Archive for November, 2008

A Story of Hope

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

While reading LGN’s Willie’s Shoe Repair Store entries, I was
reminded of the days when I was five years old and would visit
the shoe store man in our Chicago Hyde Park neighborhood.
The man’s name was Karl and he was the funniest man I knew.
Every Saturday morning, I would stop and say hello to Karl
on my way to the grocers. And every Saturday morning, Karl
told me a joke and then shush me away, saying he had work to do.
I would smile and leave feeling better than when I went in.

One day, Karl had his usually rolled down sleeves rolled up and
I happened to see a line of numbers inked on his arm. I asked
him what those numbers meant. Karl said he doesn’t talk about them.
So, we left it at that. I was only five and didn’t know much, but I
knew Karl felt bad about the numbers.

A few years later, my oldest sister married Karl’s son. And we all
loved Karl together whenever we saw him at family gatherings. Then,
one day, Karl passed away. But the truth about his numbers came out and
and there is another story, the story I really want to tell you today.

Karl was married to Gretel, a Christian woman, back in Germany. They
were married very young and had three boys. When the Nazi’s came,
the boys were sent to the USA to live with their aunts. Karl was taken
to the concentration camps and Gretel stayed in Germany to wait for him.
After several years, word came to Gretel that the Nazi’s were allowing
the release of 300 people from the camp Karl was known to be in.

Gretel gathered her identification papers and literally ran down to the
office where she might find her husband being released. When she got
there, the officer told her all 300 people had already been released.
Gretel was heartbroken, needless to say. She turned away and walked
a few steps, and then turned back and asked the officer,

“Would anybody mind if it was 301 people?”

The officer took one look at Gretel, and replied, “Wait here.” It seemed like forever to Gretel who had already waited seven years forKarl’s release, but within a few minutes, her beloved husband was standing before her, hugging her and saying, “Let’s go home, dear, let’s go home.”

I love that story so much because it shows how the smallest thing like asking one more question can change the lives of not only Karl and Gretel, their three boys whom they later joined in the States, but also myself,and all of my family, and my family’s family. Just because of that one question…Would anybody mind if it was just one more person who got released, or who gets fed, or who gets saved today? Would anybody mind?

Native American Heritage Day

Friday, November 28th, 2008

While you are munching away on your glorious leftovers this fourth

Friday of the month, here is a bit of news to chew on…

this is the first and only day that has been set aside to honor contributions

of Native Americans. Please read this article and honor and celebrate

before it’s over. Many of us “white people “have Native American blood

flowing through our veins. Let’s hope for an annual day set aside every

year to honor the first inhabitants, my ancestors, of this fair country.

Happy Native American Heritage Day!

Though, we don’t really need an official declaration, it would be nice

and it is deserved.

End of the Season Gala-Northfield Golf Club Restaurant

Monday, November 24th, 2008

707 Prairie Street

Northfield MN 55057

(507) 645-4026

Last Saturday night (11/22/08) we spent eating some of the most delicious and exciting food ever served on a buffet…I am sorry if you missed it. But, NGC does offer buffets and special (eating) events fairly often. If you would like notices via email let them know by calling on extension 2 during business hours.

We enjoyed all of the following food, except the sushi. We don’t do sushi, but I am sure it was fresh and it looked divine.

Here is the list of food we had to help ourselves to, it was grueling (she said in complete jest)-

A Variety of Appetizers, including Lobster Bisque, Sushi, Shrimp Cocktail, Waldorf Salad, Carved Herb-Crusted Filet Mignon served with Hollandaise Sauce, Halibut Viscaina, Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Breast with an Orange-Fig Compote, Duchess Potatoes, Roasted Root Vegetable Medley and a variety of desserts including vanilla or chocolate ice cream, vanilla or chocolate cookies, and vanilla or chocolate cheese cakes.

