LIFE LESSONS LEARNED IN MOORHEAD
A couple of weeks ago, I walked around Moorhead, Minn., after speaking all day to kindergartners. I do love the little tykes, but, oh, was I tired! While I slowly walked that afternoon, I remembered another time 26 years ago when I spoke in Moorhead. I remember it well because I was 8 months pregnant with my third child — who ended up being Mike!
My doctor wouldn’t let me travel alone because of my history of short labors. Just in case Mike decided to come early, my mom came with me for a few days of speaking in the Red River Valley area. She had friends to hang out with through a group called PEO, an international organization that provides educational opportunities to women worldwide. We also planned to visit Mildred, my dad’s secretary who had moved to Moorhead upon retirement to be near her sister Viola.
The first night we were invited to dinner at the home of my mom’s PEO friend, and after dinner we made our own sundaes at the Dairy Queen they owned in town! The second night, we went out to dinner with Mildred, Viola and Viola’s husband at a fancy place on the top floor of a bank building. After 26 years, I can’t remember if this restaurant was in Moorhead or Fargo, N.D. But I do remember that it was not in a very tall building, maybe 10 floors at most.
I remember Viola as a very positive person. That day she was so excited about taking us to this restaurant. “Wait until you see the view. It’s magical,” she said. We took the elevator up from the lobby and got a table next to the window. “Isn’t it just beautiful?” said Viola.
I looked out and being a snobby 35-year-old, I thought — beautiful? Really? All I saw were railroad tracks and the flat Red River Valley. We sat down and started to catch up. It was getting dark as Viola looked out the window again and said, “Every time I am up here at night, I feel like I am in San Francisco!” I was stunned that she saw San Francisco while looking out over Fargo/Moorhead.
But it took years to learn
There was a big lesson there for me, but it took me 26 years to learn it! Now as I walked a couple of weeks ago in Moorhead, the Red River Valley was just starting to turn green after the long winter. I realized that the prairie is indeed a beautiful place! It turns out, there was another lesson to be learned from that night so long ago.
Since Barry was struck with frontal temporal dementia (FTD), I have wondered whether I will ever travel and see far away, beautiful places again. This makes me so sad. When you are going through a tough time and have big troubles in life (and I have big troubles), it is hard to imagine anything positive. Despite my 35-year-old-know-it-all-self’s reaction to what Viola said up at the restaurant back then, I have decided to take a lesson from Viola’s playbook.
I am going to try to find excitement and beauty even if it is just in my own city. I am happy this memory came back because it has given me a more positive attitude. Thank you, Viola, for this very important life lesson!
As I write this in my apartment on a Friday evening, I realize that Bloomington can look pretty magical at night, too. It kind of makes me feel like I am in Paris or London — if I really use my imagination!
Now I will try to make my daily trips to the nursing home magical, as well!