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Road trip to Minnesota

Laugh Tracks in the Dust
Milo Yield
Damphewmore Acres, Kan.

So far, crossing our fingers and knocking on my wooden forehead has worked to keep ol’ Nevah and I from coming down with the CV. If we stay lucky that way, then our five-night trip to the Twin Cities in Minnesota last week for our Colorado grandson’s wedding was a pleasant trip to enjoy family and friends and share in he and his fiancee’s signature event. If our luck runs out, we were foolhardy.

We avoided motels both coming and going by overnighting with my good sheep-shearing friend, ol’ Nick deHyde, and his family near Boone, Iowa. While in Minnesota, we stayed in an AirBnB in a southwest suburb of Minneapolis, near Lake Minnetonka.

We never ventured even close to all the rioting and looting that’s happened recently in that city.

The wedding went off without a hitch at a scenic venue — a local vineyard, apple orchard and winery owned by friends of our new grand-daughter-in-law’s family. I wuz struck by how heavy the fall apple and grape harvest is going to be there, since I’ve not picked one single apple, pear, apricot, or cherry from our fruit trees here at Damphewmore Acres in two years.

Here comes a short travelogue about our trip — and our observations. We left on Thursday morning and traveled through Kansas City, to St. Joseph and on through Des Moines and up to just south of Boone.

On Friday we took I-35 north toward the Twin Cities, but dodged west and avoided most of the city traffic. We had a close two-family meal that evening hosted by the bride’s family. They live right on Lake Minnetonka, so after supper, we all got an evening tour of the lake on the family’s nice boat.

On Saturday, we frittered away the day at the AirBnB, playing cards with the grandkids until time for the early evening wedding rehearsal and dinner again at the bride’s family. We got the chance to meet our new Tennessee grandson-in-law for the first time, since we skipped that wedding last month. That evening, we tanked up again on fine food and a wide choice of Minnesotan’s favorite beverages.

The wedding wuz Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at the winery. It wuz a big, outdoor affair with a fine high view of a small vineyard backed by an arm of one of Minnesota’s famous lakes. The state’s CV restrictions put a bit of a damper on the post wedding festivities and dance, but everyone still had a fine time. Many of our new grand-daughter-in-law’s extended family still live and farm in eastern South Dakota so I felt right at home meeting and visiting with them.

That night the fall season’s first cold front moved through with drizzly rain. On Monday, our Tennessee family had an early flight home so they left the B&B at 7:30 a.m. and Nevah and I shut the place down at 9 a.m. and headed home.

We took the long way home and went southwest to New Ulm, Minn., where I bought two cases of the famous Schell’s Brewery Deer Brand beer — one regular and one light. It’s a heavy, yeasty, tasty beer that I can’t buy in Kansas. And, it has the most beautiful beer cans ever made. From New Ulm we went mostly straight south into Iowa and back down to the deHydes for our second overnighter.

Here are two of my main observation’s about the trip. First, the crop, tree and building damage from the recent derecho storm that swept across Iowa, Illinois and into Indiana was inimaginable. The worst damage started narrow on the ground and got wider as it went east. It started just a few miles west of Luther, Iowa. The damage makes you sick — grain bins crunched like aluminum beer cans, some old barns collapsed, huge trees and power lines snapped off, and field after field of flattened corn.

The corn damage wuz variable. In the most mature fields the stalks were broken off or flattened like flood waters had hit them. The green, later maturing fields fared much better in most places. The soybean fields fared much better because the plants were green and closer to the ground.

Many farmers had already shredded and tilled their corn fields. Some have baled the stalks. For the rest of them, the fall corn harvest will be a tangled-up mess with low yields. Most likely, many fields of stalks will be grazed.

Nevah and I were sure glad we’d moved from the area 16 years ago. If you saw the pictures of the huge grain bins crunched off their foundations at the co-op in Luther, Iowa., that wuz 3 miles east of our home when we lived there. Thankfully, the deHydes and all our other friends just suffered unbelievable tree damage, but little damage to homes, barns, and outbuildings.

My second observation, and surprising to me, is that on the entire trip we saw hundreds of front yards with political signs — and not a single one for Biden. All for Trump. We had to laugh at the effort one Minnesota farmer had made to make his political preference known. He’d mowed down a patch of corn along the highway and parked a big yellow school bus in the middle. Then he’d somehow lifted a full-size old Chevy Suburban on the roof of the bus and painted “Trump — 2020” in 3-foot letters on its side.

On Tuesday, we drove home through Council Bluff, Nebraska City, Neb., Auburn, Neb., Topeka and home. It drizzled or rained on us all the way.

•••

Next week, I plan to resume my recollections of playtime and playthings from my callow youth.

Until then, here are this week’s words of wisdom: “It can takes weeks, months, or even years to fall in love with someone, but it never takes more than a minute to fall in love with a cute puppy.”

Have a good ‘un. ❖


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