My husband, Arnie Bigbee and I went downtown today — my first trip on light rail — it felt like being on vacation in a different city seeing the sights from the train.
Then, we went to the amazing new Star Tribune offices with Chihuly glass bowls behind glass cases to take in the discussion about the dining scene with our favorite food critic, the newly revealed Rick Nelson, Food Editor Lee Svitak Dean and two local popular chefs chefs Carrie Summer, co-owner of Chef Shack and Gavin Kaysen, owner of the Spoon and Stable, all totally engaging. The Star Tribune’s Vineeta Sawkar was host and emcee.
Everyone received a Rick Nelson-on-a-Stick to be used when you go to your favorite Twin Cities restaurant and take a selfie with it. Winner of the contest will get to have dinner with Rick, which I can tell you from personal >experience is a real treat. No desert needed.
Since we were early, I went up to the 13th floor and Tom Sweeney, Star Trib photo editor, was gracious enough to stop what he was doing and give me a great tour of the editorial offices. In my 50-plus years as a photojournalist, I never had it so good.
Later, Arnie and I went to the food trucks, got pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches — not overly impressed — and walked over to enjoy the flair of Government Plaza. There’s lots to look at the most interesting of which are the people — women selling plants, a university classroom on the steps complete with notebooks, business meetings, lovers meetings and the sculpture Phoenix Rising made from melted down guns. I spotted two window washers about 40 stories up hanging by ropes cleaning the glass covered high rise. Lordy. The green roofed City Hall looked European and stately with a backdrop of sky blue and puffy clouds.
Then, it happened. Again. Fourth time in four years. Looking up for photos, not paying attention to where I was going, and blam! Splat! Scrape! A shout out — SHIT! And I fell on my knees, rolled over on my back in pain, saw black for a few seconds and then Arnie — who had been getting our light rail tickets 20 feet away — rushed back to me along with an angel — Chérie A. Penn, assistant chief of administration and PIO with the Minneapolis Fire Department. She called her station and within minutes had an ice pack for my knees and stayed with us for 10 minutes until I assured her I didn’t need an ambulance.
We got back on the Blue Line on our way home. Trying not to think about the increasing pain in my knees, shin and chest, I kept my eye on what we were passing. I was impressed, despite not being a football fan, at the enormity of the new stadium as we sped by. The video I took of it lasted more than a minute.
We settled in our seats sitting near a couple of young black men and engaged in a conversation. When they got off, another young black man with a T-Shirt “North Side or No Side” sat near us. I asked him if he lived on the north side of Minneapolis and he said “Yes.” Then I asked him what he was doing to make the North Side better? He said he’s going to college for a degree in business.
I congratulated him and asked if he knew of Don and Sondra Samuels, well-known black leaders in North Minneapolis. He didn’t. I encouraged him to find out who they are as two strong leaders who make a difference. Arnie shared his business card and asked him to email him so we could connect him to the Samuels. We wished him luck as he got off to continue to class.
Only two stops left to the Mall of America station, where we’d parked our car for the day’s adventures. Once we got home, I put ice packs on my knees, shin and chest where I had received the most impact in my fall. Only a few minutes later, we had an email from Officer Penn inquiring how I was doing.
How great is that?
Minneapolis has my vote for most helpful and caring city. My only regret: I didn’t get Officer Penn’s photo. I obviously wasn’t thinking. And tomorrow? Well, I’ll be stiff for sure. Still, it was a great adventure and hope to do it again. Next time with my eyes on the ground — at least while I’m walking!