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60/20 Tour: Americana Weekend, Rural Wisdom and Vacuum Cleaners

Kingsway Belle Plaine and Brookdale Eden Prairie

Had a total Americana weekend in Minneapolis hanging out at the Minnesota State Fair!  The previous weekend I had been in Southern California to see my daughter Perrin sing, and while there I spent some time at the Santa Monica pier. What a contrast to wander through 200,000 Minnesotans and compare that to a weekend in Southern California – yikes.  It’s a cliché to bring up,  but there is a LOT of food on a stick at that fair! I loved hanging out with the pigs,  cows, and yes,  goats. It’s been a delight to have co-founder Leslie Sweeney join the tour.  She had never been to Minnesota before, but after a day at the fair, she’s feeling like a local!  And she pounded a wild deluxe corndog like a seasoned veteran.

We had two visits today.  First, we headed through the lush Minnesota highways to Belle Plaine and Kingsway Retirement Community. Sharon Blume has been a long-time iN2L advocate, so it was worth a jaunt to thank her for her support.  Fascinating to see the dynamics of senior living in many rural communities. Here it doesn’t have the stigma it does in more urban areas;  it almost seems like just a natural progression of small-town life.  The people know each other,  their kids,  their grandkids,  and there’s a sense of stepping back into yesteryear, the good parts of yesteryear.  We had a fun cruise and croon with my friend Delores, who was animated,  lively and full of energy.  It became poignant as she talked about losing her husband last year after 71 years of marriage.  She was grateful for all the years they had,  but his loss wore on her heart.  I am so honored when people open up in these conversations – it happens more than I would have imagined.

On to an afternoon at Brookdale Eden Prairie, another experience where conversations go where you wouldn’t expect.  The energetic staff (yeah Amber!) had set up Rod and Larry as cruisers. As we started down the suburban roads, we engaged in everyday banter.  I asked what I thought was a pretty innocuous question, “Do you guys have any hobbies?”  And the answer from Rod was wild.  He rolled into a diatribe about his obsession with vacuum cleaners – he collected vacuum cleaners!  What?  Up to 14 at one time,  and he could delve into exquisite detail about various models. FYI,  it’s all about the Kirby!  Brookdale keeps delivering on the 60/20 Tour:  the infamous Jackie O from Kansas and now Rod, the vacuum cleaner man!  What a journey!

Onward to Wisconsin!

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