Tag Archives: Minneapolis

A trip North, the girls, and black dirt …


For a long while there was active thought given to pulling up stakes in Charlotte for a move to the North. Aside from closer proximity to Ellen and Reid, part of that allure was the specter of a small garden (which I miss terribly here) where the good earth isn’t poured from a plastic bag bought at a home center. It’s already there.

The dirt is black and fertile. If you can’t grow anything there, you can’t grow anything anywhere. Reid I sure hope that’s the case after we left a little something for Emma and Georgia to enjoy a year or two from now.


May 10, 2017

Ellen/Reid: I must say the high point of the trip was your graduation ceremony, Ellen. It was hard to hold the tears back as you walked across the stage to accept your masters diploma.

No, wait. Ha ha. How could we miss it by a week? I laughed about that several times on the ride home. But those things happen. You just gave us something to grin about. Let me know how the real ceremony goes this coming weekend.

It really was a good trip. What I do know is I don’t possibly have enough energy to keep up with the girls. They are just a whirlwind of go-go-go all the time. Emma just goes non-stop. The house is coming together nicely although Tim has his work cut out for him on the yard. It was neglected for so long. I don’t know how you get rid of the weeds without spraying copious amounts of weed killer, and you don’t want to do that while the girls are running about.

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While under “close supervision” by a site manager who lounged in a chair nursing a beer, Reid does the heavy digging to prep a raspberry patch. This black Minnesota soil doesn’t need organic matter to improve its fertility.

Thanks for letting Reid and me plant the raspberries. In hindsight, Reid, I wish we hadn’t of mixed in the peat moss. It just created such a mounding effect, and that good black dirt probably didn’t need the added organic matter. But Tim can sculpt that space a bit if he thinks it’s a tad too unsightly. I sure wish I had a bit of a garden like that, let alone that good black soil.

Thanks, Reid, for driving up and back with me to MSP. That you could spell me behind the wheel really helped. And it was good to talk. Just keep your head up on the job thing, keep working your contacts, keep plugging forward. All it takes is that first conversation, that first proactive outreach and that will set the tone for what will follow. I think sometimes it’s hard to take that first step but once you do the ice is broken and the process will become a little more habitual and old hat, and it will build your confidence at reaching out and putting yourself on the line. That’s really how you’ll land a job. Just keep at it. Going after a job is a job in itself.

It was a tough drive home from Chicago to Charlotte. I was running a fever and had the chills and it was just a slog all the way. Bunked at some fleabag north of Knoxville, Tennessee but didn’t sleep a wink. Should have kept going. I alternated between shivering and being hot. But I just set it on cruise control and let it go.

I did stop in Asheville to check out those small homes I’d emailed you guys about. I was so hopeful about them. But they were packed into what basically was a flat hole carved out from a hillside. The homes were nice but the setting left something to be desired. There was absolutely no view of anything, and there was no covered garage on the smaller units. So those were crossed off the list and I’ll move on from there. It was very disappointing since I was ready to pull the trigger on those style of smaller homes. I’ll head back up that way before too long to take another look. I really don’t have much of a feel for Asheville.

Just RSVPd to Adrienne Furstenau’s July 8 wedding in Minneapolis. I’ll fly this time rather than drive. They have events all weekend. Then, scarcely 10 days later, I’ll zoom through the area again as Tom Bohr and I drive west to the Bridger Wilderness.

The new microwave was installed this morning. It’s a behemoth. It sticks out a few inches further than the old defunct model and that will take some getting used to. All that money just to be able to nuke a cup of coffee. Then it looks as it my water heater has gone kapoof. It’s only money.

Love, Dad

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Before mom…


Reid, Ellen and Tim in their post-feast, pre-nap positions at the table.

It was 6F in Minneapolis yesterday and I’ve been too afraid to check this morning’s low (it is 18F at 10:45 which is no doubt colder than a normal person should tolerate).

As it is I am in Ellen and Tim’s living room, Henry at my feet, to keep the string of posts alive.  He and I just finished a frigid walk where he performed all the normal functions a well-fed dog should perform.

Most Fridays a letter is composed to mom.  I will write this week’s letter on the fly for you to see before mom ever receives it.  It will be printed and mailed on Monday once I return to Charlotte (where the high today is forecast to be a balmy 65F).

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November 29, 2010

Mom: I’m writing this letter from Ellen and Tim’s living room in St. Paul.  They are cleaning the floors while their dog Henry and I are lounging on the couch.  It is really cold outside but what else would you expect in Minnesota in late November?  They seem to like it well enough and their little house is cute and snug as a bug.

Reid and I both flew in on Tuesday for the Thanksgiving week.  We’ve had a great time of things.  Not that we’ve done a lot except sit around and talk.  We did go to a very bad, very forgettable movie the other night over at the mall.  The mall, the biggest in the world, was almost empty the night before Thanksgiving, but the news reports said that the stores would open at 2:00 in the morning for the early shoppers.  How nuts is that to get up in the middle of the night to go to a mall to shop?

