An out-of-town friend said to me this past weekend, “You guys have such an amazing social life here!” It’s true! Winona is the perfect place for people who like to have a lot to do and good friends to do it with.
My weekend started on Friday after work, at a pizza party at a friend’s outdoor pizza oven, which I attended along with several of John’s Winona Senior High School classmates. From there, the whole group was off to the WSU campus for the opening night of the GRSF and its WOW weekend. Winona native and jazz drummer Jay Epstein was performing in a jazz trio at a Concert on the Green, a prelude to the opening of “Twelfth Night.” His group played again at a post-play reception sponsored by Merchants Bank, held in the atrium of the science building on campus.
From there, it was home, with Winona native George Sawyer and his wife, Dee Dee, from Minneapolis, who were staying with me. We stayed up until the wee hours catching up.
Saturday, we had breakfast downtown, where we ran into fine furniture maker and Rollingstone native Jamie Schell, who reminded us of the furniture exhibit at the Winona History Center in which some of his pieces appear. We spent a pleasant afternoon there marveling at the art and craftsmanship of the furniture makers. Schell’s work included a bench made of mango wood. It’s funny, I know mangoes grow on trees, but never considered what the wood of the tree would look like. It is quite exotic and colorful. Winonan Linda Sue Eastman’s wood and leather work was featured as well, as was work by other well-known Minnesota artists.
Late Saturday afternoon, I was a guest at the wedding of Dave Larson and his lovely fiancée, Deb Goodrich. Dave’s mother, Chris, is a longtime Winona Post employee.
Saturday evening, it was back to GRSF’s “Henry V.” There was brief talk of going out after the play, but I had had enough, and went home to bed. In fact, I was not feeling up to attending the Paul Barnes Day festivities on Sunday, and Barnes is one of my favorite people. So I could have had an even more fun-filled weekend.
While at the Friday night post-play party, I ran into Ralf Nemec, all the way from New York for the showing of part of his collection of Rockwell Kent’s Shakespeare illustrations, which will be at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum through August 11. I really tried to fit in a trip during the weekend, but now can look forward to a nice weeknight outing to see the illustrations.
Sunday, I spent with family at my house. Morgan came over to help me with a few things, and then we relaxed, as much as you can while watching two grandchildren frolic in a pool. There was a lot of splashing and yelling. I timed Peyton swimming under water the length of the pool. Andie, who doesn’t swim yet, preferred to dress herself in floaties, flippers, and goggles to play in the shallow end, fill up pails with water, or sit on the ladder and block Peyton’s exit from the pool. That explained the yelling.
By evening, I had just enough energy to make myself a quesadilla and toddle off to bed. It was so beautiful out, it was great to sleep with the windows open. I tried that a few nights previously, but someone was having a fire, and the smoke forced me to close myself in.
This Thursday, July 4, marks the opening of the Beethoven Festival, with a free concert by the Empire Brass at Lake Park, beginning at 8:00 p.m. Picnic anyone? Of course GRSF continues its performance schedule, and the free Concert on the Green series continues as well.
The golf courses are drying out, the fishing should be good in the lake. Now if only the river level would go down enough to have some fun on it, and see if the fish are biting. Does anyone remember the drought? Now that summer is here, it seems we are going to have to cram a season’s worth of fun into a few mere months. Are you ready?