We live on a creek, in Texas. Some people just assume that the moniker, “Sweeney’s on the Creek,” derives from that location (and it does). But, as usual with nicknames, there is a hidden meaning that I’d like to share with you now.
Steve’s father was raised in Lansing, Iowa, a small community of about 1000 people today. Lansing is located in the far northeast corner of Iowa, right on the Mississippi River. It’s a popular tourist location in the warmer months, because of the fishing, boating, and general relaxing atmosphere. Right at the bend in the river is a bridge that connects Iowa to Wisconsin. Drive up the Iowa side a few miles and you are in Minnesota.
Relaxing – that’s how I came to know it, when I married into the Sweeney family. There are two places in this world I know I can go to relax, and Lansing is one of them. Mount Hosmer, Fish Days, farm league baseball, the Blackhawk Bridge – nothing like it. I’ve not been back in ages, but remember it fondly.
There’s a small restaurant on the River, at the base of Main Street in Lansing. It’s a popular place for boaters to stop, gas up, grab something to eat and drink, play a little pool, watch a little sports, and – just ‘be.’ Many years ago, William “Ben” Sweeney, one of Steve’s relatives, built and ran this establishment. And he named it “Sweeney’s on the River.” In the last few decades or so, it’s changed hands, even changed names – but it’s back to Sweeney’s now.
Sweeney’s is a gathering place. A place where people can feel welcome and build community, with each other, and with the travelers who pass through Lansing. What better place to model? So “Sweeney’s on the Creek” is not only a location, but a shout out to history. A history I married into, sure – but a history that supports community.
What other name could we choose, other than “Sweeney’s on the Creek?” The Sweeney’s may have moved away from Lansing, but we give a shout of thanks for building community each time we refer to it. We host annual parties, including an egg nog challenge, in honor of Steve’s grandparents. We try to bring the small town generosity to our own little bend in the creek. Imagine our surprise, then, when we realized that – less than a mile from our house – lives a gal named Chris – born and raised in Lansing, Iowa, graduated from Kee High School. Our kids sit next to each other in the Jr High band.
Community, indeed. And a very small world, when we let down our defenses and share a bit of ourselves with others.