Brief note: I am in Fargo. Or was. A quick trip up with Daughter to see Grandpa before she heads off to . . . where is she going again? Right, right, Brazil. We had intended to go up on Monday, but my Element developed a screech, and that turned out to be a brake job. Now, I have three others so big deal, but still. I floated the choice of Dad coming down here, but A) they’re short a driver at the station, and Dad’s been filling in on one of transports. At the age of 93. Hallelujah. Also, Daughter was looking forward to a road trip, which warmed my heart as much as you can imagine. A stop at Treasure City. A troll through some small towns. One last look at Minnesota in its summer glory before she goes to . . .

Damn, it keeps slipping my mind.

So bear with me today. I could dump some pieces I have in the hopper, but Gah, they’re bleak. Better to move them gently to the trash and remember:

Colman Mustard Moment

Get me to the Anchor

The Great Rebranding

The third was moved along a bit today when my new glasses showed up. They are cheap. Cheapity cheap lens, very stylish, but they’re off just a bit. You want to keep wearing them to get used to them, but you know how good it will feel to cheat and go back to your old ones. So I’ve decided they will be my Public Appearance Glasses.

Isn’t that . . . all glasses? You ask. Yes, but I mean events and things when I want to look a bit different.

They’re square and titanium! Well, titanium-hued synthetic aluminum, or something.

Oh, hey! I found something cheerful, intended for Monday. When I laid this page out on Sunday I also included the whole version of the banner. Lucky you.

OH CRIMINEY there's a Diner, too. What am I apologizing for?

It was the last party, I suspect. The high school friends over for an evening, with expectations of raucousness. Nothing better than hearing them all in the basement hooting and laughing - and then dead silence, then someone picks out the Jurassic Park theme on the synthesizer. It’s been silent for years, and of course the kid who played the notes had no idea that’s where Daughter practiced her Yamaha lessons for a long time before we got a proper piano. It wasn’t until now that I thought of the sounds of Dreaded Piano Practice trickling up the stairs, how the keyboard preceded her existence, how I used to “compose” on it back at the old house.

TIME FOR PIZZA ROLLS I told myself, because that’ll snap the funk. (Note: it snapped the funk for 42 seconds) I had tormented Daughter with the idea of pizza rolls for her party; she regarded them as horrible things no one would want, and I thought “you are having boys over. Boys will eat pizza rolls.” As it turned out they made a run to the grocery store and came back with Chips A Fargin’ Hoy, the worst cookie ever, so no, I’m not insulting their finely calibrated palates with Awesome Stuff’t Nachos.

To be fair, they bought the “chewy” type of Chips Ahoy, which have been chemically altered for malleability.

As far as I can tell, they ran around the backyard with the big bubble wands I bought in Northfield at the Walgreens. They’re on the counter now, sticky and empty. The cookies I bought at Traders Joe were a minor hit. Yesterday I bought some Swedish Fish, since that’s something of a joke - one of her basement soirees was a big hit because she produced a bag of Swedish Fish, and however many years later it’s a rote jape. I have friends coming over. Great; do you want me to get Swedish Fish?

Usually, no. This time, yes. I also got Sour Patch Kids. They’re only 18. These old brands still connect, if offered with the proper self-awareness. I’m not giving you these because I think you’re 10. I’m giving you these because at this point in your life - summer more than halfway done, everyone about to fly apart and away, these connections never to be the same again, this evening underscored with the knowledge that things are truly changing irrevocably - you will appreciate the opportunity to admit, without fear of censure, a connection to the younger selves you have left behind, the selves your parents remember. It’s okay. Drop the pretense. You want Sour Patch Kids. We all want Sour Patch Kids.

They wanted to sit outside by the firepit, and I hooked it up to the propane tank. I was a bit frazzled, since it was a column night and I had no ideas. The hose on the fire pit started hissing, and I figured “cheap Chinese crap, three years old, leaks, fire, kids - hey, THERE’S A COLUMN” and indeed I got 850 words out of it. Also built a fire with wood, so everyone smelled like Fall. I worried it would melt the Kids and the Fish.

They were okay.

Got a text from Daughter today - an audio file. She was singing something and wanted to know what it was. I sent back IMMIGRANT SONG by Led Zeppelin. The other text, hours later, after they left the house: we are at the Water Tower.

That’s where they are now, probably all on their backs, looking up at the stars. I could wait up until I hear the gate clank open and shut, but I should just go to bed and trust they’ll make it back.

Good practice.






Nine minutes to go! Hungry yet?

The beginning of the segment makes it seem as if the corn dog is half-covered with vibrant mustard.

  The Diner: Episode 16.


That'll do; see you tomorrow with Tales of Fargo.


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