What a wonderful week to come home. Minneapolis in mid-September has always been one of my favorite times. The lush trees and cool air, the young families (many with requisite lab or golden retriever), and most everyone’s pace is of hurried optimism. Winter is coming, but not yet.
I have always loved to show off Minneapolis, whether to stray relatives, old friends from college, or friends of friends. Even driving somewhere alone I would frequently play tour guide in my mind. When Rachael returned for a wedding along with her husband Daniel, a New Zealander who had never been to Minnesota, it was the ultimate challenge. I wanted him to see everything. Working against my rapidly evolving plan was Rachael’s mortification at me dragging him off, and Daniel’s desperate need for sleep, something he had had almost none of for three days. The kids also had a commitment with friends and a dash to the airport. I had one hour.
We began at the old house. It pays to sell to friends. Barb and Alan welcomed us to 24th and Humboldt. Poking around, showing off the still preserved height marks of growing children, and seeing the changes and improvements through Daniel’s eyes was fulfilling, but Tom the Taskmaster had more to point out, and the clock was running.
Flying out the door, we passed Walter and Joan Mondale’s house. I wanted the Kiwi to see that at least one former U.S. vice president doesn’t need guards, a gated estate, and opulent surroundings. The lakes impressed him immediately. By the fourth lake and despite my running narrative and erratic driving he was ready to call a realtor.
JoAnne would have wanted to stop at the elf tree at Lake Harriet, or just walk peacefully around Isles, but she was visiting friends, and I am a quantity over quality guide. We passed the beautiful mosaic at Lakewood cemetery, but it received short shrift compared to the Lake of the Isles dog park. We raced and chased on a beautiful late summer afternoon. Daniel was impressed by the number of people smiling (unlike in LA). Dropping them off in Uptown as I pointed out Magers and Quinn and the Apple store, the kids forgave my exuberance. I called out that Minneapolis has free WiFi as they sprinted away. It is hard to do twenty-five years in an hour.
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The rest of the week was spent more leisurely. Reminiscing, seeing old friends, going to garage sales, biking the lakes, it was great to be back. JoAnne returned to The Minnesota Textile Center which has become the finest in the nation in our nine years away. As a fiber artist it brings her as much joy as I feel watching a baseball game at Target Field. On the flight back to LA, JoAnne smiled wistfully and said,”I miss Minnesotans.”
Tom H. Cook is a formerly local writer now stationed in southern California. He realizes that he occasionally needs to abandon the bloody pulpit for more local observations. He was particularly impressed that the (Cursetown) Crosstown/35W no longer does.