Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I write today form the abode of a dear high school friend who now lives in one of the suburbs of Minneapolis. A couple of months ago, another friend and I determined that it was time to see a baseball game at Target Field. I checked the Twins schedule and found that they would be playing the Yankees (without whom there is no such thing as baseball), and we arranged to make the trip.

So it was that I found myself making the long drive across South Dakota on Sunday afternoon having finished my Masses for the weekend and making a pastoral visit in Rapid City. Traffic was light, road construction was intermittent, and the highway patrol was otherwise occupied. These conditions not withstanding, I did not arrive in Golden Valley until nearly midnight Central Time. Brief greetings were made, and all of us made our way to our various makeshift sleeping areas (The trip, I suppose it must be mentioned, was equally meant to be a housewarming event. My friend has recently acquired this home, and as she is single, has little call for more than one bed.). Taylor claimed the guest room with its accompanying air mattress. I occupied the couch in the basement.

Monday morning arrived blissfully late. A cup of coffee and a short drive later, I found myself standing in the lobby of my alma mater chatting with the two resident Rapid City seminarians as we awaited the arrival of Mass time. It was great fun to enter the seminary sacristy as a cleric. I held none of the mild terror that accompanied my visits there as a student preparing to read, serve, or assist as a deacon. I was an equal. Nothing is quite so intimidating, however, as doing anything churchy in front of a group of seminarians. I was only a concelebrant, but was still a bit nervous.

Mass having been successfully accomplished, I was escorted to a nearby Chinese Buffet for a quick lunch with the guys. Back on campus, I caught up with one of the heirs of the Wall Drug Store dynasty, and then went to order clerical shirts at the local religious goods dealer.

By the time I was ready to return to the house, traffic had already become heavy. Why are so many people driving at 3:15 pm? I had expected this to be a harrowing experience given that I have not driven in traffic for some years, but with a large dent in the back of my trunk and a South Dakota license plate, the locals gave me a relatively wide berth. I walked into the house with just enough time to finish my Divine Office before I was whisked off to a dinner of Thai food. Briana and I came back to the house just in time for me to switch cars and head back into the city for drinks with Taylor and a friend of his. This was to become an hour long distillation of all I detest. We found parking near The Ice House, and upon entering I was immediately grateful I hadn't worn my collar. There was a five dollar cover just to have the privilege of sitting in the bar which throbbed with babble of youthful hipster voices, the clink of tiny glasses filled with impoverishingly expensive trendy drinks, and the stylings of a free form jazz group on the stage. The last of these was the worst. The drummer was simply obnoxious. Loud, without any discernible method to his playing, and a giant ham to boot, he made conversation nearly impossible. The group itself was simply awful. At a certain point they played a modified banjo that sounded a bit like a sitar. This, combined with the upright bass, left one with the impression that they were attempting to combine the theme music from Jaws and Slumdog Millionaire.

The party we were to join was composed of two couples, one of which had recently wed and seemed rather normal, the other of which was the coupling of a mohawked, fang-toothed drummer and she who is the third in command of Minnesota's DNC. Trendy, Hipster, Loud, and Liberal, I was for out of my own circle of comfort. Thus, in a certain wicked irony, I was grateful that the "music" permitted little conversation. Just as the set was ending, we decided to take our leave.

Minnesota is a study in contrasts I suppose. Minneapolis and St. Paul are called the Twin Cities, but they are estranged twins. One is subdued, largely homogenous, and seemingly wholesome. The other is loud, wild, and diverse. Most of the state is populated by stoic workers of the land, but they are often overruled in public affairs by those who dwell in the cities. Prince, the Cohen Brothers, and Bob Dylan were all born and educated here. Michelle Bachman represents them in Congress. I am driven mad by the crowds, the noise, and the politics. I love to take advantage of the art, restaurants, and the learning the aforementioned made possible. It is good to be here. 


  1. Glad you are enjoying it. Tho' there are some, Brianna included who live there or close that I would like to visit, I refuse to put myself at the mercy of the city folks and their snobbish treatment of one who I am sure they consider beneath them in IQ and work, as I am merely a hick who dervie's his income from working with his hands and on occasion getting fertilizer (as I am sure they might think of it) on those scarred hands.... Have fun and collect some stories to tell me upon your return...

  2. We live west of the Cities, dennisranch, so you could come see us and never set foot in Minneapolis or St. Paul...hint, hint... :-)

    It is a place of vexing contrasts, isn't it, Father?


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