Goodbye, Minnesota. MobileBooth West will miss you. We packed our bags this past week to arrive in Peoria, Illinois. Here is a list of what I brought along with me
1. Minnesota Nice. Now I know what ‘Minnesota Nice’ really means. It’s a natural kindness. It’s in the air and it’s in a smile. There’s no feeling of obligation to reciprocate, although you often feel the urge to do so. Some examples of Minnesota Nice: eating venison at a Labor Day gathering, being in an appreciation circle at Circles of Support, going on a motorboat ride at Pokegama Lake, singing “Blowing in the Wind” to live guitar in the MobileBooth, and devouring a complimentary burger basket at a play about an old doo-wop group in The Reif Center.
Here are some photographs that will give you a taste of what Minnesota Nice is – smiles and generosity, lakes and long hikes – hopefully you can bring it into your own life, wherever you are:
To continue…I also brought along…
2. A photograph of Judy Garland’s childhood home. Grand Rapids is the birthplace of Judy Garland. I went to her childhood home and found out – to my dismay – that the ruby slippers have actually been stolen from the Judy Garland Museum! Many theories have been circulating as to who stole them, no one has been found guilty yet.
3. A Zimmy’s Waterbottle and T-Shirt. I will always remember my day trip to Hibbing, Minnesota with Heidi Holtan of KAXE. “Zimmy’s Restaurant” is named after Bob Dylan (Bob Zimmerman when he grew up in Hibbing), but the town is notorious for so much more.
Hibbing is sometimes called “The Town That Moved.” It was built on the iron ore of the Mesabi Iron Range. The largest open-pit mine in the world sits at the edge of town. Many of the civic structures in the town were built with mining company money. One of the architectural trade-offs was a new high school (often called “The Palace in the Wilderness”) worth over $3.9 million in 1920. It was built with the hands of people from over 30 different countries who came to Hibbing in search of fresh opportunity. (Bob Dylan attended this high school and a piano he played once is still sometimes used for performances.)
Greyhound Bus also began in Hibbing and now has a Greyhound Bus Museum to commemorate its beginnings. There are mannequins to guide the visitor through and an outdoor lot with vintage Greyhound Buses.
4. Wild Rice from Leech Lake Reservation. Wild rice is Minnesota’s state grain and is part of a culture of harvest in the Ojibwe tribe, the third largest group of Native Americans-First Nations in the United States. According to Ojibwe stories, people were led out west to Minnesota through a series of prophecies, declaring that there would be food. Wild rice is what they found. I can’t wait to have my wild rice with blueberries and milk.
Needless to say, my bags are very full! There are so many stories in this Northern Minnesota land and certainly enough warmth to go around when it starts to get cold.