Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 17, 2014

Trip to Minnesota

By Andy Hallman | Aug 02, 2012

One of the downsides of getting older is that your friends seem to move farther and farther away. I used to be able to see my high school friends in Pocahontas every couple of months because we all came home for holidays. High school was eight years ago, and we’ve grown up since then. I live four hours away, and many of my classmates live much farther than that.

Planning a get-together can be a chore because of the driving involved, so we don’t hold them very often. Last weekend was one of those rare instances when I got to see some old friends. The sister of one of my best friends got married Saturday, so a crew of us went to the wedding, which was in central Minnesota near Minneapolis.

I heard somewhere that Minnesota has 10,000 lakes, and after driving through the state I can believe it. The wedding was in New London, which is about the size of Wellman. The city’s nickname is “The city on the pond,” which doesn’t do justice to the body of water which surrounds the town.

My friends and I stayed at an inn on the water. We were in luck because the inn had a canoe and three kayaks. There were four of us, so we planned to put two people in the canoe and two in the kayak. However, just before we launched our boats my friend was told he had to get ready for the wedding rehearsal which was about to start. Oops!

As I was saying, the three of us went kayaking on the city’s pond. I had been canoeing before but never kayaking, and I was worried about capsizing and not being able to escape the watercraft I was practically submerged in. Bridges cut the pond into several sections. Each section looks like a modest body of water but together they make a sizable lake. We traveled underneath a couple of the bridges, which provided welcome shade on a warm afternoon (Minnesota gets hot, too!).

In a kayak, you stick your legs straight out in front of you, which is different from how you sit in a canoe. Sitting in that position is quite uncomfortable for long periods of time because your feet become numb. We found a spot where we could dock the kayaks while we stretched our legs. No one else was on the water but we met some kids who were fishing at a bridge and another kid who was practicing his cannonballs off a dock.

We spent a few days in New London, and then we drove to Pocahontas to spend a few more days of playing outdoor games and indoor games, mainly board games. My family’s new favorite game is “Ticket to Ride,” which we played five times in two days. My friends had never played it before but by the end of the fifth game they had gotten the hang of it. Considering we don’t see each other much anymore, that sixth game may have to wait till next year.

 

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