The Lobster bisque was wonderfully warm and flavorful, the large shrimp cold and crisp, the make it yourself Waldorf Salad was the best I ever had, fresh endive, sweet red grapes, creamy crumbly bleu cheese, and just right pecans. D said the Filet Mignon was really good, well done on the outside and almost rare in the center. The Halibut Viscaina was a complete surprise to me and I fell in love with the fish of it. Went back for more. We totally enjoyed the moist and tasty white turkey meat with luscious orange fig compote. The turkey was so sweet and delicious it could be served with no sauces whatsoever…but I did try the compost and it was a very good addition and nice alternative to the traditional gravy. How does Raphael do that? The Duchess Potatoes looked like a perfect biscuit and tasted really yummy, and I had never seen potatoes cooked like that before. The potatoes were dry, but not unpleasantly so. I don’t know how that Raphael and his men do that special thing they do, but it’s very interesting and nice. Even the Roasted Vegetable Medley gets a huge high five from me, even it there is no one there!

The desserts were great. But I’ll leave that to your imagination and maybe you’ll check out the scene sometime yourself. The Public is welcome, but be sure to make reservations!!!

P. S. There was dancing after dinner, but we early birds went home and worked on our projects, but you could have stayed and danced the night away.

Christmas Cards for Soldiers

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

When you are making out your holiday cards, why not send that last one out by DEC 10, to;

Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Thanks to Larry and Becky for their helpful comments.

Doolittle’s Air Cafe

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Doolittle’s Air Cafe

2140 Cliff Road
Eagan, MN 55122

Doolittle’s Air Cafe is a wood fired grill and bar restaurant. It’s big, with four different areas for seating.

We go there a few times a year, to meet friends cuz it has that kind of atmosphere that is conducive to chatting but not so that no one can hear anything. In other words, the acoustics, which I often complain about is good as the seats are leather covered, the floor is carpeted, the ceiling in part is wood with air spaces. There is some great airplane poster art on the walls which don’t help or hurt sound quality much but I thought the description fit in here well anyway. :)

We ordered two dinner dishes. Me, a crab and shrimp stuffed halibut with wild rice and mushrooms and julienne zucchini and carrots in butter, and my favorite Arnie Palmer iced tea with lemonade and real lemon hunk. Bread with butter is always served prior to the dinner coming on and it is always a light Italian style bread with a toothy crust, thinly sliced. Just right. My dh ordered a big slab of ribs with French fries. The ketchup they serve in a side dish (none of those plastic bottles, thank you very much) is pretty good. and so are the pink smoked ribs with sweet baked in sauce. The slab is a big slab, but dh managed to finish it off. The strange part for me was that I finished before he did, almost unheard of, but I still wonder how that happened.

We didn’t have room for dessert this time, but we have had their creme brulee’ in the past, and it is about the same as anywhere, which is darn good.

I like Doolittle’s, because they have a wide variety of food, most if it is as good, or almost as good as it gets, the black cloth napkins and excellent service are nice touches, the atmosphere is a notch up from the average family place, a bit upscale, but not dressy, in other words, comfortable and casual and almost affordable.

Doolittle’s can be a splurge, $50 for our big lunch, but that will last awhile. ;) You can get a burger or other good sandwiches there for under $10. It’s a great place for a special outing, or just a quick burger.

Doolittle’s is handicapped accessible and has modern and clean facilities. I give it a B.

Hours of Operation:
Monday-Thursday 11am – 12am; full Menu until 11 pm
Friday-Saturday 11am – 1am; full Menu until 11 pm
Sunday 11am – 11pm; full Menu until 11 pm

General Manager: Jon Borman

A Little Story About Human Nature

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

I think this story just exemplifies human nature.

This man was shipwrecked on a small island in the South Pacific. The island was not close to the normal shipping lanes, so it was about 5 years before he was discovered by a Navy patrol plane. When his rescuers came to get him, they were shocked to see various buildings he had erected out of native trees while he was there. He was pointing them out- his house, barn and his church. He said that keeping busy with household chores and chores in the barn had helped him keep his sanity. He said that the church was important to keep his faith alive. There was another building up on a little rise, away from the other buildings. When asked what it was for, he replied that that was the church he used to belong to.

