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Archive for July 13th, 2006

From Minneapolis to Small Town, Minnesota

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Japanese FoodWell, good times do end and we had to leave Minneapolis. The gallery opening ended at 9 and we found our way to a good Japanese restaurant just before they closed at 10pm. The food was good and the waitstaff pleasant, even at that late hour. Of course, I took their business card but don’t know where it is now that I’m writing, but it was only a mile or two from the gallery.

We made our way out of town and found a hotel in a more rural area, just outside of “the cities.” We were tired!!!

FamilySunday we got up a bit early and found our way to Janesville, MN, population 2,100. It was a whirlwind… relatives I had not seen in years and years. It was the 50th anniversary of my father’s brother and his wife, but Mom and Dad grew up in the same town (Hanska, MN, population around 430) and so a handful of my Mom’s cousins and spouses came as well.

Wedding PhotoThere are eight of my cousins on that side of the family, and seven of us made it for at least a short while (my brother could not come). Two live in Florida now, one in Georgia, three in Minnesota and two of us are in Michigan. It was great to see everyone if only for a little chat.

Mom and cousinsMy uncle is a very social man (we both take after his mother, my Gramma Ruthie), so it seemed the whole town of Janesville and half the state of Minnesota was there. There were folks in the house, the garage, front and back yards. There were two bands… first The Fendermen from the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul), a great danceable band… and then Brian and I as The Fabulous Heftones for more mellow entertainment.

FamilyThere was much food, as well. Since I was not raised in Minnesota, what I notice is a type of treat they call “bars.” Sometimes it’s like cookies cut into squares, sometimes it’s almost candy bars, and at least for this event it was cakes baked in jelly roll pans, about half the height of a regular cake, with frosting, which you then eat with your fingers. In the church cookbook from the town my mom was raised, there is a whole section of the book devoted only to “bars.” You go to someone’s home and they typically will ask if you want some bars. If you asked that in Lansing, you would get a puzzled look.

The FendermenIt’s funny, because when my Aunt Harriet arrived, she announced “I’m the bar lady.” She was carrying a stack of cake trays full of baked goods and had even more in the car. If you were not from Minnesota, you might interpret that statement differently! I found it amusing, but the Minnesotans didn’t notice at all.

The Fabulous HeftonesIn all fairness, Harriet is the hostess type and always is helping in the kitchen and baking, baking, baking. She really contributed a lot to the spread on the main food table. It was very good for this event that she’s so into baking bars!

LynnH holding cousin as a childA big treat at the party was seeing a lot of family photos. They had collages of photos up on the walls, and photo albums on tables, framed photos on more tables. Brian took charge of my camera for a while and took photos of the photos so we can keep them for posterity, maybe add them to the CD we made for the family which holds Grandpa’s photograph album.

Plate of BarsPhotos: 1) Beautiful presentation of Japanese food in Minneapolis, 2) My Uncle OT, Aunt Ann and most of their family (I love the grin on my Uncle’s face here), 3) My Uncle and Aunt on their wedding day, 4) My mother (in pink) and her cousins, 5) My cousin Dawn, me, and Mom, 6) The Fendermen in concert on the patio, 7) The Fabulous Heftones in concert in lovely back yard, 8) Photo of me holding my cousin, Kim… see how blonde I was back then? 9) Plate full of bars, no doubt most of them baked by my Aunt Harriet.