saturday adventures.

15 Jul
It was a weekend of gnome chew toys, caves, dining cars, and ice cream.  
The occasion was visiting seminary friends.  Justin and James arrived Friday evening and stayed through church on Sunday morning.  Justin, my favorite person who used to always wear one black sock and one white sock, was visiting from Pennsylvania for the week, and it had been over two years since we had seen each other.  Two years!  Far too long.  James is still on campus at Luther but is also connected to Pennsylvania – a state he will hopefully be moving to soon for first call.  Pennsylvania is far away from Minnesota, she pouts.
They came and brought housewarming gifts.  One for me and one for Mabel.  For me?  Ninja cookie cutters.  [My confirmation kids will go crazy with excitement and envy.]  For Mabel?  A gnome chew toy which she destroyed within the first hour.  It was fun while it lasted.  Maybe I can patch up what isn’t chewed through; it could be a one-legged gnome.
Can you see Mr.Gnome’s red head?  And belt?  And entrails?
Saturday we were off for adventure.  Somehow we decided on Lanesboro, MN as our initial destination.  [The SPAM museum was vetoed.  They don’t know what they’re missing.]  We walked the tourist main street, scouring for the perfect lunch locale.  We stumbled upon this dining car, sandwiched between two tall brick buildings.  Luckily, there were three stools open at the counter so we squeezed ourselves in for some grilled cheese and fresh cut french fries.  
It seats about fifteen people between the counter and two tiny booths.
Do you know what Lanesboro is known for?  First, it’s spot on the Root River biking trail.  Second, it’s the rhubarb capital of the world.  [Did you hear that?!]  They even have their own soda flavor – Rhu-berry from the Spring Grove soda company.  They plant rhubarb in gardens like we plant hostas.  The festival is in June.  I know where I’ll be next year.
From Lanesboro, we were our typical indecisive selves.  We explored the town of Whalen.  Population: 63.  [It didn’t take long.]  Then we decided we needed to find ourselves a cave.  There were two options and we went for Niagra Cave in Harmony, MN.  [32 miles from Decorah.  I remember going to the cave while a student at Luther … but actually remembered nothing about the actual tour.]  We went 200 feet below ground in a series of tunnels, cathedral-like cave rooms, and up and down lots of stairs.  It was pretty cold and pretty cool.
And, then, I mean, how can you be only 32 miles from Decorah and not go?  Not possible.  We drove through the Luther campus and ate peanut butter cheeseburgers at T-Bock’s.  We took in the sight from Phelp’s Park of the Upper Iowa River and then had to stop at the Whippy Dip.  I mean, how can you be in Decorah and not stop at the Whippy Dip?  Not possible.  Justin had never been to the Whippy Dip and never to Decorah.  Done and done.  Check that off your midwest bucket list.
obligatory whippy dip photo.
We arrived back at the parsonage around 9pm.  James went night-night early; Justin and I stayed up.  We talked [I value deep and honest conversations with this friend. Thank you to Justin for being a great listener and conversationalist.], watched a movie, and Lindsay did not finish her Sunday morning sermon.  How was I supposed to write my sermon when I had a long-lost friend to be with?  Not possible.  I will take no grief; I know I made the right decision.  I eventually got to it.  It’s just been a long time since I’ve only gotten four hours of sleep.  [worth it.]
They left after church today and I don’t know who is more sad – Mabel or I.

Boo.

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