Minnesota: It’s Really Hard To Put Into Words

The Transportation Safety Authority apparently gets suspicious of luggage containing a hand weight, tennis ball and Trader Joe’s corn tortilla crackers. When I opened the bag I checked when I got home from Minnesota, there was a note inside that said, in essence, “X-ray showed you travel with some weird shit, lady, so we opened your bag and dug around. Sorry if we packed it back up wrong. XOXO, TSA.”

Hope they liked the pink lacy thong laying on top.

Minnesota was amazing – warm, sunny, humid. Just the way I remembered. Except for a few mosquito bites on my rear end (I swear I was clothed in public the entire time) and a few mysterious bruises, I suffered no injuries or traffic accidents, something I always worry about when I’m driving a rental car. I’m never sure if I really actually have that rental car coverage on my insurance policy, but I refuse to spend $30 a day for the rental car company’s insurance coverage. My bad, I know.

Minnesota is a complicated place for me because I spent the most formative of years there and I have a really good memory. I remember who did what to me and others when and where, and in vivid detail. It’s a gift and a curse. I can recount details most people forget, like what I was wearing the first time a boy French kissed me (jeans and a purple hand-me-down short-sleeved empress cotton shirt, boys basketball sneakers and a navy blue windbreaker). I was in 7th grade, his name was Ricky, and when I saw him again last weekend at our school reunion, he actually remembered our failed attempt at lust. Too funny.

There were other people I saw, visits I’ve tried to put into words since I’ve been home, but I’m afraid I can’t do it. For instance, I can’t adequately discuss my visit with my friend David, who was my former pastor, because there are really are no words to describe our four-hour visit that involved completing the circle of him and me and my late husband Bruce. We are so intricately connected that it’s almost too precious and private to write about or even breathe the words in a conversation.

The same holds true for Pam D and Pam F; Todd and Wendell and James and Lisa; Dean, Rhonda, Robin, Jeanine, Scott, Jim, Mavis, Mavis, Norma and Bob. Because of violent vomiting, I didn’t get to see my friend Val (a major bug went through her household of several children and adults) and that made me very sad. But otherwise, the vacation was spot on. I slept in 8 beds in 9 nights and I’m still trying to catch up on sleep three days home.

Today is my birthday and I can’t think of a better gift than the gift of visiting my Minnesota friends and family. Oh wait, I’m also going to the Journey, Heart and Cheap Trick concert this weekend in beautiful Scranton, Pennsylvania. Another b-day gift to myself.

Do you do this, too? Get so involved in a visit home or with a friend that you can’t digest it all? I’ve had several emails from folks saying they want details about the trip, but this is all I can give. It’s all I’ve got. The rest is in my head. And in the photos. Here are a few more from the trip. Thanks for understanding about the words part.


Me and BFF Pam D. Her 5-year-old son Jack gave up his bed for me, but Pam was the one who paid the ultimate price since Jack and his fourteen legs and arms slept with her that night. Thanks for taking a few bruises for the team, Pam.


The house I used to live in. My bedroom I snuck out of on occasion was on the top right. Thank god I never broke a limb. Although if my parents found out, they might done the honors. Just kidding Mom and Dad! Confession is good for the soul, right?


This is my friend Scott and his wife Marian. I've known Scott since I was in 5th grade. Initially he was my older sister's friend, but he quickly became part of our family. When my husband died, he never left me. He came over every morning and night to do chores, and when I moved back to Minneapolis, he always checked up on me to make sure I was OK. Scott is the poster child for friendship.


This is Carlene with my daughter Carlene. She is who Carlene is named after. Bruce (my late husband and Carlene's father) and Carlene were good friends. When we talked about what we'd name our baby if it was a girl, Bruce wanted Carlene and I wanted Miranda. After 13 hours of labor and delivering our ginormous baby girl, I was a little tired. Bruce said, "So what do you think, honey? Is she a Carlene?" I was in no position to argue, especially with a doctor between my legs administering 35 stitches to make me whole again. But in hindsight, Carlene is a Carlene. I'm really glad she got to meet her namesake last weekend.


This isn't the best photo in the world and I apologize, but it is a photo of the best choir director ever. Bob Jones taught both Bruce and me, and he became our friend after high school. Watching him direct the all-school choir on Sunday made me so happy I cried. Bob can coax music out of anyone, even me. He recognized Bruce's god-given talent – he had a silky smooth tenor voice that made girls weak in the knees – and spurred him on to win national awards and to travel abroad with a national chorus. I cried when I heard the choir because I know how much Bruce would have loved to be a part of the group. Watching Bob direct again was a poignant and unique reminder of my past. I'm very glad he and Carlene finally got to meet. I'm pretty sure, judging by the tears in his eyes, that he was glad to meet her, too. For in her eyes, you see Bruce.

3 thoughts on “Minnesota: It’s Really Hard To Put Into Words

  1. Happy Birthday!!
    I refuse, when we’ve rented cars, to shell out the extra $$ for rental car insurance, I think we’re covered in our regular insurance, but since we rarely rent cars I have no idea.
    I’m glad that I’m not the only one who can’t digest all of a trip. Often we come home and it’s just all in my head, and/or in pictures but the rest of it, just has to wait. Great pictures by the way.

  2. Happy Birthday, my friend!!
    Glad you had a wonderful trip, and thank you for sharing those memories that you could. I don’t comment often, but am always reading!

  3. I’m glad your trip was everything you wanted it to be. I think it’s always good to go home and remember where you came from. Hope your birthday was just Great!!!

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