• Kyle Odefey

July 19th, 2019: Geography and Why I Love Mankato

Updated: Aug 21, 2019

Want to listen to this entry? Check out the Podcast Version of "Geography and Why I Love Mankato" Here!!

Starting this week, I'll be using Bolton & Menk Studios' state of the art recording studio to record each entry, so the quality is going to be GREAT!! Check it out above!

Summer sunsets are truly incredible to watch. A few nights ago, I gazed up at the glistening orange sky while lounging next to a pool bar and my host's bulldog, Hondo. While most nights have proven to be either muggy or rainy, this particular night proved to be at a perfect temperature. A slight warm breeze echoed through the trees and bushes that surround the backyard. Even the dreaded mosquitoes seemed to vanish for a moment. The atmosphere was what you'd call a perfect summer night - and I loved it.

I began to think about geography and location - specifically, locations I'd traveled to or lived at in at certain points in my life. I have been very fortunate to do a lot of traveling in the time I've been around - visiting nearly every state in the Midwest, a few select countries in the Caribbean and Middle America, a couple of cities in Canada, many many states in the U.S. including Hawaii, California, and Florida, and even France, Greece, Italy, and Montenegro in Europe. Next spring? The United Kingdom - but we're not quite there yet...

Through all of these recollections, I realized one thing and one thing only - while in the past I've wanted to be in places far away from the Midwest and Minnesota as a whole, one such place has become a new favorite destination of mine...the sprawling southern town of Mankato, MN.

Part of the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area and a thriving place for business of all kinds, Mankato is one of the most beautiful geographical locations Minnesota has to offer. Growing up, I used to visit my extended family here. We'd hang out at the local YMCA and sled down hills, go watch movies in the local theater, and jam out to Taylor Swift songs on summer nights like the one described above. Mankato wasn't a place I visited often, but when I did, I always had a good time.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I found out I would be returning to the city for my current internship at Bolton & Menk. Taking a break from my life in the super flat border towns of Moorhead and Fargo, as well as my hometown of Richfield, MN, proved to be a great decision to partake in.

Being in Mankato for the last month has not only been eye-opening, but a real learning experience. Everything I've witnessed while being here - the culture, people, events, and stories - have all been extremely positive. Mankato, like any other town, has immense history and a strong community uprooting. Take the newly developed Old Town Sessions Podcast, which *mild-plug* I have been working on at Bolton & Menk. You've got people diving into the culture of Downtown Mankato every month and discussing how their city has shaped their lives for the better. The discussions are genuine and I highly recommend checking it out if you're a fan of music, history, and activities that take place in the Mankato community.

Locations like the Vetter Stone Amphitheater and the Civic Center provide plenty of space to jam out to your favorite bands. The Mankato Moondogs are certainly not the best baseball team in the world, but catching one of their games is definitely a plus in the summertime. And driving around the twist and turns of the surrounding hills is a wonderful adventure to partake in.

Yes, Mankato has proven itself to be a great place to live for my time away from college. It's not every day that I give this amount of credit to a location in the Midwest. Usually, I tend to think beyond places like Minnesota for my future career. Just like the song, my mind does a bit of California Dreamin' - a location that truly is the end goal of where I'd like to be someday. But California is only a small part of my life right now...just the thought of moving out there is incredibly out of reach. Yet, even if I happen to make it out there in my lifetime, I can still count on places like Mankato to suffice my needs. Although...I probably should be thinking about the fact that winter exists here, too.

I'd like to close out this week by introducing a new sub-section that I'll be including in every blog from here on out; What's Jammin'?. Many of you are probably aware that music is a huge part of my life, and while I am not a musician, I take the craft very seriously. Each week, I'll go into detail on a specific song and album, providing some insight on my favorite tracks and how it's shaping my current adventures in life.

I'll also be introducing a new sub-section in a future entry called At The Movies!, which will tie directly into my favorite film of the week. Unfortunately, I haven't watched any new movies recently and have only been watching 30 Rock (amazing show, highly recommend) for the time being. I'm sure as we progress into these entries, I'll be able to talk more about my love for the craft of filmmaking, but for now, why don't we get in to....

What's Jammin'?

Top Song of the Week: Your Song by Elton John (released 1970)

This has been a stagnant week in new music for me. Every couple of weeks, I'll find a new song or album to listen to and jam out to it repeatedly for hours on end. Sometimes I'll find new releases or revisit classic songs that meant a lot to me growing up. While Your Song is certainly not a new song and not something I listened to growing up, I can't help but mention that it has been my go-to song for the week. Elton's heartfelt singing matched with the lyrical genius of Bernie Taupin make this song feel direct and almost conversational. It's quieter...more reflective than many of Elton's signature tracks. I have to thank Rocketman (the recently released biopic) for giving me a proper introduction to the song about a month ago. It's a great track and one I would highly recommend you check out.

Top Album of the Week: Thirty Three and 1/3 by George Harrison (released 1976)

Some of you might know I am a huge George Harrison fan. The Quiet One's post-Beatles career in music is an iconic and spiritual journey that I truly appreciate and look up to. Harrison's seventh album, which was released after many under-performing and mixed LPs, is a near comeback to the roots of what makes his music so special to me. Woman You've Been On My Mind, Beautiful Girl, See Yourself, This Song, and Learning How to Love You are all stand-out songs on the album for me - each track rooted in Harrison's signature style of grounded rock, pop, and funk. While Harrison has definitely made more cohesive (and dare I say beautiful) records than this one, Thirty Three and 1/3 is still worth listening to and checking out in full.

That's all for this week. Thanks to those who have been reading and listening to these entries. Your support is greatly appreciated!!

See you next Friday!

- K.O.

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