Sunday, August 7, 2016

Part 1 of the Adventures in the North: The Unfamiliar within the Familiar.

On Friday evenings, I drink. Heavily. I should blame it on being a Midwestern Northern WASP male. But I don't, I blame it on being alive and I blame it on myself for letting my job grind me up into a working-man-zombie-burger, USDA Prime, aged 32 years. And while the blame is being divvied out: I blame the repeal of the 18th amendment, Jimmy Carter and the states California and Washington for spearheading the craft brew movement, Kentucky for the sweet, delicious, scrumtrulescent nectar of the Old Gods: bourbon, and the human race for it's pure luck and ingenuity; our proclivity for taking every advantage of a fortuitous accident. The birth of the new is rooted in the Chaos of the present. Not that I'm going to drag us into the philosophical rabbit hole or make you choose the pill that makes you larger against the one that makes you smaller. If so inclined, go ask Alice. Or, in good faith, Jefferson Airplane.

I digress; detoured not lost; Fridays I drink because I work.

You work, you get paid, you drink.
You get bandannas and ice cream when you win at the track.
That's life.
So I do what WASPS do. I took a vacation. A homecoming actually, but without the pomp and circumstance. Just to my liking.

 Minnesota. I hadn't been home during the summer since 2013, I think. On account of weather, don't feel bad for me. Especially if you're from the North. I know you won't. I live in the land of perpetual sunshine. California. Is not a sentence, but a land of many things: the bear flag (badass), Surf City, Fame, Xanax and Chardonnay Lunch. But at this time of year there is a small window of time in the cosmic experience where the weather in my two homes, Minnesota & California, is essentially the same. There was a slight bump in humidity, but summertime Minnesota, next to a lake, during the summer, has Orange County California beat in the beauty contest by droves of mosquitoes. Correction, swarms of mosquitoes. 
Minnesota, in a canoe, on a lake, during the summer, is heaven. Here's my friend, Ed, who braved the waters in the canoe with me. Thanks for paddling 5 miles with me, Ed. Not to mention the 10 miles of mountain biking.
If it weren't for the open plains and perfect square sections of land I got a bird's eye view of coming in, it seemed the tin-can time machine, owned and operated by Allegiant Airlines, failed to transport me across time & space. Irony is proof of God, for irony can be no other than God's sense of humor, which is, by necessity, wonderful. That said, it is quite ironic that time travel takes so long. The time magnified and slowed exponentially by the pain developing in your ass. Airplane seats suffer the same disarming fate of anything that could be good: value engineering.

But the flights were uneventful this time around. I'm grateful for that. Fuck turbulence.
The North Farmlands. Just outside of Fargo.
Look at all that open space, California.
I wrote another blog about home in 2014. You can find that here. This piece is not that one. Here, I explore and discover within the familiar. In 2014, I expressed the feeling of the familiar - the experience of being home. While this piece and that one may share feeling, sentiment and nostalgia, the following, I hope, is more experiential and experimental than it is existential; though I am sure it is that as well. This one has 137% more pictures though, so... there is that.

First off, I became a Godfather and an uncle. I told you God has a sense of humor. I'm sure Grady will grow up to be a fine man. I would only be concerned with the influence of his Godfather. That should probably be limited for the dude is a little off. Also part of life.

Second, I drank there too. Though not as much as Fridays in general, except for the Thursday I was there. That was like a Friday. 
When in the North, drink it.

So after flying in to Fargo, spending Saturday and part of Sunday with my in-laws, attending the baptism and swearing in of the new Godfather, I parted ways with my in-laws and my wife. Taking my ever faithful shadow dog Tater-Tot, we ventured off to my hometown, Lake Bronson, MN thanks to my good friend and resident mad-man, Josh (more on him later) who delivered me from Fargo to Grand Forks and my wonderful mother, who, in the big city, was searching for a new fridge since the one at home from the Reagan years finally died, brought me the rest of the way. Not that it matters but  Lake Bronson is home to less people than were on my flight to Fargo, but I love it just the same. Perhaps because of that.
My faithful companion Tater Tot seen here
making sure the Frisbee is dead before
demanding I bring it back from the dead
by throwing it. Again. And again. And..
So once I was settled in and my parents grew accustomed to this silly man-bun thing I had going on, I had a couple beers, some Pizza Corner pizza (one of the old and one of the new, not the same), and got some rest for I had plans for next day.

Monday, I awoke, made some coffee while I allowed Tater out in the wide open nothing to do her morning business, and searched around some of the sheds on the property for a mountain bike. Once procuring said bike, I loaded it into a car that was much too small to handle said bike and hence required the assistance of what is called a "bungee strap" (or "tarp strap" to you weirdos) in order to deliver it, flat tires and rusted chain, to my father's auto shop. After some penetrating oil and dry graphite lubrication, as well as some adjustment to the breaks and shifting mechanisms, I was able to get the bike back into working order. 

My wife's bike, which had found it's home on my parents
property, gets set for another voyage. It proved to almost
kill me, or rather I did by way of it.
The bike was a necessity, for my plan was to bike to and within Lake Bronson State Park. The town of Lake Bronson was once referred to just as Bronson. During the depression, the WPA was utilized to dam the river in the neighboring area and create a lake. Thus the state park and the lake, christened Lake Bronson for the town, came into existence. Then, the town was renamed Lake Bronson. A lake named for the town, the town named for the lake. God at work again with that irony.

I packed backpack, water, granola bars, a towel, and my wife's extremely expensive camera (what could wrong?), drowned myself in sunblock, packed what I thought was a working bottle of mosquito repellent and took off for the park. It's a mile out of town, but due to a grant the town received, a bike path has been built from town to the park, and to the dam. Not that it's really needed. There isn't much traffic. There isn't any traffic, really. I raced a tractor into town during the week and mostly won that race. But I'm mostly out of shape too. So I'm mostly just awesome then. According to my Fitbit it took me 12 minutes to make it from town to the dam. Maybe not so awesome, but it was a fun ride. I took some pictures:

The Lake Bronson dam from the down river side. It was flowing really well when I was home due to a recent bout of rains in the area. A great roar of water filled my ears while it took me 20 attempts at a panoramic.
Here is really bad picture of a picture inside of a plaque
depicting the construction of the dam in 1937.
There is much more to share and as such, I planned from the start to break this up in parts. Probably a trilogy because trilogies are awesome but I won't know for sure until I get there. Some highlights from the next episode!

*Mike sees a boat!
*enters the ranger station for the first time in his life
*climbs a popular attraction
*remembers to remember he's just an okay swimmer
*almost dies! Bears live here..

I hope you come around for part 2. Some personal notes on me right now:

Listening to: "White Bear" by The Temperance Movement
Reading or recently read: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Ernest Hemingway, "Catch 22" by Joseph Heller. Upcoming reads: "Jailbird" and "Mother Night" by Kurt Vonnegut and "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck.

Whiskey & the Wolves is still being built member by member, football season is coming up, and I'm just learning how to deal with long hair like the California hippie I'm supposed to be. Here's proof of how terrible I am at it. Take care, readers and may we meet again on the long road back to the middle.


1 comment:

  1. Great prose! I also love your grammar skills. Makes us all proud. The Braget English gene is strong! Haha!! Your aunt in Orlando