Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Minnesota's finest


Okay, the Twins have won only three games in their last 22.  On Saturday, the North Dakota State Bison trampled the Minnesota Gophers, 37-24, embarrassingly, given that the Bison are, in fact, from North Dakota.  So what if the Detroit Lions are, shockingly, 3-0 now?  The fact is, the much-feared Vikings got whacked yesterday by the otherwise hapless Lions, 27-24, despite the Vikes having run up a 20-point lead in the first half.  You read that right.  There's true sadness in Mudville, Minnesota, these days.

No matter.  I'm an Iowa Hawkeye fan, and my soul still belongs to Green Bay, even though I left my Wisconsin home years and years ago.  So who cares about Minnesota sports?

They've got the nation's best old-time radio show, one of American's finest story-tellers at the helm.  They've got a literary tradition that won't quit and won't leave and love the place so much they even write about it, despite the fact that one of their most famous favorite sons, Sinclair Lewis, hated its small towns and its people.  No matter.  If you eat downtown Sauk Center, you can get a big, fat Sinclair Lewis cheeseburger in an old Palmer House that has all the memorabilia you'll ever want to see of the old soak anyway.  Besides, today, who reads him?  Did I mention?--fries come with.  

The Twin Cities have created one of the healthiest theater climates in the nation, Minnesota's museums are superb, and their historical society pulses with life and publications.  

And what's not to like about "up north?"  Ten thousand lakes, but who's counting?  Lakeshores to die for.  Walleye and perch and pan fish.  Besides, a hearty winter kills off mosquitoes and deer flies.  The truth is, below-zero temps are plain good for the soul, an annual frosty reminder of original sin.  Tornadoes?--sure, but Minnesota nice means big-hearted neighborliness New Orleans knows absolutely nothing of.  Lutherans abound, countless church basement pot lucks most every Sabbath.


Garrison Keillor long ago taught Minnesotans to laugh at themselves and, in Fargo, the Cohn Brothers, also locals, taught them to chuckle at the way they talk, don't you know?  If you want a red plaid wool hunting jacket, you can still get one, made right there in Bemidji, as they've been for four generations.  Lots of people wear them proudly.

Maybe my wife and I will join them next year, at least for awhile.  I hope so.  It'll be a blessing.

So what if their sports teams are flailing like a wounded duck?  Minnesota's got a thousand other gifts, and maybe the best one of all, at least to an apple-a-day guy like me, is that juicy Honey Crisp I just bit into.  They're back again, available only in the fall it seems, a dream of an apple first concocted by researchers at the University of Minnesota.

Listen, if you get up early in the morning like I do, and, first thing, reach for the apple basket, then, even in darkness, take your first bite as you're going down stairs, you know right away it's going to be a good morning if what you just bit into splashes juice all over your jaw.  You got yourself a Honey Crisp, Minnesota's finest.

This morning, for the first time this fall, I bit into one, and I can't stifle the praises.  It's Honey Crisp season, even here in Iowa.  They're much more expensive than other apples, but they're the best, hands down.  

Just the same, I wish the Vikings well

Except when they play the Packers.    

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