We are not Lunatics

Today’s post comes from Renee in North Dakota

My German relatives are coming to visit the US in August. Wilhelm and Petra will arrive at the end of the month to spend some time in Luverne with my mother’s cousin Elmer and his wife, Eunice. The Germans have been here before. Petra speaks English fluently, and Wilhelm not at all. Wilhelm is very interested in US farming techniques, and farms the small farm he inherited from his father. He is a retired auto worker and farms as a hobby.

These relatives were very gracious to us on our trip, meeting us in the Bremen train station and taking us to dinner. Their 25 year old daughter drove us all over Verden and Nedden, showing us sights important in the history of my family. We have a standing invitation to stay with them if we are ever in Bremen again, and we intend to take them up on their offer. We sent them a Pendleton Wool blanket  with Badlands motifs as a thank you gift.

Recent events in the US make me wonder what on earth they are thinking as they prepare for their trip. They plan to fly into New York, where they will be met by Elmer’s daughter, and she will fly back to Minneapolis with them. They will go to Luverne, and plan a trip to the Black Hills. I wish they had time to visit us, just three hours to the north of Rapid City. I  would take them to the ND Badlands and the reservation husband works on to meet our native friends. I think Yellowstone would be a nice destination, as well as Glacier. I want them to see the vastness, the enormity of the sky here, the ocean of grass, maybe even a rodeo. I know some ranchers Wilhelm would find fascinating.  They may even like Lawrence Welk’s home in Strasburg.

Our pastor spoke on Sunday about turning down the volume and finding some quiet sanity within ourselves, loving one another, and caring for the stranger. I hope that Petra and Wilhelm can see the good in us, and not think we are lunatics.

 Where would you take foreign visitors to show them that we are not lunatics?”  

50 thoughts on “We are not Lunatics”

  1. i think maybe lavurne is the best place. they are getting a taste of nyc as the go through customs and meet the daughter before flying off to meet elmer and view farming in everytown usa.
    we are really good at everytown here. the problem comes in the headlines and fox news coverage of the whacko of the day. islamic atacks on the train with an axe isis takes credit is todays headline. really whacko on a train is isis posterbo of the day. what is his father going to tell us about the poor mentally disturbed child?lets do a fox news special on him and have bill oreilly write a book to be sold at best buy and sams club.
    america is about folks from lavurne. elmers and eunice are a much better represntation of what is happening in america than the news is.
    i am really discusted witht eh sensational news coverage of each new isis clamed terrorist.
    i love glaicer and yellowstone but the drive through montana to get there is as good as if not better than the destination. traffic and scenic overlooks with signs and parking lots is nt what makes america great . it is the wide open spaces and the purple mountain majesty we drive by heading down the road in the west
    the amber waves of grain will blow willem away. the corn is as high as an elephants eye.the drive from minneapolis to lavurne is so peaceful. i love that drive. wo lane highways is what much of the world is about. headlines that point out there is no traffic jam in lavurne are rare. not good reading but a good life

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  2. I would take them to the Minneapolis Institute of Art – an above average gathering of the world’s visual creations. I would take them to the Lake Harriet bandshell and buy them an ice cream cone at the little pavilion there so we could watch the sailboats drift by. I would drive them out to the arboretum or go for a stroll along Minnehaha Creek. Perhaps dinner at Curran’s on Nicollet – about as unpretentious a place as you can find to get a slice of pie and a good burger. And if we want to go further afield, perhaps a drive north to catch the turtle races in Nisswa.

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  3. If you hope your guests will conclude that US citizens are not lunatics, make sure nobody lets them see coverage of the GOP convention in Cleveland. In fact, turning on the TV to any show might be risky.

    They did such a nice job of entertaining you. To return the favor, I’d ask them what sort of experiences they seek and what they’d prefer to avoid. I’d be inclined to avoid long car travel in favor of personal, intimate experiences. But your guests probably know what would amuse them.

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    1. so cancel the drive from lavurne to the black hills with nothing but south dakota in between?the corn palace wall drug on the way and sturgis just past are there but you hardly notice the blip on the screen going across the prairie.

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  4. I’m not accepting ownership for anything the Republicans and their ilk say or do, because, really, lunatic is too gentle a word for them. But as long as you are using a cumulative “we”, I think we are all lunatics, each in his or her own ways. There are so many ways to demonstrate that. We can say we’re not but if we’re lunatics, how would we know?

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    1. I think it was a full moon last night. I suppose we could all be lunatics. Perhaps we need to make a distinction between those of us who are kind and those of us who are not, sort of like the distinction between happy drinks and mean drunks.

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  5. Thanks, Renee, for another thoughtful post. Love the photo, and the ND Badlands. So unlike anything in Germany, or anywhere else in Europe, for that matter.

    Bremen, being such a large city, pretty much offers your relatives everything in the way of art, museums, and such. I agree with tim that it’s our wide open spaces that will be most foreign to them. That and the friendliness of the American people. I suspect that no matter what you show them, it’ll be the time spent with family, the hospitality shown them and home cooked meals served that will linger on in their memories. That and the HEAT! If they had wanted to see what many Europeans think of as a AMERICA, they would not chosen to visit Luverne. I agree, it’s too bad they don’t have time to visit you in ND.

