The energizer

MN Good Age Editor Sarah Jackson with Sue Z.

I want to be like Sue Zelickson — this month’s Cover Star — when I grow up.

How can I — and her many Minnesota fans — not look up to her?

She’s a lover of good food, but also of people.

And though her career as a food journalist is profoundly impressive, it’s her secondary career that’s the most astounding to me: She’s a philanthropist.

She — happily, daily, always — gets things done.

One of her biggest and most recent accomplishments was co-founding the Charlie Awards, a brand-new event to honor exceptional contributions to the local culinary industry.

This month the awards (set for Nov. 13 in downtown Minneapolis) are entering their sixth year, in a city fast becoming known for its world-class food scene.

Also today’s Charlie Awards festivities have gone beyond the one-night affair to include free happy-hour panel discussions for food industry folks.

And did I mention her age?

She’s 82 and still at it, and not slowing down in the slightest, near as I can tell.

Zelickson proves age really is just a number for some folks. And I have to say — because I was lucky enough to snag a lunch with her — that she’s as energetic and delightful in person as she is in print and on the radio.

She’s kind and patient and playful, too.

So there you go: We have another Minnesota gem, a bone fide local celebrity, who’s somehow managed to stay down to earth.

I hope you enjoy reading about Zelickson’s life adventures (well, just some of them). I sure did.

In this issue, you’ll also find a travel story highlighting 10 awesome destinations in Arizona that aren’t the Grand Canyon. With winter on the way, it might be the perfect time to plan a little trip to warmer climes. Yes?

And, finally, very near and dear to my heart, is Virginia Chase Sanderson’s beautiful personal essay about the loss of her mother and the time she spent cleaning up the home she left behind.

I’ve read her essay half a dozen times, and it tugs at my heart — without fail — every time.

Happy reading!