|Written by Jim Northrup,
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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
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
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.
Fond du Lac Follies motored to the
Northern Lights Casino in Walker, Minnesota. 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 hard as he usually
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.
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
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.
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
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 email: