Homecoming: war stories and babysitting
December 18, 2003
MINNEAPOLIS – All biases aside, Minneapolis has got to be one of the prettiest cities in the world. I mean, honestly, when you see that Hennepin Bridge beaming over the Mississippi RIver, highlighted by those yellow and red October leaves and that perky downtown skyline in the background, it’s just so darn delicious you want to take a big bite out of it! YUM!
What a bonus it is in that I got to grow up here, that I have friends and family here and happen to understand the culture – i.e., that malls are not just for shopping but also a place to get a good walk in during the winter; or in the summer, how a day you have to say over and over again, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”
A friend back in New York gave me about a million Marriott Reward Points (Thank you, Curtis!) so I’m living the high life staying in the heart of my scrumptious downtown surrounded by coffee shops and the hum of busy lives in suits.
My week-long sabbatical in Minneapolis was overflowing with old friends in lively cafes and discovering the little lives of my new baby niece, Rosie, 3, and nephew, Eamon, 1, who are the MOST precious babies in all of baby history. But again, all biases aside.
Sister Cara and her husband Jim brought the babies to my hotel downtown for a play. Aunt Polly has balloons to play with. Bop.
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But that’s boring. Rosie knows how to have fun downtown. We run through the skyway system from Nicollet Mall into Crystal Court laughing at the people below that look so tiny.
We ride the elevator and push all the buttons because it’s fun to push buttons. We ride through Marshall Fields in the kid carrier. We touch all the pumpkin displays.
We ride down the escalator. Back up again. Down one more time, just one more time. Weee! Woo hoo, Mommy! A fountain! Splish splash! Aunt Polly, look! An ATM machine! Buttons, levers, envelopes to throw on the floor!
Downtown is fun!
My friend Jackie comes downtown with her two gorgeous boys, Timmy, 9, and Joe, 12. We discover the trick to having an adult conversation with kids around is to have lunch at Game World and give them a $5 play card.
The next day, Jackie treats me to a girlie day at the spa. We spend quality time together getting facials, massages, having cafe mocha decafs while talking about raising teenagers, renovating kitchens and the white-picket-fence life of being married for 20 years – India is a less foreign world to me.
My high school girlfriends spend a lively squealy evening eating pizza together where every sentence starts with, “Remember the time …” and ends with, “How is it we’re still alive?”
The next day, I ,et old college buddies for dinner and – stretch your
imagination here – during our freshman year we had been quite the partiers.
I tell my old roommate Keg that it occurred to me on the way over that we’ve probably never had a sober conversation ha ha, and I hope she understands, but even after all these years I could never call her Tammy – her real name.
It’s just that when you act like a keg, smell like a keg and drink like a keg, you’re forever a Keg.
My friend Karen says remember the time we got drunk, rolled in mud then rolled on all the white cars in the parking lot I said it wasn’t me. No one can prove a thing.
Adventures in babysitting
Cara and Jim put Aunt Polly in charge of their little treasures for the afternoon. I’m a bit nervous but after studying hard, interviewing professional and reading case studies, I’m ready. I can babysit.
Rosie and Eamon are at the ages when eyes need to be on them every second or they’re likely to fall down a sewer or eat a bug.
I come with my sleeves rolled up and ready for serious fun. We jump in leaves, ride tricycles, play with puzzles. We hold hands across the street to the park, swing from monkey bars, climb up the rocket and whizz down the slide. We eat bananas and crackers, read “The Cat in the Hat” and sing “Frosty the Snowman” until my eyes turn to coal.
When Mommy comes home she swoops Rosie up in her arms and says, “Did you have fun with your Aunt Polly?”
Hmmm, I’m not offended – she’s biased.
Editor’s note: Vail resident Polly Letofsky has been on the road since she left town Aug. 1, 1999, on her mission to become the first woman to walk around the world and promote awareness of breast cancer. From Vail she first walked to the West Coast, then crossed to the two islands of New Zealand, up the eastern coast of Australia and on to Malaysia and Southeast Asia, India, Turkey, Greece, Great Britain and Ireland. She’s now back in the U.S., having arrived in New York City and crossed New York State to the Canadian Border at Niagra Falls and made her way to her home state of Minnesota. She’s headed south from there and is expected to reach Vail in August. This is a recent installment from her journal. You can follow along with Polly’s journey on her Web site, http://www.globalwalk.org.