By Molly Butler

Last week, my mom and I flew down to Florida to spend a few days with my aunt on the beach.

We’ve visited many times before, but after the chaos and hardship of this year, the vacation was extra appreciated.

The morning before flying home, we walked the beach at low tide. All kinds of sea creatures had washed up on the shore: crabs and clams and sea urchins. Our favorite are the starfish, purple and blue, which get swept up in the tide and have a hard time crawling back to the water against the waves. Every time we’d find one, we bent to pick it up, make a wish and toss it back to safety. We giggled and sang, “When you wish upon a fiiiiiish!”

It’s the season of miracles.

As we walked, we saw a mother and her young son poking around in the shallows. If I had to guess, it may have been his first time by the ocean; he was so unabashedly excited with every new shell they found, a little kid in absolute glee. When we found another starfish, we decided to turn back and show him.

“Hey, have you two found any starfish yet? We just found one if you want to check it out.”

“No, we haven’t!” the mom said as I handed it to her. “Oh wow, look at that!” She showed her son.

His eyes were huge. He counted the limbs and peered at the tiny, wriggling tentacles underneath. “Whoa!”

“It’s alive, so make sure you throw it back into the ocean when you’re done,” I said.

“And make a wish when you do!” mom said.

“Thank you!” the boy’s mother said.

We returned to the winter wonderland we call home. The next day, mom called me. “I don’t know if it was one of the starfish wishes or what, but a complete stranger heard about our house fire, and we just received a generous gift from them!” she said. “Imagine that. They don’t know us at all! People can be so amazing.”

There have been so many miracles in my life. Wishes granted in unexpected ways. Getting the window seat. Exchanging a joke with a stranger. Friends appearing at just the right time. Handing off a wish to a little kid. It’s the season of miracles. Make sure you notice them, and when you’re able, when you hear the little voice inspiring you to take action, remember you are being the miracle. Have a wonderful weekend!


Wrap up some holiday shopping. The Arts Center of St. Peter Holiday Market will be open 1-5 p.m. with pottery, woodwork and holiday fare. The Arts Center Ceramists invite you to Pot Luck: a buy-and-take exhibition of functional pottery, at the Arts Center of St. Peter from 1-5 p.m. Swing by The Beast Food Boutique on Belgrade for Sip, Shop and Taste. The Circle Inn will cater drinks and enjoy giveaways, door prizes and delicious food, open 4-7 p.m.

The Kiwanis Holiday Lights will be illuminated for viewing all weekend long, Friday and Saturday from 5-10 p.m. and Sunday, 5-9 p.m. Explore the walking path or the driving loop. The Merely Players Community Theater will perform “Rex’s Exes” beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are available here. Or, head to the Mankato Playhouse for “Scrooge the Musical.” Tickets are going fast, so get yours here.

Enjoy live music locally. Adam Steinke will be at the Blue Boat from 6-8 p.m., and you can catch the Mary Guentzel Quintet at the Indian Island Winery from 6-8:30 p.m. Check out Killin Time at the WOW! Zone and Crista Bohlman at the Starkeller Brewery in New Ulm, both from 6-9 p.m.


Get in the holiday spirit. The North Mankato Taylor Library will host Gingerbread House Workshops from 8:30-9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Get registered here. The Mankato Ballet Company presents “The Nutcracker” showing from 1-3 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. Tickets are available here. The 7th Annual Great Mankato Toy Drive begins at 7 p.m. at Nakato on Belgrade. Toys, gifts and monetary donations are accepted.

Wrap up more holiday shopping this Saturday. The Holiday Craft & Vendor Show will be open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Armory in Mankato. The Janesville Winter Craft and Vendor Show will be open for shopping from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Purple Goose Eatery and Saloon. Swing by the Arts Center of St. Peter Holiday Market from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Enjoy local live music, kick-starting at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota at 1 p.m. with MSO Free Family Fun Series: Winter Wonders. More info is available here. Tony Cuchetti will perform at the LocAle Brewing Company from 7-10 p.m. Catch the Fat City All-Stars from 8-11:30 p.m. at the Blue Boat in Mankato.


Catch “Rex’s Exes at 2:30 p.m. at the Merely Players Community Theater. Tickets are available here. The Mankato Makerspace will host the Maker Market, featuring local artists and makers and creators, open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Curiosi-Tea house of North Mankato invites you to Sunday Dinner! Stop by from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to enjoy a delicious meal. This week they’ll have meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans, all for just $9.50.

It’s time for Christmas at the Hubbard House, featuring guided tours and Christmas décor. Tours are available every 30 minutes from 1-4 p.m. The Kiwanis Holiday Lights are open 5-9 p.m. with a driving loop and walking path.

Added Value: Make a Miracle

The holiday season can be extra stressful. There are simple ways to make it a little brighter for others. Things like leaving change in a vending machine, leaving a kind note or review for waitstaff, giving up your seat, handing out flowers, paying for the person behind you, or offering to put away someone’s shopping cart. Here’s a link for more ideas.


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.