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Minnesota Adventure

January 3, 2016

My daughter and her family took P. and me to visit the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota. Turns out this center is national in name only, being a private enterprise. Clara suggested that its “national” designation was on a par with the National Wood Carving Center, also in Minnesota, I think. Nonetheless, we piled into the Toyota Sienna Minivan: Clara and her husband, our three grandchildren, ages 6, 8, and 10, P. and me. Clara forbids me from using the children’s names on Facebook or on my popular blog, with its tens of readers.

You know what you’ve heard about Minnesota winters? They are all true.

En route we made the usual jokes, small talk, sang the usual songs. Additionally we told new jokes and sang new songs, such as this one that I learned from Clara’s brother Robert:

Twinkle twinkle chocolate bar
Your dad drives a rusty car.
Pull the lever, push the choke,
Drive away in a trail of smoke.
Twinkle twinkle chocolate bar
Your dad drives a rusty car.

After 40 minutes or so, two of the kids complained of nausea. Clara’s husband handed back a stocking cap for someone to vomit into. I opened up two plastic Walmart bags. Clara drove slower. We eventually reached the National Eagle Center. No one had gotten sick.

The highlight of the Center experience: a lecture by a small woman with broad smile who spoke with confidence of the eagle’s ability to eject its poop six feet, clear of its nest.

We were some of the first into the lecture room so I sat in the second row next to a large old hairy, bearded man in coveralls. He began asking me questions, such as where we were from and how long we planned to stay. I asked him if he was an old pot-smoking hippie. He hesitated. Too long, I thought.

“Come on!” I demanded.

“Not since they made it legal to smoke,” he said. Of course I didn’t believe him.

 

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