I just got back from an idyllic birthday week in my home state of Minnesota, where it indeed felt like all was right with the world those days. It was so beautiful, so loving, so FUN ... that I just have to share some highlights with you now, as I sit in my sunny room back in Venice feeling grateful beyond words. Or pictures. This is my thank you note to everyone back home...
First, and best, I got picked up by my beautiful and HEALTHY Mom! There is such a change in her from when I saw her last in the hospital, that every bit of awesomeness that happened after seeing her was just extra credit. But REALLY good extra credit ...
We did the greatest hits right away ... drove around the lakes ... checked out Minnehaha Falls, flowing like crazy, then cooled out at SeaSalt with a Surly. Yum.
I paid my respects to Hiawatha and Minnehaha ...
I walked around one of the very most sacred places to me, Woodlake Nature Center, smack in the middle of the city .... stunned silent, it was so breathtaking and beautiful as I practically floated, hand in hand with my sweet Mom. I want my own bench there, to sit and watch the seasons unfold when I'm there.
I taught my fairy goddaughter Jane how to whistle! My very best student to date.
Captain Krsnik cruised us around aboard their Croixation Sensation boat, and we docked on a sandbar in the middle of the river to behold one of the most stunning, golden sunsets of all time.
The boating friends threw a delicious shrimp boil out on the sand, as the moon and the stars put on a show.
There was a bonfire. There were S'mores. Of course.
I celebrated my birthday at HOME for the first time since I moved away back in the '90s. I did as I always do, and had some annual reflection while floating in a natural body of water, this time, the St. Croix River that separates Minnesota and Wisconsin. I watched the sky, and reflected my gratitude back up into the clouds.
The girls made me pancakes and bacon right on the boat, and we made up stories and stayed in the water all day long.
I had a BLAST at my class reunion the night of my birthday, and brought along a whole posse of crashers. My camera ran out of battery at this shindig, which is probably for the best. They had a photo booth though, so we're all good. They had cake for me. I love my Richfield friends. For life.
I picked rhubarb for pies back in Venice and chatted with the generous old Norwegian man who let me take it from his yard. Thanks, Mr. Rosvold!
Mom and I saw twin baby cows be born right in front of us at the Minnesota State Fair! It was 105 with humidity that day, so I think all the cold jokes about Minnesota can be put to rest. Until winter. Seriously, the place is so extreme, I think it's what makes the people so interesting. The neighboring boat on the St. Croix was named Worth The Winter. Exactly. The all you can drink milk helped at the Fair. So did Ole's Cannoli. Delish.
I saw happy faces like these (as Elsie and Inga learn to garden!) ... also enough to carry you through the winter.
I laughed and dined and drank with old and dear friends, who remind me every time just how important your roots are to who you become. I never seem to be able to squeeze it all in (Sorry to my folks I didn't see, and sorry for me I missed First Avenue and still no Twins game when I'm in town!) but I do my very best. It's so great to have an excellent place like Venice to return to and live, but home will always be home.
I'll let Slug from Atmosphere take it from here, in a snippet from his Minneapolis homage, "Shhh"
Such a pleasure to come home
Cuz I...I have a very special love for this city
I wanted to make a song about where I'm from
You know? Big up my home town, my territory, my state
But, I couldn't figure out much to brag about
Prince lives here, we got 10,000 lakes
But wait, the women are beautiful, to me they are
And we're not infested with pretentious movie stars
And it hit me, Minnesota is dope
If only simply for not what we have but what we don't
It's all fair, it ain't out there, it's in there
It's in the mirror, behind the breast under the hair
Follow the dream doesn't mean leave the love
Roam if you must, but come home when you've seen enough
I love New York and Cali, but I ain't movin'
Too overpopulated saturated with humans
And I'm not big on rappers, actors, or models
If I had to dip, I'd probably skip to Chicago
None of this is to diss no one, nowhere
Like damn, I'm from Minnesota, land of the cold air
Too many mosquitoes and our fair share of egos
But like my man Sabe says, that's where my mommy stays ...
THANK YOU, MINNESOTA!