Well, I've made it to God's country, even if I had to drive through Wisconsin to get there! You know you're in Wisconsin when they're still renting out movies at the gas station (I was actually surprised they weren't VHS).
First, my time in Chicago was great! It was definitely a reunion with many cherished friends, capped off by singing at the Grafton. I mean, at what other pub could you sing "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" with a group of 40-50 of your favorite people in the whole world (along with some who were missing)? Special thanks goes out to Matt, Elsa, and Lucia (9 months old and only initially freaked out by the strange man staying with them) who housed me and remain some of my favorites.
Then, yesterday morning my brother and I headed out in his rickety Ford Focus for the Promised Land. Now, if you don't know, a road trip with my brother can be a somewhat tenuous proposition. We get along great, but we're not always the best in close quarters over long durations. As I've said, we're good city brothers but not great apartment brothers (e.g. when he came and stayed with me for three weeks in Chicago, by the time we drove home for Christmas, we bickered the entire 8 hours between Chicago and Duluth). So, our trips are usually one part sing-along, one part fighting, one part laughing, one part making jokes about being ready to kill the other, and one part complaining about the musical choice of the other.
For instance, on today's leg from the Twin Cities to the middle of nowh...I mean, my parents' beautiful home in Breckenridge, we travelled during the peak time of 5-7 p.m. on a Saturday evening. It probably goes without saying, but this is during Prairie Home Companion, which is mandatory listening, especially if you happen to be driving in Minnesota. Here are just a few of the comments made my brother during the course of the show (obviously accompanied with requisite eye rolls and head in hands).
- "Who does this guy think he is singing with his guests? He can't sing!" (as Keillor sang harmony)
- "We get it! You're Norwegian, Lutheran, and Minnesotan! Get on with it!"
- "Did they even practice this?!"
- "Well, we haven't heard a lutefisk joke in thirty seconds, so it's about time."
So, it was obviously a relaxing trip for both of us. Now, to be fair, there may have been some comments about the lyrical quality of some of his musical choices, but why cry over spilled milk?
Uh, my niece is great! Here's a picture of our first meeting, me looking like a dirty hippie/hipster:
So, that's pretty great. Now if my other sister would quit being lazy around the holidays and have this other one, we would all have a Merry Christmas! (Looking in the general direction of 4125 Emerson Road, Duluth).
Well, I need to go because I'm about to kill my brother as we try to pick out special music for tomorrow's church service (just kidding...I mean, about killing him, we are having a rather difficult time picking out a song, which is par for the course).