RJ Visits Portage la Prairie

You know what’s fun? An abrupt change of plans.

I had planned to head out to _________ for my next project, but my car had other ideas. Basically, it exploded.

So what do I do? I remember two quotes from two wise souls.

“What about your own back yard? Sometimes people don’t appreciate what’s in their own backyard.” – Vern May

“PARK! PARK! PARK! PARK! PARK! PARK! PARK! PARK! PARK! PARK! PARK! PARK! PARK!” – Akiva, our puppy dog

So, off to Island Park I went.

It seems silly, but I immediately got sentimental when I approached the bridge to Island Park. (Photo #1!) This bridge has been around for as long as I’ve been alive, and soon it will be gone. I made sure to appreciate it, as I’m not sure how many more times I’ll see it before it comes down.

Alanna, Akiva and I continued our drive off to the right, and got right to the sight-seeing. The Garden of Memory (Photos #2 & #3!) is always a nice spot. I took a few photos trying not to bother the people sitting around, enjoying the atmosphere. I was jealous of themm — it seems like a great place to sit and gather your thoughts. I’m writing this down to remind myself of this.

More nostalgia right away. I remember “playing tennis” as a kid in these courts (Photos #4 & #5!) but not being any good. I was blown away at the quality of these courts. Clearly, local people care about them, and that makes me so happy. It was also super cool to see a bunch of kids learning the game. A few steps away from the courts, I totally saw a deer in the deer pen. This might be the worst photo I’ve taken since I started these blogs (Photo #6!) but I tried, dangit. I love looking through the links and seeing the animals. My puppy did too.

…the puppy was not as big of a fan of the sundial as I was, but hey. I’m a sucker for a classic sundial. (Photo #7!) It surprises me that some people have never seen one in real life. It’s pretty cool. Continuing on, I checked out the Disc Golf course (Photo #8!), which I have to say, is really fun. I played it for the first time earlier this week and I surprised myself with how good I was. Just kidding. I knew exactly how good I was. Not at all good. But hey, I’ll get better in a few years, maybe. (Probably not.)

I took in the Island on a Thursday night, so I stumbled upon the Island Serenades. (Photo #9!) The Terry Human Band was performing, and a LOT of people came out to check it out. I tried to get a picture of the people and the stage, but I didn’t do it justice. People came out in support of the country music. Free concerts are awesome. Thankfully it was last night, and not now. Hail is fun!

As we neared the corner, I took in the Ukrainian Community monuments. (Photos #10 & 11!) My wife hadn’t had an opportunity to really check it out before, so she was happy I took her on this tour.

Finally, the roadside attractions! (Photos #12 & 13!) Although our giant windmill and RCAF CT-133 Silver Star didn’t go far in our tournament, both are incredibly cool attractions and need to be seen up close. I got as close as I could, but they’re so large.

As we started leaving, my wife pointed out one last thing. (Photo #14!) I almost forgot. How could I leave this out? While many come to the Island for the water park, I challenge those people to take in all the other great parts of the Island as well. Portage la Prairie is awesome, and Island Park is one of the reasons why. It may be in my backyard, but I was happy to share it with you this week. Hopefully this will bring you to my hometown!

Next week, I’ll go back to your hometowns. But where to next? Oh right! _______! See you there!

R.J. Lilley

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