Other than the airport, Linda and I haven’t been to the Twin Cities in ages. We remedied that last weekend with a quick trip to attend the Northwest Broadcast News Association’s annual awards banquet. More about that in a minute.
We used to go there several times a year especially when our daughter, Suzan was attending the University. Both she and her boyfriend (now husband) were in theater and I don’t think we missed many of the productions they were in. Plus we loved going to ballgames and out on the town afterwards to places like The Dakota Bar and Grill on Nicolett (Now Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant) which features wonderful food and terrific live music.
And, Nye’s Polonaise Room a delightfully quaint corner bar and restaurant just across the river from downtown on East Hennepin. It’s the perfect place for anyone feeling nostalgic for the sixties. The place hasn’t noticeably changed since Al Nye bought it in the late forties. They still have a piano bar on the restaurant side and the world’s most dangerous polka band performs every Friday and Saturday night on a tiny stage at the back of the bar next door. But we just didn’t have time on this trip to make it to either of them. It is nice, though, knowing they’re still there unlike the Prom Ballroom on University Avenue in St. Paul which went the way of the wrecking ball shortly after our first and only visit there in 1987. It was the last bastion for live big band music in the Cities.
We encountered heavy fog along I-90 Saturday morning and heavy rain and hail when we turned on 35 W. Big Red is still pretty resilient, though, and survived the ice attack without a dimple. I had planned our route to the Crown Plaza Hotel in Bloomington perfectly only to arrive and find out they didn’t have our reservation. “Wait a minute,” I said, “I’ve got a confirmation number right here so you better have a room for us!” “Ah, yes sir, but that is for the Crown Plaza AIRPORT which is East of here a few miles.” If I’d have had a tail it would have been dragging between my legs as I hung my head low and schlumped out of the lobby dragging our suitcase and cooler back to the car.
Well, we found the right hotel and had a delightful evening at the banquet where, for some reason, the Northwest Broadcast News Association saw fit to present me with the Mitchell V. Charnley Award for lifetime achievement. My friend and longtime colleague, Jaine Andrews nominated me and somehow managed to make it flowery and glowing enough for the NBNA board to go along with the idea. Anyway, Mitchell Charnley was a brilliant journalist, writer and professor who spent much of his career at the University Of Minnesota where he taught the likes of Eric Severied, Edwin Newman, Harry Reasoner and Garrison Keillor. Past recipients of the award include Tom Brokaw and Steve Hemmingsen. It was a great honor and I am humbled by..and grateful for it.
We chugged home on highways 169 and 60 which may be slower than the interstate but a lot more scenic even at this time of year before the Minnesota Valley trees have had a chance blossom. Plus it gives me a chance to repeat that terrible old joke whenever we drive past the Jolly Green Giant billboard at Le Sueur. “Look, Linda, at the Jolly Green Giant as he stands over his corn and peas…ha, ha ha.” She always humors me with a little smile but I think it’s mostly out of pity for such a pitiful tradition.
I’m heading back out to the golf course today where, so far, my game is showing a few signs of improvement. Such wonderful things happening to me at this golden age of geezerhood.
My cup runneth over. (DD)