Friday, August 5, 2011

Guide for Surviving Jordan, Minnesota

Growing up in Jordan, then moving away for a short time only to come back and raise a family, I've come to appreciate the quaint and calming parts of a old town that's just on the outskirts of the twin cities metro area, but yet has all of the aspects of small town Minnesotan near the countryside and the river bluffs.  

Summers are glorious in Jordan and if you are a baseball fan there is simply nothing better than a ball game at the historic Jordan baseball park, A.K.A. the "mini-met".  With the warm glow of the sun setting beyond left field, the sounds of sand creek, and the smell of popcorn from the concession stand and you might find yourself losing yourself in the moment.  The fresh popcorn smell brings me back to my childhood and going to the game with good ol' dad.  Now my kids come to the game with me.  As I watch the from the top of the small hill on third base side the ball park, the kids laugh and smile as they go up and down.  Rolling down the third base hill has almost become a rite of passage for Jordan youth.

Even though I grew up Catholic in Jordan, I've attended several services at the Lutheran and Baptist Churches.  One thing is very noticeable in each church.  The people.  You're greeted with a welcoming smile.  They are glad you're there.   If you like good food, you are sure to find it at any of the churches in Jordan.  Be it a fish fry, pancake breakfast, or spaghetti dinner, these food fundraisers are a great way to connect with others, fill your belly, and give you the satisfaction of helping someone out.

If you truly want to survive living in Jordan, join the Lions.  They are by far the most fun service group in town.  They take care of each other and especially the community.  When I was recruited by a lion the pitch was, "Join the Lions, we drink beer and give away a bunch of money."  Say no more!  I'm in!  The men in the group are selfless.  They are good people.   Want to survive living in a small town, surround yourself with individuals like this.

For me one of the most therapeutic activities in Jordan is simply going on a walk.  I live in the old part of town which offers many neat walking routes.   You can do the downtown/water street loop, the lagoon park/millpond/waterfalls loop, or for a little more adventure you hike can the bluffs of sand creek or along the Minnesota river.  I'd tell you my favorite walking location, but then I'd have to break your ankles.

In the last several years it seems like some of the residents have become more and more engaged and more and more enraged with proposed projects or initiatives happening in or around Jordan.  The 282/21 construction project, 2009 school district referendum vote, and the new crematorium come to mind.  Jordan seems to be divided more than ever. 

In order to survive here and get along with your neighbors, here are five tips on what NOT to do.
1) Complain about the city council, school board, your neighbors, or anything else regarding the town. 
2) Write nasty letters to the editor in the paper, or write negative comments in the online version of the paper.  Its always tempting to reply to some who you feel is off base, but consider this - no matter how eloquent you write, chances are you won't change their point of view.  Knowing this would you spend the time and energy on an message board responding to an anonymous person?  All you do is upset your neighbor.  Your efforts would be better spent writing a thoughtful letter to a loved one.  Someone who appreciates you.
3) Attend a high school athletic event wearing red and white.  Those are Belle Plaine's school colors.  Not.  Cool.  Maroon and gold is the way to go, baby!
4) Turn in your water/sewer bill late.  Those late fees are killer!
5) Choose McDonald's over Clancys.  That's a rookie mistake.  Clancy's has the best burgers and my favorite pizza, Audrey's Supreme!  I do have to admit, the McDonald's play place is a lifesaver come winter when the playgrounds are covered in snow.

Final Jordan Survival Tip: Be generous.
I think it is human nature to be generous to others.  If we are generous to others, then maybe down the road when we're in trouble the favor will be returned.  As soon as you stop giving, you stop receiving and you lose out.  The goal is to have a Win-Win scenario for everybody.

Be good to your neighbor, you'll need them further down the road.