Fireworks

I hope everyone had a safe and fun Fourth of July this past week. I know I did, because I got to spend it in Marshall, my hometown.

As an “adult” with work, children and a home to look after, visiting my hometown and really spending some quality time there isn’t easy. Even with family still living close by, it seems my visits to Marshall are always short and confined to my parents’ house. But I was excited this past weekend to spend four days in my old stomping grounds.

After growing up in Marshall and spending my college years at Southwest Minnesota State University, I have about two decades worth of memories made in that town. Like many people who were once young and eager to move out of their hometown, I’ve now grown to miss many of the things I enjoyed and took for granted. So during my trip back last week, I made sure to fit in as much nostalgia as I could.

Like most tourists, my trips home usually involve quite a bit of eating, and there are a few places in Marshall that remind me of the good old days. Breakfast sandwiches at Toni’s Depot in the morning, lunch at the Hunan Lion, and in the evening it’s drinks and a buffalo chicken panino at the Varsity Pub. And if I have any room left in my stomach, I visit the Chicken Connection to pick up a greasy box of broasted chicken and potato wedges with an extra cup of the “special” dipping sauce (sour cream and horseradish?). Anyone who has lived in Marshall should know these names, and if you ever find yourself hungry while visiting, I recommend any one of these joints.

In college we would also drive to Brau Bros. Brewery in Lucan to pick up a growler or two. What used to be a 30-minute drive from Marshall is now right in town, making it is easy for me to visit my first brewery whenever I’m visiting.

Of course trips home aren’t just eating and drinking, and over the Fourth of July my family and I were able to enjoy another Marshall tradition: fireworks at Independence Park. Sitting on a blanket with my wife and boys beneath the hill from where the fireworks were shot, the same hill I once enjoyed sledding down, added a new cherished memory to the old ones.

On Friday it rained, but that was no matter. We took my oldest son to see “Toy Story 4” in the same theater where my parents took me to watch the original “Toy Story” movie. And on the final day of our vacation it was hot and sunny, so a trip to the Marshall Aquatic Center was the order of the day. We enjoyed the wading pool and slide that I also remembered well, and we even ran into some of my old friends with their children. It was the complete “Home for the Holidays” package.

After our trip, when we finally returned to Glencoe and settled down Sunday evening, I started thinking about the things in our communities that our children may look back on fondly some day. What flavors and restaurants will make my boys think of home? When they’re old enough to leave, what places will they miss and want to visit on their visits home?

I know the Leader has readers who no longer live in town but enjoy keeping up with local news. So what reminds you of Hutchinson, and where are your go-to spots when you’re home for a visit? For those of you who grew up in Hutchinson and still live here, what would you miss and look forward to on return visits?

Living in one place your whole life can give you a cynical view of things, so perhaps asking yourself this question will give you a new perspective to see all the wonderful things we have.

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