Postcards from Minnesota

Postcards from Minnesota

Steve and I are getting ready to head to north to Minnesota again this week. We’ve been going there several times a year to visit friends and family and for doctor’s visits at the Mayo Clinic where I’m being treated. It is about a 7-hour drive from our house in Crete, Neb., to Minneapolis and fortunately, there’s always plenty to see and do along the way.

As we prepare this week to return to the Mayo Clinic and then venture to the Twin Cities for the North American TBEX conference for travel bloggers and related industry professionals, we thought we’d share some of the postcards we’ve received from the great state of Minnesota.

The first postcard we received from Minnesota was from former colleagues of mine, Mary Pack and Walt Radcliffe. They sent us this beautiful postcard that features the Minnesota state bird, the Common Loon, and the state flower, the Lady Slipper. Walt and Mary were in Minnesota for an annual visit to the world renowned Mayo Clinic.

Like Mary and Walt, we’ve made several trips to the clinic. In fact, we wrote our very first blog post from the clinic and you can read it HERE.  Of course, we’ve sent ourselves a postcard or two from the Mayo Clinic like this one of a statue depicting founders Doctors William and Charles Mayo.

This statue is located in the Feith Family Statuary Park adjacent to the Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated nonprofit medical group practice in the world, employing more than 3,800 physicians and scientists and 50,900 health staff. They specialize in treating difficult cases (like mine) and spend more than $500 million a year on research. I have been so blessed by the care I’ve received and my experiences at the Mayo Clinic  [read more about that here] and am grateful we’re within a day’s drive of the clinic in Minnesota.

On a brighter note, the other postcards we’ve received from Minnesota are from our friends, the Bissons.

 

Last summer, they sent us postcards from the ever-popular Minnesota State Fair! Rick, Karen, Sawyer, and Cory drove to Minnesota last summer from their home in the Florida Keys. They loved the State Fair, including all of the fried food on a stick they could handle. We loved their postcards and their picks for the best fair food.

 

[well]Best of the best – Fried cheese curds

Best sweet – Martha’s pail of cookies and as much milk as you could drink for just $2.00

Best savory – Totchos (tots, taco meat, cheese, sour cream, bacon, green onion)

Weirdest food – Deep fried giant green olives stuffed with cream cheese on a stick and served with Ranch dip

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Adam Turman’s interpretation of the Great Minnesota Get-Together is the 12th in a series of original art created exclusively for the State Fair. Turman is a Twin Cities illustrator, muralist, fine artist and screen printer.

We’re really excited for our upcoming trip to Minnesota and look forward to meeting with the folks at Explore Minnesota at the TBEX conference. We can’t wait to lean more about tourism in Minnesota and explore places like The Mall of America (with some tax-free shopping), historic Stillwater, MN, and of course, a few of the incredible 10,000 lakes that make this state one-of-a-kind.

[well]When you’re traveling next, be sure to send us a postcard at Postcard Jar, P.O. Box 334, Crete, NE 68333. We’d love to hear from you![/well]

Music for the soul

Music for the soul

After my appointments today at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Steve and I spent two hours sitting in the lobby of Mayo’s Gonda Building where we listened to Jane Belau play the grand piano for passersby. We’d seen her play before and enjoyed the music, but today was different.

We took the time to sit. To watch people. To listen, to think, and to connect.

We met an elderly woman who lives four blocks from the clinic and has a multitude of health issues. She told me that when the doctors can’t help her anymore, she comes here for music therapy. She’s been coming every week for the past eight years.

We watched a tiny little girl, who knew no English, leave the hand and security of her father and walk past a group of strangers to sit on the piano bench and play a few notes.

We visited with a WWII vet and lover of Gershwin who was now in a wheelchair and shared a story about the time he convinced Doris Day to dance with him by telling her he was going into combat the next day.

We heard from a Filipino woman who said she works upstairs, but when she’s off duty, she sits in a chair in the lobby and prays for people passing by.

We admired Tom, whom I was told works in surgery at Mayo, as he sang love songs from the balcony of the foyer. And we sat amazed when parents with seemingly sick children strolled by and grown men and women stopped what they were doing and united in singing “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” in an effort to cheer them up.

At one point, a man walking to his chemotherapy appointment stopped in his tracks and straightened up a bit when the piano player noticed his Navy cap and played “Anchors Aweigh.” He nodded and smiled.

It was especially emotional to watch a young boy with special needs walk out into an empty space in the foyer and begin to move his body to the notes of “I Could Have Danced All Night,” sung by clinic staff who were using their lunch breaks to encourage others. A woman with a headscarf joined him for the dance, while his mom watched from the distance with a smile on her face and a tear on her cheek.

Just as we were leaving, another Mayo Clinic associate joined in and sang “You Raise Me Up.”

As I looked around I saw men and women. The young and the old. I saw people pushing wheelchairs and others pushing strollers. I saw people in suits and sweats and burkas and yarmulkes. There were people walking briskly and people who could barely walk.

As we sat listening to the music, I was reminded that sickness knows no boundaries — in one way or another, it impacts us all. I am thankful today for my life, my family, my health, the means to be treated, and most importantly, for a God who continually lifts me up and renews my strength through experiences like the one I had today.