DAY FIFTY-THREE: Last evening we stopped to visit our friend, Arleene Sweet, who lives in a suburb NW of St. Paul, MN. I've known Arleene for almost 60 years - she was David Sweet's girlfriend (David was my college roommate), and they were married just after I graduated from Drury in 1954. I was the best man at their wedding. (One of my more embarrassing moments in life was when David and I were talking, probably at least 20 years after their wedding, and he was talking about the wedding ceremony and I said, "Gosh, I wish I had been there!" David gave me a very funny look and said, "Larry, you were my best man!").
David went on to become a very innovative college president at Minnesota Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, and then at Rhode Island College in Providence. Shirley and I stayed in touch with him and Arleene over the years, and continued to stay in touch with Arleene after David died in 1984, visiting her in Jefferson City, MO and in Winchester, VA where she was living and working. Now she lives near her daughters in St. Paul. Ellen and I had visited her in 2007, and had enjoyed that visit very much. Arleene is an artist, sewer, and fun person. She also loves cats, and for a long time had two Siamese cats that I was deathly allergic to. (One visit I recall years ago I ended up sleeping in the car). They are gone now, but have been replaced by a very feisty kitten, "Jack," whom Arleene took pity on when he became homeless. In the short time I was in her apartment last night, I began to feel a reaction to him too (he loved jumping into my lap). So we went out to eat at Olive Garden and had a good time catching up on the news of her life and family. She offered for us to spend the night in her guest room, but I was afraid Jack might send me out to the car again. So we said farewell with a promise not to let another five years go by before our next visit.
Earlier, our trip to St. Paul from Aberdeen, SD, was fairly uneventful - passing through rich agricultural land. It was a little worrisome, because our rear shock absorbers in the Corolla are pretty worn out and the car makes quite a bang on some dips in the road. This has been a problem for a while, but seems to be getting worse. We're not sure whether to get them fixed on the road or try to make it back home and have Doug Richmond, our trusted auto mechanic, do the job. We also had the experience of having a gas pump nozzle fail to shut off and gas went all over the ground. I went into the station and got a bag of litter to spread on the spilled gas, but in the process, my sandals got gas on them. I tried to wash it off, but the odor of gas was so strong in the car I finally took them off, sealed them in a plastic bag, and put them in the trunk. Sigh!
After leaving Arleene's, we had a lovely drive into Wisconsin, with a spectacular sunset, and spent last night in a very nice "mom and pop" motel in Ellsworth, WI, the David Lodge. It is one of the most nicely appointed motel rooms we've stayed in, including very lovely quilt bedspreads (motel bedspreads are usually really ugly).
We may stop by Spring Green, WI and take a peek at Frank Lloyd Wright's Talieson, on our way to Bartlett today, but I learned on line this morning that a tour of the house costs $57! Ouch! The tour of his house in Oak Park was a third of that.