Fond du Lac Follies: Tales from the road
Fond du Lac Follies motored to Chicago, the Windy City. We were traveling to attend the Heartland Book Festival. It was a long boring ride on excellent highways. Patricia and I laughed together and listened to music as we cut through the middle of Wisconsin.
The trouble began when we got close to O'Hare International Airport. The traffic began to get heavy. We began seeing more cars than we are used to seeing. Patricia was driving and I was scanning my Android map app trying to find our way to the Crown Plaza Hotel, our destination.
We finally found the place and that is where our troubles began. I got out of the truck and gathered our travel bags and took everything inside to check in. I got my room cards and directions to the parking ramp used by the hotel. We split our forces -- I took the bags to the room and Patricia went to park the truck. After what seemed like a long time we were reunited.
We found our way to the feast. We sat at a large round table; there were two authors and five or six booksellers at each one. I was paired with author Erin Hart. We talked through the salad course and then moved to another table where we were invited to talk about ourselves and our work.
I started by introducing myself in Ojibwe. I continued for a while then stopped and told the booksellers I could see they didn't understand, that deer-in-headlights look. I did the rest in English. I closed by reciting a poem called "Shrinking Away."
We moved to another table where I did the same thing, first Ojibwe then English. It looked like I was the only one having fun.
The next morning I signed books for the stream of booksellers. By noon we had used up all of the books and we were released.
Patricia and I made our escape from the city and drove north towards home.
When we got home I played with my dogs, Buster Brown Shoes and Oscar Mayer, until my heart returned to normal in the quiet pines and popple trees.
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Fond du Lac Follies motored to the Northern Lights Casino in Walker, Minn. It was just a short jaunt up Highway 2, then a left onto Highway 200.
We were motoring northwest to catch Keith Secola singing at the casino. It is unknown if his imaginary brother Pep is with him.
Keith sang just as hard as he usually does.
After his set we visited and ate Red Lake walleye. That alone was worth the trip.
After our visit Patricia and I went to the casino to try our luck. Keno was generous to me and gave me niiwaak das waabik, 400 frogskins. We also met Keith's daughter, Margareta, as she was walking through the casino.
We enjoyed looking at the fall colors on the way home. It was a pleasant drive across northern Minnesota.
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Once again Fond du Lac Follies motored to another book festival, this one was closer than the Chicago gig since it was held at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds in St. Paul. I guess we could call it book on a stick.
Son Aaron and I cruised up and down the aisles looking for free books and a large bag to carry them in. We saw some publishers we recognized. I also saw Media Mike Hazard in the crowd. I was scheduled to sign books in the Lit Lounge (who thinks up these names?). I saw former Governor Jesse Ventura signing books. I stood in line to get a free book. When he saw me he told me about his grand plan to fund the Vikings new stadium in partnership with various Indian tribes in Minnesota. Jesse said he could not find one legislator brave enough to introduce a bill. I hoped to make him feel better so I gave him one of my signed books.
After Jesse left I sat at the table and autographed books.
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Dr. Robert Powless invited me to his class at UMD called War and Peace. The people attending this class were all senior citizens. Since they were my peer group I talked about my time in the Vietnam. After giving my perspective we left and ate lunch at the Duluth Grill on the way home.
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Fond du Lac Folllies motored to Birchbark Books in Minneapolis to read from and sign copies of "Rez Salute" and "Walking The Rez Road," Golden Anniversary Edition. Suzy introduced me to the audience.
I saw Ray and Cheryl Earley, Heid Erdrich, Melissa Ranta, Jeff Chapman, and a few other friends in the audience. I signed books until well before my hand got numb from signing books.
Mii sa iw
The views expressed in this column belong to the writer alone. They are not meant to represent this newspaper, any book festivals, Jesse Ventura or any state fairs. Comments and bingo packs can be sent to FdL Follies. PO Box 16, Sawyer, MN 55780-0016. Contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit him on Facebook.