The column that almost wasn’t

Regular readers know that I am constantly striving to become more organized. This week has had more than its share of challenges and I was reminded that I live in Unorganized Territory.

It’s been awhile since I explained how my column came to be titled Unorganized Territory. Longtime readers know the reason and probably even people who have just met me can tell I’m an unorganized person. But there is a reason beyond my disorganized state.

I grew up in Grand Marais and lived almost my whole life on County Road 7 in Grand Marais. I left Cook County when I married my sweetheart Chuck, who was serving in the Army. We moved away to Tacoma, Washington and spent the next 22 years making our home where the Army posted us.

After living in Tacoma, Washington; Mannheim, Germany; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Monterey, California; Stuttgart, Germany; and Woodbridge, Virginia, we returned home to Grand Marais in 1995. I am blessed to now live just behind my parents’ house on County Road 7.

I received a delightful surprise when I opened my first Cook County property tax bill. Not that I was delighted to have to pay taxes, but I was tickled to see that my home is in the unorganized territory. And actually, all of my growing up years had been spent in unorganized territory.

I laughed when I realized that I now have a possible excuse for my frantic and frazzled existence—I’ve spent most of my life in unorganized territory. No wonder I can’t remember appointments or find my cell phone!

As I said, this week has been particularly busy and my little cell phone calendar is working overtime to keep me on track. Election interviews with commissioner candidates on top of regular summer activities have us all running. So, we had a very late night at the office on deadline and I was just too tired to write my column.

I left the office vowing that I would get up bright and early to write Unorganized Territory. I don’t like waiting until the very last minute, but I had a few ideas in my head about what to write about, so it would be no problem, I thought to myself.

I had forgotten that two of our grandchildren, RaeAnne and Carter, were staying at my house. When I got up, I fixed some coffee and had a leisurely breakfast with them. As we talked about their plans for the day, I asked if they wanted to accompany me to the radio station to listen as I gave my weekly “What’s in the paper this week” report to WTIP.

They said sure. They’ve gone with me before and they enjoy it. It’s fun watching the action at the radio station and the candy jar there is always full.

Rae & Carter at zoo

RaeAnne & Carter, two of my five wonderful grandkids!

I thought as long as we were cruising around Grand Marais, it would be fun to take them by the Little Free Library on Third Avenue West. They picked out a couple of books from the collection of kids books at my house and off we went.

I finished my radio report and we swung by the Little Free Library and I had another great idea. The current exhibit at Johnson Heritage Post, Feels Like Home, with beadwork by Jo Wood and paintings by Don Lessard, is absolutely amazing.

I asked if they wanted to go to an Art Gallery and they said sure. They’re game for anything new. So we headed that way to find that we were a little early. The doors were not open yet.

No problem, we walked over to Java Moose to get an early morning treat. An iced latte, strawberry smoothie and mint Italian ice later, we were strolling back to Johnson Heritage Post.

The museum was open and we enjoyed Don Lessard’s lovely paintings—I especially like Croftville Walkers—and Jo Wood’s exquisite bead pieces. The kids loved them, marveling along with me, “They’re 3-D.”

Since the kids hadn’t been there before, we had to take a few minutes to look at the beautiful permanent Anna Johnson collection. And when I noticed that Linda Blaine Ottis was working at the gallery, I had to point out her charming woodcarvings, telling RaeAnne or Carter that she is the artist that made them.

I was reluctant to take them home to grandpa and to head to work—to unorganized territory. I did though, and when I got to my desk, I was discombobulated. I hadn’t written my column! So here I am, frantically telling my unorganized tale as the weekly deadline looms.

It’s okay. It was a wonderful morning in Unorganized Territory.

~     ~     ~     ~

Time you enjoy wasting
is not wasted time.

Marthe Troly-Curtin

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About rhondasilence

I’m Rhonda Silence, the editor of the Cook County News-Herald. All my life I have strived to become more organized. So, imagine my surprise when I moved back to my hometown of Grand Marais, Minnesota and received my first property tax statement. The tax statement declared that I live in Unorganized Territory! In fact, the part of Cook County, Minnesota where I spent the majority of my childhood was also Unorganized Territory. Finally! An explanation of my disorganized life. When I became editor of the Cook County News-Herald in Grand Marais, I was privileged to write a weekly column. What to title it? Of course–Unorganized Territory. This blog shares my weekly thoughts—sometimes it is about Cook County politics and occasionally national issues. Sometimes it’s about the history of Minnesota or the history of my family. Often it’s about my grandkids or pets and sometimes even the weather. I share my thoughts on local events and about the wonderful scenery in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota. There is no rhyme or reason to this column–much like my life. Thanks for stopping by to visit Unorganized Territory. I hope you enjoy your stay. View all posts by rhondasilence

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