PARTLY NONSENSE

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JOEL KLAASSEN
Well, I (we) did it. The official 50-years-since-I-left-town anniversary-pilgrimage-back-to my-roots-in-Minnesota-tour” is complete. A thousand miles, some 120 digital photos and 31/2 days later, it’s back in the saddle again.

Actually we spent a little less than 24 hours in Mountain Lake, Delft and Windom. The first day and a half of the trip involved attending Midwest Free Community Paper meetings in Okoboji, Iowa.

We arrived at Okoboji Friday noon and were hungry. A quaint little restaurant by the name of O’Farrell Sisters Sea Food Restaurant looked interesting. The only seafood, though, was a shrimp basket and a catfish sandwich one could get anywhere. In protest I had breakfast.

The first mission in Mountain Lake was to find the house I lived in until I was 9. It had been moved a block east and several blocks north from our location. But it didn’t take long to find it.

A woman was painting the trim, and I was ready to go up and ask if I could see the inside, but my conscience in the other seat didn’t think it would be good. A photo would have to do.

While waiting for family members to arrive from Minneapolis, we went to the Dairy Queen for a drink. While there we spotted some nifty artwork by a Steven Klassen.

I have a cousin by that name so we wondered if it was his work. Then we went to the convenience store across the street and his art was there, too.

We hadn’t walked a block from there when a car screeched to a halt. It was my cousin Steve. My dad and his mom were cousins. He said the Laker Grill was having a first-anniversary party that night and we should come hear the band he was in. So we went. Had to eat, so why not?

The band was set up on a flatbed trailer. He recognized his cousins from Kansas from the stage and we recognized that the Kansas trailer he was standing on was made by Donahue Manufacturing.

I wasn’t the first one to have my photo taken at the “Welcome to Minnesota” sign. I could tell because the grass was already trampled down from the road through the ditch.

I also spotted a former classmate at the party I hadn’t seen since third grade. We talked about the times we rode horses at their farm, his dad and my dad and more. It was neat.

The family farms in rural Mountain Lake and Delft looked quite run down. Nothing like I remembered. It’s sad.

There’s much more to tell, but you’ve probably heard more than you wanted to already.

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