Nancy grew up in a town with the curious name Thief River Falls, Minnesota, and Rick in Darwin, Minnesota and in Cayuga, North Dakota. (Rick tells me that Darwin is known as the home of the World’s Largest Ball of Twine Made by One Man. As for Thief River Falls, I learned that the Thief River got its name from a dispute among Native American tribes – the Ojibwe believed that a band of Dakota had tried to steal some of their riverfront territory — thus, Thief River.)
The two met at Concordia College in Moorhead, both studying to be teachers. It happened that each had signed up for a trip to an out-of-town football game and when they showed up, there wasn’t the usual bus, but rather, a large U-Haul truck. Someone had replaced the rear door with a cattle guard and 40 students piled in the back for the drive to Duluth. It doesn’t sound romantic but it worked — the two began dating and were married after Rick graduated and Nancy had one more year.
Rick didn’t just graduate with a music degree; he graduated knowing how to give lessons on every basic instrument. Knowing from the start that he wanted to teach, instead of devoting himself to his clarinet, he instead spent his college years spending a single semester on one instrument, then moving on to another, until he felt he could teach them all. Meanwhile, Nancy prepared for her chosen profession as a home etc. teacher.
They started out their married life in a basement apartment. Nancy remembers one downside of that first place — they had to walk through a garage and a laundry room to get to the bathroom. But she also nostalgically recalled one upside – the milkman brought milk in glass bottles.
They settled into family life, eventually having three kids. (One’s a teacher, one an engineer and one, in a sign of the times, is, well… what is it that goes on in these high-tech jobs? As Nancy said, “I’d have to go on Facebook to tell you just what it is that he does but it’s in a tech company.”)
It was 14 years ago that the McGraws discovered The Resort. A friend in Minnesota had decided to spend the month of January in Arizona and made renting a place in The Resort his first choice. Problem: he could only get a three-month rental, January through March. Another couple agreed to take February while Nancy and Rick signed on for March. They couldn’t wait to come back the next year, and the next, and that’s when they decided it was time to buy. “There were five couples on our street who were renting,” Nancy remembers, “and all five decided to buy. Four of us are still here.”
And that brings us to teachers loving teaching. Both Rick and Nancy are making significant contributions at The Resort. When they’re here, January through March, Rick is Choir Director, including the Harmonaires and Harmonettes, and he also leads the Chorale. Nancy is President of the Resort Quilters but confides that her real joy is working with the group’s beginners.
You can experience the fruits of Rick and Nancy’s teaching this coming month:
- In addition to their weekly church programs, The Resort Chorale will be performing in the ballroom on March 11th. (It will include a tribute to Rogers and Hammerstein, plus a salute to Veterans and, Rick promises, “We always have a piece or two for our friends from Canada.”)
- The Resort Quilters will be presenting at the Arts & Crafts Show on March 3rd, and will be raffling off a queen-sized quilt, as shown below. (As is the new standard, the quilt includes a label describing its origins.)