I never thought the first friend my son would make in Caledonia was going to be the mayor

Daniel McGonigle

General Manager/Managing Editor

When son Ezra, 9, joined me at the Caledonia city council meeting on Monday night, I have to be honest; as a father, knowing how city council meetings can go, I just hoped that he would be able to sit still for the few hours necessary while I covered the meeting.

He had an iPad in hand, and my cell phone on standby loaded with books, movies and games.

But this meeting was different from many of the ones my children had attended with me over the years.

Ezra’s mother, Emily, is back in Montevideo and Ezra joined me in Caledonia this week as we transition towards moving here.

When Ezra called his mother that night, he said “Mom, the mayor and I are friends.”

He would later say the same thing to my son Sean, 16, who joined us out here on Tuesday after he returned from Sioux Falls with the Warrior football team.

I knew this meeting would be different when on the reporters table and in front of each member of the council, there was placed a mini-sized Kit Kat bar.

But I didn’t realize just how different it would be from so many of the other council meetings I’ve sat through in my 15 plus years of small town journalism.

I would give my candy to Ezra. The mayor, Ezra’s friend, had brought the chocolatey goodness to the meeting.

Ezra was impressed from the start with the first friend he made in Caledonia, as was I.

Mayor Robert Burns made an impression on my son.

They joked, interacted, laughed. Mr. Burns made Ezra feel welcomed and part of the community in the first five minutes of having met him.

As a father, who is trying to smoothly transition his family and acquaint them to new surroundings,  Mayor Burns and the members of the council’s generosity towards my son was not lost.

I know community government can be a thankless job. Often times, our elected officials take more grief over what they are doing wrong, then get credit for what they are doing right.

Mayor Burns and the rest of the Caledonia council are to be commended for how warm a reception they’ve given to my son, myself and by extension our whole family.

It means a lot to us all, as have the very many, many warm wishes and greetings we’ve received since rejoining this community. The mayor, is very much a representation of the people of Caledonia.

Thank you.