I’ve been googling route suggestions from the Crater of the Moon in Idaho (Susan) to the Painted Dessert in Arizona (Maryanne) and points in between.  My friend Mickey suggested, and you might not know if he was being “tongue in cheek” or serious, that rather than the scenic wonders of the world he would vote for the Mall of America because he’s a “concrete and steel guy” who mainly appreciated “The Human Being” and  “massive industrial accomplishments”.  And then my cousin Marlene said “Yeah” to that because they live in Bloomington a few minutes away.  So now I’ve got some researching to do.

Mickey is a friend of many years standing, and so good in fact, that my daughter Noelle was the “best man” at his wedding about twenty years ago.  He was really a friend in deed last week when he showed up with his car crammed full of tools and took upon the many carpentry fix-ups that needed attention.  For that he gets many gold stars in heaven.  And we laughed and reminisced and philosophized and generally had the grandest time. I didn’t take a picture of him resizing the cabinet for the dishwasher or pounding down the deck boards, but I caught his back when we went to Lance’s house one afternoon.


That will have to do and it reminded me once again – that’s it’s all about friends.  We haven’t seen Mickey in ever so long, and we see Lance on a regular basis, but they are both friends in the very best and truest sense of the word. If left to his own devices, Robert would most likely be a rather insular fellow, happy to watch his birds and read some good books and play some poker and cook great meals.  Lance, on the other hand, naturally gravitates to fellowship and comradery so that now, his friendship will be sorely missed.

Lance, serving up pizza, banana splits and libations

So we’re talking up the lakes and the Otter Tail River, and of course, the Mall of America.

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