Now that Gilbert is middle-aged, six in dog years, 42 in human years, coaxing him off the old couch to go for a run is a bit harder than it used to be. However, once outside, his tail sets to wagging as Lu leads him off at a trot.
I once thought that if I stretched every time Gilbert did, this old set of bones might move more easily. The thought of movement made me muse about two different experiences with sport.
It’s been my pleasure over the years to watch the Fillmore County Special Olympics Eagles participate in different sports. These activities strengthen bodies, build connections in our communities and provide a social network for the athletes. They not only gather together to try their hand at sports but also to share a sense of camaraderie at potlucks and birthday parties. The athletes each have their own personalities and sense of humor and if you get to know them you can’t help but care about their lives.
Sunday, September 24, Brad Boyce as Elvis will take the stage at the Harmony Community Center to help raise funds for the athletes. The fundraiser will take place from 4-6 p.m. and include a silent auction, great food made by the Harmony Lions Club, root beer floats, sundaes, a bake sale, face painting, and raffles. Watching the athletes dance with Elvis sets the stage for an evening of fun. There is also a sense of community as people come together to support the Special Olympics in our area.
On a fine day in August, my two grandsons, Hunter, four, and Oliver, six, took part in the obstacle course outside the Harmony Community Center. The course included an area set up for the smallest children. The rest of the course covered the fields as far as the eye could see, including every kind of obstacle imaginable. Oliver, having skinned his knees twice falling off his new bike, was tentative at first, soon taking each challenge in stride. His little brother, Hunter, did his best trying to keep up with his older brother. The favorite challenge was the last one, a ramp to climb up and then down that ended on the other side in a large mud bath. Some children hesitated, but soon got into the spirit of the event, by sliding into the mud hole wholeheartedly. After emerging muddy, the kids ran through a large ring of dripping water.
I caught up with the man responsible for making the obstacle course, Eric Aeschlimann. A physical education teacher in Eyota, he decided to create the obstacle course after doing the Warrior Dash for adults. He looked around for something similar for kids and found nothing, so decided to create his own. The Eyota Community Foundation bought all the materials and he built everything. The first year 200 kids showed up.
Tonya Keim saw the obstacle course at Eyota Days and talked to Aeschlimann about setting up a course here. By that time, he was offering the obstacle course as a business on the side. Keim and her husband and dad brought all of the course to Harmony, set it up, registered everyone, and did all the PR for the events. The football team and a dedicated group of volunteers helped to make the event a success in Harmony. I was amazed to hear that 177 kids total went through the obstacle course that day.
When asked the value of the obstacle course, Aeschlimann said that it’s just so fun seeing families playing together, getting exercise, watching some of the kids who are afraid of heights get encouraged by their parents and peers to get over the wall and down the log. “It always brings a smile to my face every time we have one of these,” he says.
All I know is that it was great fun to see my grandsons romp through the course ending in the mud bath. Judging from their proud grins, they enjoyed it every bit as much as I did watching them.
Pan – Seared Salmon with Fresh Tomato – Basil Relish
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon plus1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 (6 ounce) salmon fillets, skin on
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Combine the tomatoes, basil, garlic, and vinegar in a small bowl. Add salt and several turns of the pepper grinder, or about 1/8 teaspoon. Sprinkle the salmon with the cumin, ¼ teaspoon salt, and several turns of the pepper grinder, or about 1/8 teaspoon.
Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon, skin side up, and cook four minutes. Turn the salmon and cook one minute longer. Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the salmon is just opaque in the center and flakes easily, 2-3 minutes. Transfer the salmon to serving plates and add the tomato mixture to the skillet. Increase the heat to high and cook until the mixture is warmed through, 1-2 minutes. Spoon the relish over the salmon.
This dish could also be made on the grill.
Makes 2 servings.