ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Column: Come see the sights, have a drink and enjoy the spring

WORTHINGTON -- March 14. Sixty days to May 14. Tulips and apple blossoms. And -- oh, oh -- 60 days until guests begin arriving. Blessings on them all. I love to see them, especially in the spring while we work at erasing the memory of winter. I l...

WORTHINGTON - March 14.
Sixty days to May 14.
Tulips and apple blossoms. And - oh, oh - 60 days until guests begin arriving. Blessings on them all. I love to see them, especially in the spring while we work at erasing the memory of winter. I look forward to visitors.
More or less. I am making a little hesitation here. They are guests and I am host. I’ve got to think of ways to entertain these people. Most of my guests have driven from the Twin Cities metro area.
Well - come on everyone; let’s find something comfortable in the living room. Pick a chair. Anyone like something to drink? In one voice: coffee. Tea. Coke. Juice. Just water. Tommy would like some milk.
Oh.
If I were Dave Letterman or Johnny Carson, I could launch a monologue. Have all the jokes ready to roll. Do a little interview with each guest in turn. You know I can’t pull that off.
Maybe a little song. I could get down on one knee and do Al Jolson and, “California Here I Come.” They don’t know Al Jolson, however. And I surely am not going to be able to pull off an Elvis imitation.
We’ve done Pioneer Village, group by group. The grain elevator attracts them, and I begin an explanation. “A farmer would drive his wagon of grain here, pulled by a team of horses …” I sense my group is not big on grain storage, and the kids have run ahead to the depot. “Now don’t you kids climb on anything! You wait for us!” I edge on, just saying in a fading voice that eventually the grain got to the top of the elevator.
There is Lake Okabena, of course. No, we can’t swim there. No, we can’t go fishing. Anyone like something to drink? Coffee. Tea. Coke. Juice. Just water. Tommy still would like some milk.
Once in a while luck beams down. One group came on a Friday afternoon when there was a B-17 bomber at the airport. Touring the bomber from pilot’s seat to tail gunner interested them and me as well.
The Dayton House is good. One kid wondered, “Who is George Dayton?” His brother said George was governor.
There are wondrous things not far off. Blue Mounds State Park. The kids would love to see buffalo. Thing is, they have just been riding for four hours. Dad is not eager to get back behind the steering wheel. There is Arnolds Park. Half-an-hour away. “Is that like the amusement park at Mall of America? Mall of America has the biggest amusement park in the world …”
I have hit on one thing that is sure fire. Each visiting group in turn gets taken to Hawkeye Point. You know Hawkeye Point, south of Bigelow and north of Sibley? A dozen miles distant. Highest point in the state of Iowa. This they have not seen.
Everyone in turn steps atop the colorful mosaic that is the actual highest point. Kids will giggle. They take selfies and pictures of Mom and Dad on the highest point and then send their photos across the U.S. and on to Nepal and Africa. It is not apparent that there is a high point, and this is part of the fun. It looks like just another stretch of prairie, although Hawkeye Point is 1,670 feet above sea level.
There are five tall poles with 49 signs on them identifying and pointing to the highest place in every state. (The Ebright Azi point in Delaware is only 447.58 feet above sea level.)
There also is a display of license plates from every state in the union. I have learned this has some fascination for everyone, young and old. Kids look at the license plates and don’t try to climb the poles.
Hawkeye Point is a lifesaver. And by now it is time to eat. You can head for Sibley and eat ice cream on the main street front porch. Or back to Worthington to maybe a supermarket. Everyone can get what they like to go. Coffee. Tea. Coke. Juice. Just water. Tommy would like some milk. Oh, and a chicken dinner or a salad assortment. We’ll have a park picnic.

Ray Crippen is a former editor of the Daily Globe. His column appears on Saturdays.

What To Read Next
Professional researcher Debbie Boe will give an introduction to family history research for new genealogists.
Parga and fellow SWIF staff will lead the foundation’s Grow Our Own framework, focused on helping southwest Minnesota kids and families reach their full potential from cradle to career.
The event will include viewing a live webinar hosted by the U.S. Department of State over Zoom, followed by a question and answer session with community members and Kivu Law staff.
Everyone is invited to bring in a photo of their pet, friend or partner, or a favorite card or memento, so that the library can make it part of a display.