Wednesday, June 26, 2002


by Fran Edstrom

Best Steamboat Days ever

This was just about the best Steamboat Days ever. I had no trouble finding a parking place downtown, thanks to the city being a little more lenient about what constitutes a parking space. I got my annual Ambassador bratwurst fix. Twelve pretty girls ran for Miss Winona. Miss America came for a visit. There was lots of band music in the Grande Parade. The fireworks were spectacular. I am enjoying this hiatus from riding the ferris wheel between having to go with my own children and waiting for grandchildren. And, there are only 57 calories in a cotton candy.
You'd have to really dig to find any fault in the festival, and then you could come up with about four kids who suffered from heat exhaustion (why do they put them in such heavy uniforms??) and a clown who reportedly needs a sense of humor.
On Sunday morning, I joined seven other breast cancer survivors at the Miss America brunch, to which we were invited by Winona Health. We got to meet Miss America, Katie Harmon, whose platform, or speaking topic as she travels around the country, is early detection of breast cancer.
Katie debunked my long-held theory about beauty queens (did you notice we're on first-name basis?). She is very pretty, but not in a big hair-falsies kind of way. She is genuinely friendly and if she gets a little tired of appearing in parades in places she has never heard of, she doesn't show it; she made it seem a privilege. She is remarkably well-spoken and self-assured for a twenty-one-year-old, and a good spokesperson for breast cancer detection and treatment.
It was refreshing to talk to someone under thirty who doesn't say "like ya know what I'm sayin'?" or "whatever" or "me and him are going" Come to think of it, it would be nice to have a governor who didn't talk like that.
Our kids came home Saturday. Morgan and Dan from Chicago, Cassidy and a friend, each toting a dog along, from the Cities. We went out to the river cabin and let the dogs run until they were exhausted. The dogs and I hit the hay early, and some of the kids went out to see what was happening at the tent formerly known as the beer tent.
On Sunday night, we took the runabout out on the river to watch the fireworks. There were other people with dogs in their boats, and I thought I should have brought you-know-who, who loves the river.
When the rockets shot into the air, lighting up the sky, and the booming echoed off the bluffs in two states, I was glad I hadn't brought him. There were some uncomfortable dogs out there that night.
On Monday morning, I got to work, and the bumble-bee ride that had been across the street from my office was already packed up and ready for the next stop on the itinerary.
I hope that when the Steamboat Days volunteer committee gets together for a postmortem on this year's events, they pat each other on the back and say, "Good job!"
Now I can't wait until next year.

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