The last time I had seen my friend Michele was on her wedding day back in May of 2009. At the time, she was living in the Salt Lake City area. That marked the first trip Ross and I took together, and we were just a few months into our relationship at the time. Utah was beautiful, but it's hard to get together with Michele on a regular basis. When we were both in the Duluth area, no problem. But in the last 14-and- a-half years, we've lived far apart - me in Marshall and her in Denver, then the Salt Lake City area, then northern Utah and now Rockford, Ill. Luckily for me, Rockford is about 7.5 hours away from Marshall. And better yet, Michele's sister, brother-in-law and their family and her mom all live in New London. So that's where I went Monday as Michele was spending a few days with her family.
We didn't have any set plans - maybe lunch and a hike in a state park. The hike plans got scrapped as the temperatures climbed a little higher. We bummed around the shops of New London for a bit and then headed to Spicer for lunch. We ended up at a coffee shop/bakery that had several varieties of sandwiches.
I was all set to get one called "Wild Turkey," when I saw the special of the day was a grilled turkey, asparagus and Swiss cheese sandwich. Hey, I like turkey, Swiss cheese and asparagusso I gave it a try. It was then onto Willmar where we stopped at Robbins Island Park for a short walk, followed by a jaunt to Best Buy and then Wal-Mart. You know, it didn't matter that we didn't get to hike one of the state parks, it was just spending time with my friend and chatting in person instead of on the phone or via Facebook chat. I even mentioned that I missed hanging out with her. After coming back to her sister's house, we then all went to the lake in Spicer. They went swimming. And since I didn't anticipate going swimming, I went wading. But because it's supposed to be hot this weekend and several days beyond, I've already figured that swimming will be in my future.
After leaving Spicer, it was onto Wood Lake for the town's community fair. For a small town, it puts on quite the three-day event. A couple of blocks are cordoned off for the carnival, bingo, burger stand and other activities. And there's always plenty of people milling around, even on a weekday night or three.The burger stand was busy, the bingo games were usually packed and the weather held out on Monday night.
Once we hit downtown, Ross and I headed straight to the burger stand (since the kiddy pedal pull was happening, we figured we wouldn't have much of a wait in the burger line). It's amazing all the preparation and work that goes into running that burger stand - handcut fries, volunteers manning various stations. We then went through the vendor/craft sale and back out to the carnival grounds for mini-doughnuts. We contemplated going on the bumper cars since they returned to the carnival this year. The only thing was it didn't seem to get many going on them. So it was wait for a spot to open up to play a few rounds of bingo. Neither of us won, but we came close on a couple of occasions. All in all, it was a good night at the fair; a good day all around.