Thanks to those of you who wrote to me about my trip to Minnesota. It was encouraging to hear that many of you are now brave enough to travel on your own. I hope that the airline I chose is as good to you as it was to me.
There were a few things I forgot to mention in that column that I'd like to share with you now. Even though it was the middle of March in St. Paul, the Christmas decorations were still hanging outside the homes. Christmas lights were strung up to the roofs and wreaths on the doors could be seen everywhere. But this had been the worst winter there in 35 years.
Most of the roads on which we we traveled had the old familiar potholes in them. Many of those holes were big enough to stock with fish, just like they were when I lived there so many years ago. I noticed a sign on one of the highways that stated it was heated. How cool is that? That was one road there that you could drive on safely and not worry about hitting some black ice.
I was amazed at the number of homes there that were proudly flying the American flag. It's too bad that more towns don't do that to show support for our troops that are serving all over.
One of the restaurants that we went to for dinner offered the biggest surprise and laugh for me. I love the Surf and Turf entry and decided to check out what kind of steak they used and how many ounces it was. Then my eye caught what was their Surf selection. Instead of the usual lobster, which is all I've ever seen before, they had Walleye fish!
Just last month I was thinking about the lack of gum on the ground and sidewalks, and then there was a column about it in the Times. I just figured that maybe the youth of today can't figure out how to text, walk and chew gum at the same time. I know a lot of seniors don't chew gum anymore, as it can stick to their dentures. One brand of gum can be purchased that won't stick to your dentures; it's called Freedent.
I found out from my friend Dick that both big-box stores for home improvement give a discount to our veterans on their purchases. Just show them your military card at the register and you will get 10 percent off.
The power of the newspaper was clearly proven a few months ago after my column about Pittsburg stores not supplying paper bags for free anymore. If you remember that column, I was quite upset at the Pittsburg City Council members for making it a law that retail stores here could no longer offer bags for your purchases.
Sally, a reader in Sutter Creek, sympathized with me and sent me a box full of reusable canvas bags. I now carry those bags in my car for any purchases made within the Pittsburg city limits.
The post office wants more money almost every year. Yet, on a recent trip to the main office to mail packages, I stood there with a line forming behind me. No one was at the window and a man kept slowly walking from the right to the space on the left. He looked at the line, but kept going back and forth at the back of the customer service area. I just figured that he was a worker in the back and couldn't help us with our mail.
Then to my surprise, he walked up to the window and nodded for me to come forward. I gave him my mail envelopes that needed a signature sent back to me so I'd know they'd received them and when, and advised him of what I wanted done. He acted as if it was a big imposition for him to have to do that extra work.
I also gave him the boxes that needed to be in Minnesota in three days and told him I needed those insured and the amount needed to do it. By then his tone of voice was condescending; he never made eye contact, He told me the charge was $72.
When I got home I looked at my receipts and none of them were for what I had ordered. I then got a letter back that was mailed on 12/16/13 to a P.O. Box in Oregon. It had a stamp showing that on 2/19/14 someone had noted that the addressee was no longer at that box. Then on 3/21/14 it received a label saying to return to sender, unable to forward. Once again, great service.
A native of Minnesota, Carol Olson grew up in South Dakota and Walnut Creek and now lives in Pittsburg. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.