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  6. Good one, Renee, and I love the photo.

    You could send them to WInona. Although I’m sure this town has its share of crazies (esp. around July 4th), it has a lot going for it – beyond the eye candy. I hope to do a blog post soon on the major cultural attractions – maybe this will get me going!

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    1. the spam museum is what the premise for museums is all about. the history and glorification of a particular ditty someone wants to glorify.

      i have been to the dinosaur musuem you mention. we were in the middle of north dakota (or i guess over on that side of north dakota) had stopped to have lunch and take in the views. (there are not a lot of dsitractions out there) and lo and behold around the corner or on the bulletin board or wherever we were made aware of the dinosaur museum and so in we went. it was memorable and exactly what you want. the story of north dakota and the dinosaur. i had a kansas guy tell me kansas was the dinosaur staate for whatever reason. i have been to the south dakota park with dinosaurs and been in the museums where they have the skeleton as a highlight and i do love bring up baby

      be sre to show them the scenes fom north by northwest with the mount rushmore as it was before the concrete sterile buildings came in and took over for the ones of the park with efficiency but not the same awe inspiring soul as the originals.

      maybe thats what america is ,,,awe inspiring in so many ways. we simply dont believe it isnt possible. in many cases its total poppycock but you dont need more than one in a million to be remembered.

      who represents america? lincoln, bill gates, edison, jackson polock, henry ford, walt disney, woody guthrie,
      who else? maybe a pivot for the question for tomorrow.

      who is the american we say is the epitome of the american personna?

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  7. OT Liam note. I continue to be fascinated by this kid. His buddy is Terrian, 7 years old, the next-door neighbor kid. Terrian and Liam, 6, can play for hours. Liam was next door doing that recently until a dispute broke out between Terrian and his parents. Things escalated until the parents sent Liam home.

    My daughter wondered how her son viewed the fight. I enjoy the way she talks to him, always with genuine interest in what he’ll say . . . because he is not predictable. “I stayed off to the side,” reported Liam. “When kids do something like that, you just let it happen. And then you hope they learn from their mistakes.”

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    1. steve i sincerely believe you should start the liam chronicles whether as a blog or a set of entries those of us who care can reference.
      these liam stories are priceless well told and with a punchline that hits home every time.
      he is a phenomenal little dude

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  8. It is a monster pile of lunacy to overcome.
    I might name natural wonders like The Muir Woods, but nature does not disprove our human follies.
    Perhaps our arts, like Wessex’s museum suggestion.
    I might suggest a place to watch children, perhaps a mix of types of children, such as Balboa Park where my son takes his son. But the you might be called a perv for watching.
    Maybe for the Deutsche, a place like the Nicollet Meat Market where we are going today.
    Is there a place that shows our human kindness and decency?
    I sat this morning on my deck, which has two decks above it. It was 72 degrees, 15 mph winds. Squalls of raining were passing overhead dropping huge drops around me not on me while I did my daily connection to my God and my fellow human beings in meditation. I hope that proves my lack of lunacy, but today many call that lunacy.
    I would say neighborhood cafes and bars as a la Wessex, but these days they are often filled with idiocy and agreement on lunacy.
    Don’t know.
    I am throwing together a guest blog.

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    1. excellent . thanks clyde
      72 and rain without getting wet sounds like meditation is alost automatic.
      good for you say hi to god for me. i suspect your knows mine if they are different.
      people in america are intersting. people everywhere are interesting and i suspect the germans will get a kick out of the american way. it is very different than the german way especially form lavurne to the black hills.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. A good thing to come out of the Melania speech is that Trump, the nomin-ninny, will forgo the teleprompter script and wing it. He is bound to say something outrageous reflecting the Real Don.

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  9. Try to find some of the things they like that we have available. Maybe they would like to eat at a good restaurant or hear a good musical performance. I am sure that they will find a lot about our politics that isn’t good. However, unfortunately, there are plenty of political problems in Europe so I’m sure they will not be too surprised by what the find here.

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  10. Since it’s more or less on the way from Minneapolis to Luverne, maybe you should suggest that your relatives make a stop in New Ulm. It won’t be like Germany, of course, and it might be like a living history museum, but if they are in a receptive frame of mind, it might be interesting to see the German culture through the lens of the immigrant experience plus 100 plus years of evolution.

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  11. Also the Jeffers Petroglyphs. No reflection one way or the other on our lunacy, but a remnant of awe-inspiring unbroken prairie and some ancient artifacts.

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  12. Did find decency today with the Germans at Schmidt’s Meat Market.
    We had a debit card rejected, which sours one’s bratwurst. It happened through a chain of events relating to resetting accounts months ago. We opened a new account and kept the old one active to trace down things. They sent us new chip cards, which were for the old account, which has little money in it. It did not occur to me that the old cards were active and would be replaced too. Embarrassing and funny. They accepted out check just fine. (So where are the cards for the new account?)

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  13. Any national park is a good starting point. I’d also take visitors to a local farmers’ market, a small-county fair like the Steele County Free Fair (although the bizarre food available at most fairs these days may not enhance the non-lunatic case). Or perhaps just a local park or playground where they can see people enjoying the outdoors. Other than that, maybe a stroll through a typical neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon to see everyone going about their normal daily lives.

    Chris in Owatonna

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