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Goodbye Minnesota… You will be missed.

I already miss you a little bit.

I’m sitting at home after a 3 day trip to see a Kanakuk friend – Eric Holst. We only spent a summer together 9 years ago, but as anyone from Kanakuk can tell you that Kanakuk is a place that bonds people together forever no matter how far the distance or time.

I had read on Eric’s facebook post one morning that he was eating blueberry muffins and drinking Spunky Monkey Coffee. I left a comment that said something like, “I wish I was there…” without missing a beat, Eric responded with, “You should come down for a visit.”

That is really all it takes for me, within a few days we had it planned. I was to come down for the Minnesota State Fair on a weekend that everyone had off and so i did.

On Friday I arrived and dropped off my bags at their apartment at Bethel University and then promptly went to the State Fair. As soon as we got inside we stopped for a Pronto Pup which is like a corn dog but instead of corn meal they use flour. I devoured one quickly smothered in ketchup and mustard. We started to walk away and I said, “Um, guys, would you look down on me if I got another one of those right now?”  They laughed and said, “No Way!” The Pronto Pup is called “A banquet on a stick.” I laughed at that title at first, but after I had one I agreed. They were delicious.

Later that day I consumed a turkey leg, a malt, a chocolate covered pretzel, a large quantity of fries, a 32 ounce root beer, one fried green tomato, and at the end of the day we bought a bucket of warm chocolate chip cookies and then walked over to the stand where they have all-you-can-drink milk for just a buck. I got one glass, then went back and bought another glass so I would have two cups and then i got two more refills and so I overindulged with 5 glasses of milk and way too many cookies. It was heaven.

The next morning I couldn’t believe I was actually hungry.  When I woke up and went into the kitchen Eric was cooking eggs, bacon, and blueberry pancakes as well as some fresh brewed coffee. I was really surprised to see him so effortlessly cooking all of this food. I like to cook and I have never seen another man that enjoyed cooking as much, if not more, than I do.

After breakfast we went to a cool sculpture garden and walked around for a bit. We climbed on some sculptures even though there were signs that said, “Please do not climb on the sculptures” everywhere. Like big kids we played and then we went out for an AMAZING lunch of bacon cheeseburgers, fries and malts at a place called “The Convention Grill”.

After feasting at the grill we went to see the Minnehaha Waterfall and even waded into the creek. The water was really cold at first but after a while it became quite pleasant. On the way to Minnehaha Falls we drove by these beautiful homes that had so much character that I started to fall in love with Minnesota. However, Eric and Nikki said that the temperature in the winter averages around 16 degrees for 3 months straight and that alone will keep me from ever being a resident of the lovely state.

Saturday’s dinner consisted of some grilled steaks, squash, sweet corn and watermelon. We ate outside on picnic tables that were near a beautiful lake.  After dinner we sat in the iving room and talked and then eventually watched the movie 21.

Sunday was a simple continental breakfast of toast with peanut butter and honey, fresh peaches and watermelon and some more great coffee.

We went to church and then for lunch we went to this wonderful gourmet pizza place and had delicious pizza and a piping hot artichoke dip. After lunch it was off to the Mall of America – the largest mall in the U.S.A and then finally back to the airport where it was time to return home.

The entire trip was a good time. Eric and Nikki have two cute kids that are 2.5 and almost 4 years of age. They were fun little chatterboxes that kept things lively and I couldn’t help but think that Wyatt was cute even when he was throwing a fit.

I told Eric that out of all my weekend excursions that this one had moved to the top of the list for “The Most Fun in a little over 48 hours award”.  I was serious, I mean, we packed so much fun, good conversation, and great food into such a short amount of time that they quickly moved to the top of the list.  Not that there really is a list, but if there was…

So on the way home to round out the great trip I spent the 90 bucks to upgrade to first class. No one was sitting beside me and the two hour flight home could not have been more enjoyable.

Thanks Eric and Nikki for a great weekend, i hope to come back someday soon! (After the freezing cold… for sure)

By Evan Stark

Eddie Renz is an avid fan of Egyptology, Wilbur Smith and bacon. Not a fan of humility but often finds himself humbled when he is around people who understand numbers like the Fibonacci sequence and Pi.

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