On Thursday evening, we had 8 people in our coach. Now you may say, gee, even in your 42 footer, that’s a crowd. But there was plenty of room… how was that? Well, 3 of our six visitors came from “the other side”. Let me explain. Suzanne’s literary agent, Bill Hammond, had lost his wife Victoria two years ago. On Bill’s birthday, Suzanne gave Bill a highly evidential reading that proved she was still with him every day. Bill asked Suzanne if she would give his sister Chris a reading; she was grieving over the death of her husband Tom. That also went very well, and they asked Suzanne to give Victoria’s best friend Pat a reading; she had recently lost her husband John. This third reading also went very well. When Bill heard that we were coming to Minneapolis, he asked Chris and Pat if they would like to come visit to meet Suzanne. The original plan was to get together with us for dinner this coming Saturday. On Wednesday, Chris flew in from Scottsdale, AZ, and on Thursday Pat drove 500 miles from Nebraska to the Twin Cities. Because all three of their readings had gone so well, Suzanne invited the three of them over for a special group reading, and asked their spouses, Victoria, Tom and John, to join us from the other side. It was also special for me because I had never before been present for one of Suzanne’s readings. It was a wonderful evening, with visits and evidence from the three spouses that left us all crying and laughing. Bill even remarked that he had never heard of some of the information that came through from his wife Victoria about some grade school pranks that she and Pat had kept secret for 50 years. When greater focus was no longer required, we toasted our spirit visitors with glasses of Cabernet and Chardonnay and some Cherries Jubilee. All in all, it was a very, very special evening.
In spite of our Learning Minnesotan Training Video, we are having some difficulties here in The Frozen North. One of the problems arises with pronunciations of local words. The town of Wayzata, for example, is not pronounced Way-za-ta like it looks. Locals say “Why-zet-a”. This is interesting because the three “a’s” are each pronounced differently. How is a Southern boy supposed to talk like a Minnesotan when they don’t follow any logical rules of linguistics?
Speaking of Wayzata, My Lovely Bride decided we should take a bike ride from that exclusive, keetchie (not sure about spelling, but you ladies understand that word, right?) town on Lake Minnetonka to St. Bonifacius on the Dakota Rail Trail, a 16 mile bike trail that runs through gently rolling countryside and along several lakes. “But first… Let me run inside this boutique we passed the other day… it looks really neat!” I should have known I was in trouble when I saw the sign, “Hot Mama”. It was suggested that I take a walk, get a cup of coffee, take some pictures, prep the bikes, fill the water bottles and read the Sunday New York Times… yes, I was in deep doo-doo. She came back an hour or three later with a smile on her face and bags in her hand, saying, “Darling, you know I haven’t bought any clothes all summer, right? You know that I love you, right? You want me to look good, right?” (I knew I was doomed; maybe my banker will give me a second mortgage on the house…) Evidently she walked in and announced to the several unoccupied clerks and fashion advisors, “I’ve worn khaki uniforms for 20 years… Help Me!” Can you imagine their reaction? They kept throwing clothes at her until she succumbed. Anyway, Suzanne refused to show me any of her new outfits until after our bike ride. (And yes, they were very stylish.)
Our 32 mile bike ride was delightful. We pedaled out of Wayzata on a smooth paved trail past unassuming hovels like this place with the Statue of Liberty flanked by two gilded lions, probably owned by a member of the Minnesota Mafia (are there Norwegian and Swedish Godfathers and Wise Guys?). I have to admire the owners’ patriotism, if not their sense of style; I’m sure the home’s interior is also very understated…)
I’m not sure I could stand winters here (although I do enjoy snowshoeing, and have often wondered what frostbite actually felt like), but this house in Minnetonka Beach really caught my eye. With a beautiful lakeside lot, it could tempt me to think about spending a summer or two sailing an E-Scow on fresh water…
I mentioned sailing E-Scows on fresh water because I have always lived on or near salt water. I have owned seven sailboats over the years, crossed the Atlantic on our own sailboat, but have never even been aboard a sailboat in fresh water. This particular design by Buddy Melges is 80 years old, and still one of the most popular racing boats in the world. The design is based on a high-speed planing hull, and is so fast that the boat can even tow a water skier. It has always been a favorite of mine, but I’ve only read about them.
Here’s another quirky thing about Minnesota: there are a bizzilion lakes here, and every one seems to have a restaurant or bar named “Sunsets” or “Sunset View”. They are invariably located on the east side of the lake, on Lake Street (where else?), with a deck or windows facing west or southwest toward the setting sun. Now I realize that’s a great gimmick to get people to come out on those rare days when (a) it’s not 30 below, (b) the sun shines and (c) the lakes aren’t frozen over, to enjoy the setting sun with a PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon, the apparent brew of choice judging by the roadside signage). But what about the west side, the poor side of the lakes? Why aren’t there at least a few “Sunrise” bars and grills, or at least cafes, so lonely ice fishermen can gather before trudging out onto the lakes in the early dawn’s light to dig a hole in the ice and fish for perch? Last night was our first Minneapolis event. We held a private screening of the Messages of Hope documentary at the Lake Harriet Spiritual Center. Several friends attended, including Pat and Jim from Duluth, Terri and Pam from Coon Rapids, and Bill, Pat and Chris mentioned in an earlier paragraph. (Here’s Suzanne showing a special prop from the film viewing.)
Over 50 attendees watched the film, followed by a book signing. Here Suzanne and Echo Bodine, noted Minneapolis author, medium, and psychic, chat at the end of the evening.
After we wrapped up, we joined Troy (a medium and film producer), Terri and Pam for coffee and ice cream at a nearby shop. They were all “good”, having coffee, while My Lovely Bride and I were “bad”, splurging on BIG ice cream cones. Our discussions ranged from mediumship to film making to current events, including Syria. On the last subject (I’m not very conversant with spiritual topics or film making), Troy said he found my lack of political correctness refreshing… I’m not sure if I should be flattered by that! It was a fun end to the evening, and we hated to say good night, but Rudy and Gretchen, who made a special appearance on stage, were ready to head home.
In closing, Suzanne just emailed me a photo from a restaurant where she had met Echo Bodine for lunch. It was an Oriental restaurant, and Suzanne mentioned to their server, Alex, that she would like a bowl of Pho, a Vietnamese soup. Alex replied that they didn’t have bowls of Pho, only cups and latrines. Suzanne was taken aback, and asked him to repeat the second word… “Latrines…” She tried unsuccessfully to stifle a laugh, saying, “In the military, a “latrine” is a toilet.” Alex looked surprised, and said, “Excuse me; I’ll be right back.” He came back a few minutes later and sheepishly said, “You were right; it’s not a latrine, it’s a tureen. I’ve been calling it a latrine since I’ve worked here, and no one has ever called me on it.”