I did most of the cooking for Thanksgiving.  The kids bought a fresh turkey, about 14 lbs., and it took nearly five and one-half hours to cook at 325F, and even then it wasn’t quite done.  I’m not sure why it took so long but I think Ellen’s oven runs a little cool.  But the other items, the potatoes, the stuffing and, most importantly, the gravy, came out just great.  So the boys ate like boys and it was good to see everyone yak and feel filled.  I baked pumpkin and apple pies from scratch and they came out pretty good, too.  When people are hungry enough they’ll eat anything and tell you it was good.

I called over to your other son’s house last night but you’d already gone.  I’m sorry I didn’t call earlier in the day.  But he said you had a good time and you were glad to see your great-grandkids.  I’m still hopeful of getting out that way for Christmas.

Today we will go get their Christmas tree and put on all the ornaments.  They want to head out to a Christmas tree farm and cut one down.  That’s okay.  My little fake tree won’t go up until I get back sometime next week.  It’s only about four feet high and doesn’t take much to assemble and trim.

Well, mom, their dog is looking at me like it’s time for another walk, so out the door we’ll go so he can do his duty.  You be good, stay warm, and I’ll see you sooner than later.

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A public display of private affection…


Today's letter to mom before it was tucked into the envelope. Some aren't sure if letters to her are worthwhile. Not me. If a letter gives her a few minutes of enjoyment, what's wrong with that?

A blog is an odd beast.  It is an open book to whatever the topic is.  Although mine has yet to catch on with the masses, in theory this post could make its way around the globe in the time it would take you to read this whole shebang.  Maybe faster.

What is doubly weird is that this blog is all about what would be, under most normal circumstances, a highly private matter – the personal correspondence between a father and his children.  But here they are, reams of letters, for all to see.

As it has occured to others, how do I reconcile a public display of private affection that others can see, too?  That is a fairly pointed, but fair, question.

I guess the short answer – you will be spared the long version – is that this whole exercise is an object lesson on how one dad goes about the business of family business.  By necessity, you ought to see what the hell I’m talking about in the most graphic of terms – the literal pages themselves.  I’m not above slicing out paragraphs that are solely intended for Ellen and Reid only.  I’ve done so with regularity.  You see most of the dirty laundry but not the whole washer load.  That might change, but not right now.

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Bridger update: The list of tentatives continues to grow.  If everyone went who has voiced an interest, we’d be at 10 right now.  I’m going to do two things: there is a rustic ranch B&B on the outskirts of Pinedale that will provide affordable rooms the night(s) before the trip.  They might also help arrange pack animals (horses or llamas) but I do not know the pricing.

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My brother thinks my letters to my mother are a waste of time.  The staff at her facility don’t think she grasps everything.  But she doesn’t have to grasp it all.  She just has to grasp a few things.  So, I will continue sending a Friday letter to my mother.  Here is today’s letter to her.

October 22, 2010

Mom: We are smack in the middle of Indian summer here.  The weather has been glorious.  Not too hot, not too humid, just right.  I see that the weather in Grand Island is pretty good, too.

Man, Nebraska really got taken to the cleaners by Texas.  I thought for sure that was a game the Big Red would win in a cakewalk.  But nothing should surprise us any more about that team.

Ralph says you’re doing pretty well these days.  That is good to hear.  And it was good to talk to you the other day.  I need to do a better job of calling you.  I promise to do better.

Been riding the Harley a lot.  It’s much more fun to ride when the weather is cool but not rainy.  Rode through the mountains last weekend and it was very pretty.  The leaves are changing and the mountain streams looked clear and cold.  There was not as much traffic on the roads as I thought there might be.  That made for pretty good riding.

I have to admit to having ice cream these last few days.  I went to the grocery store the other night and made a trip down the ice cream aisle.  They had some on sale and I wilted.  It makes me feel guilty to eat it but it sure tastes good.  It’s all gone now.  Urp.

Now that it’s cooling down around here it’s time to begin to bake bread again.  My house just gets too hot when the oven is on during the warmer days.  But with the temperatures cooling it makes the kitchen that much more comfortable for baking.  I should send you a loaf or two.

Looks like I will be in Minneapolis for Thanksgiving to see both Ellen and Reid.  My plane ticket was bought this week and I’m really excited about going.  Ellen has already told me that I’ll be the chief cook for the weekend and Reid wants to help with the cooking, too.  He’s pretty good around the pots and pans.  Ellen isn’t much of a beef lover so it will be turkey the entire time, although her main request is for me to make breakfasts.  It’ll be pancakes, waffles, scrambled eggs and bacon.  Her husband Tim can eat like a horse, as can Reid, so there will be no shortage of food.  I’m glad you will be in Ralph and Gayle’s house for the holiday.  Maybe there is a chance Joe will get out there, too.

Things are going fine at work.  Busy and hectic, but there’s nothing new about that.  I like what I’m doing these days but there’s a lot of it to do.  You be good, stay warm, and watch for another phone call real soon.

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