Journey to the Midwest 2012

When I make trips to visit folk in the Midwest for whatever reason, this reason was my niece Tabatha graduated from high school and asked me to come to her party, I try to see as many people as I can see while I’m in the area. It really seems like the longer I’m alive the more people that want to see me when I’m in the area – I think there might be something wrong with the water up there. This visit I saw folks that I haven’t seen in 20 years – which was nice. I may not have gotten a chance to see you, I may not get a chance to see you next time – but hey, if you want to see me you could visit here. You know I live in the Nation’s Capital right? Tourist Trap of the East Coast – and if you came out here you’d get to see more of me than just a 20 minute visit in the Midwest, and trust me it’d be more exciting. I can’t promise anything, but one group of friends that came out to visit were just inches away from Sean Penn when we went out to eat… didn’t do anything for me, but they were excited. So if you want to see me hey come visit – I’ll pretend to have as much interest in meeting you here as I pretend to there. :-)

My flight to Minneapolis on Wednesday was fine, the old couple next to me kept interrupting my reading by asking me questions about the iPad and other technology – it’s like I have a sign around my neck “Ask Me About Your Computer Problems”. I do my best to look mean when I travel to avoid just this kind of thing – motorcycle boots, sleeveless shirt showing tattoos, leather wrist band, penis earring… but they still ask me. Maybe I need a big nose ring.

My good friend Tina picked me up at the airport and we headed off to my hotel in downtown Minneapolis, The Marriott City Center, the boss had hooked me up with a good room – top floor of the hotel, it was a two story room wow, had a nice view too. Tina and I had a nice chat before she had to head off to an appointment.

I then headed off to Boneshaker Books, where my friend Tim volunteers, little store but lots of interesting books. Check out their site and make a donation – it’s a non-profit. Tim and I took the light rail, Minneapolis’s commuter train, into the city for dinner – after all the years that Tim’s lived there this was his first time on the train, he would usually ride his bike everywhere. We ate dinner at a place called Hell’s Kitchen which had good food, not too loud and close to my hotel downtown. Tim and I had good conversations about politics, old friends, old times and just nonsense. It was great to see him.

Thursday morning I had breakfast with my friend Randy and then wandered around the skyways exploring here and there, I had some things explode in my suitcase that I needed to replace and it was nice to see how it all worked too. Then I had a lunch date with a guy I’d met in December while I was speaking, it was ok. Thursday night I went to the Central Pacific Group meeting where I frowned when I was called up to share, but would have obsessed for the next hour had they not – yep, I’m sick. Afterwards there was fellowship and then Tina dropped me at my hotel. A nice night.

Friday morning I took the light rail to the airport to rent a car for my foray into Wisconsin, its scary to think I finally don’t get lost getting out of the airport area and into WI. The drive was uneventful, got to Pat and Brenda’s and then went to get a quick bite at Taco John’s before checking into my hotel. That night we had steaks and corn at the Isenbergers and chatted here and there. Nice to see everyone.

Saturday morning Pat and I had breakfast at Perkins, then coffee at Starbucks, before I headed off to do other things before going to …

Tabatha’s Graduation party was held in a park in Fall Creek, by the lake. Lots of folks were there including Tabatha’s dad Jeff, who I haven’t seen in ages. Lots of folks I didn’t know too, but it was nice to be there for Tabatha and have one central place to see the siblings, even though most of the time they aren’t talking to one another they managed to behave. Good food, great weather and memories – it was nice.

Saturday night for dinner the Isenberger’s and I went to Dragganettis for dinner, where my friend Nicholas works, had a nice time and it was my only opportunity to see Nicholas too. Dropped them off and went back to the hotel for TV and bed.

Sunday morning I was up early and drove to Galesville to see Ma and Rhonda. I think I was here before 10 and then we headed over to Cory and Danielle’s to to spend time with them and the boys (Charlie and Patrick). It was really nice when we first got there, and we were all enjoying the day but all the sudden it got pretty cold out and before you know it we were all shivering. Ma, Rhonda and I left and headed to the Whitehall cemetery to lay flowers on Pa’s grave.  I still get a little emotional thinking about him there, and seeing Ma’s name on the stone when she’s standing right next to us. We then went to dinner at what used to be Geno’s Supper Club in Whitehall, can’t recall what it’s called now then I said farewell to them and headed up to Pigeon Falls to see Tony and Laurie, friends I haven’t seen in about 20 years. It’s been a long time.

Monday I drove up to the Twin Cities in the afternoon and got on my plane. Landed in BWI around 9:40 and it took them almost an hour to get us luggage, pretty sad.

I had a great trip, it was nice to see everyone and I look forward to the next time I see folks – probably wont be anywhere cool though, just the Midwest.

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