Upon Which I Become an Honorary Northerner

In my usual fashion, I have crammed way too many things onto my plate during this craziest time of semester. I thought I’d done a better job of paring things down this time around, but here it is almost March and I’m knee-deep in too much of a good thing yet again. Life is an adventure to be savored, though, so I’m doing my best to embrace it all, take things one at a time…and try to maintain what sanity I have left.

This past week I went to Minnesota and Wisconsin to represent my clarinet maker, doing several clinics out in the schools. While we kept an exhausting pace, it was also a lot of fun; I got to meet and work with great people and also got to see a beautiful part of the country ensconced in snow and ice. So much snow…this southern gal got to experience winter in a whole new way.

If you’ve not checked out WTForecast, a totally irreverent take on the weather, I encourage you to do so.

I was amazed at the people who drove me to the different schools in weather that would be apocalyptic in Birmingham- they were fearless road warriors. I can so see why they laugh when we close schools at the very rumor of a snowflake. Better safe than sorry, though- none of us know how to drive in it, and the city is not prepared at all to deal with hilly roads when it comes to ice and snow. And- nobody to can buy out every bit of milk and bread at the threat of inclement weather like we Southerners can, either.

My friends in Minneapolis decided that I needed to try a couple of things to make me an honorary Northerner, so I had my first ever cheese curds in Wisconsin, and Walleye fish in Minnesota. They were very good! I had no idea what cheese curds were, but found them to be surprisingly like mozzarella sticks, something we have plenty of in the South. We also did one more daring thing; we went to the rooftop in the falling snow after dinner to have our photo taken, no coats allowed. It was exciting and fun…and so cold. I am now officially an honorary Northerner.

My friends from Eckroth Music and Eastman Music after an amazing celebratory dinner. I’m 3rd from the right.

The view from my hotel in Minneapolis.

I am so grateful for these opportunities to travel to new places, meet new people, and see new ways of doing things. The more we get out of our little corners of the world, the more we see that while people may live a bit differently than we do, we are all the same at our core. The more we come together and understand each other, the more our minds open and the more accepting we are to those different from us. There is nothing like travel to expand our minds and our hearts, and I treasure each experience.

Backun clarinets at the Eckroth booth at the Minnesota Music Educators’ Association Conference.

It was wonderful to return home after a great trip. I missed Dan and the critters so much, as always. It was amazing to me that I left Chez Gainey in deep winter and came home to spring making its debut. Travel is such a great opportunity, but home is the greatest gift.


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