Dear HTF Readers:
Mea culpa. I have been absent from this space for several weeks now and sporadic at best for the past five months or so. Life truly comes at you fast. I figure you are due an explanation.
As many of you know, my wife and I decided to travel for a few months this past winter. One Minnesota winter—a particularly brutal one last year—was enough for her, and other than my infancy in West Virginia and one winter five years ago in Fridley, I had never spent more than a week or two away from the Iron Range in all the winters of my existence.
We left Christmas Day and spent a week with her family in central Kansas before heading to the far southern Gulf coast of Texas for what we thought was a few weeks. The original itinerary had us driving the coast to Florida before circling back through the Midwest to Cheyenne to see my late brother’s children and finally up through the Black Hills, where my wife lived for most of more than the last decade.
Well, if my Vikings had held up their end of the deal and reached the Super Bowl in Miami like her Chiefs did, we probably would have made it to Florida. No, I don’t think we would have attended the game; rather, we probably would have soaked up the atmosphere during Super Bowl week. But as usual, the wheels came off for the Vikings, and a Super Bowl IV rematch wasn’t to be, so we stayed in Texas a little longer to watch the big game instead with my youngest brother and his family. Annie’s still pretty thrilled about the outcome, though I remind her that everything pretty much fell apart after the Chiefs won the Super Bowl.
Then my wife’s brother’s boss kept inviting us to housesit his sea cottage in a gated community on the Gulf, so we stuck around through the end of February. We nearly booked a Caribbean cruise around that time, but that ended up looking like a bad idea, and besides, and since we started to fall in love with the area, we ended up looking at houses for sale on or near South Padre Island.
We were quite disappointed when the deal on the first one we fell in love with in Port Isabel fell through, but a few weeks later, we made an offer on one on the island. It was accepted, so we immediately applied for dual citizenship in the Republic of Texas. I jest, of course, but it looks as if we will be splitting our time between about as far south as you can go in the continental U.S. and about as far north as you can go.
I’ve seriously considered staying here fulltime—there’s a lot more freedom and the tax burden isn’t so egregious—but with the ecstatic news this week that my adopted hometown of Eveleth voted to open up, we may actually come back north sooner than expected. It still feels weird to call Eveleth my hometown, even though I’ve lived there for at least 20 of the last 25 years, far longer than the eight years I spent in Palo and nine in Babbitt.
That said, we have a lot of work to do here renovating the two apartments in our new property, and the beach and 80-plus-degree weather every day is an added bonus, so we probably won’t be back too soon. By the way, if you ever want to visit SPI, we’ll soon have a couple of pretty neat short-term rentals available.
My wife really loves the place and has the tan to prove it, and Case loves playing fetch in the ocean and is constantly scheming how to abscond from the backyard and explore the bird sanctuary next door. Thankfully, our neighbor across the street—small world, a newspaper columnist down here—stays on the lookout for my escape artist.
Me? Well, I miss Minnesota some days, but I rather enjoy the freedom here. The state government isn’t loony and oppressive.
Besides the projects here at the new place, I’ve also undertaken a dream of mine—launching my own website. It’s still under construction as I learn the ins and outs of WordPress, but it’s alive and will soon have content posted daily at www.theredwhite.blue. I’m still not sure how I ended up picking that name, but as a freedom-loving American, it works for me.
I’ve appreciated the platform for the past decade-plus here at Hometown Focus, and I still hope to contribute on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, but I’m long overdue in launching my own platform.
Here’s the skinny on the site. It includes six sections (for now): Red, White & Blue Notes, Beauty from Ashes, Out of the Blue, The Lost Puppy Case Files, Other Insights, and Of Note…Unquote.”
Red, White & Blue Notes is a blog in search of truth at the intersection of personal freedom and current events. In addition to commentary on natural and Constitutional rights, personal liberty, objective truth, common sense, free markets, history and other favorite topics, I also hope to include regular ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) updates—news stories, opinion pieces, and other interesting writing or multimedia that the mainstream media neglects to cover.
With 90-percent of the U.S. media controlled by the Big Four—AT&T (TimeWarner Media), Comcast (NBC), National Amusements (ViacomCBS), and Disney (ABC), the “illusion of choice” has never been greater. NewsCorp (FOX) and Sony are the other major players, and independent non-corporate voices are few and far between and increasingly squelched. With Google (YouTube), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Pinterest growing ever more censorious, the free flow of information is threatened like never before. I hope to be but a small voice of reason amidst the tumult.
Beauty from Ashes is a personal blog about faith, hope, and love. As you have read in this space before, my life was once a disaster. I was drowning in despair before Divine love lifted me and brought me “beauty from ashes.” God willing, I hope to give hope to the hopeless and to be an inspiration to those who need it. My wife will also eventually be involved with this one.
Out of the Blue, of course, remains my space to write about whatever fits my fancy, be it sports, the joys of married life, wry wit, short stories, or whatever quixotic notion crosses my mind. I’ll also include some archives there of previous work.
The Lost Puppy Case Files is, of course, my dog’s blog, where his archives will be found, and he’ll provide occasional stories of his adventures in Texas and Minnesota. He still hopes to write children’s books, if only he could find a talented artist/illustrator.
Other Insights is a place for other talented writers—including former HTF columnist Jen Osufsen—to share their thoughts.
Finally, Of Note…Unquote” will be my personal meme generator—famous quotes I find applicable today and other interesting tidbits. It’s a bit of a work in progress as well, but I have the idea of a short podcast based off the idea.
That’s where theredwhite.blue stands right now. I hope you’ll check it out. If I can (and I should be able to) figure it out, you will be able to subscribe to email updates whenever I post something new. Thanks to my friend Trevor for helping with some of the technical aspects and to my wife, family, and friends for their support.
Down the road, Annie (my wife) will be sharing her favorite recipes there as well, and, if I can twist her arm to get on camera, putting on a cooking show. Lots to do, never enough time.
I hope this finds you surviving the scare and the subsequent shutdown of normal life. I also hope that you treasure your freedom, family, and loved ones more than you ever have and have taken the opportunity to take stock of your life and future during the uncertainty we’ve experienced. Life is but a vapor, and what’s beyond is what’s truly important.
I’ll end with a few pertinent quotes:
• “A nation that is afraid to let its people judge
the truth and falsehood in an open market is a
nation that is afraid of its people.” —JFK
• “Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the
worst are our own fears.” —Rudyard Kipling
• “Keep your fears to yourself but share your
courage with others.” —Robert Louis Stevenson • “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid
of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men
are afraid of the light.” —Plato
• “No power so effectually robs the mind of all
its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” —
• “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
• “Feed your faith and your fears will starve to
Until next time…
Brian Miller is a longtime local writer who with his wife Bethany and dog Case splits time between Eveleth, MN and South Padre Island, TX. He invites you to keep up with his writing at www.theredwhite.blue. He welcomes glowing accolades and scathing reviews at brian. email@example.com.