Archive for April 4th, 2008

Spring. After waiting for weeks for its arrival, Spring blew into town this week. Finally. As noted previously, Minnesota experienced its first snowfall of the season on Dec. 1, 2007. Snow has blanketed the ground ever since. As I check the calendar it is now April 4 and the snow is gone from the ground – at last (except where it was piled up from plows and shoveling).

With Spring’s long-awaited arrival, outdoor activities become the rage among Minnesotans. Oh sure, there are many die hards who run outdoors all year long – even when the air temperature reaches negative degrees and the windchill makes it feel like double digits in the negative. But now people are out there with smiles on their faces. The long winter is over.



I volunteer my time to the Nature Valley Grand Prix, helping with media relations and PR to generate more awareness about the pro bike race. I’ve never raced, but I do bike (part of the tri thing I’m such a novice at). The pro teams that swing through Minnesota each June for the five-day, six-stage Nature Valley Grand Prix are amazing to watch. Motivating even. What’s most amazing are the women on the various teams that race in St. Paul, Cannon Falls, Minneapolis, Mankato, and finally, in Stillwater.

The women riders are a thing to behold. Many of them put in just as much time as the pro men riders, but they also have full-time jobs, children and a variety of other responsibilities beyond the bike and the week-long or weekend races they compete in. They race, crash, bleed, and tell their stories just as adeptly as any male rider – and their passion shows up tenfold in their eyes and their faces as they line up at the start line for each event.

If you haven’t seen a pro race, either mens or womens, I encourage you to look up the USA Cycling event closest to your hometown and make the journey to watch it live. It’s unlike any sport – and TV viewing (aka the Tour de France on Versus) just doesn’t do the race justice.


Remember your first haircut?

As a kid, my parents were close friends with a very nice couple, Ernie and Evelyn. Ernie was a barber and he had the coolest set up in his basement in Spencer, Iowa (my hometown). Ernie’s basement came complete with pool table, color TV and a small alcove/room that included a barber chair, sink and all the hardware needed to get a haircut.

On Friday or Saturday nights from time to time, our family would go to Ernie and Evelyn’s, have a little dinner and while the women talked in the kitchen, the guys would adjourn to the basement for a) haircuts and b) a game or two of pool. This was considered high living for a kid of five or six years old. My dad and Ernie would talk about adult stuff. Sometimes they would (gasp) drink a beer. On one particularly interesting evening, Ernie attached a toupee to my Dad (who was naturally balding). We all got a major chuckle over that one!

Ernie always took great care in cutting hair. He also owned a salon downtown and he ran a good business serving many loyal customers. He was ahead of his time in many areas, including his ride. Yes, Ernie drove a Subaru back in the ’70s, which drew plenty of strange looks from the Chrysler/Ford/Chevy owners in town. But he didn’t care and his trend-setting days continued throughout his life. Well into his 80s, Ernie passed away in 2007. I trust he’s now perched in one of the most beautiful and comfiest of barber chairs available in Heaven.



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