....except they were with Doug, at his mom's, tormenting her dog, Pepper, and happily cleaning out the meat pan.
but they would have loved this trip that pam and i took sunday afternoon, down the mississippi river to old frontenac, where she has a piece of land. (i should say that riley would have loved the trip once we got out of the car.) today was one of those glorious green and blue september days, with golden sunshine and a light breeze. we tooled down Highway 61 in her cherry-red car with the windows open.
pam and i go way, way back. we worked together on the night copy desk in duluth. (here we are more years ago than i care to admit to, eager to write some headlines and cut the hell out of some boring local copy.) she moved to alaska to work on the paper up there, and i took a boat and a small plane and god knows what else to visit her. we hiked the Exit Glacier and the Iditarod Trail and kept a close eye out for grizzlies. (we made so damn much noise, shaking pop cans full of pebbles and ringing our bear bells, that not only did we not see any grizzlies, we saw no wildlife of any kind.)
at one time there was a cabin on her old frontenac land, but it became infested with mold and bats, and she tore it down. now there are just towering pine trees, a stone bench, and the tidiest shed you've ever seen, with watering cans and galvanized pails hanging from the ceiling. she hopes to build another cabin eventually.
old frontenac is one of the oldest settlements in minnesota, dating back to 1839. living there must feel a bit like living in a park--huge old trees, deer, winding dirt roads. the houses are mainly old summer cottages, with white clapboard walls and screen porches and lawn chairs in the grass. some have been converted to year-round; many have not.
it was very quiet this sunday afternoon--we saw two dogs (a border collie and an aerdale, who barked at us, but politely stayed in their yard) and only a couple of people.
we walked through the town and the old pioneer cemetery and then hiked down to the river. gulls bobbed on the sparkling blue water and sailboats tacked in the stiff breeze.
there was no one around. we got sand in our shoes, and a little sunburned, and rested on a downed tree that had been washed silver by water and sun.
we didn't stop talking all afternoon. except for the absence of dogs, a quite perfect autumn afternoon.
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