Saturday, September 3, 2011

Notes from the Heartland, As We Travel through Minnesota

Notes from the American heartland:

Motel signs we see in Grand Forks on the first night of our trip through Minnesota (and a small part of North Dakota): the Settle Inn; the C'mon Inn; the Ideal Inn, which shares its premises with a laundromat called the Sioux-Per Suds; the Westward Ho.

Lunches I see two young mothers serving their daughters, both of whom are toddlers, at two separate lunch places in Minnesota: in one place, a big stack of pancakes drenched in syrup, accompanied by a plate of french fries, with mother and daughter sharing both; in the other place, just a plate of french fries, a big plate for both mother and daughter.  They're dipping the fries in something white and viscous--perhaps ranch dressing?

Steve's aunt, telling us of the ceremony this summer for her 60th year as a vowed religious: "And then your sister came to communion with a veil on, knelt down to receive communion on her tongue, hands folded, crossed herself and stayed kneeling for a minute before she got up.  And the bishop was giving communion."  The nun-aunts are laughing uproariously as they recount this story about their niece's . . . well, strange, anti-social and seemingly self-righteous (since it's a rebuke of everyone else in the church), but increasingly mainstream . . . behavior at the vows ceremony.

The sister in question is one of Steve's two sisters who considered it imperative, a few years ago, to send him a birthday card telling him she loves him, but his life with me is a "sin against truth," and as a faithful Catholic, she is obliged to inform him of that.  In all Christian charity, of course.

The American heartland: an endless source of creativity . . . .

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