July 7, 2024

Explosive Fun and Old Chums: Clear Lake's 4th of July Extravaganza


Explosive Fun & Old Chums: Clear Lake's 4th of July Extravaganza
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for July 7, 2024

My step-mom, Joyce Swank, passed away yesterday.  She was 82 years old and suffered a pretty nasty heart attack that eventually ended up being too much for her body to handle.  Joyce had moved out to California to be with my step-sisters, Lori & Martha, many years ago.  We were fortunate enough to see her one last time back in June before her grandson's wedding.  My dad died on July 1, 2008 and ironically this photo of them ended up in my inbox this week.  It was a memory from my blog post the week he died and it just happened to appear right before she joined him in heaven.  I like to think it's some kind of sign they are now reunited.  
May she rest in peace.

Miss Sheri's college friend, Kim Hohensee, was in town from Colorado.  We met up with Cathy & Jeff for dinner and reminisced about their good ole days at Wartburg college.  A good time was had by all.

It was 4th of July this week and we spent 3 nights in Clear Lake, Iowa which is my favorite place in the world to celebrate Independence Day.  We were lucky enough to have Luke, Avery, & Abby choose to join us.

There was lots of talks of rain spoiling the celebration, but we were pretty lucky for the most part.  We enjoyed our favorite activities including the parade that marches down the center of Main Street.

Miss Sheri's mom, Leona, joined us for the celebration.  Grandma is 93 years old and enjoyed watching the festivities from the car.  Walking with the crowds downtown was a bit out of scope for her, so we get didn't spend as much time with them as we'd have liked.

The parade was fun like usual including an appearance with men in funny hats driving strange little cars.  I wish I had a hat like that.

Here's a video I took during the parade:
@toddswank Happy 4th of July from Clear Lake, Iowa! #4thofjuly #parade #clearlake #iowa ♬ God Bless The U.S.A. - Lee Greenwood

Normally I'd spend the 4th of July with Krazy Kory, but he wasn't able to be in town on the 4th.  We were fortunate enough to spend some time with him and his family at the carnival later in our trip.

We were able to get our Madson fix when Kory's son, Ben, and brother, Kelly, joined up with us at the parade.  We always have a good time with these guys.

The kids found it funny that I bump into so many people I know in Clear Lake.  That's one of my favorite reasons for going there!  We went on the Lady of the Lake to get a drink and I saw Brad Whalen who I haven't seen in decades.  It was great catching up with him for a few minutes.

I went to the top of the boat and saw Jon Anderson who I lived nearby in elementary and middle school in Mason City.  We played little league baseball together back when I was still considered a major athletic threat.  

At the carnival we connected with old friends, Brad Bernemann, June & Bob Bunn and their amazing daughters.  We had a lot good laughs right outside the Bingo tent.

We went downtown to watch the fireworks on the night of the 4th of July, but didn't know where we were going to watch them.  We thought we had great seats at the rooftop bar 173 Craft Distillery until they told us we had to leave at 8:30pm.  Apparently they sell these seats during the fireworks so that plan went out the window.

We'd seen Rich & Becky Finstad during one of our walks and they were kind enough to invite us to watch the fireworks in their yard.  They have a beautiful house on the lake so we thought that sounded like an amazing idea.  That was very nice of them!

While we were talking to Rich and Becky, their grandson Jack told me his dad would like me to come say Hi.  Jack's dad, John & I were roommates in college and they live just a few doors down.  We ended up spending the evening with John and his family and had an incredible time telling the kids about our shenanigans back at UNI.  We had such a good time!

Abby told me when we were leaving that she wishes she would have had the chance to hang out with "College Todd".  If she did, she would have been able to be part of fun videos like this one I made with John back in 1989:

Todd Rule stopped by to say Hi and it was fun to see him also.  
I gotta get me a shirt like that.

Before we knew it, the sky started lighting up with fireworks and we were mesmerized for the next 45 minutes or so.  It made me proud to be an American.

Friday night, we met up with Ron & Kristie Myers and their family at the Northwestern Steakhouse in Mason City.  It continues to be one of the best steaks I've ever eaten anywhere!

I have one more TikTok video I wanted to share even though technically it's from last week's trip to see the Korkowski's in St. Cloud, Minnesota.  Smoke up me up another shot of whiskey!

@toddswank Smoke me up another shot of whiskey! #tipsy #whiskey #smoked #4thofjuly ♬ A Bar Song (Tipsy) - Shaboozey

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