July 28, 2002

Beginning of the Road

By Dane Sorensen


For several years the Twin Cities press has been reporting about the plagues and disasters of Ely. If it wasn't a forest fire that would be hotter than the surface of the sun, then it was the invasion of the Army Worms. It sometimes seem so expected that mapmakers were designing Minnesota maps without an Ely. I am surprised I did not see a headline "Nostradamus predicted Ely will parish in flames." Well, it seems our demise is widely overstated. Ely is alive and well.

Signs of Ely's survival are all around. Our unique shops are still thriving on both Sheridan and Chapman. There are a number of new businesses as well. Ely has a bakery once again on Sheridan.

Our water tower is now bright and beautiful once again with our handsome Ely Logo that was designed by the talented Ruth Pengal. The weather has been consistent and given us a lovely summer. The fires that were to consume us failed again to materialize. I believe we were saved by the "watched pot" phenomenon. When experts tell you something is going to happen like the Y2K Disaster and tell us there is no means of escape, you can be pretty sure they are wrong. We still have oil, we still have food, and we still have cars and computer

Even the tress survived this year's timid army worm assault. It is obvious we can say bye-bye to the army worms. It will be another 7 years before they can try and make another attack.

As for the great forest fire from all those blown down trees in the BWCA, I think we need to start worrying about being invaded by giant mushrooms feeding off all that dead rotting wood. Most of the trees that were blown down were Aspen trees and they rot very quickly.

So once again our demise has been sorely overestimated by experts from all over. Our town is alive and well and ready to take on the future challenges that Fate may throw at us. The newspapers of the Twin Cities will have to find another city to write about for even the blueberries are on their way back. It wasn't a great year for blueberries, but they were out there.

Our family enjoyed blueberry pancakes for three meals from a picking spell of only one hour by two of us. Maybe next year we can put down our guard long enough to pick enough blueberries for a pie.

As Ely goes, so goes the nation. I hope that soon the rest of the country will realize that things just don't end after one set back. The DOW will recover and companies will once again show profits. The economy will adapt and change. I can remember back in the 1970's when President Carter said we all had to do with less and the Japanese were going to eat our lunch. America during the next decade decided that the Japs weren't so all powerful and we went on to retake center stage.

Our cars and trucks got bigger; our computers better, our quality on almost everything we make matched or surpassed foreign manufacturers. More importantly, our military showed the world that our enemies cannot walk over our friends or allies.

The press again is full of naysayers that say we will never recover. They are the very same people who wrote off a little town in northern Minnesota. They will have to watch their pot of predictions a long time before America can be dismissed as a has been.

The future and all its opportunities are out there. We just need to recognize it and get back to work.


     Return to Index of Beginning of the Road Column