Category Archives: Stories

Doughnut Dream

I may have bemoaned the demise of the corner doughnut shop here before. There are a few doughnut shops around but I’m not a fan of lavender infused doughnuts with basil and rosemary or mac & cheese donuts or any kind of doughnut with bacon.

For a few years I’ve been getting doughnuts at a little tiny shop down in Bloomington. They open at 5:30 in the morning and have all the old favorites and nothing out of the ordinary. Unfortunately they are way out of the way, so I only go down there when I need two or three dozen. So when I saw that a Dunkin Donuts was opening not only close to my house but on my way to the office, I was pretty excited – especially when I saw that they were putting in a drive-through!

To cheer up our first morning after the building fire I thought I would bring doughnuts in yesterday morning. When I turned in to the Dunkin Donuts, I thought about the drive-through, but there were a couple of cars in line so I parked and went in.  I got my two dozen and a couple of coffee; as I paid and looked behind me there were seven people in line.  When I went out to the car, there were about six cars waiting in the drive-through.  Clearly Dunkin is meeting a need that we didn’t even know we had!

What kind of establishment would you like to open close to you?

 

 

Baboon Dreams

I am not  proponent of analysing dream content for deep meanings.  If my dreams mean anything, they reflect my current degree of anxiety.  I had the funniest dream the other night, though, that I would like some Baboon help with interpretation. I should add that I had this dream  when I was particularly calm the night of Thanksgiving Day after a hectic month at work.

I was in a small house, at a party of some sort. Steve, Linda, LJB, Bill and other, obscured  Baboons were there. PJ arrived at the party with six enormous boxes of freshly picked garden peas still in their pods with vines attached. The boxes also had beautiful vases in them. While she doled them out to everyone, Bill was correcting my grammar in a very kind way as I spoke.

The scene shifted to a car with Steve and PJ. Steve was driving the car in a snow storm up a hill toward a group of building that were part of a college. It turned out to be a college I had attended. I took them around and introduced them to a psychology faculty member who is, in real life, an old college boyfriend from Buxton, ND who is a church organist and oboe player. He has never had anything to do with psychology. He was wearing academic robes.  We left the college and walked out in the snow, and Steve proceeded to explain the significance of various naturally formed snow and ice sculptures, Then I woke up.

That has to be the silliest dream on record. I have no idea what Freud would make of it.  I find it interesting that I dream about Baboons when I am  feeling  calm after hectic times.

If you were a psychoanalyst, what would you make of this dream? What is the silliest dream you ever had ?

Epiphanies

Today’s post comes to us from Port Huron Steve.

I once considered writing a book of personal memoir. The title was going to be Epiphanies. Not everyone is familiar with that word, which comes to us from the ancient Greeks. Epiphanies are those moments of sudden understanding in which a nagging problem is solved or a blazing new perception reveals itself. A less fancy definition would be “aha moments.” The word has special relevance to Christians, referring to the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. My favorite example of epiphany in popular culture is that moment in The Miracle Worker when Anne Sullivan pumps water over the hands of little Helen Keller, teaching her how language is the key that will reveal the world to her.

For me, epiphanies are special, even magic. Of course, we all learn lessons as we experience our lives. Usually enlightenment appears after a slow, unremarkable, evolutionary process. Epiphanies, by contrast, surprise and shock us. Routine mental growth is like lighting a candle in the dark; epiphanies are more like skyrockets that explode to fill the skies with color and noise.

Epiphanies I experienced as a child are hard to date with precision. When I was a toddler—somewhere between three and five—my grandfather took me out for a treat. He bought us drumsticks, those ice cream novelties with wafer cones. Up until that moment delightful things seemed to appear and disappear randomly. But when Grandpa Clarence bought those drumsticks I realized that these and other treats existed all the time. They were part of the world. If you had this thing called money, you could exchange it for a drumstick. The world was more orderly and benign than I had understood before that moment.

I experienced an epiphany in third grade that I often remember. Our classroom had an American flag (just 48 stars back then). Large portraits of George Washington and Abe Lincoln hung on the walls. Our desks were bolted in place facing the teacher’s desk, which was mounted on a raised deck to allow her to look down on the little humans in her charge. Our teacher, Miss Maybe, called on a kid named Andy to deliver a report. Sitting in my desk on the right hand side of the classroom, halfway back, I grinned with relief. The voice in my head said, “Hey, that’s Andy up there, not you! He has to give a report and you do not. He’s Andy. You’re Steve. You aren’t Andy, and you don’t have to give a report!” I’ve always wondered if most people have a particular blazing moment when they realized they are a unique consciousness, not part of a larger group.

