Heart drawn on a misty window and sunset on the background
Heart drawn on a misty window and sunset on the background

By Molly Butler

It’s been a beautiful, stressful week. I’ve been thinking a lot about love; the ways we show it, and all the unexpected places it arrives in our lives. Family, friends, pets, kind strangers. Just witnessing the love others share can create a ripple effect; knowing there is no shortage should give you reassurance to love the world more bravely. I want to share some of the places I’ve seen love this week.

There was love in the hugs, of course. And love in the kisses. There was love in the silly faces we made to make the kids laugh. There was love in singing “Baby Shark” for the hundredth time. There was love in a video chat and a couple of beers with a friend. There was love in the silly things we send to each other online. There was love in the ice cream sandwich my niece and I snuck in before dinner when her mom wasn’t looking. There was love in the Lego set my brother passed down. There was love in taking a drive to identify the clouds; a cow in goggles, a Star Wars ship, a cat. Love in music, in putting the phone away, in saying, “You’re tired, I’ll drive.” Love was working on the garden fence in the heat. Love in making sure everyone has something cool to drink. Love is fixing a bike. There’s love in my necklace, repaired, generously, for free. Love in doing the dishes. I saw love at the petting zoo and the playground and the mini-golf course. I saw love in paintings and wagging tails. Love came in home-cooked meals and pots of coffee. Love is big and small. When I decide to look for love, I see it’s blooming everywhere.

When you look at all the love in your life, it becomes an endless garden you can always return to; for nourishment, reassurance, motivation, peace.

Sometimes love is in the sacrifices– time, energy, money, sleep. Sometimes love is in the tense shout of a mother when she sees her baby in danger’s way- her voice is terrifying because the stakes are so high. Sometimes love is pushing through uncomfortable moments, taking the time to listen to the things you don’t want to hear because the most important person is on the other side. Sometimes love arrives in an apology.

Love is never scarce, but it will not bloom because it is demanded or expected. Love needs space to grow, time to deepen its roots. Love means care. Love means respect. When you look at all the love in your life, it becomes an endless garden you can always return to; for nourishment, reassurance, motivation, peace. If you’re feeling lost, tired, or distressed, I hope you take a moment to reflect on all the love you are surrounded by.

Wishing you days full of love. Have a wonderful week.


Families with toddlers and preschoolers are invited to Picnic in the Park with the North Mankato Taylor Library! Every Friday in June they will meet from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bring your picnic, and they’ll provide the fun! Each week is a new park, so call or stop by the library to find out where to meet them each week.

Shop, sip and row! The Good Thunder Farmer’s Market is open at the Bell Tower Park from 4-6 p.m. There will be produce and goods from local farmers, crafters and vendors to shop. Stop by and shop local! Then, LocAle Brewing Co. will host TNT Eats in the taproom, with slow-smoked BBQ, delicious sides, and of course, their Mac Attack! Plus, LocAle’s popular summer hazy IPA will be returning! Finally, Bent River Outfitter of Mankato is setting sail on their first Happy Hour Float of the season! This 1-1.5 hour guided paddle of the Le Sueur River will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will go from the Red Jacket Park to Sibley Park. Happy Hour Floats are $25 per person, with boat rental included. Just call 508-388-BENT with any questions or to reserve your spot!

Looking for some fun entertainment to end the evening? The State Street Theatre of New Ulm presents “The Johnny Cash Story.” Tickets are available here, and curtains go up at 7 p.m. Or, you can head to the Eagle Lake Elementary School for a FREE movie in the park! They’ll be showing “Frozen 2,” and you can bring a book for their book drive! Make sure to dress in your finest royal attire because there will be a best-dressed contest! Bring a blanket or a chair and enjoy a small meal available at 7 p.m. while supplies last.


Rise and shine! It’s Record Store Day! Tune Town of Old Town Mankato will open its doors at 8 a.m. with free coffee and something special for every music lover! Check out their Facebook event for updates. Shop small and shop local!

The Farmer’s Market will also be open from 8 a.m. to noon at Best Buy in Mankato, with fresh local produce, goods and handmade and homegrown products. Marketfest in St. Peter continues, opening at 9:30 a.m. A portion of the proceeds from the day goes to the Feed Our Children Program. The Wild Sparrow Co. will also have their June Market, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with hours throughout the month of June. Check out their event page for updates on all their new arrivals.

Key City Bike and Dakota Wicohan will have a Sakatah Social Sunset Ride. Gather at Key City Bike at 7:45 p.m. for bike checks and route information and bring a $10-$20 donation to benefit the Sakatah Social event organizer. Bring lights and face coverings so you don’t eat bugs. The ride will be approximately 20 miles on the mostly paved Sakatah Trail.

The St. Peter Ambassadors are excited to announce their Comeback Tour 2021! Head to Minnesota Square Park for this FREE event. Blues music. Great food. Cold beer. What more could you want?

As always, we’ve got great live music all over Southern Minnesota. Javens Family Vineyard and Winery will host Nate Boots from 5-8 p.m. and Indian Island Winery will host Rain Kings from 5:30-8:30 p.m. The Wine Café will host Slush starting at 6 p.m. and Rock of Ages will be at the Westwood Marina Bar and Grill in Kasota beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Shape of Walter will be playing at the Circle Inn in North Mankato. Free admission if you bring a balloon. (Also, free admission without a balloon. Balloons are merely encouraged.)


Key City Bike will have their Summer Kickoff, featuring a Kids Bike Giveaway! From noon to 3 p.m., you can stop by for FREE kids’ bikes and helmets (first come, first serve), as well as a limited selection of adult bikes and a tour of the shop.

It’s Community Day at Vagabond Village! Shop local vendors, small businesses and individual creatives! There will be handmade, upcycled, vintage and designer goods, plus live entertainment by Marley Sheridan! Come and check out all the exciting deals and specials.

There will be live music to enjoy all Sunday afternoon. Old Guy and the Kid will be at the August Schell Brewing Co. in New Ulm from 1-4:30 p.m. Carter Guse will be at the Indian Island Winery in Janesville beginning at 1 p.m. Miller Denn will be at the Landing on Madison from 3-6 p.m.

Bonus: Bringing your best love

I don’t know if y’all have noticed, but I’m a pretty big fan of self-improvement. It’s kind of a hobby. And I firmly believe that, while everyone is innately deserving of love, when we struggle to love ourselves, we will struggle to love in the world. We must do the hard work of learning to love ourselves, deeply and honestly, so that we can acknowledge our shortcomings and gently push ourselves to be better. This work might be done in therapy, a church or support group, or alone, with a book or a journal. By loving ourselves enough to do the work, we can love others better.


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.