The point of the story is that some people even have trouble getting along with themselves. Hope you enjoyed it.

Minnesota Marine Art Museum

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Minnesota Marine Art Museum – 800 Riverview Drive, Winona, MN 55987 Ph. 507-474-6626

The MMAM is located right on the Mississippi River where you can see barges in tow, and where you will find wonderful parks and photo ops. We drove there in less than two hours coming from Northfield, through Red Wing and onto Highway 61, past Wabasha, where the National Eagle Center is-another must see location and just beyond Lark Toys, see the blog below.

The MMAM is brand new and they plan to build another wing by next spring-what a great thing! haha. When we walked into the museum we were greeted by a nice person who gave us a few helpful hints and took our $6.00 per person entry fee.

As we began to walk into the gallery, we looked up and saw an incredibly beautiful Tiffany scenery panel above our heads. So pretty. Then the galleries, there were three basically, one photographic, one European marine art over 300 years, and a third area of folk art by a couple of local artists, Leo and Marilyn Smith. We enjoyed all three displays of information and creativity, but for me, the European art was the most outstanding.The level of detail, the realistic feelings, the great understanding of the subject by the artist and the mastery of the techniques of oil painting was something everyone and especially water portraying artist should see.

Oh, we also had a fine time in the little store at MMAM. We ended up getting the big book on Maritime Art, as an early birthday present, because I am a sailor and lover of the seas and because it is a beautiful book. You can leaf through a copy at the little store.

All in all this is a great little day trip destination, and do stop by the National Eagle Center and Lark Toys to make it even more enjoyable.

The museum is complete handicapped accessible, and there are several places to sit and view.

Please visit their website for more details.

Lark Toys

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Lark Toys

171 LARK Lane – Kellogg, MN 5594

Phone: 507.767.3387 – Fax: 507.767.4565

Driving Hwy 61 south, in Kellogg, MN, we saw the sign, CAFE, ICE CREAM and the full parking lot, so we decided to stop there on our way back home from our trip to Minnesota Maritime Art Museum. We did stop there, and woe, we walked in the door, and said, oh, this must be the wrong door, when we saw the Lark Toys sign and lots and lots of toys in windows, in rooms, in cases, and suddenly we were in a toy wonderland with something for everyone from every decade I can remember, a mini golf course, and a real carousel under the roof!
We were starved, so we followed the scent of fudge and food, past a couple of rooms full of toys, until we saw a couple of young ladies ready to take our order off a big chalk board. I ordered the fish sandwich and fries, and my dh ordered the hamburger and fries. So, what’s new? Well, we had to pick our drinks out of a refrigerator case ourselves, that’s what’s new. Dh picked us out a couple of Nantucket punches, Red Plum. They were delicious and sweet and just what we needed after our jaunt through Winona’s Minnesota Maritime Art Museum. More about that in my next post.

Our sandwiches were delivered to the table within moments, complete with little paper umbrellas stuck into each bun. I guess they thought the food might get sunburned or rained on the way from the kitchen and to the table where we were waiting. :)
We sat and ate our sandwiches, after washing our hands in their immaculate hand washing facilities,
and sat down at some great wooden tables and chairs which surrounded the carousel.
Sure enough, within three minutes, a few little tiny human beings straggled in and when they saw the carousel, the popped themselves right onto the ride floor, mothers’ following frantically. Before too long, about sixteen people, children and adults both hopped aboard the carousel and rode off into the sunset right before our eyes. Naturally, we got the video out and took a couple of minutes of footage of the cutest happiest kids ever, and the children, too. hahaha.

Lark Toys has an abundance of new and collector toys and sells to other stores and to visitors. They have a website, but I’ll leave that one to you to discover. Visit them at

Here’s my summarized critique;
The sandwiches were decent and at $5.00, with $2.25 drinks, the price was fine for food. Ambience
the element of surprise…priceless. A real feel good place for the whole family and less than a two hour day trip from Northfield.