I was blessed to grow up in this beautiful driftless region my whole life. An import from Allamakee County, I didn’t really move very far from my childhood home. I will admit that I’ve found my home, and I keep finding even more reasons to plant my roots!
When I first started at Oneota Community Food Co-Op, I was petrified. So many of the employees knew the people walking in and out of the doors; my memory of names to faces was never a stunning example. I feared the worst! (I ultimately worried for nothing)
I feel like the first couple years of my living here were me just bumbling around, trying to figure things out. I had honestly felt out of place growing up in my hometown, but that’s mainly because I was a shy farm kid. My life after school consisted of going home and doing homework for an hour, then going to the farm at my step-grandpa’s to milk cows. I’d get home anywhere between 8-9 or so in the evenings, depending how many cows we were milking at that moment. Then I'd shower, eat a very late supper (we’re talking near 10 p.m.), and continue on with more homework if I had any.
I wanted to experience living in Decorah vs. existing in Decorah. I started out with baby steps, and eventually I volunteered for HSNEI. I learned I am soft-hearted and have a low-tolerance for insensitive people. I can also say I adopted the 3 most wonderful, loving, and entertaining cats you will ever meet from HSNEI.
Then I bought my first bike in ’12 and started commuting to work every day. Amazing! Something I hated growing up as a child, I actually love?! My bicycle became my passion, my freedom, and my much-needed therapy. My morning loop rides were something that kept me sane during my most stressful and tumultuous times; it freed up my soul.
My bicycle also lead me to connections with people I already knew from the Co-Op, but it also opened up doors to meeting new people to interact with. Eventually it opened up my heart and brought me courage to try that whole relationship thing again. A budding bike advocate, I even started two Facebook pages (Let’s Ride Bikes/Let’s Ride Bikes-Everyone) to help spread the love of bike riding, as well as open up doors for people to post about their rides/bikes, and so much more.
I recently had a bought of 2 unfortunate bike accidents, however, the second one took the cake. I had a minor concussion and chin stitches this round, but thankfully nothing was broken (other than my pride.) I received such beautiful and wonderful support, something that I want to take the time to thank everyone for.
I received words of encouragement and support, as well as patience from those who had to deal with me and my concussion brain a bit more than the rest. It humbled me, at the end of the days when Travis would be done with work, he’d say “_____ asked how you were today.” People at both the co-op and the bike shop where asking about me, and passing along good vibes. Well-wishes multiplying before my eyes, making my heart full and grateful.
Thank you to everyone who is a part of my life, and thank you for helping make Decorah my home. Without the wonderful individuals that fill my days with laughter, interesting conversation, and just all-round good times; my life would be pretty boring without you!