April 11, 2024

Easter Weekend in Duluth

Friday, 4:00 pm Get picked up distant childhood friend and her son for two and a half hour drive north to French River.

5:30-6:30 pm Spend an hour with cute 6-year-old son constructing a race track in the backseat for little micromachine cars to race around on. Also, count PT Cruisers and VW Bugs.

8:00 pm Arrive home. Within ten minutes of walking in the door, am informed by mom again that my hair is falling out and that I am too skinny. Too, too skinny. I must be anorexic. Pet dog. Talk to sister, tease sister. grand_theft_auto_37Eat sugar cookies. Discover that my sister has bought Playstation and Grand Theft Auto III. Discover new appreciation for sister.

10:30 pm Fall asleep to the sounds of explosions as my sister spreads virutal mayhem.


Saturday, 9:30 am Wake up, drink weak coffee, read pathetic local newspaper with frightening Letters to the Editor section filled with rants against the homosexual agenda, abortionists, and Democrats. Try to convince dad that Rush Limbaugh is not The Leader.
10:30 am Head to the Mall with mom and sister. On the way, talk about the deer out and about and how dangerous it is to drive. Listen to mom debate with herself the possibility that a corpse on the highway is a dog or a wolf.

11:00 am Arrive at the old duplex at 16 N 16th Ave. E. [Note: When I was growing up, this house was a very special place for me. My Aunt Julie and her daughter Elizabeth lived downstairs, and my Aunt June lived upstairs. Referred to collectively as The Sisters, they provided a magical escape for young country bumpkin Jason bored off his ass in the middle of nowhere each summer. I'd stay with Aunt June who had cable(!) and do fun things with my Aunt Julie like ride the bus downtown and go sit in on court cases. We'd visit the library, eat at Old Country Buffet, drive out to Park Point for picnics, rollerblade on the Lakewalk, and play in the sprinklers in the backyard. She always wears mis-matched purple. She is wonderful. june Last winter my cousin Elizabeth passed away, and Aunt Julie, who's in her late 70s, decided she wanted to go to a nursing home. In early december, Aunt June was living there by myself, and my sister and mom had converted the upstairs into an apartment for them to escape to when they sick of the country. Then my Aunt June fell ill. She had cancer, and it took her quickly. She passed away in January. My mom is settling the estate, which means clearing out the house and selling everything.] Look around at all the stuff that mom's selling on the weekends by putting up signs on Superior Street and having impromptu rummage sales. Pick up a couple of wooden bowls. See nothing that reminds me of Aunt June. Feel sad that all the chairs they used to sit in now have price tags on them.

12:00 Go to Walmart, which is packed with large Midwesterners going crazy over cheap Easter candy. Fall ill with a headache somewhere between the $1.50 African violets and the $9.99 DVDs. Am told by my mom that for this price, she can just toss out the violets when they stop blooming. Promise myself again that I will never buy something from Walmart. Reluctantly accept a giant bundle of toilet paper though from mom.

2:00 pm Head home from Mall. Stop at Coffee Cabin, per mom's request, a new quaint little coffee shack by the Sunset Lounge off the Rice Lake Road. "Marcy goes there to read," am informed by mom. When asked what she'll order, mom replies, "I really enjoy Chia teas. I think I am going to have a raspberry Chia tea. Laff heartily at quaint proclivities of the provincial.
3:00 pm Play Grand Theft Auto III. Joined by mom. Rather than objecting to the gratuitous gore and violence, laughs when I mow down a sidewalk full of pedestrians while driving a smashed-up bus.

4:00 pm Color easter eggs. Try some Martha Stewart recipe mom cut out of a magazine that involves olive oil. Mom posits the following question: "Do you think Martha is coloring eggs in jail right now?" Create giant mess and stinky eggs. Unanimously decide that Martha deserves to be in jail for as long as possible.

5:00 pm Drive mom and dad to Red Lobster for dinner. Listen to them debate whether carcass on the highway is a dog or a wolf.

7:00 pm On way home from Red Lobster, determine that carcass is indeed a wolf.

8:00 - 10:00 pm Play Grand Theft Auto III because everyone's gone to bed before the evening news. Attempt reading a book of poetry. Throw it down in disgust. Continue playing violent video games.


Sunday, 9:30 am Wake up, drink weak coffee, listen to mom yell at Vicky, our poor lab, for being fat and having stinky breath, and letting out stinky farts from the dog treats I've been feeding her. dog

11:00 am Ryan arrives. Distant, guarded hello's all around. Mom and Kristy play double solitaire, Ryan and Dad do the crossword puzzle. I walk around nervously, sugared up from the ten pounds of cookies, candies, and ting-a-lings consumed in the past 36 hours. Before dinner, taken aside by mom, who wants to show me something. Am lead into the spare bedroom. "Look what I keep right beside your old yearbooks!" mom says, hauling out a plain white box. Putting the box in my hands she says, "It's your Aunt June!" The box is heavy. "Your Uncle Chuck is trying to contact her to find out what she wants us to do with them. We haven't heard anything from her yet. But he'll keep trying." Both agree that what I am holding is not Aunt June.
12:00 Dinner is served: ham, [note: no water added, I'll have you know!] mashed potatoes, homemade coleslaw, relish tray, warm buns, 2% milk. General consensus that Aunt June's "orange jello dessert" is missed.

12:30 Dinner is finished. Wait around for ride home while mom packs up bag after bag of leftovers, toilet paper, croutons, laundry detergent, a bottle of Fleishman's whiskey found in Aunt June's apartment, furniture polish, pillows, cookies, candy, loaves of bread, and green peppers. Despite my protestations, bags continue to materialize beside the front door.

4:45 pm Arrive in Uptown. Unpack. Brew up a pot of strong coffee.

Posted by jason at April 11, 2024 07:05 PM

Hey! I grew up in Duluth, and now spend my holidays there! You have summed exactly what holidays are like in good old DULLuth!

I love it! Love Park Point-used to have bonfires there-including our city famous November one..where we are all huddled under sleeping bags, and ratty comforters taken from the back of old 72 oldsmobiles-freezing our asses off because its colder by the lake of course!

I am heading to Duluth for Christmas...probably will hit the wal-mart.

But, man, you gotta eat a Perkins-what the hell is this Old Country Buffet shit????

Posted by: Robin at November 27, 2024 08:40 AM