Thanksgiving is nigh again! Time for gratitude toward those wonderful people who endure us, another round of overeating, more complaints about What the First Thanksgiving Was Really Like in Case You Haven’t Heard That One Before, and both budgets and self-control thrown out the window for the sake of the longest Friday of the year.
We spent the early afternoon of Day Four walking into the heart of downtown St. Paul with a light itinerary and a curiosity to see if any surprises were waiting for us. The must-see item atop my list was Rice Park, a modest patch of greenery nestled snugly between eight major structures as a relaxing nexus of life, nature, serenity, and incidental tributes to the great Charles Schulz.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
For the last few years, my wife and I have spent our respective birthdays together finding some new place or attraction to visit as a one-day road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on this most frabjous day, partly to explore areas of Indiana we’ve never experienced before. My 2014 birthday destination of choice: the town of Muncie, some 75 miles northeast of here.
Sure, many people would spend their birthday drinking, partying, and making the day wild and regrettable. We have our own agenda. Finding creative ways to spend quality time together. Embarking on road trips that wouldn’t occur to our peers. Searching for gems in unusual places — sometimes geek-related, sometimes peculiar, sometimes normal yet above average.
We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we do.
Part One was a general “hey, wow, still got a pulse!” birthday entry. Part Two was a salute to artwork around Muncie. Part Three covers the results of our primary objective, the twisted plan we knew no one would approve. It was a quest we’re sure many have tried, but few have confessed to attempting.
As it so happens, Muncie was once the town of residence for Garfield creator Jim Davis and his company, Paws, Inc. (Both now officially reside in Albany.) In honor of that intellectual property’s 25th anniversary in 2003 and its impressive long-term survival against all internet snark, dozens of Garfield statues stand in his honor all over Grant County and in Muncie. We weren’t prepared for a tour of neighboring Grant County, but Muncie boasts eleven of the known Garfield statues. We wanted to see how many we could track down. Because they were there.
We stumbled across our first one while visiting Minnetrista, inside their Orchard Gift Shop. Each statue has a name; this one’s “The Spirit of Minnetrista”. Coincidence, I’m sure.