On a more personal note…

Fall Color

Fall Color

Some who read this may not be in Minnesota. Whether you are or not, no doubt you recognize the change of seasons: It’s starting to be fall here. The trees are beginning to exhibit LOTS of color (AHHHHHHH!) and there is a chill in the air at night. This is absolutely my FAVORITE season of the year.

This past weekend, Judy and I experienced parents weekend at the University of Minnesota with our younger daughter Anna. We walked all over the campus and enjoyed seeing things, some old, some new, some gone. (The building in which I worked after attending the U, Wesbrook Hall, is simply no longer there.) We toured the Elmer L. Anderson library on the West Bank, which wasn’t there when Judy and I were students some decades previously. It houses all the U’s special collections. We heard a very interesting presentation on the largest Sherlock Holmes collection in the world. Very interesting. We toured the building AND the vaults below. THAT was a highlight. Ninety feet below the surface, beneath the limestone bedrock, they carved out two tunnels/caves in the underlying sandstone, about 100 yards long. In these were built climate controlled environments to house the collections. Think of the last shot of the FBI warehouse in the movie The Raiders of the Lost Ark. Aisles and aisles and shelves and shelves (some seemingly forty feet high!) of boxes full of rare books, manuscripts, prints, letters, etc. It was really fascinating. And the smell of old books permeates the place, which odor practically makes both Judy and I swoon. We love old books.

To add interest, our tour guide was a little dit of a librarian, only about so tall, who curates the children’s literature collection. She herself described her high, frenetic voice as sounding like “a chipmunk on pop rocks,” which was actually pretty accurate. She was a stitch. Her energy and excitement for the books she tends was infectious.

For the day, we walked about four miles back and forth… I suppose this is a typical day for a college student. We had registered for a dinner/reception at the student union, but I apparently didn’t notice when I signed up that it was targeted for juniors and seniors (all about internships and job hunting). No refund, though, so we decided to go anyway. The room was full of latex balloons, however, so we had to leave (both my wife and I are allergic to them). They gave us some coupons for the bookstore since we didn’t even get the dinner for which we had paid dearly. So we walked over to the dormitory and were Anna’s guests for dinner. It was good, but I ate WAY too much. Good thing we were walking so much; it almost balanced out.

We talked with Anna late into the night, or rather, she talked to us. She shared her thoughts and reactions and struggles which she has experienced during her first month of college, and how God is meeting her there and ministering to her. Her insights are very wise; she’s been going through a lot and is handling it very well. I’m SO PROUD of her, and frankly a bit amazed. It was very fun. Then we came home and collapsed. 😀

American Kestrel

American Kestrel

The next day we visited the University’s world-renowned Raptor Center. This center for study and restoration of wounded birds of prey is the result of the vision of two university faculty. It is fascinating to get “up close and personal” with such majestic creatures: bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, owls, vultures, peregrine falcons, even the beautiful American kestrel. Each has a story. We had a bit of an adventure waiting for the campus shuttle to return from the St. Paul campus (where the Raptor Center is) to the Minneapolis. Apparently very few people (the information line included) knew that the shuttle travels a different route on weekends. We waited with several students most of an hour before seeing the shuttle go by, but not come to the bus stop where about ten of us were sitting. Then we walked to another stop, and waited another half hour for the next shuttle, which by then was filled to the gills with extra people.It was comical, and was bearable because it was such a beautiful autumn day to be outside. Had it been raining, or a cold winter day, it could have been a bit beastly.

The final day we watched the U women take on Penn State in soccer. It was a GORGEOUS day to be outside, watching the world’s most popular game, even if the Gophers lost on a late goal.

Oh, and in the midst of it all, Anna was on TV!!! A local station was doing a piece on FOMO (fear of missing out… on the latest technology) and they interviewed a bunch of university students for “man on the street” comments. One of them was Anna. She alerted us and I recorded it. It was fun to see her, even if it was only a sound bite.

Spending time with Anna this weekend certainly ministered to our hearts. All three of us together miss our older daughter, who is off on an exciting musical adventure. But we will treasure the time we had this weekend, and now must head back to work. Yet we are thankful for our jobs–and even more thankful for the two wonderful girls with whom God has blessed us.


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