Early reports tell us the loon and lake theme is the front-runner for the design of Minnesota's official state quarter.
If only it were that easy. Designs by committee are notorious for throwing in everything but the kitchen sink to please various segments of society.
Take the Great Seal of the State of Minnesota. It features a farmer tilling the ground with a plow, an Indian riding a horse, a waterfall, a French motto, "L'Etoile du Nord," that designates Minnesota as the North Star State and sun on the horizon that's either rising or setting.
They would have thrown in representations of Bronko Nagurski and Harold Stassen but they ran out of room.
What if they the U.S. Mint decided to honor smaller geographical entities with their own official quarters? What would Brainerd lakes area residents chose to represent their region on an official two-bit piece?
Of course Brainerd and Baxter would insist on each having their own coins. Brainerd residents would commission a Wal-Mart logo for Baxter while Baxter residents would suggest a rental housing unit to represent their larger neighbor to the east.
Federal officials frown on honoring individuals so that rules out longtime politicians such as Brainerd Mayor James Wallin or council members Bob Olson and Mary Koep. That's just as well. We don't need a televised city council debate about whose visage goes heads and whose picture goes tails.
That leaves us with inanimate objects. Paul Bunyan is a natural but he may be a little publicity shy after relocating from his amusement park to This Old Farm. A steam engine from the Northern Pacific's heyday in Brainerd could represent the town's railroad origins. The city's famous concrete water tower would be an easily identifiable symbol. Maybe a stately pine tree could be selected in homage to the area's logging industry.
But let's not limit ourselves to the obvious choices. Here are some outside- -the-box candidates for a Brainerd lakes area quarter.
-- Slimy lake weeds.
-- A wood tick.
-- A fish house.
-- A Fourth of July float with candy being thrown from it.
-- An orange construction zone cone.
-- A shopping cart from the big box retail store of your choice.
-- A long string of SUVs waiting for a light to change on Washington Street.
-- A deer impaled on the hood ornament of a pick-up truck.
-- A frozen septic system.
-- A tall glass of clear, unfluoridated water.
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