You know what this summer has lacked? Fargo. Highway Ten. The Road. I don’t know if I have anything else to say about it, or whether there is anything I can say that hasn’t been said. I’m sure there are changes between here and there, small things, big things. A sign that no longer exists. A small-town store that closed, or one that opened. At the end of the four and a half hours, FARGO. And then what?
I don’t know. Retracing old steps, revisiting old places. It’s like maintenance on an old bridge. The traffic may be less but you want to make sure it can bear whatever has to cross. I would drive by my old school; I would visit the street where I grew up, just to reinforce that gusset plate. I would probably wander around West Acres for a while. Have dinner with kin, of course. A prairie sunset, a walk around downtown with the neon shining at the Empire and the Bismarck, an assertion no one cares to dispute or affirm and seems rather pointless: this is still my place.
And, of course, visit the graves. That’s the first order of business. You drive four hours to talk to the stones.
I mentioned that I was going back and winnowing photos, selecting the ones that mean something more than others. Here are some shots I set aside from 2012. Some of them remind me the remarkable people I've met:
I mean, Manny! Oh, and Doc too. A great guy. We all went out to dinner after the show, too.
The neighbor owned one of these, and brought it by in the summer sometimes.
For a while I did a video interview show at the paper. Eventually they built a set, but for a while I did it here, and called "In the Loop."
This was also where I wrote all of Joe Ohio. For a while it was a little cafe; an attendant waited for people to come by and order coffee. It didn't last.
On the bridge from Loring to the Sculpture Garden. Graffiti provides a summation of the warring elements, I suppose.
In the Sculpture Garden itself, so much uplift:
Probably a Richard Serra, from the Tilted Tetanus series.
Southdale, during one of the many reconstructions intended to revive its failing state:
An old switch, obviously, from the old building. I never knew what it did.
It's an H&H, and you needn't google; we'll learn all about it next June in the Here to There section.
I think you can wait.
Also from the old building, the classic Honeywell muffin:
That pattern on the wall, that speckled effect, was all through the building. It defined the mood and the decor. The building was spiffed up in the mid-90s, and when I went to work there it was still at the height of power, flush with money. It was like walking into a dream job. It was the dream job.
Along University Avenue, a great old industrial building with some Sullivanesque decorations. Chittenden and Eastman, 1917. Lofts now.
I think Nelson's is gone now. A Dinkytown staple for years, if I recall correctly. Stationery. Remember stationery stores?
Finally, an old citizen spending its retirement as an antique store.
It's still there.
And now, the weekly dream-journal entry, illustrated by AI.
In NYC with an old girlfriend, kicking around, having a great time. Eventually I said it was probably time we should get to the airport, and she was aghast: you haven’t changed at all, you’re still neurotic about getting to the airport. I didn’t want to spoil things - we were getting along so well - so I pointed out, as casually as possible, that she hadn’t packed, her hotel was 20 blocks away, neither of us had gotten a physical ticket, and the flight left in an hour. Also, she was carrying a baby. With great rolling of eyes and exaggerated panic, she agreed to begin preparations for leaving. Once back at the hotel she opened her suitcase, threw a few things in, but decided it would be a good time to write a letter in longhand to someone.
I looked at my watch, realized I had misread the time; we had an extra hour. I kept this to myself, and said I would go down to the bar to wait so I didn’t make her nervous. At the bar the TV was playing a promo for an upcoming broadcast of a Roger Moore Bond movie, and there was the sight of a New Orleans paddleboat in the canals of Venice, doing a wheelie.
“I’d go there again in a second if I had the chance,” I said out lod, and a few people at the bar looked at me, unimpressed, as if I had said that just to tell everyone I had been in Venice, when of course I had.
I went back up to the room; everyone was gone except for Ian McShane from Deadwood, who had been hired to look after the baby. I asked him where the baby was. “Fuck if I know,” he said, and went back to his book.
Another shot from the 2012 folder.
I recognized right away the location:
It was not a going concern and had not been so for a while, but the sign was painted between 2011 and 2012:
Then the whole block was razed.
Making way for . . .
From another angle:
The dome was a kitschy piece of commercial architecture that told you "Falafel here, maybe that exotic hummus.
Close to Loring Park, too. Close to a nice little lake. I wish the neighborhood was safer than it is, but it's been shading on the unexpected encounter side for a long time.
Sometimes . . . just shut up.
Solution is here.
This year's old newspaper feature: a social no-no single-panel illustration. Can you figure out what's wrong?
The answer will be provided on Monday. I think we all know where this one is going.
That will do! See you Monday or Tuesday; haven't decided.