Minneapolis musings

No doubt about it. I love the country. Much more than the city, that is for certain. When Thursday arrives, I am more than ready to flee the cityscape for the Minnesota River valley and the semi-flat (and mostly treeless) highlands of DandelionEnd.

At the same time, I do have a few thoughts on the subject of the city, and am pleased to share them with anyone who cares to listen or read. I even have some good photos, if I am so blessed to be talking with the reader face to face. Indeed, as far as cities go, I do have good things to say about the Twin Cities.

For starters, I’ve enjoyed a few local restaurants that are worth naming. On a few occasions, I’ve eaten lunch at The Dry Dock Cafe, and, personally, I think they have a good menu and pretty decent service. It’s an order at the counter type of thing, but I don’t recall waiting too awfully long for the food, which, as I say, was decent. The downside is that the main part of the restaurant doesn’t seat more than about 30 by my guess, but they do have an overflow area, too. Then, the other day, we ate at a place called Elsie’s, on Marshall Avenue (I think), about a dozen or so blocks north (I think) of Hennepin Avenue. Service was excellent; what I ordered could’ve been better, but it wasn’t bad, either. It seems like a lot of food, in any case.

I had the opportunity to drive the boom truck this week (and last) and all of the trips involved driving a semi-class truck in downtown traffic. One of the trips took us all the way from the repair shop in Bloomington to our yard area in Northtown (Fridley). So that took a little getting used to. I must say, I have respect for the people that drive the big rigs in downtown traffic on a regular basis. Less space, more traffic, and more pedestrians all combine for a bigger challenge. Still, I managed okay, I guess.

I’ve taken a few photos just to show my family the area where we’ve been working. On the whole, the camera phone has been pretty cooperative. I’ve identified several landmarks on our horizon. From where we are normally working, I can see the Federal Reserve bank; I can see the IDS tower; and I can see the Foshay tower.

Which reminds me. I noticed this link while browsing a poet’s website, recently. Though I appreciated the interesting history of the primary photo, what caught my eye was the IDS tower. Back from the haze (of my memory) another image slowly appears, like the effect one imagines a baby sees when first learning how to play peek_a_boo with a tissue over his eyes.

It was 1972. The Viet Nam War was still raging. Walter Cronkite, that immeasurable icon who seemed to wear the mantles of David Brinkley and Edward R. Murrow, grimly reported the carnage while jerky footage of the theatre of war replayed incessantly behind him. He comforted rural America with a slight upturned mouth and his signature words (as I recall) of “That’s the way it was, Tuesday, April 8th”. The crimes of Watergate’s CREEP had not yet come to light. I was five years old.

But it was the summer of ’72, following baseball’s spring player’s strike. It was the summer Minnesota’s Rod Carew led the American League with a .318 batting average. The Yankees and the Twins would finish the year in the middle of their respective AL divisions, but they would meet in the choking heat of old Metropolitan stadium in Bloomington. I remember not so much the game, but the fact that my three brothers and my mom and dad were sitting together on the cheap seats up high in the concrete stands and eating hotdogs. I think the hotdogs were boiled, and probably not the best combination for a searingly hot day, but we ate them anyway.

And in the summer of 1972, in the year the IDS tower was completed, we went to visit the skyscraper that would be, by law, the tallest building on the Twin Cities skyline for 30 years. Standing near by, like a shorter but older brother, is the Foshay building. I have seen its red-lit name from the vast heights and from the nearby canyons. It is a monument, I suppose, but whether it is a tribute to the greatness of man or the foolishness of greed, I dare not say.

This was also the year before a certain Hillary Rodham was thrust (or niggled her way) into the spotlight as
part of the prosecution team in the Watergate scandal. The scandal began breaking upon the Nixon administration early in 1973. Thus, it was ironic that one who helped to prosecute one presidency would, herself, be embroiled in another presidential scandal some 25 years later.

The year 1972 also predates the opening of the Supreme Court’s own Pandora’s Box. It would not be until January, 1973, that the now infamous Roe V. Wade decision was handed down, attacking both morality and state’s rights in the same day.

In short, 1972 was still an age of innocence for me. So it was that I also recall the scene on the toy floor of the once-great Dayton Hudson store. Like any other child soon to enter first grade, I was ecstatic about the rooms full of toys around me. Until we approached the Great Bear. I called my mother the other day to confirm the accuracy of my memory, and my memory served me right. There I was, in shorts, Charlie Brown t-shirt, and canvas sneakers with the white rubber toe, standing with my back to the largest ursus theodorus I had ever seen. It towered above me to the ceiling and could have hugged all four of us boys, it was so wide. It was a Kodak moment. She has the proof.

Ah, memories. Ah, Minneapolis. Ah, wisdom from growing older.