Thursday, August 08, 2013

A gathering of cousins in Red Wing

Larry, Carolyn, Kathleen, Marilyn, Harold. . . granddaughter Brooke.
Hey Brooke, over here! Stan took the picture.
From our vantage point on The Verandah at the Red Wing St. James Hotel, it was easy to see that the nation's economy is on a roll.
As we found our places under a big green umbrella shading the midday sun, the Burlington Northern rolled through the historic depot just beneath us, rushing empty oil gondolas and steel pipe to the Bakken Shale fields of western North Dakota.
We chose from a menu of sandwiches, burgers and fries, walleye and wild rice soup. Carolyn wanted the Caesar and Salmon, but before Kelli could take her order, we paused to let the Canadian Pacific charge past the hotel with about 100 carloads of wheat, bounding southerly along the Mississippi, then probably due east to bridge at a natural ford that the French named LaCrosse.
Mostly we had iced tea and burgers, there were a couple of salads and a toasted turkey and brie sandwich mixed in, and by the time they arrived, a shipment of "clean coal" from Wyoming or Montana did too, bound for eastern power plants.
We hoped for a nostalgic moment watching the Empire Builder discharge passengers arriving from Chicago or Seattle, but they say it is hard to tell when it will come through. It must be difficult running a schedule these days. Amtrak leases the freight tracks on a space available basis, and from what we could see from our perch, there's not a lot of that right now.
Surprisingly, the trains weren't as distracting to our luncheon as you might think on this perfect riverside afternoon. More an occasional rhythmic entertainment than rude interruption. The Rolfsrud relatives found plenty of opportunity to renew friendships and swap stories. Stan and Kathleen brought Stan's cousin Harold and his wife, Marilyn to Red Wing on a mission to see our cousin Larry and his wife, Carolyn.
A renown artist, Larry produces stunning landscapes. So you might say we were in town prospecting for oil. More on that later.
Cousins: Halvor's boy, Harold; Erling's boy, Stan; Agnes' boy Larry.

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