I've been reading Eugene McCarthy's book of poems--and couple of essays--called Minnesota, and thinking about the Gopher State. The only state moniker that memorializes a rodent, I think. I notice lately MN has been trying to rebrand as The North Star State. As a Canadian, that doesn't wash with me. And the North Stars were an NHL team based in the Twin Cities--but they folded the tent twenty years ago. However...I own one very fond memory of Minnesota. In the olden days, just around the time that little Laura Ingalls Wilder was homesteading out on that little house on the prairie, not long after the Sioux wars, and probably around the time of the Great Northfield Minnesota raid, I used to drive across that godforsaken country called Minnesotio a couple of times a year. I was commuting between Maine and Alberta. Thirty years ago this week somewhere around the NW corner of Lake Superior my car, a 1976 Mazda 808 station wagon, started bucking and snorting and generally misbehaving. It was -30 degrees F but I figured the problem wasn't cold per se, but issues with the carburetor. I spent the night more or less sleeping in the back of the car in a shut-down-for-the year State Park somewhere south of International Falls. Next morning limped it into good old Duluth, which is (almost) Bob Dylan's home town. Went to the Mazda dealership where they immediately went to work on the car. They rebuilt the carb, did a complete tune-up and handed me a bill for...$125. I think I had about a hundred bucks on me and most of it in Canadian money. Credit cards--not. I asked if they would take a check. Sure, no problem! How about a Canadian check? Sure, no problem. Me: Want to see my driver's license? Them: Nah, what for? Still hard for me to believe, but they took the check (cheque, in Canada) from a scruffy Canadian hippie, drawn on the Bank of Montreal branch in Banff, Alberta, no questions asked.
The Bobster, from "Something There Is About You"
"Thought I'd shaken the wonder and the phantoms of my youth
Rainy days on the Great Lakes, walking the hills of old Duluth
There was me and Danny Lopez, cold eyes, black night and then there was Ruth
Something there is about you that brings back a long forgotten truth."
|1985 PB photo ©2013 JW Burleson|