Northern Mom rules for social engagement are concise and clear:
• Always be polite, even when someone doesn’t deserve polite.
• Don’t chew with your mouth open … unless your nose is frozen shut by subzero temperatures, in which case you shouldn’t be outside at all, let alone eating out there. Also, if it is subzero and you don’t have on a hat, you will catch your death of cold and you will die. And I will have told you so.
• Always be modest; don’t put on airs or make yourself out to be better, even if you are because you come from the northern (or Upper Peninsula) parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan or Ontario.
• Never eat candy in front of anyone unless you have enough to share with everyone in the room, the stadium or perhaps the entire state or province, depending on the situation. (I suspect this was a way to forbid us from ever eating candy … except alone in a closet and, boy, has that caused me trouble.)
• Don’t tell someone who gave you a Barbie for your birthday that you already have the same one, even if you do and you don’t particularly trust dolls anyway.
Okay, that last one might be specific to my mom and my situation, but the others are valid for the general Northern populace.
That’s why when it comes to naming our Best of the Lake picks for the year, we start out a little shy. We try out the Northern Mom alternatives: Pretty Good of the Lake. Really Nice of the Lake. Fine of the Lake.
No, northern modesty just doesn’t always work.
So darn it, we call it what it is – the Best of the Lake.
It’s Lake Superior, after all (though it was the French, not the Scandinavians, who named it so boldly).
Frankly, there are just so many things we believe are the Best. So we had you, our readers, help us make the cut. You sent in cards and voted online to let us know your top choices in 12 categories. You’ll find them in our annual Best of the Lake story.
On top of that, we’re throwing in some of our own favorite picks for great fall drives – that’s right, I said it, “great.”
Ask dogs what makes a great ride, and they’ll opt for a trip to any bank, or as we call it in our household, a trip to the “biscuit factory.” You send a deposit in the little window, they send out a Milk Bone.
Ask editors and photographers about what makes a fall drive great and you’ll get a list of pleasant country roads or rural stretches of highway surrounded by spectacular colors and often bordered by our Big Blue Lake. That’s exactly what you’ll find, along with some suggested attractions along the way, in Managing Editor Bob Berg’s story aptly named “7 Great Fall Drives.”
We’re adding something new this issue that will help you achieve your best photographs wherever you’re visiting along Lake Superior. Our “Nice Shots” story in each issue will feature tips and field reports from our best contributing photographers. Photographer Shawn Malone kicks it off by relating how she learned to shoot the moon, literally.
Embedded into Shawn’s story, you’ll probably pick up on one of those Northern Mom rules: Don’t be lazy.
In my house growing up, there’d be an addition to the lazy rule – probably the only time a true Northern Mom feels comfortable strongly expressing that word that puts one above the rest.
“Don’t be lazy,” she would say, “and always do your best.”
So, to our readers who made tough choices and the winners of their picks, I say, thanks for doing your best!