Not all epiphanies are so fun to remember. In the first year of my marriage, my erstwife and I spent a winter month housesitting the home of Arthur Naftalin, then the mayor of Minneapolis. On a sub-zero February afternoon my parents drove all the way in from their Orono home to visit us. After a delightful meal they left, walking down the steep driveway to where they had left their car parked on the street. I stood at a living room picture window to watch. When they turned up the sidewalk, my mother and father spotted me. As if they had rehearsed this move for weeks, they turned, smiled radiantly, raised their hands and waved goodbye, each one mirroring exactly the expression and movements of the other. Tears shot out of my eyes, and I staggered back into the privacy of the living room so my parents wouldn’t see me crying. Something about the moment—the crazy synchronicity of their goodbye waves—made me realize these two people I loved so much would someday exit my life forever. Of course, I had always known my parents would likely precede me in death. That abstract, dry fact became a moment of scorching awareness when they waved goodbye that afternoon.

Do you experience epiphanies? Can you share examples?

Protecting Good People from Bad Art

When in my early twenties, I escaped the “mundane and uncultured” Midwest and found a temporary mecca in exotic 1970 San Francisco:  the ethnic restaurants, funky bars, antique shops, art museums, concert halls, and the art fairs (which I’d never seen before). After a couple of years in the crowded city, I opted for Half Moon Bay environs –  45 minutes south of S.F. on the Pacific Coast – a town of (then) 5,000 souls,.

There were the schools, a library, a “general store”called Half Moon Bay Feed & Fuel, a bookstore, a few restaurants. Forclassical music, there was the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society at the Mirimar Beach Inn. But the center of the art world at the time was the fall Half Moon Art & Pumpkin Fest, where I bought my first local art – a soft leather-bound journal, and a wonderful pottery bowl in my favorite shape.

My next two locales were Brooklyn, NY, and Minneapolis, so of course there were plenty of opportunities to find art (and art fairs). Now that we’re in Winona, MN, I’m aware that I never really needed to leave Small Town Midwest to find art – or maybe it “grew up” while I was not looking. This town, and many other surrounding ones (Lanesboro for one), have much to offer culturally.The ads in my Big River Magazine reveal that every little town along the Mississippi has some kind of art gallery or art center, wonderful sounding restaurants and cafés, community theaters, independent bookstores, charming B&Bs, wine bars, and often a natural foods market.

When we were on our road trip Southeast in September, we traveled some back roads for a break from the freeways. I love traveling through the small towns, and I found the same kind of variety of cultural opportunity. One example would be the in historic downtown Paducah, KY – Paducah Area Painters Alliance Gallery – whose byline is “Protecting good people from bad art.”

Do you have a neighborhood or small-town art center nearby?

Where is your favorite place to view the visual arts?

Getting a Lyft

The weekend post comes to us from CrystalBay.

I have increasing anxiety about driving after dark, so I decided to scope out Lyft. I couldn’t figure out how to use the app to determine the cost of being driven to the few locations that I regularly go to. After messing around for half an hour, I decided to order a ride because then the price would pop up. My clever plan was to then immediately cancel it. The problem, however, is that I couldn’t figure out how to cancel it!

Within minutes, Jeff texted he’d be here in ten minutes. I called him directly to cancel, explaining what I’d done. Two minutes later, Amy texted she’d be here in five minutes. I again called her to cancel. Three minutes later, Tom called saying that he was pulling up in my driveway! I told him my woe story and he showed me how I could use the app, then mentioned that each canceled ride had cost me $5. Altogether, I’d just lost $15 because of not understanding how to use this app. What still troubles me is that, after my initial call canceling, other drivers kept coming. I wondered how many more would show up.

The good news is finding out that, between here and Navarre, where 90% of my needs are met, Lyft only cost 87 cents!

What technologies have challenged (or defeated) you??

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is a straight up-homage to the day. Not the turkey and football filled day, not the sweet potatoes and pilgrim hat day.  For those of us who don’t practice thankfulness as often as we should (including me), today is a day to help us do just that – practice thankfulness.

You’ve heard it before – what are you grateful for?

 

Spilt Coffee

At Caribou this morning Nonny and I spilt an entire cup of coffee while navigating the “add cream and sugar” part of the transaction. Very quickly two gals jumped in to help, with napkins and a little towel that one of them asked staff for.  Between us we wiped and wiped and eventually got it all cleaned up.  I thanked them profusely and asked them if they would come later to my house and do my kitchen floor.  One of them stopped at our table a bit later as she was leaving to say “have a nice day” and Nonny was surprised to realize that she wasn’t an employee.  I said they were both just innocent helpful bystanders – which had made me all the more thankful at the time.

What the last kindness someone did for you?