Caring Hands
Caring Hands

By Molly Butler

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the hospital this week.

My grandma went in for knee surgery, and since there are COVID restrictions, I’ve been the only one allowed to visit. Thankfully, everything went well, and she’s recovering just fine.

It’s my job to do what I can to care for my family. And since I’m spending all this time at the hospital among healthcare workers, it’s my job to care for them too. Follow protocol. Mask up. Sanitize. Stay out of the way. Say “thank you.” Make their jobs easier, and sometimes, make their jobs better. Share a laugh. Bring in Wooden Spoon cookies for the floor. Chat about podcasts and football and Squid Game fan theories. You know. Human stuff.

We get so wrapped up in our own worlds, so used to the extremes we see online, that we start to lose sight of the things that make us all the same.

I think about my friends and family who work in healthcare: the doctors, nurses, social workers. I think about their lives, their kids, pets, their bad dance moves, hobbies, inside jokes. The pandemic has put unreasonable expectations on front-line workers. Teachers, nurses, doctors, food service. We call them heroes. And the work they do is heroic. But they don’t have superpowers.

We’re multidimensional, complex beings. We have limitations, tempers, moments when we can’t be at our best, moments where we surprise ourselves with our own bad behavior. We do harm. We get so wrapped up in our own worlds, so used to the extremes we see online, that we start to lose sight of the things that make us all the same. There is an understanding and forgiveness we can extend to ourselves for our shortcomings. I just hope that we can extend that to our human heroes. We’re all just doing the best we can, folks.

To do no harm is a valiant goal. When we’re able, we can even do some healing. Have a wonderful weekend.


Take in the panoramic view of the fall colors on the Minnesota River. Bent River Outfitter will have a Fall Colors Float, with shuttles taking off at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Bring your own boat or rent what you need. Shuttle cost is $20, or $50 gets you a shuttle, plus full gear. Want an evening ride? Join the Happy Hour Float beginning at 5 p.m., paddling from Land of Memories to Riverfront Park. Afterward, enjoy a free wine or beer at The Wine Café. Cost is $40 per person. To sign up, call or text 507-508-2175.

Head to the August Schell Brewing Co. in New Ulm for the Pre-Oktoberfest Street Dance, from 5-9 p.m., featuring DJ Strudel Boy. Join their Facebook event to keep up on the details. The Coffee Hag is hosting an October Open Mic! Head over from 5-9 p.m. Bring your own songs, your stories or just hang out. This is a great opportunity to perform in a supportive and positive environment. All skill levels are welcome! Sign-up begins at 4:30 p.m.

Head to the Barn at Ballard Creek for Farm to Table by Wooden Spoon! Chef Brigette Rasmussen and Sous Chef Bre of the Wooden Spoon are cooking up a gorgeous four-course meal created with foods from local growers and producers. There will also be live music performed by Generation Gap. Dinner and music begin at 6 p.m., so head on over at 5:30 to explore and enjoy a beverage. Cost is $50. Check the event for more payment and dietary details.

Food Trucks and the Blue Dog Band will be sharing tunes and eats at the Food Hub Park on Riverfront beginning at 6 p.m. Melissa Schulz will be at Indian Island Winery at 6 p.m. Catch Dan Israel performing at Chankaska Creek beginning at 6:30 p.m. Then, catch Rachel Brooke at Nakato Bar and Grill beginning at 8 p.m.

Mai Tran’s exhibition, Hallucination: Relief Prints and Matrices, will have its opening reception this Friday from 7-9 p.m. at The 410 Project in Mankato.


Grab your brooms, leaf blowers, rakes or shovels, and head to Key City Bike! They’re hosting a River Ramble Trail Cleanup to get the trail sparkly clean for the River Ramble! The cleanup is expected to take one to three hours, with groups splitting up to cover different areas. RSVP on the Facebook group.

Head to the Mankato Brewery for Yoga & Beer for ALS. This class will take place from 10 a.m. to noon, with all proceeds going to fight ALS. Pumpkin Junction will be open this Saturday at Blue Skye Farms in Good Thunder from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy games, concessions, farm activities and more! Head to Stones Throw Gallery in St. Peter for their Big Blue House Bazaar! Enjoy amazing art by local artists in and around the store. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Schell’s Oktoberfest is back! Head over from 10:30am to 5pm to enjoy beer, food, brats, and sauerkraut. Catch live music by Schell’s Hobo Band and Alpensterne. Admission is $10. Bent River Outfitter is setting sail with dam Pie on the Blue Earth River. This longer adventure will include a stop at the Rapidan Dam Café, home of the best pie in the river valley. Cost is $40 per person (and includes the pie!) with an estimated paddle time of 3-5 hours. Prefer a shorter ride? Catch their Fall Colors Float beginning at 1pm.

Chris Koza will kick-off local live music, playing at Chankaska Creek beginning at noon. Then, they’ll host Lila Ammons beginning at 6:30 p.m. Family Tradition will be at Indian Island Winery beginning at 5:30 p.m. Ledfoot Larry will be at Mully’s on Madison beginning at 8 p.m.


Bent River Outfitter will have two more Fall Colors Floats taking off at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. this Sunday. Pumpkin Junction will be open in Good Thunder from noon to 5 p.m.

The Mankato Playhouse will host Open Auditions for Scrooge the Musical beginning at 7 p.m. at their location in the Civic Center Plaza. All roles are available during auditions. Bring sheet music for a song you have already learned. Do not use a song from the show or sing along to taped music or sing a cappella.

Bonus: Whatcha listenin’ to?

I was chatting with one of the staff members here, and she highly recommended the podcasts through the Mayo Clinic News Network. If you want to get some insight into local health without any sort of spin, this seems to be a wonderful resource.


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.