December 5, 2021

Christmas by the Lake 2021 in Clear Lake, Iowa


Christmas by the Lake 2021 in Clear Lake, Iowa
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for December 5, 2021

I had the good fortune of seeing a bunch of old buddies this week starting with a group of my ex co-workers from Oracle.  We do a monthly lunch to catch up with one another and our numbers are starting to grow a bit.  I used to love hanging out with these guys when we still all went into the office together, now we all just need to put in a bit more effort to make it work.

On Friday night, I had the chance to hangout with another ex Oracle colleague, Orlando Mazzolini, and his lovely wife, Nancy.  I joined them to go watch Chelsea Handler do comedy at Mystic Lake Casino.

We had great seats for the show.  I can't say I'm a huge Chelsea Handler fan, but I did enjoy it.  She's obviously a talented comedian and shared a bunch of funny stories with us.  She has some major issues with Straight White Males which happens to be a demographic I belong to.  A few times I felt the need to defend our honor but held my tongue.  I'm sure she would have torn me apart if I said anything.

On Saturday, Miss Sheri and I drove down to Clear lake, Iowa for their annual Christmas by the Lake festival.  We were geared up for a good time.

I met up with my buddies, "Krazy" Kory and Ron "Sugarman" Myers.  Ron brought along his extended family and we ready to go down and do some early celebrating of Christmas.  First, though, Ron performed a little musical number he worked on for us to commemorate the event.  It was a pleasant way to start off the day.

We parked near downtown and walked to the celebration.  The kids wanted to stop by the ice cream store to get a snack and we were happy to join them.  I like ice cream!

We figured we must be getting close to the festival when we saw a horse-drawn carriage cross the street in front of us.  Either that or it was a really strange coincidence.  

Our first stop was to visit Kory's dad, Geno.  He does a lot in the community of Clear Lake and has helped organize the celebration.  We like to hang out with him as it gives us a little street cred.

The local church had a ton of activities going on including a campfire to make Smore's for the children.  I asked Miss Sheri if I could have one and she was happy to oblige me with a warm, gooey marshmallow to melt with my chocolate and graham crackers.

One of my favorite things about Clear Lake is seeing old friends.  Chris Barragy is a photographer for the local newspaper and I always enjoy seeing his photos in social media.  He's also a member of the Barragy Clan who were some of my first friends when I first moved to Clear Lake back in 1985.  Dang that's a long time ago.

I saw my college roommate, John Finstad, at the VFW and we spent a few minutes reminiscing about the good ole days at the University of Northern Iowa.  

Brad Crosser and I went to high school together and I haven't seen him in years.  We bumped into each other in the bathroom which made for a bit of an odd reunion, but we made the best of it.

I saw these cool cats out in the street before the parade started.  We promised each other we'd try to connect after the fireworks, but never made it happen.  Maybe next year.

Pretty soon the parade started and we clapped with glee as Christmas themed floats rolled around in front of us.  I think the kids enjoyed it also.

The festival ended with an amazing display of fireworks.  It made me proud to be an American.  It also could have been caused because we ended up standing behind the flag which was illuminated by the rockets red glare all through the event.  

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