Family Photos
Family Photos

By Molly Butler

We were a VeggieTales family.

There was a lot of Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato in our childhood. But one of the best musical numbers that show ever produced (pun intended) was by Madame Blueberry: “I’m So Blue.” It’s the lament of one depressed little berry. And what’s got her down?

These spoons are too tiny, these forks are no good! These knives have gone dull, and don’t slice like they should! My neighbors have nice things, I’ve seen them myself. In fact, I keep pictures up here on my shelf!

Poor Madame Blueberry. Her stuff just isn’t good enough. So, she heads off to Stuff Mart, where she tries to buy out the problem. Hate to spoil the episode, but as it turns out, more new stuff doesn’t resolve anything. Who knew?

This week was my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary. We spent the week filling two dumpsters with their fire and smoke-damaged items. Couches, chairs, knick-knacks, dishware. Entire bookshelves. Entire closets. Entire rooms. All that matching décor and hundreds of picture frames. Gifts and collections. 30 years’ worth of stuff. Of course, it was hard. It’s 90º out. It’s a lot of stuff. A lot of decisions. As my parents sorted through what could maybe be saved, what was worth fighting for, the stuff sorted itself into three categories: quality, sentimental and garbage.

Without all your stuff, you’d have everything you need.

There were a few really quality items: durable, reliable, they-don’t-make-‘em-like-that-anymore stuff. Utilitarian. Tools. They add value to our lives. Worth trying to save, but if they can’t be cleaned and join the garbage, so be it. Sentimental: the photos, the souvenirs from their world travels, the art. These are the items that hold humanity. These are the things that serve as reminders of love, of people. We could technically live without them, of course. And the important thing is that those people are still here: in our lives or our hearts and memories. But the items can add a fullness. We boxed them up to try to save them. And everything else went into the dumpsters. Everything.

If someone put a dumpster outside your house, could you fill it? What could you release? What would be worth clinging to?

We’ve technically, measurably lost a lot. But this week, we laughed. We worked together. We read through old report cards and giggled at old photos. We spent time together, ate together, told stories together. You just can’t buy that at Stuff Mart.

I hope you never experience such a sudden, upending situation. But if you did, I want to reassure you, you’d be okay. Without all your stuff, you’d have everything you need. Have a wonderful weekend.


Volunteers can head to Minneopa State Park to assist park staff with cutting buckthorn, removing invasive species, collecting native prairie seed and more. Register by emailing and learn more about resource issues affecting our natural areas.

Explore history in New Ulm with the U.S. – Dakota War Commemoration with Terry Sveine at the Brown County Museum Annex from noon to 1 p.m. While you’re in town, check out the Historic Kiesling House, constructed in 1861 and still standing today! Stop by from 1-4 p.m. to learn about settlements, customs and traditions.

This is your last weekend to check out “Domestic Multiplexity” at the 410 Project in Mankato. This exhibition by Beth Ann Hamilton features wall-based collages, mixed media artworks holding the concept of femme positive/body positive. Then head to Pub 500 for Queers & Beers, where you can meet new people and help build the local LGBTQ community! Allies are encouraged to attend, and of course, the beers are optional.

As always, there’s wonderful live music all over southern Minnesota. Machiko will be at the Coffee Hag in Old Town Mankato from 5-7 p.m. Melissa Schulz will play Indian Island Winery from 6-8:30 p.m., and Rock of Ages will be at the Landing on Madison from 7-10 p.m. Hot Jazz For Decent People continues at the Minnesota Square Park in St. Peter from 7-8:30 p.m. This FREE event is BYO seating and beverages (no glass bottles).


You’re invited to Breakfast on the Farm with Dauk’s Sweet Corn in Madison Lake! Breakfast is FREE, but donations are welcome. Enjoy a pancake breakfast, visit farm animals, hop on farm equipment and meet with area farmers from 7-11:30 a.m.

Shop ‘til you drop! Stop by the Mankato Farmers’ Market in the Best Buy parking lot, the KNUJ Farmers’ Market in New Ulm, or Marketfest in St. Peter! Plus, the Pond Road Market in Mankato will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with all sorts of interesting items to shop through.

The Hummingbird Hurrah is on in Henderson! Listen to speakers, tour the gardens, shop vendors and win prizes! This event will go from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bender Park in Henderson. Pack your camera and enjoy a relaxing day among the flowers and wildlife. Or, stop by the Hubbard House in Mankato for their Old Fashioned Medicine Show, with performances every hour from 1-4 p.m. All activities held on the lawn are FREE; regular admission is charged to tour the Hubbard House.

The Coffee Hag will host Kaleb Braun-Schulz & the Nightingale Band and Mac&Chz from 5-7 p.m. High Strung will perform at the Loose Moose Saloon in Mankato from 5:30-8:30 p.m. The Prairie Saloon & Grill in Kasota will host their End of Summer Street Dance beginning at 8 p.m. with music by Northern Distortion.


“Love in Mankato” will be at Sibley Park in Mankato from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with FREE clothing, school supplies, food, games, bounce houses and more! This family-friendly event is open to the entire community.

Wind down the weekend with some live music. Mal Murphy will be at the Coffee Hag performing from noon to 2 p.m. this Sunday. Jim Lenway will be at Indian Island Winery from 1-3:30 p.m., and Alpensterne will perform at the Schell’s Biergarten from 1-4:30 p.m. Ron & Steve Unplugged will be at Westwood Marina Bar and Grill from 4-7 p.m.

Bonus: The 30-Day Minimalism Game

Ready to release some excess stuff? You don’t have to wait for a house fire. The Minimalists created the 30-Day Minimalism Game. Day 1, you get rid of one item. Day 2, two items. And so on. Easy enough until you get rid of 15 items on day 15 and realize, oh gosh, that means tomorrow you have to find 16 items to get rid of. Team up with a friend and make it a bet: whoever makes it longest has to buy the other dinner or a coffee. Happy cleansing!


Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.