Trip Start Oct 20, 2012
Trip End Jul 11, 2013

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Where I stayed
THe Farm
What I did
Small Town, USA

Flag of United States  , Minnesota
Friday, October 26, 2012

    After 2 1/2 days hanging out at the farm, I'm trying to imagine if I could possibly be a farmer. Negatives would include the wind, the distance from everything, the lack of hills, the pretty barren landscape, the monotony of daily farm work and the limited interaction with different people. Positives would include the distance from everything, the quiet and solitude, and the pride that comes with living and working off the land. There also exists a very close and devoted relationship with the local church among all of the farming community, which not only provides for spiritual health but serves as the epicenter of the community's social life. Might be a little too much God for me - definitely too much of the required ritual - but I can certainly appreciate the fellowship that the church provides. I could let this train of thought segue into a discussion of "The Tao", but I can't see many farming communities discarding their church for ancient Chinese philosophies.

The next 100 miles was a quick transition from growing beets and beans to lattes, internet cafes and the urban chaos that most people consider normal. Back on the Interstate heading for Minneapolis, we were pleasantly surprised by gas prices which had dropped about .50 since we embarked on our journey. Pulling the trailer has cut our gas mileage in half, which is creating a little urgency to finding work, but our friends and family are taking very good care of us.
One nice thing about the metropolitan areas is having health clubs to go to. We both have had lifetime memberships to Bally's Health Clubs for 20 years, and they have been bought out recently by LA Fitness, so we now have these beautiful new clubs to escape to. In fact, we spent 2 nights in the trailer parked on a side street that was walking distance to an internet cafe and an LA Fitness. I guess we're becoming totally citified again!

We arrived on a Wednesday and while catching up, in the conversation MaryAnn asked if we wanted to "join them for Mass tomorrow" and thinking I couldn't remember that last time I was at church on a Thursday, she shared that the service was being offered in her late husband Stan's honor so there was no hesitation about sharing that with her, the family and their parrish at St. Charles Church. In fact, giving her a comfortable "out" I hinted that Billy might perhaps not go, but I most certainly would love to be with the family for the service. To my mild surprise, Billy interjected with an acceptance of her invitation.

It had been a truly difficult year of heartache and loss as they buried five of the Vipond brothers; Stan Chub, Les, Bob & Dick. We attended the service at 8:00 Thursday morning and were invited to "coffee" at Joanne's house, one of MaryAnn's daughters, who live "in Town" next door to the church. And in retrospect, it comes as no surprise that everyone in St. Charles Church that morning was invited ... 20 of more of us... with a spread to rival any Sunday Brunch. Lots of "visiting" and "Pastor Andy" held a captive audience about his ultimate assignment in Herman and Area Catholic Churches. I admitted, to MaryAnn later, that while he was very personable, engaging and verbose, I, selfishly, would have enjoyed hearing more from and about the Vipond Clan! Yes, I CAN BE SELFISH THAT WAY!

So as Billy mentioned the church is the epicenter of community life (which by the way is the same church my Father attended through his youth) and the church is in final stages of remodeling and EVERYONE had some role in its progress and completion. Terry Vipond and his wife Kathy were intensely involved in the tile work in the foyer and were, for a number of reasons still working on it while the rest of us enjoyed our day.

One of th.ire "traditions" is Friday evening Happy Hour at "The Legion Hall" where MaryAnn took us after a tour of the Greater Herman area. (We even mailed our absentee ballots at the Herman Post Office). Since the Corcorans and Viponds essentially populated the town for a few decades, "everyone" remembered my Dad and I was introduced as "Lee Corcoran's oldest daughter" to nearly the entire bar, especially those who were curious as who the "strangers" were. We were joined by Denny Vipond, the sole surviving brother who recently retired with his wife who had owned and run "Denny's Diner" much to the dismay of the town but certainly well earned retirement. Close friends and neighbors Sylvan & Jean Prothero, a couple of "the boys" Larry & Joe

Larry Vipond and his wife AnnJean invited us for dessert at their palatial home after Happy Hour. They live on a lake, pretty much "their" lake and substantial acreage and while it was night time we saw aerial pictures of the property. They have 4 children and 12 grandchildren and all are featured throughout the home.
Pride and prejudice our common theme once again. And magnificent desserts that AnnJean packed up for us to take on the road. We

We missed seeing three of "the kids" Colleen, David and Robin, as they all live with their families in or near Fargo, ND. Hi you guys - if you are reading this. We missed you! I know there was a lot more I wanted to say about this stop but perhaps it will come to me one of these days...

Hope all of you are well and not OD-ing on my personal, introspective details.

Love& Best, Mare
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Jimmy Martin on

Keep it coming even though I have some catching up to do. Now I understand some of this trip's porpoise. Love to both of you and back to the kids.

Helen Anderson on

Hi Travelers,

Wow !!!!!!!! How we enjoy your reportings. Stop at one of the local News Papers----------I am sure they would hire you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On second thought-----------don't do that -----because then I wouldn't be getting your NEWS LETTER

Nancy C on

Okay, actually reading these now and have made it to Entry 7....this is the coolest and most awe inspiring journey we have ever witnessed. You two are amazing and your journey is guided by love, family and friendship. Glad that we were a part of it and hope you will visit on the way home!

Mallery on

YES I CAN BE SELFISH THAT WAY! = because its MY story!!!

gypsytour on

HaHa Yes Mallery and that is who we are! And, after all, girl squirrels are
"cuter" than boy squirrels! I miss you Punkin! XXX, Mom

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