Photo by firstname.lastname@example.org (swirlspice)
When I realized my hoped-for trip to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area to celebrate a special birthday occasion was going to happen, I knew I’d want to make use of every hour of my mama-away time. It’s not everyday a mother has the chance to watch the dirty dishes and piles of laundry fading in the rearview mirror and point her minivan toward the sunset.
Indeed, the sun was setting when I started off on my adventure, bound first for a longtime friend’s home in the Minneapolis suburbs. That was the start of the trip and the subject of yesterday’s post. The middle of the trip is the subject for tomorrow’s blog. Today, I am switching the order a bit to bring you an account of my brief time with Aunt Betsy, which comprised the last hour of our time in the Twin Cities.
Some background first. Aunt Betsy was in high school when I was a little girl, which meant she was THE coolest aunt on the planet. What I remember most was her closet full of assorted shoes (which she rarely wore in the summer, anyway, preferring to drive barefoot); going to the mall to meet up with her cute, chatty, stylish friends (who always made such a fuss over my sister and me); riding on the shoulders of her tall boyfriend; and realizing that she, alone, seemed to understand my complex emotions as I grew into a pre-teen and teen myself. She always seemed to magically know just what to say to me when no one else had the patience or words.
I knew that Marie, my traveling companion, would enjoy Betsy and I was right. It all started with the pick of restaurant. “Just tell us the place, and we’ll be there,” I’d said during our last-minute pre-trip planning, knowing Betsy would find the perfect eatery at just the right location. With her as our guide, we converged at The Good Day Cafe, a fun little spot I later learned transforms into the Bad Day Bar in the evenings. In the daytime, it is filled with light and happy colors, a sinful-as-all-get-out bakery, and some fun decor, including the light fixture made of whisks and a collander.
Starting our visit with an Almond Joy Mocha didn’t didn’t hurt at all, either, nor did the toast with raspberry jam and cinnamon-sugar Beignets (a harkening back to Betsy’s years living in New Orleans as a graduate student), nor did the crab cakes Benedict served with a side of fried potatoes and onions (I didn’t say it was a low-fat trip, did I?). The fact that the Vikings were playing and winning by a landslide, as viewed by a TV just a few feet from us, only enhanced the mood (we knew our guys back home would be dancing in their pajamas). But even if we’d met at a greasy spoon cafe somewhere, we still would have had a great time.
Marie and Betsy hit it off and even discovered they share a common friend, even though their lives had never converged until that day. And I enjoyed, as I knew I would, catching up with Betsy’s life, and sharing a bit of what I’ve been up to. Our breakfast foray was the sweetener in a hearty cup of freshly-brewed tea — the perfect ending to what had been a phenomenal weekend.
Marie and Me
So, though my order in this story is a bit disordered chronologically, what matters most in my sharing today is that yet another gift was unwrapped that morning at the Good Day Cafe: the gift of a favorite aunt, the one who helped me see as a little girl that my freckles were a blessing not a curse, helped me ease into my first week at college when my parents could not be there to do so, and has given me so much through the years in her wise counsel and gentle understanding.
Me and Aunt Betsy
I have other aunts I also adore, but Aunt Betsy will always rise to the top, simply because, at age 6, she let me try on and wear her blue clogs. That sealed the deal right there. And as it turns out, Marie has an Aunt Betsy, too. We’re both in good hands. (Thanks Bets!)
Who is the “Aunt Betsy” in your life?