the appearance fool you: The folks working here are my neighbors, friends of my kids: a great bunch. If you don't live in town, they won't know enough about you to ask about your family - but my guess is that they'll be friendly.

Picturesque? I suppose so. This is in the Prospect Avenue area. It could have turned into a sincerely high-end residential enclave. Instead, it's a really nice-looking neighborhood.

Propane tanks: lots of them. Lake Wobegon Trail is behind that line of trees, and the back yards of a house or three are past the right edge of the picture. Industrial blight or contemporary landscape sculptures? Take your pick. I like the way sunlight shines off them.

Quite a few householders have set those ground-level lights along walkways or around their house. I'd think they're a bit hard to mow around, but they look like a low-power way to light things up.

As it says on the City of Sauk Centre's Tourism page: "I-94 Raceway / Racing every Saturday night." The raceway's own website seems to be down right now. Too bad. They put on fireworks displays now and again: we can see them from an upstairs window. There's advantages to living this close to everything else in town.

You want Americana? We got Americana. Home-grown, spontaneous. The sort of thing that happens when there isn't a neighborhood association to keep people from expressing themselves.

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