Friday, May 24, 2013

The Family Jewels

.... Later that afternoon, we found ourselves in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Since our hotel was attached to an Outback Steakhouse, we met up with the Bride and Groom for dinner, the night before their big day. Outback has the some fantastic cheesecake and I had made the agreement with Edward that I would have cheesecake for my birthday if I drove us to the wedding.
After completing my end of the deal, I was delighted to have a great dinner with John and Linda and my wonderful husband too. And then to delight in my well earned cheesecake.
Then, to my surprise, John and Linda brought me a whole sampler cheesecake to take with me. 
A birthday celebration that I wouldn't trade for anything.
John and Linda are some of the funnest people I've had the pleasure of meeting and I was looking forward to witnessing their wedding the next day.

After dinner, we gave John and Linda our wedding gift for them. This treasure box holds glass gems in the colors of their birthstones. We like to call them "The family jewels". Little did we know that their birthstones have been a much used symbol in their relationship. Even her wedding ring has their birthstones set together.

Then as you could imagine, after spending 20 hours on the road and a wonderful evening out, we made our way upstairs to the hotel room. I barely remember going to bed. I do remember awaking the next morning refreshed and ready to take on the day.

Our day started at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Ed has memories of visiting this amazing tribute to our nations fallen soldiers as a child and wanted to share it with me.

We have one of these in Michigan. But since it was started only recently, the size is considerably smaller.

To stand in the center of all of this and look out in every direction, the perfectly aligned marble headstones are breathtaking.

(Sometimes I forget which car I am driving.)

Maurice Burgess (Ed's Grandfather)
Some might say that there is no personal tribute to each soldier. What I found, is a well organized system that makes it easy to find your loved one. And that they become an important part of the wonderful field of marble tributes that is much bigger than any one alone.

After a quick stop at the kiosk, we were able to find Ed's grandparents on his mother's side with no problem at all.
Eleanor Burgess (Ed's Grandmother)

It's been many, many years since he's had the chance to visit here.
After the cemetery, we headed over to the Mall of America for a quick shopping trip. For those that have never been there, It's 3 floors of pure shopping pleasure. A cinema on the forth floor and a Aquarium in the basement. Four wings of shopping surrounding a theme park complete with roller coasters.
There's always something going on in the mall. On the day we visited, they were painting pianos for charity.
As one facebook friend wrote, "Where does one start?"

And the answer of course is Starbucks!

It's a good thing that a good friend in Texas sent me a Starbucks gift card for my birthday. Thanks Josh!

But we only had a short amount of time before the wedding.


Jim said...

What an incredible feeling that must be to stand in the middle of that graveyard....all those white gravestones!! WOW!
That mall looks like it could take days to explore and go broke in!! yes, Starbucks is our favourite here too.
Painted me an idea for my sister. So now we are waiting for the wedding....

Stew Adams said...

I should have labeled this post "breath taking".
The magnitude of the cemetery and the size of the mall are both breath taking.

MorningAJ said...

There's an American service cemetery here near Cambridge that I remember visiting when I was a kid. It's stunning.
More recently they had established a National Memorial Arboretum quite near here with monuments to all the organisations that don't usually get remembered, like the fire service and the ambulance service and St John Ambulance and the Lifeboat service. It's very moving.

Did I wish you happy birthday, by the way? It's K's birthday on Monday.

Stew Adams said...

These memorials are quite a sight to see and a nice tribute to the fallen soldiers.
What a great idea to honor the heroes on the home front as well.
What a beautiful time of year to celebrate ones life.

Ms Sparrow said...

What a happy coincidence that the family jewels were such an apt gift! I live on the north side of St Paul so I was a ways from where you were. My partner and I went to Outback recently to celebrate out 30th anniversary. We opted for the Blooming Onion and skipped dessert, however. I haven't been out to the MOA for several years. It's kinda expensive and I'm cheap so I limit visits to when out-of-town visitors want to go there. A friend of mine always calls the place "Mall of Embarrassment"! I'm glad you guys had such a good time.

Stew Adams said...

The MOA makes for a sure place to be able to pick up a souvenier or two. We had to pick something up for our friend back at home taking care of Pugsley.