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Lving it up in the big city

Ahhhh …… the road trip.

A mobile walk on the wild side. An excursion filled with the unexpected. Maybe, adventure; surely plenty of stories to tell when you return home.

I took a road trip recently with my son and his son. It was the first time three generations of Bonordens were on the loose unfettered by probing eyes, untethered to any restraint of domestic life.

Here is my almost-true  account of that trip.

Blooming Prairie

“So, we’re going to Minneapolis on a Friday night to see the Los Angeles Lakers play the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis? I’m not so sure that’s a good idea, Son. It interrupts my routine at Pickett Place senior housing.”

“Look, Pops. You’re retired. The most exciting part of your day is going for a ride on the elevator with your eyes closed, doing your laundry or waiting for the mail to arrive. This will be different.”

“Will we be back in time for the rummage sale Saturday morning?”

“Relax. Kurt Rambis, coach of the Timberwolves, got us tickets. You might be courtside next to Jesse Ventura or Prince. It’s Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. They’re headed for the NBA playoffs. It’s Fan Appreciation Night, and they will be giving away all kinds of free stuff. Who knows? You might event get the mascot’s autograph.”

“I don’t know, Son. I usually get groceries on Friday night.”

“Groceries can wait. Sit back. Enjoy the ride.”

“Well, ll right. I’ll try to have fun. We can talk and bond. Father and son and grandson. Is he asleep yet? Can I tell some Tiger Woods jokes?”

“I’m not sleeping, Papa.”


“Have we passed Cabela’s yet? I wanted to stop and see how much an assault rifle would cost? The Second Amendment protects our right to bear arms, and you can never be too safe when you ride a bike around Austin.”

“Go back to sleep, Old Man.”

“I told you I’m not sleeping, Dad.”

“Does the kid ever fall asleep? I’ve got some good Tiger jokes waiting to be told.”

On the freeway to Minneapolis

“Wake up, Zeke, and look at all the tall buildings. We’re not in Kansas or Austin anymore.”

“I know, Papa. I’ve been here before.”

Downtown Minneapolis

“There’s the Twins’  new stadium: Target Field and over there is the Target Center. What do you think, Pops?”

“Big buildings I can see, but I don’t known about the game with my poor vision. That’s why I bought a pair of binoculars.”

“Just remember to behave yourself. When I took you to a Twins game last summer at the Metrodome, you fell down those steps and landed in the lap of a fan. That was embarrassing.”

“Won’t happen, Son. I promise. I’ve had my 5 Hour Energy drink and a Muscle Milk. Got some Ensure in my backpack just in case. I’m ready for anything.Where are we headed?”

“It’s early, so I thought we would go out for dinner.”

“That’s a good idea. I’m hungry.”

“So am I, Papa.”

 Somewhere at the end of a skyway maze

“Well, we’re here, Pops. What do you think? Have you ever been to a Hooters before?


“Pops! Dad! Father! Old Man! LeeeeeeeRoy! Are you listening?”

“I don’t believe it. Hooters. I thought they just existed in the imagination.”

“It’s real, all right.”

“Easy son. Control your excitement. I’m an ex-sailor. I’ve been to places like this before. Can we’ take Zeke in there. He’s only 4 years old.”

“Yes we can. It’s a restaurant. Families come here to dine.”

“I’ve heard about Hooters. They have the most beautiful waitresses in the world and they are polite and friendly to their customers. Visiting a Hooters is on my bucket list of things to do before I die.”

“Well, this is where we’re going to have supper. Now, don’ trip over your tongue. We’re going inside. Just remember to look the waitresses in the eye.”

“Is this McDonalds, Dad?”

“Why don’t we take the kid to the Children’s Science Museum, Son?”

A booth with a dramatic view of downtown Minneapolis warehouse district architecture

” Ryan? Son? Look at me. What is the first name of your wife?”

“Melissa …… Why do you ask?”

“Look around you, Son. It’s a miracle: I can see again. It’s like having lunch with the Austin Daily Herald’s advertising staff.They really are the most beautiful waitresses in the world.”

“I thought you said you wanted to go groceries shopping and ride the elevator at Pickett Place, Daddio?”

“What’s a Pickett Place?”

“I only wish my beloved wife, Melissa, was here to enjoy this experience with her husband and their first-born son.”

“What is that: A public service announcement to save your marriage? What did you do? Write Melissa’s name on the palm of your hand?”

“Zeke told me. I think he was sent along to spy on me. Besides, it’s my wedding anniversary weekend. I couldn’t afford to foeget her name.”

Waiting for the food

“Did you see that, Son? She really likes me.”

“She just took our food order. All she said was “Can I take your order, Sir?”

“But it was the way she said ‘Can I take your order, Sir?’ I could sense something in her voice.”

“She’s being polite and hopes you’ll leave a big tip.”

“Can I make her the beneficiary on my life insurance policy?”

“You don’t even know her name. Act your age, Pops? You have a great-grandchild as well as grandchildren.”

Leaving the restaurant

“Incredible! Zeke got his picture taken with our waitress. He’s going to be the star at day care when he shows that around.”

“I will have to get his mother’s permission to keep it. You know how it is. You were married once.”

“Yeah, but there were no Hooters in those days.”

“Lets go to the basketball game.”

“Did you see the way those guys gave Zeke a standing ovation after that waitress picked him up and hugged him?  It made me proud to call him my grandson. Every waitress  clapped and said goodbye, and thank you when we walked out of the place. I still think our waitress was trying to send me a message when she said “Can I take your order, Sir?”

“Yes and that message was ‘Minnesota has some of the strictest anti-stalking laws anywhere.’Dream on, Pops.”

“I thought that lady was nice, Dad.”

“Next time ask her for her grandmother’s phone number, Zeke. Your grandpa will give you a dollar if you do.”

On the way home to Austin after the game

“That was fun. Great fun. You got to see your friends Ben and Natalie, Zeke was a cool kid and the place was rocking. I won’t forget anything about this evening, Son.”

“The next time the public address announcer asks everyone to stand for the National Anthem, face the flag; not the Timberwolves’ cheerleaders.”

“I was focusing my binoculars after Zeke messed with them.”

“The Lakers won the game, 97 to 88. I was disappointed they didn’t play Kobe Bryant, but still it was great to sit that close and experience all the excitement. That was one of the best games I’ve ever seen, Dad.”

“What game, Son?”


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