As the saying goes, don’t blink when you go through this town or you’ll miss it. Euclid, Minnesota is less than that. There is no town, as we understand such things. There is a silo or two, plus the green sign that says, “Euclid.”
That’s it. And that is where we spent the month of July. Between two cornfields. And it was awesome. There is something about wide, open spaces and low hanging clouds that help you forget the noise in a chaotic world.
And Lucia had not spent real time with her sister in more than twenty years. We hung out with them in Shannon, Illinois in the late nineties. That was 21-years ago, a day or two before their third child, Rachel (pictured above in glasses), was born in Rockford.
We dropped by the hospital then to congratulate Katherine and to say goodbye as we headed back to South Carolina. Now we’re with them again, and we all had an amazing time. Our intention was a week and then off to the next place. But my children have not spent extended periods with their cousins, and they were bonding, which made leaving undesirable for all.
So we talked about staying another week. Then another. And another, until it was almost four weeks. Even after all that time, leaving was not fun. Imagine family liking each other. Weird, right?
Where in the World?
Euclid is more northern than the cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul). It is also above Fargo, North Dakota, which is two hours away. When you have to drive south to get to Fargo, you’re too far north. It’s thirty minutes from Grand Forks, ND, which is on the North Dakota and Minnesota borders. And it can get to forty below zero. Yippee.
The closest town is Warren, which has no chain stores of any kind. They do have a drive-in theater outside of town, in a cornfield, of course. My children had their first outdoor movie experience. It was almost as good as my childhood experience, but there were no speakers to hang on the car window; we tuned into the radio to hear the movie: The Incredibles 2.
We went to East Grand Forks, Minnesota and Grand Forks, ND several times. The church we attended was in Grand Forks, which was an excellent church. I bonded with Stacey and his wife, one of maybe three black families in the church. We had superb conversations. I miss him already.
In addition to the drive-in, we also went to the President Trump rally in Fargo, which is where we had the starter replaced on the van. We went to the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Itasca State Park. Then there was the county fair in Fertile, MN, which is right next to Climax, MN. (Not sure how they got their names, but I have some ideas.) And Rachel got us in on a DigiKey tour, which is where she works. That was interesting.
We went to the big Fourth of July happenings in East Grand Forks/Grand Forks. Those two towns are contiguous, as you cross a bridge, which separates them. East Grand is in Minnesota and Grand Forks is in North Dakota.
The highlight of most days was walking to the mailbox, which seemed to be about a half-mile down their long driveway. Sometimes we got crazy and walked down the road too. On some of the walks we encountered a car or two. Busy, it was.
And then there was the crop duster who seemed to get his kicks from flying low over the house. Maybe not, but he seemed to be a bit low to me.
The best time was our kids spending their days with the cousins. They laughed a lot, played games, and worked in the yard. Haydn had his first John Deere riding mower experience. It’s true: nothing rides like a Deere.
The kids spent a solid week picking small river rocks out of the flower bed that was next to the house. (See picture) The Colberts were having some water leaking problems, so they needed to dig up the beds, rework the ground and the side of the house. It took the kids a long time to get all those rocks out of the beds.
I set up my “ministry base camp” next to our bedroom. And as (sovereign) luck would have it, Lucia’s sister, Katherine, had a zero-gravity chair like my “Walmart special” at home, so I was in good shape for multiplied hours of work.
There were some wifi issues out in the cornfields, so one day I went to the Starbucks in Grand Forks and spent the day and early evening there. There is much to be said for great wifi. Another day was spent in MacDonald’s, who also has excellent wifi.
Storms and Signs
Then there were the storms. Because the land is flat, there are no windbreaks, as the storms come roaring in and the lightening dances all over the place. As you’re driving down the long, straight roads, you’ll see a clump of trees by the road, in the fields. There was always a house inside the trees, which was the only way to break the wind as it comes howling across the plains.
And because the roads were so long and straight, it was hard to figure out the distances. You could see a traffic light at night eight miles away; I’m for real on this. Thus, you would come up on the stop sign “all of a sudden.” It’s as though you’re lulled to sleep because you’ve been looking at the sign for so long. And then it’s right in front of you. It was harder to drive on those long, straight roads than the curvy roads in South Carolina.
No doubt, the Colberts were the highlight of our trip. We’re not sure if we’ll be able to do this again, like that. It was a gift from the Lord; I’m especially happy for my wife.