Posted by: Jim E | September 12, 2012

Road Trip: Mayo Clinic; American Pickers; Branson, MO and Minnesota State Fair…

Oh yes, I’m back…it seems like a long time but I guess the last time I posted was August 11…that is a long time, now that I think of it…since I try to post every week or so…it was a road trip this time…back to Minnesota, well, specifically to Rochester, Minnesota…Mayo Clinic, to really get down to it…Jeremy had his year follow-up with his doctor at Mayo…last year, some of you may remember he had a check up and Dr. Keller found a growth on his jaw…we had a three day turn a round in Minneapolis and back to Mayo for Jeremy’s surgery…they found a cancerous tumor, probably from his radiation some 40 years ago…the surgery was successful and we’re coming back for a checkup…but more on that later…let’s take it in order…

Our first order of business was getting to Rochester, Minnesota…we decided to go a different way…one of Jeremy’s favorite TV shows is American Pickers…well, one of mine too…so we were off to Le Claire, Iowa…right north of Davenport, Iowa…it is a trek from Little Rock, Arkansas…we finally made it…but too late for it to be open…their building is in a quaint town of Le Claire…a small Mississippi River town…and Pickers is just off the main road…the building is small and has a small shop inside…of course none of the “actors” were there…but we got to see it…the Ford Fairlane that they bought on the show was sitting beside the building and the old Nash out front and Jeremy got a few pictures taken in front of the store…no doubt it is for real…and the town is beautiful…picturesque…stores on main street were all redone…shops and eating places were packed…we had a good time even though we were about two minutes late to catch it open…it was a long trip…but had a good time the whole way…saw lots of things we had never seen before…

The next day we finished our trip to Mayo Clinic…Jeremy had to have a CAT scan before he saw the doctor the next day…so we went to a motel to check in…we had the CAT scan in the afternoon…on our trip to Mayo, we saw lots of beautiful country…when we left Davenport we traveled along the Mississippi for while…when we were near Guttenberg, we saw a sign: “Honey at the Overlook”…I told Judie and Jeremy…”We stopped there once before on our trip to ‘Field of Dreams’ in Dyersville, just west of here.”…We took a trip to Dyersville to see where the movie, “Field of Dreams” was filmed…Jeremy got a tee shirt to prove it…if we had more time we would have traveled there…but on we went…and when we got to the “overlook”…there she was…the same woman who sold to us probably 5 or 6 years before…we had stopped coming from the north years before…now coming from the south, we saw the signs…we turned in…she was reading a book but got up to show us what she had…the “honey lady” wasn’t there yet, but she, as before was the “jam lady”…when we stopped before we got a few things…one of them was her apple butter…it was superb and our son in Little Rock liked it so much we sent to her for some for a Christmas gift for him…this time we got apple butter, rhubarb/strawberry, raspberry and blackberry jam…we also got her pickled beets, they are wonderful…her name and address is on every jar, so she is proud of her work…when I asked, she said, yes, she canned everything herself…it is all very good…in 5 years or so, we may go back…or send for some by mail…some may think that is silly to think this was a great time, but it is to us…then right after we got this view of the “Mighty Mississippi”…it was breathtaking from up on the bluffs…

Much of the trip through Arkansas, Missouri and southern Iowa, things were very dry…most of the crops where looking bad…the corn was dead and the soy beans looked a bit weary…but as we got into northeast Iowa it was totally different…the corn, well, all the crops looked wonderful…and that went into southeastern Minnesota too…they must have been in a very thin line of rain all summer…but the rest of the trip crops looked bad…here’s a picture of Jeremy in southern Minnesota…now he is only 4′ 9″, but the corn still looks good…another picture of that part of the trip shows how good things looked across the fields…excuse the mirror…the rolling fields were just beautiful as we drove along…this is a beautiful part of the country, not to be missed…

Back to Mayo…the CAT scan complete, the next morning we saw Dr. Keller…he has done a number of surgeries on Jeremy’s jaw and now he wanted to check on last years surgery…he checked Jeremy’s jaw digitally…in other words he stuck his fingers in his mouth…now with Jeremy that is a problem…his jaw only opens very little…but the checkup was positive, with no return of the tumor…and after a year that is good news…so he said Jeremy wouldn’t have to come back for two years…but we need to watch it as long as he lives…a panoramic x-ray next year but not back to Mayo for two years…so we took pictures of Jeremy and Dr. Keller and we left, not only Jeremy but our whole family has a special relationship with Dr. Keller…now, on to the Great Minnesota Get Together…the Minnesota State Fair…

We left Rochester and on to see our two sons and their families in the Minneapolis area…we had a great time with them…pizza and pizza and bagels and talking and sharing and all that stuff…it was a great time…grandkids are growing and doing that well…what more can grandparents want…after a few days of seeing old friends and of course eating at places we liked…but first the State Fair…most across the country would not understand the Minnesota State Fair…”What’s the big deal.” they would say…but they have never been to the Minnesota State Fair…and maybe because they have never grown up in Minnesota…with about 4 or 5 million people in the whole state…the state fair in its 12 days, it will draw over a million people…over 100,000 every day of the fair…and its not just rides, like most fairs…it is a family affair…with food of all kinds, exhibits, music of all kinds, grandstand, animals from all over the state…I could go on and on…its the end of summer festival in Minnesota…school starts the day after the fair closes…and can winter be far behind…Me Oh My…one of Jeremy’s favorite foods…footlong hotdog…onions and mustard…but he likes all kinds of food there…we got them all…

