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Red Wing, Minnesota

The weather turned. It got warm. Almost 80 degrees F. So we took advantage of it and spent the day in Red Wing, a town on the Mississippi with a population of about 17,000. It has a great used bookstore and a Scandinavian shop along the several blocks of downtown.

They have an “Art Walk” downtown with several statues scattered around. One was of a young Rosie the Riveter: “We Can Do It!” Lee Leuning & Sherri Treeby, Bronze. They even had prices on them. This one was $25,000.

Red Wing is the home of Red Wing shoes founded by Charles H. Beckman in 1905. It was one of the primary companies manufacturing footwear for American soldiers fighting in WWI.

A whole section of town is devoted to pottery. When it was discovered that the glaciers had deposited large clay beds in the area, the clay was shipped to Red Wing and the Red Wing Stoneware company was founded in 1877. It changed hands several times but it and other pottery companies are still in business and welcome visitors from all over.

The architecture is eclectic.

If you are lucky and Memorial Park is open, you can see a view of the whole area from the top of the bluff. We were not lucky this time. But here are some views from last summer.

We did find a good restaurant – Home Plate Grill & the Dugout Lounge is a sports bar with live music, trivia, and comedy nights. The food is burgers and sandwiches with some salads and entrees. We had the spinach and artichoke dip and a couple of burgers with blue cheese and bacon. It was all quite tasty. Good atmosphere, good service. Fun place.

After dinner we walked down by the river where we found more statues.

And a boat village

And the back of the St James Hotel.

Armistice, Veteran, Poppy, Remembrance Day

photo of poppy field
Photo by Elina Sazonova on Pexels.com

Happy Veterans Day. Or Armistice Day. Or Remembrance Day. Or Poppy Day.

I went to a British grade school in Mexico City.  We wore a uniform.  I was 7 years old. In November of my first year, kids started showing up with red paper poppies pinned to the lapel of their blazers.  I had never heard of Poppy Day but I loved the color added to the otherwise mundane clothing.  I bought one and wore it even though I didn’t understand why. I looked forward to it every year. That splash of red.

It was the 11th month, 11th day, 11th hour when hostilities ended.   It was the end of the First World War, the war to end all wars. Poppies bloomed all across the fields where the battles were fought and lives were lost. A sea of red.

My first trip to Paris was over Armistice Day weekend. I was 16, and wandering around on my own. The city was empty. I was the only person at Napoleon’s tomb. I remember it was snowing that day.

In Washington, DC, Veteran’s day always meant Rolling Thunder. Motorcycles from all over the country converged on the Vietnam Memorial. They used to parade down to the Mall from Virginia and Maryland. You could hear them all morning. I was there for the 25th anniversary when they expected 500,000 motorcycles. It was impressive.

Dreamers

Soldiers are citizens of death’s grey land,
Drawing no dividend from time’s to-morrows. 
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win 
Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives.

I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,
And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain, 
Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
And mocked by hopeless longing to regain 
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
And going to the office in the train.
by Siegfried Sassoon, Selected Poems (1968)

I voted on Tuesday. I was relieved the red wave turned into a pink drizzle.
It also got dark this week. Short Dark Days until the end of the year.

We made this yummy cake earlier this week. It is gluten free in case anybody cares.

Almond Cake

4 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
2.25 cups finely ground almonds (I use almond flour)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Separate eggs into 2 large bowls.
Beat yolks, gradually incorporating 3/4 cup sugar
Fold in the almond flour

Whisk the egg whites until foamy.
Gradually beat in 1/4 cup sugar
Continue to beat until stiff

Stir 1/3 egg whites in to almond mixture, then carefully fold in remaining egg whites in 2 batches.
Pour batter into buttered 9-inch cake pan and bake about 30 minutes.

Allow to cool.
Dust with powdered sugar.