Living in interesting times

There's an old saying that goes, "May you live in interesting times." Historically it's been attributed as a Chinese curse and while the country of origin might be suspect, as a curse I wouldn't disagree it is one. Why? Think of what makes life especially interesting. It can be a disruption of how things are usually done; When people strongly disagree that they stop talking or listening to each other; to a nearly paralyzing worry about what is going to happen next.

While I haven't reached the third item and I do have concerns about the second, but it's the fi rst reason I've been dealing with lately. Thankfully most have been things that have made life slightly interesting. Like most of you, I dealt with trying to fi nd a different route to Elko New Market due to road work this past summer. It lead to some scenic routes on the backroads. It's also lead to some questions about why people are in such a hurry. Yes, I know, more often than not, it's the way of our society. During the last decade or two it has been hammered into some people a belief that taking a leisurely drive is a test of patience. Instead some people's attitude is "We need to be there now! We need everything now!" Yes, I can have this attitude like anyone else, but more often than not I try to realize that life happens at its own pace and, usually, there's not much we can do to speed it up or slow it down.

There are times when we can try to make the best of a situation. This weekend was the last one of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and one friend told me how he helped someone he knew. Saturday was the better day with plenty of sun and warm fall temperatures. On that day there were thousands of people who decided to attend and many stayed late. This helped lead to a long wait to get out of the parking lot. My friend told me how someone he knew, a mom with her kids, decided to pull over and wait out the traffi c. He found out where they were parked and brought out some sandwiches. Seeing how frazzled the mom was he spent time with the children to allow her a brief time alone. Throughout this season I saw acts like this. Other friends stayed out until 10 p.m. on Saturday entertaining people to relieve some of the boredom. On the really hot weekend we had this season, when temperatures were in the high 80s, if not the 90s, many of us were asking people on the cast and crew when was the last they drank water, had something to eat or just said, "You're taking a break now."

People also ask me when the Renaissance Festival is coming to a close if I'm happy that it's over for another season. My answer is it's a bittersweet moment. On the one hand I get more of my weekends back, I can sleep in a little later and I can decide what I want to do. Of course, that's if I don't have to be somewhere covering an event for the paper. On the other hand, during the seven week run of the Renaissance Festival, it's usually only when I get to see some people. Some of us do see each other a few times in the off-season, but mostly we only get that relatively brief time each year to truly chat, catch up, laugh and create some magic for others.

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