That of course didn’t end the good food we had on our trip…one of the places is a pizza place we like…Mansetti’s…we have eaten there for years…and the same people own it…we talked with the owner, he wondered where we had been…he had graduated from the high school where I was principal…also one of the waitresses…we had a good time…the food…great pizza and their spaghetti and meatball is one of the best…a picture?…sure…it broke my heart to get the half size spaghetti and meatball…but loved it anyway…another day, off to Jeremy’s favorite, Dino’s…for their gyros and salad…they also have a restaurant at the fair but we waited until later to visit…the Greek salad is “to die for”…and their gyros are the best…now as you look at the pictures it does look good doesn’t it???…I would love to go there now…since we are on food…we also visited CUB foods where Jeremy worked for 16 years…we bought some of the food we can’t get here in Arkansas…we also stopped at Engebretson’s in south Minneapolis, they are a Scandinavian store, we got Swedish sausage that we serve at Christmas, they make the best…so that is a taste of our trip while we were in Minnesota…

When we came back we stopped at Branson, Missouri to see the Presleys…its a show we have seen before…a favorite…non-stop singing, comedy, groups, country, Gospel, patriotic and more comedy…very good show…two hours and more of great entertainment…we stayed one night there and the next morning we went to McFarland’s for breakfast…Judie got her crab cakes with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce/with grits on the side…Jeremy and I go for their Blackberry cobbler…the very best ever…

It was then back home…a three hour trip…although we stopped at a number of places for peaches, artisan bread and a few other things that needed to be seen…all in all a great trip…the most important and the reason for going was Jeremy’s report…that was good news…most of our life have been wrapped up in our family…its the life we chose…it’s the life we’ve loved…and now in our later years…we still have Jeremy with us…he gives us joy and great happiness to spend our lives with and about him…so though that was the reason for going…didn’t you enjoy the “other” stuff we did…well, maybe it wasn’t a trip around the world…but it was for us…we enjoyed it, it replenished us, all of us…and tomorrow, we will still enjoy our blackberry jam, or strawberry rhubarb jam, apple butter, or raspberry jam, or pickled beets…it’s all I ever wanted in life, was to love the Lord, each other and serve Him…what more is there that gives real satisfaction… 

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Responses

  1. Thanks for the “trip story” again Dad…good stuff is worth hearing again…I know with all the tasty things you had on the road, you couldn’t wait to get back to my pizza…mostly because I make it and you just have to eat it!

    I have told you and Mom this often…of your example of your commitment to the Lord and family…Marisa and I are trying to do the same. But even as this week we recounted the blessings over the years…the ones we never saw coming…the path we have chosen is so much more than “just settling” for Him and your family…Oh, the joy, excitement, surprise, experiences, and through it all…good and tough…He has always kept His promises.

    Maybe there is something to that “contentment thing” after all?

    • Jared…tried to send a note yesterday but Comcast down for some reason…ya, a great trip…we enjoy the little things along the way for sure…and it was pizza here and there…by the way, your attendance at the game didn’t seem to help Arkansas…so missing pizza night was a costly oversight for them…maybe make up for it this week…

      And yes, I believe contentment is not settling for less…it is a life filled with “wonder”…and we enjoy all of it…when there is no contentment people miss all the “wonder” that is all around them…Jeremy finding his “Michigan” truck at an antique store in Ozark, Missouri, would not strike most as a memorable and a fun time…but is will live at least as long as he, Judie and I live…and seeing “the Jam Lady” again, reclaiming a former memory and enjoying a new one…that’s good enough for me…and pizza nights aren’t bad either…Dad

  2. Now that’s a road trip! Sounds like it was a good time, Jim!

    • W.S….yup, a good time had by all…Jeremy’s report was good, so everything else was gravy…thanks…Jim E

  3. Hi Jim!
    It sounds like you had an amazing trip of fun, family, reliving old memories and making new memories. My girls, Melissa and Kayla, and I travel to Cleveland every few months for Melissa’s appointments at the Cleveland Clinic. We’ve been making these trips for 4 years now. Its seems that during every trip, we see or find something new that we’ve never seen before. It’s amazing what you can find if you just take the time to look around and take in the scenery. Good stuff! All the best to you, Judie and Jeremy!
    ~Julie

    • Julie…we had a great time…I know what you mean about seeing or finding different things along the way…even on a trip you have taken many times…it’s a gift, many people are bored on trips…they only like the destination, not the journey…if every snowflake is different, so is every sunny day, rainstorm, sunset…life is so full of wonder, so the gift is therefore, “Wonderful”…thanks for the comment…good to hear from you and yours…Jim E


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