May 5, 2024

Going with the Flow at Minnehaha Falls


Going with the Flow at Minnehaha Falls
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 5, 2024

If you've spent any time talking to Avery's fiancé Abby, you probably get the sense regarding how much she loves her family.  She moved to Minnesota for her job a year and a half ago and left them behind in her home state of Georgia.  We were excited to have the opportunity to meet several of them this weekend.

Our first encounter with the Bush family was at the Mall of America. It's always great to meet for the first time right in the middle of a crowd of a thousand crazy shoppers.  Lucky we didn't stay there for very long as we had several exciting destinations on the agenda.

I've lived in the Twin Cities for more than 30 years now, but somehow I've never been to Minehaha Falls when the water is flowing.  Miss Sheri said we went there once before but I don't remember it because the water was only a trickle at the time.  I asked ChatGPT to tell me some facts about it and it came up with the following:

Tucked away in the lush expanse of Minnehaha Regional Park in Minneapolis lies the enchanting Minnehaha Falls, a spectacle of nature whose name whispers of its heritage—'Minnehaha,' meaning 'curling water' in the Dakota language. Plunging gracefully from a height of 53 feet, the falls are more than a mere scenic marvel; they are a storied landmark steeped in cultural lore. The falls gained immortal fame through Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "The Song of Hiawatha," intriguingly penned by a poet who never set eyes on their beauty. This magical cascade is a testament to nature’s artistry and history’s echo, a true treasure of Minneapolis.

Next, we hit the Stone Arch Bridge. ChatGPT says this about it:

Spanning the mighty Mississippi, the Stone Arch Bridge stands as a majestic testament to Minneapolis's gritty industrial past and its transformation into a cultural beacon. Built in 1883 by railroad baron James J. Hill, this granite and limestone marvel originally ferried flour mill freight and has since morphed into a beloved pedestrian promenade, offering breathtaking views of Saint Anthony Falls—the city’s powerhouse waterfall that once powered the mills that made Minneapolis the flour milling capital of the world. Today, the bridge is not just a pathway, but a timeline capturing the essence of innovation and endurance, a place where joggers, cyclists, and dreamers tread over the waters that carved the city’s destiny, making it a must-visit for anyone looking to connect with Minneapolis’s robust spirit and dynamic history.

As I walked by the Gold Medal Flour company, I was reminded that I've always wanted to visit the Mill City Museum contained within.  Let my friend ChatGPT  tell you why:  Perched on the Minneapolis riverfront, the towering Gold Medal Flour sign serves as a beacon to the city's industrious past. This landmark, part of the former Washburn A Mill—once the largest flour mill in the world—now anchors the Mill City Museum. Here, history isn't just told; it's felt. The mill's dramatic saga includes surviving a devastating explosion in 1878, symbolizing Minneapolis's resilient spirit. Now transformed into a hub of culture and learning, the mill stands as a tribute to the city's ability to reinvent itself. Gazing at its juxtaposition of historical architecture and modern design, visitors are reminded that from the flour dust of industry rose a community rich in heritage and innovation—a true gold medal champion in the landscape of American cities.

We had the opportunity to spend the most time with Andrew and Andrea and get to know them a bit.  What a great couple!  We had a lot of fun conversations and they absolutely destroyed us in multiple rounds of Cornhole.  I've told myself we've gotta practice our bag skills before we get together again because my ego is still quite bruised by the shellacking we experienced.

We also had fun getting to know Abby's sister, Avery, and her brother Justin.  We watched the Timberwolves game 1 victory over the Nuggets together and learned Justin is quite the source of NBA knowledge.  Even though he's a big Lakers and Lebron fan, I was seeing indications that we might be able to win him over to the Wolves and Anthony Edwards.  I guess we'll have to see how the rest of the series goes before knowing for sure.

We find it a bit amusing that Abby's sister is also named Avery.  I told them when we named him the only Avery I ever knew was Avery Johnson who played for the San Antonio Spurs.  Apparently the name has trended to be more of a girl's name in the ensuing years.  Sorry about that, son.  Young Avery is as cute as a button and such a sweet child.  We really enjoyed getting to spend some time with her.

Honestly they were supposed to be Luke and Leia after the Star Wars twins.  That kind of fell apart when we learned we were having twin sons.  So it could be worse, Avery.  You could be walking around introducing yourself to people with the name Princess Leia instead.  So you got that going for you.  Which is nice.

Later on Saturday night, we learned that Andrew likes to play Blackjack so we took him to our favorite casino, Mystic Lake.  He shined on the tables like he did with the Cornhole bags.  And my weekend losing streak continued.

It was a beautiful day on Sunday.  We went to Lakefront Park to visit the lake and play some basketball because I figured this was the place where my winning could finally start taking place.  Well, I was wrong again.  One of these weeks I'm going to find a competition of some sort where Todd Swank can shine bright like a diamond.  Tiddly Winks any one?

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