Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sins of the Father

I've been thinking a bit lately about all the things that have gone on in recent history that I have not posted. Not like I need to, I guess. It never ceases to amaze me, however, how many friends "keep up" with me through the blog. Have you lost my phone number or email address? You can come over some time, y'know.

In January I went to the UK. In March I was in Germany and the Netherlands for a week. The Fruita Fat Tire Fest happened in April. I glossed over our family bike camping trip Memorial Day weekend. I barely covered Willa's March birthday and Sylvia's May. I took a stellar work trip to BC in June. And last month I just cut a new notch (to loosen my belt) to commemorate my 36th year. Thanks to those who came to our party. Even those who fed me malt liquor and Jack Daniels. May ye have learnt yer lesson.

I'll provide only one shot from that shindig:

No, Don did not give me the Jack Daniels (right hand) or malt liquor (left hand). Notice he's drinking water. Wise man.

An old (and older) friend from Tennessee once told me, while I was young and yet untraveled, "Wherever you go, once people learn you're from Tennessee, they'll say, 'Let's drink some Jack!'" I despise Jack and always will. But please don't dare me to drink anything because I'll take the dare -- even if I have to crawl home dragging my bike. A party in my own backyard simply meant I had less distance to stumble.

I've lived in Minnesota now for seven and one half years. It blows me away to think that. Most of you reading my blog knew nothing of me before, in my past life. Tennessee is far from here, mentally and geographically. When I loaded all I thought I'd need into the back of my Toyota pickup and temporarily said goodbye to my wife at the time, I had no idea what I was venturing into. I came with an open heart. For the most part that openness has served me well. I'd visited Mpls twice before and had swiftly fallen in love with the city. That love for this place has served me very well indeed.

Here, I have been blessed with many, many new friends. Some new friends have come and gone in fact. Has it been that long? I'm beginning to tell seasons by feel, by the cadence of the chanting bugs. And it was a bit eerie when, last week, it occurred to me that summer has reached its peak and will soon be over. We have about 7 weeks to get our ducks in a row and finish all those painting projects and such before it's time to reach for long sleeves. It has been a cool summer in fact; leaving work some nights I've thought a long sleeve jersey might be just right. But I push away such frivolous thoughts, convincing my body that in a few short months I will yearn for this cool warmth again.

I returned from 9 days in Japan last Friday. On the flight home, NWA showed a film entitled New in Town. I'm not promoting the movie, it was cheesy as all hell. Set predominantly in New Ulm, it centers around a Florida-based food corporation exec who has to venture off to the hinterland in winter to revamp a plant and (naturally) falls in love in the process. Of course knows not what to expect and the writers saw fit to play up every stereotype available regarding wacky MN behaviors and mannerisms. Stuck on a ten-and-a-half-hour flight, missing home and watching cutaway scenes from downtown Mpls pulled at my heart strings a bit though. This place is home. Some of my friends talk and act a bit like characters from that movie. Wow, life chucks change at us whether we recognize it or not.

I don't go to concerts much, can't afford the hot restaurants, don't see much art or take advantage of the hundreds of festivals happening here. But, damn, I'm lucky to live in a place I love.

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